Wednesday, October 26, 2005
A change in the weather
There was quite a bit of activity at the temple this morning -- gongs ringing out, men yelling and cheering. (That's the temple there on the left, as seen from my kitchen window.) Our streets are noisy these days, too, with vans driving through the village blaring incomprehensible election messages; this will go on until early December. And every evening, a big yellow garbage truck inches down our road chiming Für Elise, a motif that I am doomed forever to associate with trash and a vague sense of urgency.
All this noise really stands out now that the weather has cooled and we are officially into open-window season. This is a wonderful thing, not only because 82º with 60% humidity is downright pleasant, but also for the money we'll save. We usually have the highest electricity usage in the building, and our A/C habit is to blame. We've had it turned off since last week, though, so next month's bill should be better. Power, water, gas and milk are all much more expensive in Taiwan than in Washington, and while we try to conserve when we can, we also rationalize the cost by counting up all the things that are dirt cheap (meat, produce, cell phones) and hope that at the end of the day we come out ahead.
We've been busy since we returned from our 10/10 vacation. Nora's second birthday was on the 16th – we made banana splits for everyone down in the common area, and set up the sprinkler for the kids. Nora was a bit overwhelmed, and had no interest in her ice cream or the sprinkler, but overall she had a good time. She is already talking about whose party will come next. ("Party George, party Nora, party Scout!")
I spent a day last week showing around a new missionary couple who have come to work with some friends of ours for a year. I enjoy being tour guide and talking about Taiwan to newcomers. They always have such good questions, and their observations remind me of why I like living here: it's wildly different, and it's a challenge. We hit three stores in one day: Walason's (bakery supply and western foods), Dollars (grocery and household), and Costco (everything else). It was fun, but tiring – we are not that long past setting up our own house, and shopping has not yet become a treat.
Tim is back at work, and Cole at school. The 2nd quarter has begun, and it looks to be a busy one: concerts, dramas, and several holidays will take us right into the new year. Tim will be attending a conference in Chiang Mai over Thanksgiving break, lucky dog, while I get to stay home and roast to my heart's content. I would like to go to Thailand sometime, but for more than a few days. Maybe next Christmas....
Last Sunday we joined some friends in their outreach at a local park. We drew a small crowd with songs and testimonies, but it wasn't until the Taiwanese pastor of this tiny church spoke of his faith in God and love for his fellow people that it hit me: we would all be jailed for doing this on the other side of the strait. Life here is a challenge, yes, but it is not a hardship.