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Archive for December, 2008

Acceptance.

Fitting in with what I’m up to lately. I was in a conversation while learning to knit about ideal jobs and such. Someone brought up Myers Briggs. I knew my Myers Briggs type, from when I took the test ten or twelve years ago. I had forgotten anything about what it meant or implied.

I looked it up and was pretty amazed. The first link that google returned for my type was like reading someone writing about me and my strngths and weaknesses. It felt so freaking spot on. It was like a condensation of conversations I’ve had for years and thoughts I’ve had about myself. Very cool.

The significance of this is that a lot of my own time to myself (and around others for that matter) has lately been focused on self acceptance. Wujifa has led me deeper and deeper into groundedness, and I’m noticing one of the psychological aspects of groundedness is acceptance, or conversely (and sometimes more precisely), lack of resistance. The more I notice myself simply, cleanly, purely, directly — the more easily I can accept… and sometimes I get these moments where resistance seems silly, where I notice myself over and over trying to fight against what’s easy and natural for me…

Lately it’s one of my favourite passtimes to notice my breathing and structure relating to resistance and letting go. Just walking down the road, my structure often improves (in terms of where I notice my weight in my quads) in direct relation to acceptance.

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New Feeling.

Maybe it’s the Wujifa, maybe it’s the letting go. … maybe it’s the Chinese food.

But I’m experiencing a totally new (to me) feeling in my chest. Obviously there aren’t words for it. It’s so different from what I know that I cannot make comparisons with it or even begin to judge it…

How cool is that? My entire repertoire of life feels expanded.

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Best. Christmas. Ever.

So we spent half the day lounging, eating, and lounging some more. Around three PM we decided the best course of action would be to travel into the mountains to a hot spring.

Our cabbie took us first to a vegetarian restaurant run by some Buddhists outside a temple. The food was great. Some of the heartiest and most satisfying Tofu I’ve ever had, along with greens and cabbage. The tea they gave us was a local type, it’s green wulong tea. I really like this style as it has the honey tastes and plant-ishness of a good greeen tea with the deep floral bits lurking underneath like distant Jasmines. However, it can be steeped for awhile, or drawn on second and third pours and only becomes richer and darker, without getting bitter. They gave us preserved plums for dessert.

We had heard the place was by donation only, but when we offereed money they refused, only showing us a written word “share.” They gave us the Buddhist salutations of thanks and we asked how to get to the hot springs. They ended up giving us a lift there. Good people.

The hot springs was fantastic: pools of different types of water seperated by rocks, surrounded by dark tiles arranged so water trickled out of the pools like an elaborate fountain, forming smaller pools for washing the feet on the way into the springs. It was 41 degrees last night so the hot springs billowed steam through the soft lighting and threw mist on us when we sat to the side of the pools. We spent two and a half hours enjoying all the types of water. Christmas Muzak played mildly in the background. Upscale Taiwanese definately has a specific quality to it.

The ultra bouyant mineral spring was my favourite, the way it slicked up my skin and made my whole body feel soft and comfortable. The acidic water (carbonic, probably), where I sank like a rock, had its own charm — simultaneous warmth and mild acids on me. We stopped for awhile in a pool they had with different contraptions to create water massages. We played with every one of their toys. I call them toys, but they were so very well made, the best of them rivaling human hands. Jacuzzi tubs never felt so perfect.

By the half dozenth dip in the dizzyingly hot waters, I felt comfortable, bouyant, energized and relaxed. My skin also felt alive and radiant. We left the little resort, vowing to come back, plans on our lips to make the hot springs tour of Taiwan in the next few months. Our cab ride fifteen minutes back to Sansia ended near a little hot pot restaurant. After all the fish and veggie hot pot I could stand, we parted ways.

I made a couple of phone calls to the U.S. and fell asleep.

Perfect day.

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Sublime

I’d been meaning to explore more of Sansia.

So Elizabeth and I walked up the mountain. There’s a little hike along the ridge, with lovely views on both sides. We stopped at an electric tower and could climb out to the edge of its platform, no guard rails, just a concrete slab above the tree canopy, looking out over the forests and distant mountains of formosa. We continued walking.. the view from either side of the ridge was fantastic. Eventually we turned around, before reaching the second mountain on the ridge, agreeing to return later.

On the way back we stopped at a little building, which happened to conceal a temple and a tea shop. We sat on a balcony wantching the sun set opposite our misty mountains. I drank a Wulong tea that I would rate very high. Next time I’ll get the rose tea Elizabeth had, it was fantastic. It’s only 20 minutes away from my house up the mountain. Another agreement to return, again and again… I think that tea shop was absolutely heavenly. Strange birds chirping all around, forests and decent air. She made the comment, “I’ve never in my life felt air like this. It’s never crisp. When it is cold, it just feels softer, and you can feel the humidity.” I think that’s true.

Well, back to teaching the kids… maybe I’ll spend Christmas day on that mountain.

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“Camping in tea fields”.. is almost as nice as it sounds. Taiwanese camping was more like government park camping back home where they have RV spots set up and “primitive” camping sites set up… except there are no RVs but you get an RV spot.

Nonetheless we rolled into town at the tail end of some tea festival and camped. It was very pretty. The walk up the river and back down were pleasant, and we did see someone who spoke in Taiwanese farming tea out in a field. I bought some tea. Sadly, most people I was with didn’t share my enthusiasm for tea.. still, I had plenty of chance to enjoy the town, and their little local dishes (sweet potato hash, lots of Shellfish I couldn’t eat, and some fried tea leaves) and their tea.

Camping was exactly as fun as I would have expected with the crew I was with… quite nice. I hadn’t spun any poi since last year but I did have some fun. I’d never tried throwing them around and spinning myself with them, but really, I made myself incredibly dizzy and fell on the sand with the burning poi.. I’m going to make some practice ones and get back in the groove with them… yea, huhuhuh, Beavis… Fire’s cool.

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Night markets again…

The food is just good.

Before the night market Dan and I ate nyu ro faan… beef fried rice. Hao. And lots of Pi Jiu. “Wo you pi jiu” and I asked for the little dried plums to drop in it. We sat by the river and I felt in love with life like I often do. After beef fried rice came the fish. Dan had never eaten fish with a head on it so I had to keep pointing out how he still had fish left on his plate he could eat. It was fun. I still don’t get why people say the cheeks are so good. It just taste like the rest of the fish to me.

Then on to the night market, stopping at a betel nut stand (without the cute girl in the hot pants, sadly) and got more pi jiu. We played some sort of Bingo we had no idea how to play. Every business person loves a drunk. We kept playing because it cost us 66 cents a game and we got to listen to numbers in both mandarin Chinese AND in Taiwanese and try to find them on our cards. I think we won once… maybe. I never could tell what the object of the game was.

Then Dan stopped and threw baseballs at targets for 1 hundred NTD and I got a Hundred NTD lesson in haggling as I bought a video game to play later. I went back and forth with the lady a couple of times. I’ve been working my way into it. I actually like haggling, when I get something for half the price listed I feel pretty good… I don’t see many other Westerners doing this. Maybe I still paid more than I could have but $3 is well worth it for another lesson in the art of haggling. I just wish I knew mandarin for “that’s not even a thought… I’ll consider a hundred NTD”

Then on to the illegal gambling venue right across from our office. We watched the cops pull in and toos the place. We walked in for a second and saw the boss talking to the police. The officers never saw us. The manager made a nice long eye contact with me and looked a little freaked out. We left. Next time I think we’ll have a little extra clout for not causing him trouble. Maybe we’ll get to gamble in the special patron’s area… I want to learn Chinese for “We Saw Cops.. we left. Are we cool here now?”

Rockin’ nights in Taiwan forever. And Camping this weekend should be great. After I get off the computer I’m going back for some Duck Hearts and Chicken Spine. I know it sounds wierd but DAMN those are two really good little delicacies that are abundant here.

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