So I never really considered joining CostCo when I lived in the US. After all I don’t really need to buy 36 rolls of toilet paper at once. But in Taiwan it’s a little different story since it’s a big warehouse full of imported goods that in a lot of cases are hard to track down. So I joined the other day and made my initial shopping trip. It was alright but I should have expected that I would buy way too much since you’re buying several pounds of anything that you want. I did find Johnny’s Seasoned Salt (ironically from Tacoma, WA where I lived this summer) and some maple syrup there. And I now have a 2 yr supply of seasoned salt and a 2-3 yr supply of Nestea Ice Tea mix. I also was very happy to find frozen berries to mix into my breakfast. And the nut and dried fruit section is outstanding. But CostCo is still EVIL.
We have added one more student (El Salvador) to our class of nations Chinese class. Now we have Japan, South Korea, Czech Republic, England, France, Spain, Brazil, El Salvador and the US represented. She now handles the Spanish translations occasionally since her English is much better than my Spanish. Overall the class is going pretty well. It’s not easy but it is going at the correct pace for me. Learning Chinese as expected has several additional steps compared to learning other European languages. Chinese is of course written using characters (which has also gotten more confusing recently). Taiwan uses the traditional characters while China uses simplified characters but let’s not get into that. This is a very simplistic explanation of how we are learning. First a character is translated into pinyin (uses the alphabet to show pronounciation). You are given a character – 吃 – and that is pronounced like this – chi1 – and that translates to – eat-. And just to make it a little more confusing Chinese is a tonal language. So chi1 has a steady tone when pronounced and if you said it with a different tone you would say a completely different word (like the difference between bay and boy). Right now I haven’t worked at all on trying to remember the tones but I will need to if I want to ever be able to talk to someone. And I’m able to recognize about 60-80 characters from memory but I can’t draw (I consider it art) any but the most basic from memory. It will be quite a task to ever become intermediate conversational but I’ll just keep learning little by little.
Not much else going on here. I work 6 days a week with 5 days of Chinese class. I don’t drive my motorcycle much yet but that will change as the weather warms up. The weather has been just about perfect other than an occasional cool, overcast week. But just about everyday has been 75-85 and sunny. Of course this means that May thru Septemeber will be unbearably hot and humid. It’s all a trade off I guess.