6 is the number of things I’ve learned this week – class can you say SIX?

20 Nov
Cover of "Spirited Away"

Cover of Spirited Away

A few things I’ve learned

  1. Always follow the pregnant lady

I’ve been here on my own now for a week and a half.  I’ve struggled a little bit with where to get food I can eat and which places are the best to go to, but I’m discovering a very interesting phenomenon.  Pregnant women are perfect for leading me to the best places to go.  They know the best places to eat and the best stores to buy little kid stuff.  Also, iIf I need to pee while out and about, find a pregnant woman.  They know the best, most convenient places to pee.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t go out pregnant lady hunting, I’ve just made an observation.

2.   A rainy day at the mountainside beach town is better than No day at the mountain side beach town.

It poured the entire time we were in Chiufen.  Walking up and down the two main streets was especially interesting with all the rain.  Apparently it was not too crowded because of the rain, I’m interested to see what crowded looks like!!  In the 3 hours we were there we ate at 7 different places and we only stopped at the ones that Tim and family already know are their favorites!!  There are so many places to eat!  I found some pretty cool stuff that I plan to go back for once I have a full paycheck or two in hand.  The movie theater was so cool.  It is an old mining town that was built into the mountain.  There is a tea house that the entrance is on one side of a hill and you have to go through the tunnel to get to the actual tea house.

Chiufen (Jiufen) History lesson from Tim:  Chiufen means 9 portions.  The original town was comprised of 9 families that mined the mountain side for gold.  Whenever anyone would go into a city to buy goods, they would buy 9 portions, ensuring each family had what they needed.  The people, and therefore the place the people came from, began to be called 9 portions or Chiufen for this reason.

Once the amount of gold coming from their mines became known, Chiufen turned into a booming gold mining town.  When the mine panned out, sometime in the early 1950’s, the town was generally deserted. A few families remained.  Since then several period movies were filmed there and along with the beautiful tea houses beside the beautiful Pacific Ocean views, the town stayed alive with a few tourists.   But the biggest return to tourism hit after Hayao Miyazaki created the movie Spirited Away in 2001.

3.   Stray dogs in Taiwan have learned to use the crosswalks and wait for the green man walking.

It’s true, I’ve watched it happen several times now.  The first stray dog I noticed this with, was a scrangy dirty tan dog.  I needed to cross the street and saw a dog on the other side.  I seriously considered not crossing the street, but couldn’t figure out where else to go and needed to cross the street.  So, I remembered a “just don’t look them in the eye” conversation from TEFL class and started crossing the street.  In a probably never to be repeated occurrence, the dog actually head bobbed me as he crossed to the side of the street I had just come from.  In utter bewilderment and sheer “HUH”?-ness, I watched the dog (nearly getting myself run over by a scooter).  He got to the other side, looked up and watched the cross walk sign.  At the moment it turned green he put his head back down and started crossing the street, using the crosswalk.  I kid you not folks, this totally happened.  And I’ve seen similar incidents to this on two other occasions now, with two other dogs.  It is unfortunate that they probably learned it from getting or almost getting hit, but damn if they don’t know how to use the crosswalks and their signals.

4.   Morning coffee makes everything better.

I have known this tidbit for a while now, but it remains strong and true.  I don’t drink more than one cup usually, but that one cup makes the rest of the day all better.

5.   The schwa is alive and well in Asian languages.

I had no idea.  I remember something in TEFL class about the schwa going out of fashion in English language and that not too many European languages use it much, but it is a whole sound in Chinese that is used all the time.  Go schwas!

6.   Asian languages are similar to each other in the way English is similar to German, not in the way Australian English is similar to American English.

Technically this should be a fairly simple concept to understand.  However, I have been astounded by how many times I’ve heard “Chinese, Japanese, Korean, whatever they’re all the same”.  Taiwanese is also different from Mandarin Chinese, which is different from Cantonese Chinese.  I’m beginning to hear the individual words in Mandarin now.  I don’t understand what the heck they mean, BUT  I can differentiate separate words and the different tones.  I keep hearing myself in the background saying, “third tone, first tone, totally fourth tone”.

And these class are the 6 things I wanted to share with you 🙂


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6 responses to “6 is the number of things I’ve learned this week – class can you say SIX?

  1. jumpingpolarbear

    20/11/2012 at 22:49

    Dogs have learned to wait for the green light? It seems like every big city I am in, humans could learn a lot from them then :).


  2. Our Life In 3D

    21/11/2012 at 01:34

    Intersting stuff. I had forgot all about the schwa sound. Not to compare but I wish my kids would learn to use the cross walks.


    • mariflies

      21/11/2012 at 05:47

      haha yeah, the scooter drivers around here could use a lesson as well!


  3. The Kat and The Falling Leaves

    21/11/2012 at 13:07

    I am with you on that morning coffee 🙂



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