Saturday, January 1, 2011

Notes from Formosa Ponderosa… 

First of all, here is the latest (late December–early January) for BBEDU.

Second, I think I invented a new drink last night. A week earlier I had told some students of mine about egg nog. They were very intrigued and asked to bring some the following week. Well, as I don't know where to buy it, and as I don't have a kitchen in which to make the Nog, when Friday came I knew I'd be empty-handed. A failed missionary of the Nog. But as I was driving to class, I got to thinking… what is egg nog, really? It's sweet, rich, somewhat tangy milk, no? They have all those gustatory elements in Taiwan, no? Eureka!

Minutes before class, I bought two cups of "ginger tea" and a carton of papaya milk––Taiwan-style Egg Nog was at hand! (I also bought two cups of hot cocoa for them, lest they refused to try my concoction.) There was no time to drink in class and they all left pretty promptly afterward––with the hot cocoa, mind you!––so I had a bowl of semi-chilled Taiwan-style on the table to deal with. I took a sip. Pret-ty good––prettyyyy, prettttyyyy, pretttttttyyyyy, pretty good! At first it tastes like papaya milk but then the aftertaste of ginger fills out the palate and gives it a distinctly noggish kick. I'm going global!

Third, it's winter here and, as we all know "Anthropogenic Global Warming" is turning up the heat. No… wait [LINK1 and LINK2]. As I drove to tutor this morning, it was about 7ºC and on a scooter, with the wind chill, I'd put it at maybe 4ºC (44º–39ºF, for you non-Metrics out thur). And it will get colder. It's all about the sun [LINK1 and LINK2]!

In any case, as we subtropical dwellers face Old Man Winter, I am once again faced with one of my least favorite social drills: the Myth of Cold America. Here's a typical instance:

Well Meaning Taiwanese: "Do you think it's cold?"

Me: [removing my top two jackets and gloves] "Uhh, yeah. I mean, cold is cold."

WMT: "But in America isn't it really cold? Aren't you used to it?"

Me: "Uhh, well, America's really big. Some places are hot most of the time. I'm from Florida...."

WMT: "A lot colder there than Taiwan, right?"

Me: "No, it's just like Taiwan: hot and humid, with occasionally tough winters. Plus, I've been in Taiwan seven years. My blood is thin here. I don't––"

WMT: "So even you get cold?"

Me: [defeated sigh and nod]

Am I not an animal! If you strip me, do I not shiver!

I suppose the equivalent drill in the States for us Floridians is assuring people that we don't have alligators in our backyards and living rooms most of the time without warning.

We don't.

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