Coming back to school (over two weeks ago, now) was kind of rough. We’d ended the previous term on such a good note, with the days after our Tuesday final full of tea ceremonies and movie parties. We watched “Secret,” a Taiwanese movie written by, directed by, and starring Jay Chou, who’s a pretty big deal over here. This video shows the piano duel, and the students are fantastic. Jay Chou is the new guy.
But coming back to school was not nearly as much fun as leaving. On day one, one of my classmates was struggling to grasp a question that translates to “Is it vacation anymore?” Laoshi brusquely asked him over and over. It is definitely not vacation anymore.
Waves of waist-high children in uniforms washed around me on my walk from LiveABC to my MRT station a few days ago. I was mostly unnoticed, but one pig-tailed brat turned and saw me, shouting, “Ha! 外國了!” (“Foreign!”)
Not two days later, two girls spotted me in Junk Store #2, and I heard the taller one whisper, “Wow外國人.” (“Foreign person”) Under my raincoat I had on my stepping-out boots and textured tights for the salsa dancing event we’d just come from, but I didn’t expect them to follow me around the store.
Lali (who we met through Kyle) suggested responding with a “對阿, 台灣人,” (“That’s right, Taiwan person,”) to surprise the snotty ones.
Some of the young men here dress pretty fem, and their body and face shape add to the femininity. Some of the young women here dress in ways that make me blush. Lali pointed out that they’re fairly well covered on top, and so it doesn’t matter much that their shorts might be no longer than 4 inches.