217. There’s no better season than mango season.

The perks of living on a tropical island are numerous – the perkiest of said perks is most certainly the seasonal tropical fruit for you to sink your teeth into. I’m talking about fresh passion fruit when you exit your building, and truck loads of the sweetest pineapples you’ll ever taste, and now that it’s summer, some incredibly large, incredibly juicy mangoes. And I can hand on heart say that there are few things better than a mango on a hot, humid and sunny morning.

216. When it rains, it pours.

It’s rainy season here in Taiwan and as you may have guessed that means a rather large amount of water to cope with. Being British, you’d think that maybe I’d have learned to deal with the vast amounts of water that pour themselves over the British landscape throughout a much too large percentage of the year, but British rain and Taiwan rain are merely distant cousins, baring little to no resemblance of each other. Continue reading “216. When it rains, it pours.”

215. Practice your Chinese under the pressure of an audience.

The other week, after my Chinese class, the teacher and myself headed out to get some traditional Taiwanese food. Now, I pretty much always eat local food and whilst I often am the only foreigner present, it rarely merits me getting stared at apart from by babies, which seems to happen to me in whatever country that I go to. However, for whatever reason, this particular joint that we walked into did that thing you see in movies where everyone goes quiet when you enter, at which point my Chinese teacher announced that I was here to learn Chinese.

The remainder of the meal was spent speaking Chinese, eating Taiwanese food and the rest of the restaurant sat listening and watching.

I took a bow upon leaving.

213. Some missions are harder than you expect them to be.

Having made my dumplings, (see previous post) it came to my attention that no dumpling is ever fully complete without the help of its trusty sidekick, soy sauce – the heart and soul of nearly all Chinese cuisine. Naturally, on my way home from work, I stopped by the supermarket to quickly pick up a bottle of it before heading home to catch up with my bestest, Lo – a conversation that I was looking forward to for reasons besides the fact that dumplings would accompany it. Continue reading “213. Some missions are harder than you expect them to be.”

211. Try, give up, go home. It’s okay.

I know this title isn’t the hopeful, motivational rubbish that you’d love to see to get you through your day, but keep reading anyway. This weekend in Taiwan is Dragon Boat Festival – a celebration that traditionally mourns and celebrates the life and death of Qu Yuan, who according to legend, drowned himself in the Miluo river after being exiled from China. Locals were sad at hearing of his death and so rowed down the river searching for his body, hitting the surface with their paddles to scare away the fish and throwing lumps of rice into the water in the hope that the creatures below wouldn’t eat his body. Nowadays it’s acknowledged with rice dumplings and dragon boat races, or if you’re like me and my friends, with a camping trip to the east coast. Continue reading “211. Try, give up, go home. It’s okay.”

210. Hiking is a brilliant way to age you.

I know that somewhere along the line I’ve been told, or read somewhere, that being outside and doing exercise is a great way to lengthen your life. Those that run and those that hike tend to live longer than those that don’t, providing you don’t hike amongst poisonous animals when you attract every sting on earth (ask me if I got stung by a wasp and three jellyfish on the same day – go on) or on high cliffs when you have a knack for falling over (overall it’s a miracle I’ve made it to 23).

Continue reading “210. Hiking is a brilliant way to age you.”

209. Walking through a forest is not always relaxing.

I’ve read that in Japan, there’s a genuine encouragement for people to go walking in the forest on the basis that the peacefulness will calm you down. I’ll be the first to hold up my hands and say that part of the reason that I love to be in nature so much is for that calm feeling – it’s just you and a hill and your thoughts can be left at the bottom. But, this weekend, I can’t say I got the thrill quite the same as on a normal hike. Continue reading “209. Walking through a forest is not always relaxing.”

208. There is nothing to fear, but fear itself (and cockroaches).

It’s that time of year again – the humidity is up and the cockroaches are out, armed and ready to ruin your day wherever possible. I hope that any day now, I’ll wake up and realise that they’re just bugs that in the grand scheme of things do very little harm to my day, but as it turns out, I’m still in the zone of sheer panic upon seeing one. Yes, I am 23 and a ridiculous amount bigger than it, I know, but simply telling me this will have no actual impact on my reflex to freeze or bolt. All in good time. Continue reading “208. There is nothing to fear, but fear itself (and cockroaches).”

207. It’s all ships and giggles until someone sh*ts and giggles.

The classroom is a place with endless entertainment and endless blunders. For example, perhaps you might initiate a spelling race between your kids. Perhaps you might ask two of them to run to the board and spell ‘ship’ and per chance they mishear you and write the word ‘sh*t’ in big green letters on the whiteboard. At this point you will try to hide the instant reaction of belly laughing so that they don’t cotton on to the idea such a word has any associated meaning. But let’s say one of them is watching your facial expression ever so closely and sees that slight twinge of the corner of your mouth heading for a smirk before you can rectify it. And suddenly she shouts ‘sh*t’ at the top of her voice. And then before you know it, you’ve found yourself in a room with 20 seven year olds running around screaming sh*t, literally, at the top of their lungs, whilst you pray your boss doesn’t walk in before you get the situation under control.

Hypothetically, of course.