Monthly Archives: July 2011

Taiwan Travel + History: Green Island

Since I’ve begun to talk more about my history research, here’s a story of where travel and history combine: on Green Island.

The other day, I was talking to some friends about cool places to go on vacation in Taiwan, and mentioned that I went to Green Island earlier in the month over a long weekend with some fellow Fulbrighters. I was listing off fun things to do and see there, and came to the infamous Green Island Prison, which now stands in ruins (with one wing fixed up as a museum) and has a Memorial built on the nearby cliffs. My uncle Suho, who currently lives in Taipei, also spent time there, and I found his name on the Memorial–they list all of the prisoners’ names and dates spent there. It was there that I learned that he was imprisoned on Green Island– for his political actions supporting the Taiwan Independence Movement– for 8 years in the 1950s.

I actually can’t imagine doing ANY single thing for 8 years, let alone being in an incredibly brutal, hard labor camp on an island in the middle of the Pacific ocean.

At hearing this, my friend commented, “Man, your family has been everywhere! All of your vacations in Taiwan always have history research component to them!”

This is, actually, primarily true. Continue reading

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My Favorite Map of the Week

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for this world map by Christoph Niemann (not drawn to scale), who writes Abstract City of the New York Times:

Check out "Abstract Sunday," the witty graphic collection of Christoph Niemann, who used to blog regularly as "Abstract City." http://niemann.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/06/the-world-map-of-useless-stereotypes/. I think my favorite of his is called "I LEGO N.Y."

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Google Search Terms that Led You Here: A Collage Poem

Photo of old posters on the wall taken in the Bo Pi Liao Historic Street in Taipei.

This is sort of a non sequitur post, but having blogged for several different blogs over the last few years and now run two of them, I’m always endlessly amused by what Google Search terms lead readers to my blog posts.

Also, lately around Taipei I have met new people, mainly expats, who say– “Oh yeah, I’ve seen your blog… I was looking for something else, but it was interesting.” And there’s that look in their eyes that’s purposefully vague and a little bit awkward, like, were they Googling where to go in Taipei to get that toe fungus cleared up? Or the best third date spot/coffee shop/karaoke house/bathroom supplies store in Shi Da? Or how to say, “I really like you but I just want to be friends, also, I forgot to mention that I’m already married” in Chinese? Continue reading

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Best Poems I’ve Read While Living Abroad This Year

Photo of the northern Taiwan coast taken in Jiu Fen.

Apropos reading things to nourish the soul and feel the sweet sounds and rhythms of the English language circulating through my veins to pump me up for my summer of writing (Cf. previous post about Expat Reading Lists), I’ve been reading poetry. You know, like, for fun. Continue reading

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Kim’s Expat Reading List

Photo by moriza, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons license.

Greetings from the island of Taiwan, which in the last few months, has gone from balmy in temperature to downright tropical!  What is there to do, then, when the days get exceedingly hot and more humid, but to go inside, crank up the A/C, and read a good book?  (Note: going to our local outdoor pool and taking a nice long swim also helps.)

As classes and events at Zheng Da have ended for the year, and my research has evolved– turning south to Silai (Siluo/Xiluo/西螺) and to interviewing important historians and figures in the history I’m writing about–my daily routine has changed drastically. Sometimes I spend the days interviewing people, traveling, reading research that I’ve gathered, or just writing. I’ve also spent more and more time reading– both for research, and for pleasure. And I’ve found some books that really resonate with the “expat experience,” and with my expat experience.

So here is the guide to Kim’s Expat Reading List from the last 10 months, with books grouped by category, or perhaps more accurately, “mood” to read in. Continue reading

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