A few months ago, when my friend and I were wandering around Taipei, an older woman stopped us in our tracks and started jabbering away in Chinese. At the time, my Chinese was pretty dire, but I was pretty impressed to have managed to maintain a twenty minute conversation with her where we both had a vague idea about what the other was talking about. The conversation ended with her asking for my number, which I not so hesitantly handed over in the hope that I would then be able to get a little bit more Chinese practice in.

I now find myself, 3 months down the line with a message log from her that is made up entirely of cheesy photos of irrelevant places and things with an accompanying message in Chinese plastered on the front of it. I receive at least two of these every day. My personal favourite is the picture with two snails sitting on a branch together with the words ‘have a nice day’ written underneath them.

My initial intention was to reply to her in Chinese, as she spoke no English. At first I tried this, but quickly came to realise that whatever I said to her would require a very long message in Chinese back, which I would have to get a friend to translate because fat chance of me being able to read every character in that, and then at least another three photos. I also quickly realised that even if I didn’t reply to her, I would receive a photo every single morning and every single night. To this day, it still happens.

I suppose some people might find that annoying to some extent. Actually, I enjoy being woken up to pictures of snails and cake stands whilst simultaneously being told to have a pleasant day. I feel like it’s the kind of thing my grandma would do if she ever figures out how to use a phone, which she hasn’t yet accomplished and probably never will seeing as though she’s in her late 80s and has no real need to do that – to which I say, good for her. But in the absence of my grandma’s ability to send them my way, it’s actually rather pleasant to receive them from somebody here in Taiwan on a daily basis.

Speaking of which my one for today just came through… today I am graced with a peacock and some lovely yellow characters wishing me 早安。Wonderful.


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