Archive for March, 2009

26
Mar
09

Farglory Ocean Park

The director of my school liked to take the kids out for a big end-of-the-year trip.  So last June we took the kids on the train to Hualien to visit an animal farm/zoo of sorts and Farglory Ocean Park.

Farglory Ocean Park just appears to be a pleasant ocean-themed amusement park at first.  Little did I know…

The view from the skyway of the ocean.  It’s really beautiful, but I was preoccupied with my three charges from my school since this was one bit of our school trip to Hualien for the end of the year.

I totally lost my street cred by admitting my fear of heights and scary swift ups and downs to them…  I escaped the swinging ship thanks to my lovely guy co-workers who graciously took one of my charges on with their guys.  She proceeded to be very queasy afterwards and so we lost our chance to switch off kids for the water- coaster.  In the looong line to get in, I was a big baby and whined to my kids that I hadn’t seen taking big scary rides in my contract when I signed on to teach them.  I survived, but was left woobly kneed afterwards (yup, I’m a big dork.).

I discovered one of the outer rings of the inferno (missed by Dante) is wandering an amusement park with kids who have very different ideas of where they want to go and what they want to do in the beating summer heat.  Thankfully Farglory Ocean Park also has aquarium and water shows were you can sit and watch dolphins doing tricks or manatees getting fed.  The little aquarium theaters bring an educational component to the park though the shows are entirely in Chinese.

The link in Chinese is here.  English information is here.

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04
Mar
09

Forget the stork…

So my mother and I were chatting the other day and somehow the subject of where babies come from came up…

I was telling her about my long-held belief as a child that I was really a fairy princess and they were just weird people who were posing as my parents (this was generally rumination resulting from a certain sulky line of thought probably due to being denied the chance to watch more TV or forced to *gasp* do homework) until my REAL parents would whisk me off in a breeze of sparkly fairy dust and grandeur once I came of age.  (I may have read a bit too much imaginative literature in my impressionable youth.)

There was a (slim) amount of logic behind this supposition.   I’d never seen any baby pictures of me around though there were certainly photos of my baby brother in his cutting-teeth phases.   (Years later while cleaning out the basement and opening boxes, I did discover my baby pictures… complete with hair that defied gravity much more fetchingly than Don King’s.)  My mother thought that I’d have been able to see the resemblance between my father and myself (I had much better hair– for the record.)  Oh, and the fairy princess part was just because I figured my particular variety of weirdness necessitated a  supernatural basis…

Anyway, instead of the stork or cabbage patch as a diversionary tactic of squirrelly parents who don’t really want to answer the ever-present childhood question of  “where did I come from?” my mother insists that Taiwanese parents would generally say that they picked up the kid from the train tracks.

Sneaky parents–I mean, instead of some bird coming and dropping off the bundle of joy, they cast themselves as heroic saviors of babies left between the train tracks (obviously by poor parents who just knew someone would be along at some point…)  My mom said that this was generally said with laughter and then would be used by siblings to insult each other (i.e.  “Hah– you’re not even really mom and dad’s!  You were just left on the train tracks!”)

My mother said her parents never tried this with her or her siblings and she had no idea where the tradition of telling children this white lie came from.  After all, it must have been around the Japanese occupation, I’d guess, considering they did a lot of railroad building.  I wonder what people evaded their kids with before that…




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