My Second Week Without FB

I kind of forgot about it so I didn’t even think to write about it!! 

But maybe that’s because I went back on Twitter. I was having a little spat with the old mother hen and all I wanted to do was rant about it. But by the time I downloaded the Twitter app and signed in I decided against it. Now at least I had random news facts to keep my mind off the silly argument. 

So now life without FB doesn’t seem quite as a loss. But I’m still going back. In fact, I’m gonna go back to FB halfway through next week. Our family is back together after like 2 years so it’s something to brag about on FB, really. And also, who wants to arrive in Cape Town and have a million notifications to check? 

Taiwan is Growing Up

Today, I was caught slightly off guard.  Candy, one of our students, was sitting in the kitchen area of the bushiban while I was doing the washing up, and she helpfully brought a plate and bowls over to the counter.  A, to help me, and B, to make space for kids trying to eat their dinner before class.

We sit down, and I attempt to read my book while kids hover over me asking me how old I am, if I’m the oldest sister, where I live now, etc.  I play along with the usual jokes and laughter, not revealing my age, telling them I’m 16.  They laugh, ‘You can’t be younger than Tara if you’re the oldest sister!’  6 o’clock hits and most students go upstairs to class.  Candy stays behind, she ‘hangs out’ and waits for her class at 730.

She asked me if I was happy in England- no one ever asks me that.  They always tell me how amazing it is that I live in a country with such high standard of living- and it must be so cold!  I had to tell her the truth- or whatever version of truth I’m telling myself this week, that England is difficult, but I have a lot of people I know and love there.

I decide to turn the tables.  She’s 15, what does she want to do when she grows up?

“I really want to be a flight attendant.”  I can already see it.  She’s got such a helpful, selfless character.  She goes on to tell me that her mother was going to be a flight attendant, and even passed the exam, but because she had to get married she never got the chance.  She wants to see the world, open up her horizons, and experience something other than what this tiny island has to offer her.  I can’t help but nod and giggle- that’s why I left, too.

She then asks me an even more interesting question- what’s it like being Asian in Europe?

I explain to her that all Asians, and Chinese in particular, like to stick together.  They only have their circle of friends, and that’s kind of where it ends.  They don’t try and make foreign friends- not even other internationals.  I told her not to be one of those, because there are also very brave Taiwanese, Chinese, Malay, Japanese girls and boys that do go out there and make different friends.  I don’t have any Asian (sorry, East Asian) friends because I don’t want to be one of them that don’t bother making other friends, that only stick to what they know.  My mother comes in to the lobby from running an errand, which denotes the end of our conversation.  I smile at her and say, ‘When you’re a bit older, and I have a big house in London, you can come visit, and I’ll introduce you to some of my friends’.

The Taiwan that I once knew, of people that are stuck as homebodies (of which there are still many, don’t get me wrong), and don’t want to know of the world beyond Taipei or the seas surrounding us, is slowly starting to melt a little.  Not everyone is quite as frigid as they used to be. In the last week, I’ve met one or two people that are probably more worldly than I am. I can only thank the Sunflower Movement for this, because that was quite a big shock to the Taiwanese system.  People are starting to realize that there is more out there than what they see or hear in the horrible, biased Taiwanese media.

Taiwan, Jia Yo!!!

My Week Without Facebook

Connecting. Stalking. Liking. Poking. Sharing. 

What is going on in the world? Honestly; couldn't really tell you. I read the Guardian website front page every morning 
and pick at bits to read. That's my only source of news. 
Which video is going viral? Couldn't tell you that either. What apocalyptic weather the Express is forecasting? Who 
really gives? 

My first week without Facebook (and Twitter) has meant a disconnect. I'm not sure if I like it, but I'm sure my mind is not as 'buzzy'. When I have the spare 5 minutes while I'm waiting for someone, something, or even if I'm just trying to 
carve out the time- I don't follow up on people's lives I probably don't have much interest in anyway, but usually, 
because it's there I'm following this girl's first blind date statuses with mild mockery and feigned interest. 

Day 4 I got an email from Facebook, reminding me that there are notifications pending. Oops. Day 5 I accidentally get 
on FB. Double oops. I want to see if an organisation I'm looking into has a Facebook page and of course, because I 
shared a previous blog post via WordPress earlier that day, I'm already logged in. I quickly hit 'log out' and remind 
myself to breathe. I think I saw 8 notifications. Just 8? I think. Hah. Who am I kidding. 7 of those are probably soda 
crush saga requests. (By the way, is it cheating if I'm posting via third party websites?) 

I'm still on FB messenger- I stay in touch with a lot of friends that way, and I don't see why I can't have the Messenger
 app so I stay away from the Facebook page itself, and don't see notifications/statuses.  
But you know what? It feels kind of nice. Here at home the wifi doesn't reach my room on the third floor so it's easier 
not to be tempted at night when I'm battling insomnia/jet lag to check what people are doing, or what funny video is 
ping ponging about. 

I told myself I would go off Facebook for a month.  At the moment, that is looking as likely as it looks unlikely.  I'm still 
doing okay for now, so I'm going to stay off it as long as possible.  But expect a lot more blog posts, and my friends can also expect a lot more texts from me- I haven't forgotten you, and am probably getting in touch with more of you than I usually would simply because I miss stalking you! 

Homecoming

In the last 72 hours, I’ve…

– Been called ‘the fat one’

– Corrected a pop quiz on 5 verb tenses, and a translation of the sentences

– Had my chi ‘released’ in a wrestling-match style massage

– Made 2 illegal traffic moves in a 5 minute drive (yes I drove)

– Had the doctor not charge me for my appointment, despite not having had my insurance re-activated

3 guesses where I am….

Airports 101

I love and I hate airports. The hardest goodbyes I’ve ever had to say have been at airports. But seeing as I’m going to be in a fair few I thought I’d try a series of posts re airport/travel.

I love them because they make sense to me. Unfortunately, I get the senseless capitalism too. Although, growing up, we never bought ANYTHING at airports, so now it even hurts a little to buy a bottle of water (bringing your own didn’t used to be a problem). And today, I went all out and bought a bag, AND a travel pillow. God my life is exciting. The reason I bought the bag is because I bought the travel pillow. They were selling the one I wanted at Boots, but I didn’t want to carry a crappy boots bag 7000 miles. I grudgingly walked around the shops and lo and behold, it was love at first sight. A REVERSIBLE beach bag type thing made of soft, bendy leather. You could have red bag, black lining, or black bag, red lining. My life was changed. I wanted it. I tried leaving it in the shop, it cried out to me- Arna! Don’t leave me! The travel pillow will fit I promise!! (Okay it’s now starting to sound a bit like a porno, sorry, my bad). It was so exciting I had to text a picture of it to my best friend.
Anyway, airports are fun because of the different travellers that you see. I always- always- get annoyed by Chinese travellers (there was already a full blown brawl in the cabin when I just boarded- people stopped to watch, it’s like yawn what else is new), and you see everything from young families to teenage kids, to people like me, to backpackers… Etc, etc. one particular family that’s on this flight reminded me of my family when we were kids. White dad, Asian mom, weird looking kids, going ‘back home’, even though they were already home. They were as comfortable with waiting to board at the last minute as I was- because screw standing in the queue for ages when you can just wait.
Actually- today, I decided not to screw the queue. Previously mentioned best friend was starting to panic a bit from my running commentary of my airport antics, so I thought I’d be a good girl and actually go to board when the man at the gate said ‘all passengers from row 60-70, please board now’. So I dutifully queued, waited, shuffled, waited some more… And guess what? Half the flight was already in the bloody plane by the time I got on. Do people just not listen anymore? Don’t people just USE THEIR BRAINS. Back of the plane first so that I’m not stuck waiting for you to put your shit in the overhead compartment and a traffic jam occurs, seat 54E!!
Nonono, we are the generation now. So as soon as they all boarding first class and premium economy, you best get your shit and RUN to that plane.
Speaking of generation now, I’m sitting in plain view of 4 other entertainment units. Not one of them has watched a film in its entirety yet. I know because I’ve seen Interstellar on all their screens, and we are only 5 hours into our flight so it can’t be over yet, and yet somehow one of them has seen The amazing Spider-Man, cake, and taken 3 already as well. Bollocks. Pick a lane, or just watch Flight of the Concords, New Girl, and HIMYM like me.
And don’t get me started on the long queues at security. No one knows how to do security in Europe. Everyone is holding up everyone else by putting their belts on and their laptops back on their cases as it comes out the other side. In Hong Kong, they see your laptop/iPad/you have shit to sort out, and they give you the box and point to some tables AWAY from the security thing and say, ‘please gather your things over there’. No long waiting for no reason.
So yeah. Flying is becoming annoying because there is no longer flying etiquette. There is a woman behind me who goes ‘EHH!!’ To get the flight attendant’s attention. People are seriously rude as. Every time I fly I’m reminded of how desperately I wanted to be a flight attendant as a little girl. They were so glamorous, always smiling, and it was as if they could read your mind when they brought food and drink at just the right time. But now, all I can see is haggard smiles and grimaces at being treated like crap. I think part of it has to do with me growing up and realising they have a tough job to do, but part of it is also the afore mentioned human beings they have to deal with. They seem to get collectively worse with every passing year. Bless them.