Today marks the one year anniversary of our arrival in Taiwan. I have learned a lot over the past year. Here are my Top 10:
10. There are people who can, and do stand on the toilet seat when using the bathroom. Apparently it’s a more hygienic approach than the traditional sitting method of toilet usage.
9. It is possible to process pork to the point that it resembles dog fur. Roll it up in some rice and sesame seeds and you’ve got yourself a meal.
8. What Americans put in their carts at Costco is a source of endless fascination. And it is socially acceptable to walk up to said Costco cart and move things around to get a better look at its contents.
7. The smells that can permeate from a church kitchen on any given Sunday are endless and sordid. And if a person lifts the lid from one of the myriad of simmering pots on one of the stoves in said kitchen, that person will most likely find some kind of animal/bird feet stewing away. (Some advice given by one with experience: it’s better not to lift the lids. Just walk away.)
6. There is actually a tie at number six: There are at least a hundred varieties of spiders that are as big as my hand. And, mold can and will grow on everything.
5. That black stuff in hot and sour soup–coagulated duck blood.
4. When an Asian middle school teacher assigns a half hour of math homework, that translates to at least three hours of math to the average American kid, including one hour with a tutor at $50 an hour. AND, math is the most important skill a person can acquire and anyone who is not good at math will not get into an Ivy League university and will therefore end up spending the rest of his or her life walking dogs, working as a parking lot attendant or rolling dumplings at Din Tai Fung.
3. My kids are stronger than I ever imagined.
2. I love my husband more than ever.
1. The Chinese people of Taiwan are an amazing, kind, generous, smart, gentle, funny, gracious and very blessed people. (And they are very good at math.)