Tuesday, July 22, 2008

That Sinking Feeling...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Typhoon... almost!

Actually, I've been in Hsinchu a number of times when everything was shut down because of a typhoon. Today, however, I guess the eye of the storm didn't get close enough, because it was business as usual. So I rode my scooter to work through what was basically the same thing as a car wash, plus ninety-mile-an-hour winds. Then, after a few hours, I rode home through basically the same thing. I'm glad to have risked my life so that five kids could reinforce their knowledge about how to say, "I can jump" in English.

Unfortunately, last I heard six people died in the storm.

The weird thing about Hsinchu is that usually typhoons are relatively mild. Some people (especially foreign English teachers) actually like them because they get the day off and traffic is very light. Today, however, we got whipped.

It is very calm and quiet now, at nine p.m.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Some Chinese Phrases

I have to admit it: my mom sent me this. It is kind of stupid (which makes it funny, you pompous ass!), but at least it isn't offensive or racist.

That's not right . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sum Ting Wong

Are you harboring a fugitive? . . . . . . . . . Hu Yu Hai Ding

See me ASAP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kum Hia Nao

Small horse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tai Ni Po Ni

Did you go to the beach? . . . . . . . . . . . Wai Yu So Tan

I think you need a facelift . . . . . . . . . . Chin Tu Fat

It's very dark in here . . . . . . . . . . . . .Wai So Dim

I thought you were on a diet . . . . . . . . . .Wai Yu Mun Ching

This is a tow away zone . . . . . . . . . . . . No Pah King

Our meeting is scheduled for next week . . . . .Wai Yu Kum Nao

Staying out of sight . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Lei Ying Lo

He's cleaning his automobile . . . . . . . . . .Wa Shing Ka

It took me a few minutes to actually get the joke. I'm used to not knowing what I'm hearing or reading, so I didn't even bother sounding out the "Chinese." I just thought my mom had gone insane and had started researching Chinese phrases for me.

I figured it out eventually, of course. I mean, I've been to college and everything..

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

How Long Does it Take to Drown?

I went to the pool the other day with a friend of mine. We were sitting there poolside chatting, when she got a concerned look on her face. I glanced over my shoulder to see what she was looking at, and all I saw were a bunch of kids splashing around. When I looked back, she said something like, "What's wrong with that kid?" I looked back again, and there was one kid who was under water except for his hands and the top of his head. He was thrashing around pretty good, but he couldn't get his head out of the water, nor could he touch the bottom of the pool. I just looked at him for a second, and then looked around at the other people at the pool. It was obvious that my friend and I were the only ones who saw what was going on. For a second I wondered if I should do something. I mean, it wasn't my kid, and I always pretend I don't like kids. I wouldn't want to ruin my reputation. Still, I decided I shouldn't let the little guy drown, so I dove into the pool.

Unfortunately, this caused my trunks to slide down to my knees, pretty much ruining the coolness of my rescue. Anyway, I splashed my way over to him, using one hand to pull up my pants and the other to swim. When I got over to the little guy, he was definitely in trouble. I hauled him up out of the water and on to his little floaty ring. He kept saying, "Sorry! Sorry!" Eventually some people came over and thanked me and apologized for troubling me. Hell, it was no trouble. I was there to go swimming anyway, so jumping in the pool was no bother, and it didn't put me in any danger. It didn't even take any effort. Still, if my friend hadn't noticed him, and if I hadn't hauled him out of the water, he'd have been sucking water in a few more seconds. Then saving him would have involved CPR, which I can't remember how to do. There's also the chance that nobody would have seen him at all, in which case he'd have been resting quietly on the bottom of the pool.

I know I'm not a hero. Doing something heroic generally involves some kind of sacrifice or at least risk on the part of the hero. Still, it made me feel pretty good to have been there at the right time to help that kid.