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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Straightened Priorities

The sun sets over a local park

It hasn't been an easy past couple of days. In addition to the usual stresses and difficulties sleeping, I took another Mandarin test on Friday evening, and failed it...again. For the third time. Three strikes and you're out, so I'm going to warm the bench from now on, language-wise. The thing is, by not being able to express clearly what I'd like to say in Mandarin (this time regarding the upcoming presidential election), the once-promising job opportunity in the U.S. that had come my way is now starting to recede further and further into the distance. Irony can be heartless - apparently, I'm never going to be able to get out of Taiwan because my Mandarin skills aren't good enough.

Then there was the simultaneous discovery that thanks to an oversight on my part, and the fact that my spouse is unable to grasp the importance of certain things, we are on the verge of having an application that had been approved pulled out from under us like the proverbial rug. So a great deal of time this past weekend has been spent on hurriedly putting everything together in the hope that a greater power will take pity on us. We'll just have to wait and see what transpires next week.

So it's in times like these that I turn toward my daughter to learn all over again that there are many more important things in life, like joining your father's students last Tuesday on a field trip to the Hsuëh-Pa National Park 雪霸國家公園...

...where you can make your own chocolate...

...and then run around outside looking for grasshoppers.

Or how on Thanksgiving Day, even though you're not in the United States, you can still enjoy a turkey dinner at an outdoor cafe run by an American expat on a cool, though not cold, evening:

And, finally, how there's often nothing better than going to the nearest park and running around until it gets too dark:

Priorities. Kids have got them in order.



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