Had a nice day around Taichung with the family today. We spent Mother’s Day at the Art Museum area. It was raining on and off, but it actually was one of the best days I have had in a long time. We began with a visit to the indoor playground area and then exited for a lunch at the nearby 7-11. After that, we walked around the outdoor grounds while there was a long break in the rainfall, but it restarted so we wandered into the Library area and discovered an awesome newly renovated library area with a LOT of English children’s books. I would estimate about 30 to 40% of the total number of books in the kids area were in English! I was very surprised to see the amount of English books available in Taichung. (It was like night and day compared to Tainan or Edmonton’s scant supply of Mandarin materials.) There was even a reasonably good selection of older children’s books for up to junior high level, and a large number of Mandarin comic books. I hope to explore it a bit later and see if there are any good English children’s comic books. (While X-Men is good and everything, there might be too many adult themes for Ariel to understand in it until she is over 12.)
We spent the afternoon in the library, got library cards (50$NT each person) and then explored the art museum displays a bit with Ariel napping in our shiny, light folding stroller. There is some more talented artists here than I found in previous years- I think Taichung really has a world class artistic community at work here and the amount of investment that has been going into developing Taichung as a cultural hub for Taiwan is really paying off.
After that we scooted to Verena’s parent’s house for supper. It was a good feast, with chicken, squid-balls, pork-balls, shellfish and stir-fried cabbage. It was a great day!
(Edit: the pics below include a couple shots from an earlier trip to a botanical garden in Taichung.)
In career news, I am in negotiations with a potential employer at the moment. Hopefully it all comes through… I have a pretty good feeling (90%) it will work out and I will have a daytime job starting in July. That’s great, but I have to stay alive in the meantime, so part time hours from them and hopefully an evening job teaching adults will be handy. I have applied at a couple adult specialization schools and I have heard some interest from some of them… but no hours offered yet… cross my fingers on that.
In home news, I am still waiting for the use of a friends borrowed car to dump the last 6 or 7 bags of recycling at a depot nearby. We have all the rooms we use cleared, our bedroom, Ariel’s bedroom, the living room, and the majority of the kitchen are clear of junk. Right now we have a storage room which will be my office once it is clear, and part of the kitchen is still filled with an overabundance of recycle items from clearing up all the stuff our friend’s mom left behind.
We hosted our friend’s family and her sister’s family last weekend to get final instructions on what they wanted done with their mom’s items that we thought might be of interest, and got permission for about a 75% dispose and 25% keep in storage in a closet. (as it worked out.) Basically keep the valuable stuff, and toss the excess everyday stuff that she had piled up. Generally all of it being potentially useful old things but her mother had already replaced them all with newer better quality things but were still moldering in various corners of the house. (She could have saved us a ton of trouble by having a couple garage sales a few years ago!)
Ariel is finally sleeping in her own completely childproof room. That is the best thing about being out here- we control our own area again! It isn’t swank or luxury, but it is safe.
Ariel is the coolest baby, she has adapted well to riding on the scooter with us. I recently picked up a new, light folding stroller that fits well in front of me and it even folds down so she can lie inside the stroller (when we are walking around pushing her.) We strap Ariel on to our body when riding the scooter, and she has a helmet (a bit over-sized, but nobody seems to carry 16 month old sized helmets for some reason.) She is as safe as I can get her until I can afford to finance an actual car. A parking spot isn’t a problem for us- its just getting the coinage to maintain a car and a job to get financing approved for a car. After a couple months into my next job I will likely start financing a car that ironically will mostly get driven by my wife to bring Ariel around… sigh. At least that makes my daughter safer. I do the best I can with what I have. Don’t kill me Grandma! I know its bad, but we need transport and quite frankly things are different now than even 10 years ago.
All in all, it has been 12 days and we almost have things back to semi-normal. The next couple steps will be harder. I think I will be back up to snuff by November, after I have a couple pay-cheques under my belt to have paid off everything…