Looney asked if I would write some of my memories about Taiwan and China. I have written some about China, but they are very old posts. However, I don't think I've written much about Taiwan.
I arrived in Taiwan in November of 1982 after spending two months in the missionary training center learning chinese. I was assigned to be companions with a Chinese sister, Jou Hung Mei. She spoke english very well, so language was not a barrier for us. My biggest memory from my time with her was visiting a member who was a "little person" whose father owned an animal shop. Sister Jou and this girl, Sister Ye, would talk about things while I played with the animals. They had a big Cockatoo named Bide (Peter) that I spent time talking to. One day they got in a baby tiger. I thought he was so cute and thought he was kind of like a kitten so put my hand close to the cage hoping to pet him. He bit on to the loose skin on the top of my thumb so hard that I thought he would bite right through the skin. I was standing there thinking, "There is a tiger hooked to my thumb!" I was feeling a little stupid and was just trying to figure out what to do when he let go. Whew! lol Sister Jou and I were only companions for about a month when I got a new companion, Huang Huei Mei.
Huang Huei Mei did not speak English (or just wouldn't lol), and communicating was a little more difficult. Most of the time when we were talking to people or teaching, she would speak Taiwanese. It is very different from mandarin, so often while she was teaching, the sounds would lull me to sleep. :) I thought that I needed to learn Taiwanese, so I began to learn phrases. Eventually I realized that it wasn't necessary to learn Taiwanese, but I did get a few phrases under my belt that helped me. My biggest memory from my time with her was that I got sicker than I had ever been before in my life. I will spare you the details, but suffice it to say that I was dog sick. A day or two after I recovered, we went to a local college to meet with some students in the cafeteria. I noticed they had yogurt for sale, and that seemed like something that my stomach could handle, so I bought some. One of the students saw me eating it and said, "I feel so bad about that stuff...it's spoiled." I think she felt sorry for me. She didn't realize that is what yogurt is supposed to taste like. lol My language did improve with Sis. Huang. She was very patient and kind to me.
My next companion was Jang Lian Rung. (my romanizations get screwed up sometimes because I learned two different kinds..hope they make sense). She had very good english and wanted a chance to practice, so she and I made a deal. We would speak English to each other half the day, and chinese the other half. I really improved in my language abilities, and started to understand most of what was said to me. I really think it was a spiritual blessing because it happened somewhat suddenly that I realized I was understanding. We had a great companionship and really worked hard. I have two experiences that stick out in my head from this time. We used to go up to a hillside and talk to some of the poorer people there. I remember her sitting down with the children and telling them Bible stories. It touched me that she would take the time to talk to them just as she would with adults. Another memory is that she accidentally dropped our contact book in the open sewer (binjo). All of the phone numbers to keep in contact with the people we had been teaching were in there. It had plastic protector sheets, so she pulled it out and washed it off. She and I loved to eat out and would eat at the Dz Ju Tsan restaurants every day. It was very cheap and good food. We also ate alot of beef noodle soup, and for breakfast would eat soy milk and steamed meat buns. We both enjoyed the food while we lived together.
Well, Maybe I'll stop there and write another post about this later. I don't want to put people to sleep. :)