Welcome to my blog which focuses on my life in Taiwan.
(Photo: Cheng Ching Lake (澄清湖), Kaohsiung)
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Six-Point Meme: You are Tagged!
What I consider to be a good vacation - More swimming!
I was just nosing around a few of my friends' friends' blogs and came across the 6-Point Meme prepared by Shirley Perly, a lady and triathlete I have never met although we have probably done some races together in Hawai'i. So at the outset I would like to apologize for intruding on her website, but since she encouraged those reading her blog to play the game of tag, here is my own humble contribution.
The six points concern facts about myself that people may not know about, but which may also help other people get to know me a little better.
1) My best bike ride ever is probably the one I did from Harrogate, Yorkshire to Norwich, Norfolk (in the U.K.) at the age of 25 covering a distance of 180 miles in 11 hours 45 minutes. I traveled alone, and my aid stations were grocery stores where I would drink three pints of milk in rapid succession or stock up on freshly made doughnuts. My bike was a ten-speed and quite heavy, but it was comfortable (probably because it was large enough for me), and treated me a lot better on long rides than anything I have ridden since (or at least until I get my "dream" bike).
2) I am a natural biker, but I currently only swim, which is a lot more work for me, especially when it comes to seeing improvements. I can run, too, but have taken the last year off running because I hurt my knees last year biking (on a bike that was too small for me). Fortunately, I feel a lot better now. The swimming keeps me fit and makes me feel a lot more balanced as it requires a lot more upper body training.
3) I feel that things like one's nationality or even one's ethnicity and upbringing can impose huge limitations on our lives. I am British by nationality, English, Scottish, Belgian and Swiss in terms of ethnicity, and in terms of my thinking and daily life all those plus Chinese, Japanese, Thai and goodness knows what else. If I had the chance to be reborn, I would have a "World" passport.
4) My height has often bugged me in life. While I tend to prefer to keep a low profile, as I am not a particularly outgoing type, I always stand out wherever I go. I don't think this problem is unique to me or just tall people, as opposite poles of a compass attract, and I have at times being drawn to people of the opposite sex who probably feel the other way. Although being tall has its problems when it comes to buying clothes or shoes, it certainly is an advantage when swimming, and when biking, too (especially when I get that super-duper bike that actually fits me).
5) No matter how serious I get with doing triathlons and the Ironman, etc., I will never ever go to some beauty parlor and have all my body hair removed. Fortunately, I am not related to the grizzly bear and so can already swim efficiently without making any major adjustments. I did go as far as thinning out the hair on my legs prior to my first Ironman race, but I think it made me look a little anaemic and probably did not really make much of a difference on my time in the end. I am happy with the way I look in that regard. With a Speedo lazer-razer, there won't be any need to go to the wax lady anyway if I am just doing a swim.
6) Much to the annoyance of family members, when eating something tasty, I often like to lick the plate to finish off. In Britain where I grew up, when we ate soup, we were supposed to tip the bowl away from us to get the last scoops. Later, I noticed the Chinese would often just pick up the (smaller) bowl and pour it into their mouths. So when there is still something left after following both of the above approaches, I will just do what our pet dogs did when I was growing up and resort to using my tongue. That is the most natural way, in my opinion, and it tastes the most delicious. No wonder the dogs always lick their lips afterwards.
On the news front, nothing particularly exciting is happening, and I am trying to keep up my swimming training (in a more crowded pool since it is the summer break), while devoting most of my other waking hours to my work which is keeping me pretty busy. Last week I swam a little over 20,000 meters, had Monday off (pool closed), swam 4,050 meters Tuesday, and just 3,100 meters today (Wednesday) (I overslept). I am tired with it all. Despite getting up before six in the morning, I rarely get started on my work until midday as I feel tired mid-morning after coming back from the pool and start my work by lying down to sleep. (Don't worry - I am not cheating my boss as I am my boss.) I am about 4 months into this phase of my swimming training and have about 11 left. I hope I can keep at it even when it gets more boring and I don't see any improvement.
In closing, congratulations on Bree on a fantastic performance at the Vancouver Half Ironman. She got third, but she also rode about two miles more than the other competitors when she and the front lady's motorcycle escort went off on a wild goose chase early in the bike. For more of the details, see Bree's write-up by clicking here.
Finally, thank you Shirley for giving me something to write about today, and if any readers feel so inclined please be tagged for this 6-point meme.
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.