Thursday, January 6, 2011

taiwan part II

this will be my last blog post from minneapolis...isn't that crazy?  ok maybe it's just crazy for me.

anyway, my brain is still fuzzy from taiwan. not speaking english for a week will really mess you up. don't be impressed — it's not like i spoke chinese all week, please. i did a lot of nodding and smiling. oh, and eating. i did a lot of eating.

i've been back for two days and i already miss taiwan. my grandfather has a housekeeper that is amazing. her name is i-ma, she's indonesian, and she does everything. she cooks, buys the groceries, cleans, does laundry and keeps my grandfather in line. all at the same time. but even more incredible is her ability to eat spicy food. she can eat an inhuman level of spicy-ness. the family reveres her for this skill; this is why i-ma doesn't ever gets cold, they say. this is why i-ma doesn't fear the heat. this is why i-ma never gets sick! she's fantastic.

anyway, i have four cousins that live in taiwan, and they are all hilarious. one night at dinner, we fell to discussing the pigeon infestation outside my grandfather's apartment.

mom: the pigeons are awful. they sit on the windowsill and spend all night chatting to one another. i can barely sleep!
cousin #3: we should install a hose outside the window, so that when pigeons land on the window, they get sprayed with water.
cousin #1: uh, i think those are called "bird baths."
cousin #3: no, the water pressure would be really high!
cousin #4: high enough to kill them?
cousin #2: then you just have piles of soggy dead pigeons on your windowsill. that sounds even worse.
cousin #3: no, the water would spray the pigeons off of the window.
cousin #4: so you'd have soggy dead pigeons in the courtyard? i don't know if people would like that.
cousin #1: yeah seriously. what if you got hit with one? that would ruin your day.
mom: the neighbors across the way hung up sparkly CDs to try to scare them away.
cousin #1: did it work?
mom: well, i saw the pigeons playing with them yesterday.
cousin #1:
uncle: i know! we'll sprinkle some of i-ma's hot chili peppers on the windowsill!
cousin #2: oh good, then we'll have pigeons that never get cold.
cousin #1: or are afraid of the heat.
cousin #4: and they'll never get sick!
cousin #3: don't birds actually like hot peppers?
cousin #4: well, either way, you'd be creating an elite breed of super pigeons.
uncle: ok, fine. let's just capture two of them and string them up as examples.
cousin #2: don't you think the other pigeons would come for revenge?
cousin #1: yeah, they'd probably lay siege to the apartment.

three ph.Ds and two CFOs in the family, and we never did solve the pigeon problem.

while we were in taiwan, one of my cousins had her engagement party. as tradition dictates, it was a 10 course banquet. as tradition also dictates, halfway through the meal, the groom's family very quietly just ups and leaves. evidently, the reasoning behind it is that the bride's family provides the engagement banquet, and so the groom's family does not want to over-tax her family's resources. and so they leave halfway through the meal. the secret signal is the fish course; once the fish hits the table, the groom's family is done. luckily for the groom's family, the fish was the ninth course this time. my mother saw this and turned to my oldest cousin and his wife.

mom: what! your fish course was the third course! we barely even got to eat the appetizers!
cousin #1: dude, i got married like four years ago! how do you even remember that?
mom: because i was HUNGRY!

it's times like this that i know i was not adopted.

anyway, my cousin looked beautiful. but my favorite part of her outfit? her shoes!
i do love shoes.

and the best part were the favors. everyone got a beautifully wrapped bag of taiwanese rice. so practical! and so pretty!

alright, time to go pack and try to get my life in order. to make things even crazier, the BF is currently in africa, working on an economic revitalization project in rwanda. you know what's even less cool than long distance? international long distance! but now i can say with confidence that someone in africa reads this blog.


Ann said...

Can I just say I look forward to your posts? Am always learning something new from you. Best wishes on the packing/moving/major upheaval - sending good vibes your way!

kawaii crafter said...

Those favors are so pretty! Love the fabric print. Looks and sounds like it was a fun engagement party.

Anji* said...

I always love your stories... I'll tell you something else about pigeons - they are SHIFTY! I see them around the back-streets here, they loiter about usually in pairs or threes or fours, and they are totally up to no good! It's true!

Awesome shoes! And such pretty favours :)

BellsInSpires said...

Hi ann! thanks for the good vibes. i can sure use them. i don't even know which way is up right now - my head is all over the place!
Hi kawaii crafter! thanks so much for reading! =)
anji! your description of pigeons made me laugh out loud. you are SO RIGHT! pigeons are super sketchy!!

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