I had been looking forward to returning to Taipei since I left back in March. My ability to speak the language is laughable, and it’s much more crowded than Kuala Lumpur, but the latter turns out to be a bonus. At once, I remembered how much I missed walking places. After being stranded on the edge of the jungle, getting weird, interminable stares from the locals, the freedom of movement and politely brief glances here (I’m a tall white guy–I’m going to stand out in a lot of places, and I’ve come to terms with it) are a cool breeze on a hot day. Speaking of which, I’m thrilled not to be roasting in my own juices for at least a couple days. It’s summer here, but still cooler and less humid than in Malaysia. I am savoring every degree, as well as every morsel of radish pancake and steamed pork bun. I get by with what little Chinese I understand, and try not to mumble in embarrassment as my tongue mangles it.
It’s graduation time for colleges in the area, and there’s a lot of exposed skin as students mill about, but I find myself not sneaking glances. It’s weird and out of character, and makes me worry about myself, biologically speaking. Instead, my thoughts are on the engagement ring, and delivery thereof, roughly 24 hours from now. I am looking forward to it. Granted, the deed has been done, and she went with me to pick out the ring, but it’s having the thing that makes it official. After that, it’s just a matter of making sure the dog doesn’t eat it in a fit of jealousy. I know she secretly wishes that Russet would crap diamonds, but the closest we’re coming to that is having the ring packed between boxes of poo bags and chew toys in my luggage.
I’ll continue with the writing101 exercises tomorrow.