Thursday, October 30, 2014

Second #100days

Kaohsiung City
I can't believe it's already been 100 days. On one hand, it feels like we just got here. On the other hand, it feels like it's been forever since we were in New York City. I can't even believe that was just earlier this year. Craziness!

We finally got up to Monkey Mountain this month, for a nice hike and to see our new city. Happily, the monkeys weren't as scary as last time but we weren't carrying anything to entice them this time either. Because we learn from past mistakes.

Of course, it did take Mike's school organizing a day out to entice us across town for an 8am start time, necessary to avoid the heat. We had to get up at 5am to catch an early bus. Fortunately, it was well worth it. Of course, we promptly took a 3 hour nap upon returning home that afternoon. Because that's how we roll.

Monkey Mountain namesake
We also finally got out to Fengshan Night Market, our closest one. It was really fun and super cheap. Among other amazing deals were eight oysters for $100NT and pancake sandwiches, filled with red bean or something similar to creamed corn (but I'm pretty sure wasn't), for $5NT each. Plus, being located on a lovely canal, it was very scenic.

Fengshan Night Market
We also finally made it out to Lotus Pond. It's even lovelier than we remembered and we're so happy that we happened to time our visit for sunset. The place is gorgeous at any time of day but sunset was particularly magical.

In other news, yoga here is really expensive. Actually, most things ex-pat are really expensive. So, I asked Mike to ask his Chinese co-teacher where she goes for yoga, since locals wouldn't pay these inflated ex-pat prices. Turns out her studio is right next to my house and is less than half what the whiteys are paying. Who cares if the entire class is given in Chinese? I usually have to follow the teacher anyway, since I'm not sure what Warrior 2, etc. is without a little visual assistance. Also, I'm learning a lot of new Chinese words and phrases. For instance, my teacher usually says 'fu bu' while signaling for me to use my stomach muscles. "Fu bu! Fu bu!" I think it means "suck in your belly!" I love yoga here!

Lotus Pond
As to my goals, my book is now over 26,000 words and I have just enrolled in National Novel Writing Month, a motivational competition to get you to write at least 1600 words per day, or 50,000 words total, in November. If I complete this challenge, my 75-100K word book will be complete and I can use the month of December for editing before submitting by the end of year deadline. Right now, that's my main goal for my second #100days. And to continue my 中文 studies.

I'm really enjoying learning a new language in this immersive environment. I'm disappointed with how long it's taking me to pick up on certain things but, hopefully, by the end of my second #100days, I'm able to order easily from McDonald's and understand what the person at the grocery store checkout says to me. Little wins.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

First #100Days Update

Our new favorite park, Aozidi Forest Park
I've been a Lady of Leisure now for 74 days. During this time I have written nearly 24,000 words, run nearly 42 miles, and learned over 100 Chinese characters. Though these first #100days have turned out to be more about finding a rhythm and routine than meeting any particular goals, I still think I'm making pretty good progress against what I had hoped to achieve.

My first #100days focus was supposed to be making running a habit, which has not yet been achieved. I've run only 21 days out of 73. That's not even 30% of the time. Not good. And def not a habit. I'm hoping it's because I've been forcing myself to run in the mornings (because I've always run in the mornings so I must be a morning runner, right?). But here, the mornings are too hot for running. Most people who run in the mornings are running around 6am. Ladies of Leisure don't know what 6am is. But we know what 5pm is. So, I'm switching to evenings.

I've got another month to meet my original #100days goal. If this switch doesn't help the habit then I'll be resigned to only running in the mornings once the weather turns (which should be happening sometime later this month or in November). Because I'm not waking up at 6am to go running. That's just crazy talk.

I'm doing pretty good regarding Goal #2: write something, from start to finish. I'm working on a novel which I hope to enter into a writing competition by the end of the year. I've identified the writing competition, which provides a theme. Although I've written the most I've ever written on one project, I'm still quite a ways off from the 75,000-100,000 word requirement. Luckily, I've still got three months to complete it and, if I continue at my current pace, I should be done well before the December 31 deadline.

Goal #1: speak, read, and write Mandarin is also coming along quite nicely. I use my new language skills every chance I get and, though usually a failure, I do occasionally find success. For example, I've successfully bartered twice, I made at least one person laugh, and I also made a couple of successful inquiries. I learned approximately 100 characters and phrases in the month of September and I hope to quadruple that in October, now that I have a rhythm. Fluency happens with approximately 2000 characters, so I still have quite a ways to go but am well on my way to meeting my goal.

My other two goals, which are writing related, will have to wait until after I've completed my novel. I never intended to jump right into a novel but I'm happy that I have. Having never had the opportunity to focus on my writing like this, it's been very interesting learning what my process is. Who knew I'd be a sober writer?

In other news, both Mike & I have now received our ARCs (Alien Registration Certificate), which means we're both now legal Taiwan residents. Mike also received his national insurance card but I'm still waiting for mine (I'm about 2 weeks behind him in processing). Once that's received, we'll be 100%. As with all things regarding Relocation 2014, this process has almost been completely painless. Hopefully this means we're getting good at this and future relocations will run just as smoothly, though we're probably at least a couple years away from having to test that theory.
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