Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The lights do go out, 0 hour, and the year is still 94

I guess that this is the first day that I ran after midnight, here. I thought that I'd done it, before, but this time, many of the streets were different, and I, who am used to running in the dark at home in Oregon on the dark logging roads, noticed that oh, the lights are no longer on. The streets and parks that I was running through were all dark, light only eminating from the apartment buildings and stores along the way (which provided plenty light - dark is really a very relative term, here). The well-lit hi-lite, OK, and 7-eleven stores stay well-lit and brighten up everything for quite a ways.

I ran by a thermometer/clock that read 0:00, and was thinking that it was malfunctioning, and then realized that here, where the 24 hour clock is used on any digital display, it was midnight. The temperature was 19C, by the way (66F), and 20C (68F) on the airport clock next to my house (where it always reads 1 or 2 higher). I'm still looking forward to it dipping down a bit more to where I can wear long sleeves and maybe even a jacket to work, but I can't complain too much, since it sure beats the higher temperatures of the summer.

I was reminded, today, that here, it's the year 94, for the 94th year of the establishment of the Republic of China. Conveniently, it started Jan 1, 1911, so one only has to add 1911 to the Taiwanese year to get the Gregorian Calendar year. People here tend to remember, when they are speaking English to change the year for us foreigners (but sometimes forget, causing great confusion - you were born WHEN?), and also to subtract a year from their age, since they consider themselves 1 year old the day that they are born. I can also usually get two birthdays out of most people - one for the Gregorian (solar) calendar and another for the lunar calendar, a calendar that is closely watched for those interesting holidays, and lucky days to get married.

Ok, I must get to bed. I still have a ton more things to tell you all about. . . I just have to find the time to write it all!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Tang Yuan & and the first day of winter

Like the southern states of the US, it doesn't exactly get "cold," here, when winter starts, even though people here consider it so. I mean, how cold is 10C (50F), anyway? That's about the coldest I've seen it get here, so far, but of course, today is the start of winter, so maybe there is colder to come (looking forward to that!). Of course, 10C *is* considered cold, even to me, if I'm inside a building and that's what it is, inside. So, what is odd, at least to me, is that not so many people here have heat in their apartments/houses. Some companies don't have heat in their office-buildings, either. And even, here, where we *do* have heat, and the temperature is the same as if it were summer, people wear their down jackets. I find it very funny, and even took a picture of a couple of my team members with their jackets on in the normal course of their work. . .

So, for this first day of winter, the tradition, here, is to eat Tang Yuan, which is a nice hot soup of gooey rice balls. The rice balls can be smallish round balls, or they can be rather largish (US quarter-sized) with "stuff" in them. The "stuff" can be a watery paste of sesame (my favorite), peanut, red bean, or possibly others that I've yet to see.

So, happy winter to you all (I know that I've heard that Oregonians are enjoying a nice snow and not so nice freezing rain)!