Monthly Archives: July 2011

Getting “Freshly Pressed”: Reflections on Almost a Year of Blogging

This weekend, Girl Meets Formosa was Freshly Pressed. Now I’m steeped in juicy pulp. (Just kidding. I know, that was terrible.)

To explain “Freshly Pressed”: WordPress.com is the location and also the blogging software that I use to host this humble site. Word Press is a very popular blog interface, and needless to say, gets lots of traffic on its homepage. Each weekday, the content editors at Word Press choose 10 posts to feature in a special section on the wordpress.com homepage called “Freshly Pressed” (with a feed to which you can subscribe). This Friday, Girl Meets Formosa was featured in that section for my post “The Fantasy Treehouse.” Thus, my site traffic has increased by an embarrassingly large number of page views in the past two days.

So, Thank You, Word Press!  (Click here to learn more about how blogs are chosen for Freshly Pressed each weekday). And many thanks to you, dear readers, who have supported this blog from its beginning almost a year ago, and have followed my adventures on it!

And to my new readers and subscribers, WELCOME! Continue reading

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The Fantasy Treehouse: Favorite Writing Spaces

Xinbeitou in all of its environmentally sustainable architecture glory, from Beitou Park.

So as I may or may not have mentioned, I have spent the month of July WRITING EVERY DAY…. just about. My initial goal was to write six days a week, and then take a break on either Saturday or Sunday, but then I started devoting my days off to blogging, and/or research interviews, etc, and then I found myself working every day and taking the occasional Wednesday-afternoon burnout break after like two weeks straight. In total in July so far, I have sat down for extended writing time on 24 out of 28 days. Written documentation of this is 2 full notebooks, and 2 more notebooks just begun.

Phew. Continue reading

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Finding Silai: A Search Through History

The view of Silai from Yanping Historic Street, a road that runs through the middle of town and showcases preserved and reconstructed traditional Taiwanese architecture.

In May, I went back to my grandfather Thomas Liao’s hometown of Silai, to meet people, conduct oral history interviews, and look for documents about Thomas’s life, family, and political career.

This was my second trip– the first was a somewhat ill-advised round trip scooter ride from Chiayi City that I did in one day and took 5+ hours. But this time, I had made contact with a very kind host, Stella Chen, who introduced me to everyone she knew in the greater Silai area (between Taichung and Chiayi), and everyone I met introduced me to everyone THEY knew, who might know something about the Liao family, or remember a funny anecdote, share a photo, or take me walking around a historical part of the town.

To say the least: it was intense.

Continue reading

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Silai Musical Interlude

To introduce a series of posts about visiting my grandfather’s hometown of Silai (in Mandarin Siluo, Xiluo, 西螺), here’s a sweet song and video slide show, made by the town’s historical society!! It’s called the Luoyang Culture and Education Foundation, or: 螺陽文教基金會.

So I hope you’ll give it a watch if you want to see how the town looks now– in Silai itself, there are some beautiful historically preserved old buildings, collections of old photographs and books at the historical society, and a traditional soy sauce museum and factory. Continue reading

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Research Update: Liao Wen-Kui in Hong Kong

Dusky, rainy Hong Kong turns on its lights. Taken from a desk at the Hong Kong Public Library-- 1 of the 4 libraries I scoured in 3 days. Who says being a geek isn't fun?!?

I went back to Hong Kong at the end of June, but instead of tourism, boat-related travel, Fulbright conferences, or even Dim Sum being my objective, I went there to visit libraries and try to find out more about Joshua Liao. (Or, Liao Wen-Kui, Wen-Kwei, Wen-Kwui, or Wen-Kuei, depending on your romanization style.)

Joshua was five years older, and was apparently a major figure in Thomas Liao’s life. Continue reading

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Taiwan Travel + More Beaches: Kenting National Park

So, just kidding from last post, I do have some nice photos of scenic and cooling off stuff like beaches, coral, and snorkeling! (Disclaimer: no photos were taken during snorkeling, all the coral is from the aquarium.) So at the end of May, some Fulbright friends and I took a brief trip to the southern tip of Taiwan, Kenting National Park, where our friend and colleague Craig Voligny had his Fulbright-culmination art show– it was a show of coral-related paintings entitled Meridians and Parallels, to reference both wave and water patterns as well as energy patterns in the human body expressed by traditional Chinese medicine.

We also got to take a spin around the aquarium, where his art exhibit was held, and of course, go to the beach and go snorkeling!! Continue reading

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Summertime… and the Living is Moist

Now that summertime in Taipei is in full swing, the thermometer has melted: the last few weeks have peaked at 37 degrees Celsius, or 98.6 F– the internal temperature of a person!  Heat indexes have been as high as 43 degrees– if I remember correctly, 109 F.  From an informal poll of both Taiwanese and foreign friends and local Taiwanese acquaintances, everyone deals with summer in Taipei in different ways: Continue reading

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