Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Driving Miss Leslie

I took my first ride on a scooter today. Boss Lady drove me to her other school, where I'm also teaching now. She offered to let me drive, but a year ago I almost tipped an ATV over. Four wheels. On nearly flat ground. I hadn't even left the driveway. The owner looked at me like I was retarded. Coordination is not my forte, and thus I declined Boss' offer.

Back in the States, I always said the only person I would get on the back of a motorcycle with was my father, the epitome of caution and alertness. Boss Lady? She has some rather unsettling and spastic mannerisms. Whenever I walk in the door she unhinges her jaw and yells "HI LASS-LEE!" She has a habit of grabbing my wrist when she's cackling at her own jokes. It's not exactly confidence inspiring. But hey, I got to get paid.

It was only a ten-minute ride to the school, but that was long enough to be exciting. Boss Lady ran a red light so late she had to stop in the intersection and wait for the opposing traffic to pass. This was less scary than it sounds because we were in a residential area. Still, I watched the shopfronts and altars as we drove by, I saw a boy sitting on a flatbed loaded with cabbages for sale and I thought: I could really die here.

But we didn't die. We made it to school. We taught children English. And then we puttered back to Nankan. For the return journey I locked my arms on Boss Lady's hips with a bubble tea in each hand - a treat from our co-teachers.

We made it back to the Nankan school in time for me to finish my tea. At four, I ushered the ten-year-olds into class and beat them mercilessly with the past progressive tense. For dinner I ate steamed squid and some sort of flavorful rice that came in a bamboo leaf.

A few days ago I got to thinking how I'm starting to feel at home: I feel familiar with little Nankan; The night market no longer overwhelms me; and I can pretty much shuttle myself around Taipei. But then when I step back, I'm struck by how completely different my life is here than any way I ever lived in the U.S.

In summary, I had a pretty cool day.

1 comment:

MitMoi said...

Yay for cool days ... and continued employment and death defying scooter rides.