highways: [Footballer Hope Solo, holding the American unfurled behind her.] (FOOTBALL ☌ hope solo.)
Women's foooooootball. The USA plays Columbia tonight! It's hard to get as psyched for the Women's World Cup as I was for the Men's World Cup, just because part of the psyched-ness comes from everybody else being psyched at the same time, and that is just not happening. CURSE THE PATRIARCHY. Anyway the games are just as exciting as last summer's—also so far I haven't seen a single person fake an injury, man. Which actually makes it more exciting because when somebody goes down and doesn't get up you're all, oh no! /grabs face

Speaking of which, the news programs here are way less squeamish about showing certain footage than I remember them being back home. A week or two ago me and my friends were eating dinner at the 鹵味 place around the corner, sitting right in front of TV watching the news, when they showed a traffic cam video of some pedestrian totally geting mowed down by a truck. CUE THE CHORUS OF GIRLY GASPS THEY PROBABLY HEARD ACROSS THE STREET. It was horrifying. We were horrified.

I have sat on my ass and done nothing but read comic books and watched soccer games and talked to people I like for two days straight. I should feel awful about myself, but I actually feel awesome and cheerful and shit. I'm thinking about taking off tomorrow and maybe hitting up the east coast, I don't know, but for the moment the lack of stress and sleeping whenever I want seems to be doing me a lot of good.
highways: [Two panels from Marvel's X-Factor, showing Shatterstar grabbing a worried looking Rictor and then kissing him.] (MARVEL ☌ out of context: i love you)
Marvel fanaticism still going strong. Spending the next three days without an Internet connection—which, yes, is in my future—might calm me down. But I'm loading my Nook way the hell up before I go, so who knows.

Yesterday was crazy—two of my friends were leaving the country this morning, so we and some other friends met up in Taipei that afternoon to hang out and shop and stuff. On the way to this show we hit up Long Shan Temple (龍山寺) and the a night market which was famous for snake meat ... apparently. There were a lot of snakes. And then we took the MRT to Chiang Kai-Shek and saw the show!

Most of the details are a little fuzzy for me, because I was sleep deprived like woah, since I'd been up all night on the phone with my brother [personal profile] reign and then got up at six-thirty to see my roommate Hitomi off to the train station. I do remember it was a lot of fun, and maybe the only time I've done the obnoxious loud American tourist routine in Taiwan (that I am aware of) since everyone in our group was either American or spoke fantastic English. ALL WISECRACKS AND LOUD LAUGHTER, ALL THE TIME. But it was fun. Me and my friend had to call it quits early, though, due to tired, and took a midnight bus back to Taichung, so it was really just a day trip.

Started packing, though I've got like three weeks left. I don't own nearly as much shit as I thought man. Most of this shit's going straight to the garbage.
highways: [A black and white image of a woman wearing an oversized Mickey Mouse sweatshirt.] (STOCK ☌ fade to black.)
One of my (American) friends the other day described my Chinese as "completely conversational", which is such a lie, I mean, it might look like from on the outside, I have no way of verifying that, but on the inside, there is so much effort happening. It's terrible. And I frequently talk like a five-year-old, no joke. Lots of people I know speak basically fantastic English (and I'm obviously referring to people who learned it as a foreign language, here) so calling my terrible Chinese anything but terrible seems pretty dishonest and wrong. I NEED MORE PRACTICE. Years and years of practice.

Speaking of which, here is a hilarious Mandarin version of Who's On First ("誰在一壘?") UNFORTUNATELY CHINESE SUBS ONLY sorry. It's an especially awesome thing and actually, super obvious to translate, because the routine is maybe the closest equivalent to traditional Chinese standup comedy, 相聲, (usually translated as "crosstalk").

最近我倆位老師她們很喜歡給我們看相聲。要是我在美國的話,我會說they're vastly overestimating our abilities。你們大概已經知道我的個性沒那麼開心,可是這是台灣,在這裡我其實應該更相信她們的看法ㄟ。所以呢,每次我好好試試聽那個相聲⋯⋯聽者聽者⋯⋯結束是我一句話也聽不懂。反正我哪裡看起來好像那個加拿大人大山啊?怎麼會聽得懂!(因為⋯ 我不是加拿大人⋯對啊。)反正呢,不過今天老師給我們看上面的那個相聲,然後發生了一個奇蹟。我聽懂了啦!那其實是因為我有聽過美國版好多次,但那不重要。重要的事,我明明中文講得跟超人一樣好。明明啊!
highways: [Quan, Rui Xi, and Xiu Yi from Taiwan's Hana Kimi.] (花樣少年少女 ☌ 你知道嗎 你不是一個人)
Pretty much everybody we met in Tainan was an asshole, it was sort of astounding. One family had me pose in their family photos in a "wow, we caught us a foreigner!" sort of way (we'd had zero interation beforehand, and they completely ignored my friends who were obviously with me and also foreign) and one tea salesman, knowing nothing about us, gave us a long lecture on how my Chinese was pretty good but that was just to segue into how my friends' Mandarin needed work, what with them being from Hong Kong and all (?!).

We visited some temples and then decided between an art museum and the zoo. The art museum was closer, though it turned out to be a compromise between the two, since it housed the largest taxidermy collection I have ever seen, or ever, frankly, imagined to even exist. It was all housed in a weird corporate building and they made us go through an orientation in a special room before they'd even let us inside, and they apparently had some corporate connections and were trying to sell us their flat screen televisions—it was all sort of strange. Despite what it sounds like, and I don't actually know what it sounds like, they had a pretty extensive collection of a lot of shit. Like a whole floor devoted to antique, ancient, and rare musical instruments that I thought was pretty cool.

Dreamwidth requires me to log in again all the damn time now, like on every new page. Totally irritating though IDK if it's on my laptop's end or the site.

Have discovered MUCC, which apparently is going to be one of those bands that I can't believe I ever lived without.

Got a 98 on one of my midterms, holy crap. Mostly I'm glad my transfer grades don't matter, especially since my attendence this semester is shit, but sometimes it makes me go nooooo.
highways: (STOCK ☌ to the paradise city)
❡ Since it's [community profile] three_weeks_for_dw, I am actively looking for people to add! Hurrah. Unfortunately that's a bit harder to do here than it would be on, say, Tumblr. On Tumblr you can just add anybody you think is interesting but on DW I never know if people will be creeped.

❡ Tomorrow me and roommates are taking a spontaneous trip to Tainan!

❡ Spent the day in bed listening to and watching various podcasts. Surprised myself by chosing Mundo de Microbios and a bunch of random shit in Japanese. Also discovered I can pretty well understand Slow Chinese despite the Beijing accent—which incidentally is a podcast I'd recommend to intermediate students of Mandarin. It's talks about stuff like Marco Polo and Chinese history and stuff.

❡ The Foreign Service Institute courses (used to train diplomats and members of the Peace Corps) are larely available for free online. Naturally they are dry as fuck and probably require a working knoweldge of how languages and language learning work to use, but resources for languages like Thai or Vietnamese or Yoruba are not exactly overwhelming as it is, so they are nice in this way.

❡ Scored two CDs full of Mandopop by ~various artists~ many of whom I already know (Jay Chou, Rainie Yang, Wang Leehom) but many I don't! I EXPECT TO ENJOY NEW AND GLORIOUS ARTISTS.
highways: [A bright, gold-colored sunrise over a winding road.] (STOCK ☌ on a long and lonesome highway.)

My Chinese is terrible and I should feel terrible. I do, though, so it's all good. Somehow discouraging is the fact that I think I've finally acquired all of the Mandarin I actually need for survival in Taiwan—today I was talking to a security guard and pointing and gesturing at the ATM machine while saying the word for money, and he was all, "提款機?" which is a word I knew all the pieces of already. And I think that's pretty much it for words I need almost every day. From here on out it's all stuff like 'abortion' and 'the democratic party' and 'career woman' and shit.

Though, hilariously, this textbook occasionally throws us totally new and exciting slang words like 幹嘛—imagining, somehow, that you could have lived in Taiwan for months or even years without knowing what 幹嘛 means. Maybe everybody doesn't learn like half their vocabulary from the television, I dunno man.

To cheer myself up, because my life is terrible, I walked to 大買家, the closet supermarket, and bought myself some books. I got a map book of Taiwan I'll never be able to read and this book of astronomy with lots of pictures. I usually jump at books with 注音 ruby text but this time I avoided it, because I wanted to get books for grownups and anyway it can be damn annoying. I mean, I take my Chinese copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory around with me pretty much everywhere but sometimes I'm all, "Arrg, self, you can stop sounding out every freaking word and read like a goddamn adult anytime, now."
highways: (D & D ☌ oh no.)
monday 9:10-12 Intensive Chinese
monday 13:10-15 籃球 Basketball
tuesday 9:10-12 Intensive Chinese
tuesday 13:10-16實用華語三 Practical Chinese 3
wednesday 10:10-12 游泳 Swimming
wednesday 15:10-17 展演臺灣:劇場與電影中的臺灣意象 Taiwan Performance: Theater and Taiwanese Imagery
thursday 9:10-12 Intensive Chinese
thursday15:10-17 幫派電影與暴力美學 Gangster Movie and Violence Aesthetics
friday 9:10-12 Intensive Chinese
friday 6:20-9 德文二 German II

Finally, I have a schedule for this semester. It is halfway through March yes and nobody even knows if the night school thing is happening. I suspect no. Intensive Chinese gets an underline because it is important, I have to pay extra for it, and also because it appears it will be terrifying, since the lady taking my forms arbitrarily decided to put me in the second highest level because I don't know why I told her not to. Also, by the way, knowing that my German class was second year German, not second semester German, might've made a difference, but I guess I'm caught up now!

I know about what I'm taking next semester back in Arizona, if not precisely what time I'm taking them. Basically I am going to try to get LING 300: Syntax, LING 315: Phonology, LING 421: Language Maintenance, Preservation, and Revitalization, SPAN 330: Conversation, SPAN 352: Politics and Culture in the Hispanic World, and CHIN 300+: Some Arbitrary Upper Division Mandarin Class.

Plus possibly something else, I don't know, nobody at my school feels I need to know if there's a senior capstone requirement or something like it. For most of my college career my graduation requirements have been left for me to divine alone, by magic or Google or some other arcane tool, apparently, and if I've missed something then man, I don't even know. Just give me my useless degree and let me fucking leave already. Look at the courses I take. Do you think I'm ever getting a job, degree or no degree? Come on, you know I'm not.
highways: [Dante from Devil May Cry looks down in the dark, his eyes are hidden.] (汪東城 ☌ 就算世界 與我為敵)
I have been absent from Dreamwidth lately, partially because I was crazy busy with schoolwork, presentations, and exams, and partially because I was having too hard a time with culture shock and its related complications to really be able to write a, hmm, fair and balanced view of how I was doing in Taiwan. I am mostly better now; exams are over, I actually got a 90 on a paper I was sure I failed, and I've picked up another part time English tutoring job I'm woefully unqualified for. I did end up failing my German midterm, but that's less to do with the language having it in for me than it has to do with how I was completely unprepared for basically nothing but English to German translation. Well, and unprepared generally, but still, this is how they test you on language abilities here? Translation and rote memorization and vocabulary? A rant for another time.

I still love Fahrenheit more than is healthy for me, though I'm pretty sure they've literally taught me hundreds of words by this point. Otherwise Mandarin is kicking my ass.

I'm going to 高雄 this weekend! The English for that is technically Kaohsiang but seriously, the longer I'm here, the more I hate Wade-Giles romanization. You know how you say that word? Gāoxióng. Is that even close? No it is not. Anyhow, it's the second largest city in Taiwan, after Taipei—I live in city number three, Taichung—it's on the southwest corner of the island, right on the coast, and is apparently super nice and pretty. We'll see!

Also of note: a few days ago the island was hit with a small but not insignificant earthquake, and since our room is on the 9th floor we felt that for a hell of a long time, like a minute at least. Also, due to this taekwondo controversy, Taiwanese people are like burning Korean flags and refusing to buy Korean food and shit, Korean bands like SNSD and Taiwanese bands like FRH are canceling trips to each other's countries, it's totally serious. It's basically completely overshadowing the fact that North Korea like totally attacked South Korea the other day. Taekwondo is serious business.
highways: [Fanart of Miranda Lawson from Mass Effect 2, lighting coming from her hands.] (MASS EFFECT ☌ into near-certain death.)
I'm glad our women's national team kicked ass today, but it's hard to be completely thrilled when it was in fact Haiti that we completely destroyed. Next up! Guatemala! Hopefully I can actually watch that game, it's over the weekend and all. I think I'll cheer for Mexico also, they play tomorrow. You know, so long as American ultimately wins because we are awesome and stuff.

I don't sleep enough.

They don't celebrate Halloween here but apparently this isn't going to stop a whole lot of alcohol being consumed tomorrow night in, uh, honor of this esteemed holiday. I'm probably going to spend the 31st at some mandatory school activities and I actually keep forgetting that Halloween is a Thing, I don't think I've even remembered to ask anybody back at home what they're going as—and Halloween is the only American holiday I actually celebrate! And like! You know I thought I was going to be sort of sad when Christmas rolls around and not only will I thousands of miles away from home but I will actually have class that day, but now I'm starting to think that's not going to be a real problem.

Tomorrow the international students are supposed to wear "traditional costumes" from our country. People keep asking what I'm going to wear. I'm typing this sitting in jeans, a sweatshirt, and tennis shoes—I'm pretty sure I've already got it on.
highways: [Jiro Wang and Aaron Yan, two members of the Taiwanese band Fahrenheit.] (飛輪海 ☌ 大東跟亞綸)

I have no idea who that man is. Well, I do, that's John Cho but I don't know who he's playing. And holy shit, who cares, right? They could probably make an entire television show of him just doing that over and over again.

I'm pretty sure my Chinese during the day improves remarkably if I start the morning off with a bunch of my obnoxious Mandarin pop rock and about an hour of simultaneous tedious book learnin'—I've come to this conclusion after about an lot of experimenting with the pop rock, let me tell you. And speaking of that, I need to know a whole lot more of those songs, because right now I suck at KTV even more than I'd suck if I wasn't a gratingly awful singer. I'm a gratingly awful singer who can only sing every other word.

My friend K. told the middle-aged ladies we were karaoke'ing with that I'm in love with 汪東城 and then proceeded to play everyone the music video where he disturbingly stalks a girl and then, enraged, strips all his clothes off in the shower. How hilariously mortifying. The lyrics to that song are amazingly creepy and disgustingly catchy, so we constantly torment each other with just three words from the chorus: "留下來." ~Stay with me~.

I know jack fucking shit about what's going on in the United States right now, politically or otherwise. Jack shit, except I guess the San Francisco Giants are doing pretty well right now? This is what happens when I only hang out with one American. Anyhow it's starting to make me feel weird and vaguely worried. I know the news is just a Google search away, I feel sort of disconnected, like it's not really as real to me anymore because it's not happening to or around me in the same way. Which, it's not, but I should still Google more man.
highways: [Sulli from the band f(x), with her head to the side, her bangs falling over her face.] (F(X) ☌ we don’t need any days of sleep)
Let's just get this out of the way now since I'm capable of talking about very little without invoking 飛輪海's adorable ... whateverness. I'll get back on track with serious reflection, you know, someday.

Went for Japanese with friends from Thailand and Korea—depressingly, some of the conversation went, "Oh, wow, Brittany, you like SHINee?" Seriously, if I had never come to this country, in some ways my life would be different, I am just saying. In some significant ways. I can't actually eat sushi and the restaurant served nothing else, so that was sort of a bust, until we found a Baskin-Robbins that for some reason doubled as a Japanese import store...? Whatever, we don't need to make sense of it, what's important is that inside they had a magic product I have missed, a drink I was moaning about this very morning to [personal profile] thor on the phone. They had Mountain fucking Dew. Japanese Mountain Dew, sure, but how different could it really be? I bought three cans at some outrageous price I wasn't even paying attention to.

And it was terrible. Cruel fate, how could you do this to me. It's like giving me a Dominos delivery place around the corner that won't make cheese pizza! —oh, wait, you did that, too.

I'm actually having a lot of trouble eating lately. I figured that getting used to the food might make me a little sick for a while, and I figured that eventually my stomach would adjust, because what choice does it have? I didn't even consider the possibility that, after getting violently ill only ... okay, several times in rapid succession, my stomach would be all, "Yeah, fuck this, I'm out." Everything tastes like gruel and about half of the time I am awake I feel like vomiting is in my immediate future. To be honest I'm only managing to choke down just about the bare minimum required to live and have been doing so for about a week now, but uh, we don't need to spread that around. I'm surrounded by friends constantly but no one person can see what I'm doing all the time so waving off concerned questions isn't impossible, it's just difficult. "Oh, right, I'm not hungry, I got something with K. Oh, hi, K! Oh, it's fine, I'm going to eat with N. later tonight! N! Yeeeeah, I've actually got stuff back in my room, but thanks! Oh, I'm fine, I'm totally fine, 好好, 謝謝." Pretty much I am a liar. Who lies.

It just seems more polite than, "Leave me alone, or I will throw up all over your face."

I GUESS I'M GOING TO AN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL LATER? Oh and I'm totally a professional English teacher now, but that pretty much sums that up and I'm now running out of room. Deleting the music video at the beginning would help with this, but no, I can't, never.

Edit: Oh my god internet if Donnie Yen is in a movie you have to tell me immediately what is this. What is this.
highways: [Yuri from the band Girl's Generation. The lower half of her face, anyway.] (SNSD ☌ not the person you knew before)
Tonight I got to see an Asian superstar in person, which totally didn't impress me at all because I never heard of Wang Leehom (王力宏) before I got to Taiwan—even though the guy was born and raised in New York. But I didn't realize how American the guy really was until he talked in person; he didn't speak in English but he was tired and distracted and had this accent when he was speaking Mandarin and I'm not even sure what it was, but something about him was like, DUDE, you are ONE OF US.

Then I watched some Youtube clips of him in Thailand and he's all, "I'm like, so fascinated just, like, looking at the writing, but it's soo hard to write. You got like—it looks like a math equation... I wish I could read this."

So American. I feel such kinship with all Americans.

I'm trying to participate in [community profile] origfic_bingo. I'm so bad at writing lately, and in the last several months I have managed one half of one bad Inception fanfiction. Since one of my classes was canceled I mean, I should have tons of time—it doesn't feel like I do, and I'm probably going to start tutoring people in English and I want to join this club that helps out some local aboriginal people. So much stuff man. I will never run out of stuff I want to do here. BUT MAYBE I'LL GET TO THE WRITING. MAYBE.

I can't stop listening to this horrible K-pop song, I think it's killing me from the inside. I know I saw it in the States before but it's fucking everywhere here, it was only a matter of time before I encountered it again. Repeatedly. The local supermarket actually has it looped on their television displays, where it's been playing continually for, uh, several weeks. I can't believe anyone still works there.
highways: (STOCK ☌ to the paradise city)

Since we had the day off my Thai friends N. and F. invited me and D. to take a trip with a group of people to Changhua City (彰化市). I probably wouldn't have worn a long flowing skirt and flats if I'd know we were going to walk like ten kilometers and up a freaking hill—I am basically in horrible pain right now. Like, really a lot of pain. It hurts. As we walked up that picturesque, winding path that followed the river, accented with all those statues painstakingly carved into the rock, I was just thinking, omg ooooow.

The temple was pretty incredible though, at the very top of the hill was this massive Buddha statue with a shrine on the inside, I snapped a picture of it with my cell phone but it doesn't really convey the size of the thing. (This blog post, however, sort of does.) Buddha enjoys a panoramic view of the city sprawling in every direction, and after my friends paid their respects at the shrine (they're from Thailand and Indonesia, and are all Buddhists) and after the sun set, we sat on the balcony and watched what seemed like the entire city set off fireworks to celebrate the Moon Festival.

When I look back on it, I'll remember all the neat stuff and not the fact that my legs are on fire and I have to get up early for calligraphy class tomorrow, oh man.
highways: [Dante from Devil May Cry looks down in the dark, his eyes are hidden.] (JGL ☌ .....................)

I told you guys, lawnmower strapped to a cart. My dad said they used to have these back in the States, before they came to their senses.

Every morning I wake up to the garbage truck, which sings like an ice-cream truck except with fewer notes and it parks outside my building. For half an hour at a time. The first time it shows I'm usually too dead to notice, since that's around the six am mark, but around eight when it shows up again, jesus. I rolled over and tried to cover my face with the pillow but since it's like eighty-five degrees in my room on most mornings sleep is precarious anyway and yeah, the pillow isn't cutting it. So I start most mornings out with hate in my soul.

Follow that up with my failure this morning to realize that the water fountain display said "100" because it was dispensing water that was in fact 100º Celsius, and even as an idiot American I really should've figured that out, y'know? "Is that steam? Really? Ohcrap." This is an excellent way to start my first day of school—which technically doesn't start until eight tonight, but, you know, whatever. Whateveeeeeeeer.

My friend K. is taking courses in Chinese, which I think is completely nuts even though I plan on doing exactly the same thing next semester. Looking at her course material though, looks like I'm going to have to fucking study man. Because, well, shit. The reading alone looks like enough to make me weep. Weep, because in five months that's me.
highways: [Dante from Devil May Cry looks down in the dark, his eyes are hidden.] (STOCK - turn the page)
Everybody here speaks English, and not for my benefit—it's the lingua franca of the floor, since everyone from Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, and wherever else can speak at least a bit of it, more or less, and since I'm the only American here right now I feel like I'm doing a hell of a lot more talking than anybody else. A lot of these girls speak very good English but it's just easier for me to put thoughts into sentences, even after I edit them for clarity. Which I forget to do sometimes, though I'm trying to speak slowly, cut out the swear words, and kill the double negatives. If anyone notices the stuttering way this leaves me speaking sometimes—"Ya—you sure we're meetin'—meeting here? I don't fu—I don't see no o—anyone."—well, they haven't said anything.

Listening to [personal profile] thor's Arizona drawl over Skype was pretty much amazing, though. How am I gonna go one year without English. It's only been a week!

Accomplished a lot today, by way of signing many Serious Business legal documents. Those always make me nervous, in a possibly "triggering my OCD" sort of way. I'm not sure, but it's probably not reasonable to worry that I'm somehow lying about say, being a drug smuggler. I'd keep an eye on that, except I'm not sure that keeping an eye on my unreasonable double-checking compulsions would actually be progress.

D. estimates that I'm going to lose five kilos in weight while I'm here. Also, if I don't eat a piece of fruit I'm going to die I think, though I've learned that if you go a while without fruit they become something like candy. Really delicious candy, I still have fond memories of that banana S. gave me like five days ago. But instead of fruit I found an imported Häagen-Dazs ice cream at the convenience store and I spent more money on it than I have spent on any food item since I got here. And it was better than anything I've eaten here. Maybe better than anything ever.
highways: [Dante from Devil May Cry looks down in the dark, his eyes are hidden.] (HANA KIMI - 因為我是男生啊!)
I made a DW comm! [community profile] mandarin101, if you're interested. Nothing is posted there yet! I will try and fix it up some when I get regular Internet access, and maybe post it around some. There's gotta be more than a handful of Chinese learners on DW, small as it is.

Had a great time with my new Thai friends yesterday, about a dozen of them; they invited me on an excursion to nearby Jiji, where we rented bicycles and went sightseeing around the town. We went go kart racing, which was so much fun it would actually have been illegal in the United States, I'm pretty positive—the car was essentially powered by what appeared to be a lawnmower strapped to four wheels and a metal frame. After that we saw a train station, then a temple, then we rode through an open air market and made our way up and down a hilly two lane highway. It had pretty spectacular scenery, all sorts of mountains and trees and plants and tiny shops and stuff, and I'm more sore from the exercise than I can remember being in years.

I had a few moments of, Holy shit, this is my life? I've only been in the country for a few days!
highways: [A sunset over the sea on a cloudy day.] (pic#543157)
"依據中華民國刑法,販賣、運送毒品者可判處死刑。Drug trafficking is punishable by death according to the criminal laws of the Republic of China."
This is all over the visa application instructions, and yeah I have basically nothing to do with drugs in my life here in America, but I am going to be extra sure to keep it that way, geez. DON'T KILL ME, TAIWAN.

I have shamefully gotten into the Vampire Academy series. In my defense: I honestly cannot at all imagine why any girl ever would want to be Bella Swan. She's horrible, her boyfriend's a freak, and her life is godawful. Rose Hathaway, on the other hand, is a foul mouthed super tough half-vampire training to be an undead-slaughtering bodyguard in order to fulfill her career goal of protecting her (female) best friend for life. That is poorly written wish fulfillment I can actually get behind.


highways: [Dante from Devil May Cry looks down in the dark, his eyes are hidden.] (Default)

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