Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Asians Taking Pictures of Other Asians: Round Two

“I’m going out to clean the pasture spring;
I’ll only stop to rake the leaves away…” -Robert Frost

If life is truly just a series of snapshots, and no one really knows anyone else except for a bunch of still developing Polaroids in our minds, then please enjoy the latest installment of Asians taking pictures of other Asians. Let’s face it, if you’re Asian (and you people know who you are) and you have a camera… then you be taking pictures. You can’t STOP… an Asian from taking pictures, and you can't stop me from capturing you do it.
Here’s the news from Taiwan as we close out the month of June. Enjoy.
“Moses supposes his toeses are roses…” -Tongue Twister

June has been wild and crazy. My buddy Paul and his son were attacked by a man with a machete, a grandfather of one of my students in the neighboring village was struck by lighting and lived, three teachers from our school were fired this week, I totaled my scooter after hitting a pothole at night and slammed into a tree, I got a new tattoo (sorry, Mom), and I got in a shoving match with a taxi driver after he almost clipped Xian and Rebekah who were holding my hands in the middle of the crosswalk. Imagine his surprise when I pulled him out of the car and started slapping him in the face and screaming.
“The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea,
In a beautiful pea-green boat…” - Edward Lear

But the BIG NEWS of course is final’s week. There are two more days of school and then vacation. For the summer I have trips to Indonesia and China planned, and I also look forward to doing some island hoping with just me and my backpack in some traditional villages to learn wooden canoe building and spear-fishing. I’ll keep you all posted.
“I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me…” - Robert Louis Stevenson

But the REALLY BIG NEWS is the World Cup. Believe it or not, of the 300 plus kids that filled out brackets, there are only 7 remaining that have a mathematical chance (Yes, Grant… I’m doing the math), and guess who could still win it all. Yes, I am still in the running. I am the only person who picked the Netherlands to win, and if they beat Brazil… well, Hartenstein Luck says I just jinxed it… but, I do have the Orange Jersey. I know, you’re jealous.
“He doesn’t like honey and haycorns and thistles
Because of the taste and because of the bristles…” - A. A. Milne


This weekend we are heading off on the high speed train across the island to the east coast to snorkel in the Indian Ocean and hopefully tour the Taroko Gorge. I’m not easily impressed by nature, let’s face it, I’m an Oregonian, but this is where they filmed the final scenes for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, so to see some mountain pagodas and run through caves and hike through bamboo forests and jump out into the ocean a little is the perfect way to celebrate finishing another school year and the real start of summer.
“I squeak like a cat and I quack like a frog,
I oink like a bear and I honk like a hog…” - Jack Prelutsky


I feel like I’ve been drenched for the last two months. First of all it’s hot. I mean hot hot hot. You know? Like I’m covered in sweat all the time. It’s the tropics and so the humidity kills me. Second of all it’s the rain season so you can set your watch by these afternoon downpours that just shut the city down. There are rivers running through the streets and it soaks everything. There is no way to avoid being wet. It runs off the rooftops. It splatters you on the sidewalk. It comes in the open windows. It’s just water everywhere. The good thing is that it cools the nights a bit and keeps the mosquitoes down, which I'll take any day.
“Sailed on a river of crystal light,
Into a sea of dew…” - Eugene Field

The news in my city of Taichung has also been pretty strange. There was a kid found dead in his parent’s house surrounded by Coca-Cola cans and ramen bowls after he mysteriously died playing video games. He’d been dead a week before his parents even opened his door to check on him.
The nation’s top mafia boss died of old age, and they paraded his body through the streets of each county capital complete with flower wreaths, dancing prostitutes, and tributes by rival gang leaders. It was televised.
A historic trade agreement was passed between China and Taiwan earlier this week, but most of my students don’t even care about it. They have been brainwashed by teachers and have no concept of what China is. They can’t answer simple questions like: Is Taiwan a country or not? What is Taiwan’s birthday? Does Taiwan belong to China or not? When I tell them I have to write R. O. C. (Republic of China) on all my international letters they don’t believe me.
“Higher than a house, higher than a tree,
Oh, whatever can it be?” - Riddle Ryhme


Final Notes: This week I was offered a job in Poland but turned it down. I caught a wonderful documentary on killing sharks by a Taiwanese film maker at the fine arts museum during their Urban Nomad Film Festival. I found my favorite clear liquid facial wash at the local pharmacy which is fantastic. I haven’t smelled like my old self in over a year. AND… Xian graduates from kindergarten in a week, she is giving the commencement speech, and then she is going to come to my school as a first grader in the fall. It is my dream come true to have one of my children in the school building (albeit across the street) where I will be teaching.
I’m all smiles. Hope you are all well too. All Love. - Hartenstein

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