Welcome to my blog which focuses on my life in Taiwan.
(Photo: Cheng Ching Lake (澄清湖), Kaohsiung)
Thursday, May 29, 2008
A Rainy but Good Day!
View from the steps of the swimming pool after I finished today's swim. Apart from the last few days, it has hardly ever rained in the nearly 4 months we have been in Kaohsiung. The rain will bring a lot of good to this area. There is a typhoon somewhere not far from Taiwan and there has been quite a lot of rain the last two or three days. The weather has been very changeable, it raining hard one minute and hardly at all the next. This morning I biked to the pool in my swimshorts and a T-shirt, some of it in the rain. There were a lot fewer people by the Golden Lion Lake doing their exercises (some did come to dance but under cover there), and there were also less people at the pool, so swimming was a little less congested. I was a little tired (mainly through lack of sleep due to being busy the last few days). My left shoulder was a wee bit sore, whether because of swimming or due to not doing the land exercises properly, I don't really know, and so I took it more easy and paid a lot of attention to where I applied force during the stroke. I felt I was swimming smoothly, and still managed to cover 5,000m in 1hr 42mins (that included a few relatively short breaks between sets), before racing my friends over 100m. I lost by about a body length and did not know the time. Probably low 1:30's, but not an all out effort. So today I covered 5,100 meters. As I thought about all my friends getting ready for the Honu race in Kona, Hawai'i, and feeling a bit out of it as I could not be there or do something comparable to show that I might still be capable of a triathlon, I reflected on my former life in Kona and on my life in Southern Taiwan. I think what I like most about Southern Taiwan is the friendliness of the people, and that I feel valued for who I am and not just for the work I can expected to do. I think there is a lot of Aloha here, only that we don't talk about it in that way. When I am with people, I feel welcomed, and don't feel I am intruding into their lives. People are prepared to take an interest in me, instead of just ignoring me. Living here is a lot cheaper, and more comfortable, and there is a greater feeling of security. I don't feel I am at the mercy of a landlord or the chain smokers living downstairs (not here of course). If I wish to travel, Japan is a lot closer from here, and Hawai'i is quite reachable from here. So, while I miss my friends in Hawai'i and elsewhere, at least I feel happy being here. Since I am busy these days, I am not necessarily able to write something in Chinese on the blog. The swimming requires that I have a more single focus - there just isn't the time to get good and be too involved in too many other things.
I was born and grew up in the south-east of England, and as a child was a keen golfer. During my first year at university as an economics student, I became very drawn to Asian students and their respective countries. This led to further studies in the economics of developing countries and later the study of the Chinese language in Taiwan. In 1985 I married Hsiu-chin, and while we made Taiwan our home, we also lived for several years in Hawaii. It was there that I took up triathlon, completed the Hawaii Ironman in 2004 and took part in many smaller races. While I have gained much experience as a translator of Chinese, over the years I have developed a passion for other East Asian languages and cultures, including, but not limited to, Thai and Japanese, as well as other Chinese dialects. We currently reside in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, where I continue with language learning and triathlon training.