Monthly Archives: November 2010

Running with Scissors: My First Taiwanese Haircut

This post goes out to Alexandra at Stilisti in Boston, who cut my hair for the last few years, and to whom I promised I'd watch the hair trends in Asia! Here's one, especially Taiwan: wavy hair for women, even perms! Also, I like that this girl is holding either wasabi peas or edamame to her face. A classy touch, always.

The first thing my mother said when she saw my new haircut was, “You must be feeling pretty comfortable in Taiwan, if you chopped off that much of your hair!”  I suppose she was right.  Also, I conducted the entire exchange with my stylist in Chinese, just about.  So I got what I deserved. Continue reading

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A No-Oven Thanksgiving

Our No-Oven Thanksgiving Meal, from turkey, clockwise: pan “unroasted” turkey breast, gravy, mashed potatoes, faux-roasted stovetop cauliflower, string beans, offsite prepared biscuits, fresh homemade cranberry sauce. Photo courtesy of Scott Humm.

This has probably been the best week I’ve spent here in Taiwan!  And it was a big surprise to me, because I was concerned that I would be plagued by homesickness as my nostalgia for American holidays hit over Thanksgiving and Christmas.  But I’m starting to learn that loving American traditions and loving my life abroad are not mutually exclusive.  A little affectionate feeling for the homeland goes a long way, and this week it took the form of one particular Thanksgiving flavor: the fresh cranberry.

My Fulbright friend Veronica and I decided to cook up a Thanksgiving feast for our American friends in Taipei (with a few welcome British exceptions), and so we set about assembling all of the key components: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, etc, etc.  This is also in addition to the lovely Thanksgiving Feast that the American Institute in Taipei served up for us Fulbrighters last weekend; in fact, the traditional food and wonderful company really fired us up to do our own cooking on the Turkey Day itself.  Both Veronica and I have spent the last few years cooking up Thanksgiving storms in our respective kitchens, so the fact that the only oven at our disposal was Veronica’s tiny convection oven/microwave combo left us unfazed.  We would do an ovenless Thanksgiving!

Perhaps we should have been a bit more fazed. But that’s how happy and fortuitous experiments occur, right? When you have no idea how hard something will be. Continue reading

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Catching The Travel Bug

Photo by camilo, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons License

Apropos international showers I have taken and beginning to feel at home in Taiwan, it’s time to go traveling!  Over the last week I have officially caught the travel bug.  And when I look back on experiences moving to new places, returning “home” to that place after a trip really made me feel like I belonged there.  It’s the difference between vacationing and living somewhere, and nothing draws that contrast better than returning.

When I was living in Paris for 4 months as a college exchange student, my first return was a lovely evening when my friend and I got off the train (from Amsterdam) at Gare du Nord.  I took the Métro back to Ternes, and watched the sunset from over the elevated section of the blue #2 line at Barbes Rouchechart, with a feeling of deep peace in my heart and mind.  Paris was my city, and I was coming back to it with a sense of ownership and tired relief.

So in the coming months, I have some exciting trips in the planning stages!  But where to go, what to see, eat, do? Continue reading

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An International Shower Review

If only all showers could look like this! Photo by Auswandern Malaysia, courtesy of Flickr creative commons license.

So I’m finally over culture shock, I think. At least the really soul-wrenching, “Why isn’t everything the same as it was back at home????” kind of thing.  And this seems like the perfect opportunity to reflect objectively and charitably on the plumbing situation here in Taiwan.  As in, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with my shower.

But while three or four weeks ago I was dreaming of my old Boston bathtub, now I think my Shower and I have come to a nice peaceful equilibrium.  And Taipei certainly has better showers than many other international locales.  In loosely chronological order, I give you Kim’s International Shower Review: a review of all of my showering experiences abroad. Continue reading

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