Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Anjoli was a witch today. I dressed up as a gypsy and helped out at her classroom party. The kids made monster cupcakes and I played "Hot Pumpkin" (instead of Hot Potato) with them. It was fun! The kids had their pictures taken and they made cute frames for them. Ingrid, the class mom (an American from Orange County) is very creative and organized...I was impressed. She wants to have a Thanksgiving party...sounds like a lotta work though! The teacher just smiled at THAT suggestion.

Hope y'all have fun trick or treating!

Lots of love,

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Here are a few pics for ya...taken with Sujoy's cell phone.
I just ordered a camera from Amazon...we'll get it mid- November. I can't wait!
I promise to write a proper post soon but I am really knackered at the mo. :)

Oh I spoke to one of my San Diego friends today (Anna). She and her family and friends are all FINE. I was really worried because she got a reverse 911 call to evacuate, and her area got hit really badly during the last big firestorm.

Here is a pretty pagoda in a nearby park (sorry about the glare):

Still kids at heart! I was actually smiling but you can't hoo.

Anjoli and her friends Betty and Jessica- they're sisters. They slept over at our apartment last weekend.

This is the view from our balcony. We are finally getting sunny weather - so I made sure to take a pic today. Ithad been raining for weeks on end since I arrived in early September. October and November are the sunniest and coolest months. Anyway- as I said before, the architecture isn't very pretty, but when I sit in our big overstuffed chair looking toward the mountains the wall of my balcony blocks out most of the apartment buildings. It's a gorgeous view!

Not a bad pic. I look WORSE today for some reason...This was taken on October 13,2007. It will be 3 months since my surgery on...Halloween. I won't need a mask to scare small children! hee hee. My eyebrows are very scary as you can see. I CANNOT find ANYONE who waxes/shapes eyebrows here. It's bizarre...and frustrating. Guess I will just have to make a special trip home soon to the states! Yeah...I wish. :(

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My tenants evacuated our house

This is San Miguel Mountain- you can see it from up the street from my house!

I'm glad to be here in Taipei, yes, but I fear for my friends and all the wildlife and horses...I think my neighbors had enough time to evacuate their horses. I hope and pray.
I've been praying all day.

I copied this comment from a San Diego Fire Blog:

"I drove to see the St. Miguel fire a few minutes ago and the entire mountain is ablaze. It seems the fire line is 5 miles long. It has crested the ridge and the winds appear to be shifting SE. There appeared to be many homes in the area and very little police activity as recently as 1AM. I hope the residents are made aware soon. It seems this fire is not going to go away as there is nobody fighting it. Apparently some radio towers for PBS, KUSI, and NBC are on top of the mountain and burning from what I hear on the radio."

I just read that the fire is heading away from our community (at the moment). Thank GOD!

Monday, October 22, 2007

She ran calling WILD FIRE!!!!

Ok that was a one of the worst songs ever written. Remember???

The fires are out of control in parts of Orange and San Diego County - including Rancho Bernardo where my baby was born. They have hit the exact area where we lived when we first moved to San Diego. One of my friend's dad lost his home a few years ago - and NOW the fires have hit the same area AGAIN (in Ramona- he lives in Cuyamaca - very close by).

20,000 people have lost power (last I read).

Ok I will take a typhoon over these fires ANY DAY! I promise not to whine about a little flooding. Really.

Scary stuff.


I am watching the Red Sox game...Dunkin' Donuts coffee in hand!
I am sure my friends and family in Boston are drinking something more potent now, but we ARE12 hours behind them.
They're going to go all the way and win the World Series for me, I just feel it.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The metal plate in my head is itching...

so THAT'S a good sign! I think...

Not TOO much to report from here. I started volunteering at the Community Center last Tuesday. I answered the phone and registered a few ladies for classes. The director was very sweet and bought me lunch. I only had 4 boiled leek dumplings. I didn't want to look like a little pig. She kept saying, "that's not very much!" I am weird, what can I say. Anyway, she is such a cool woman. She's American (I am not sure where she is from, I need to ask her). She told me she was so happy that I am helping them out. She said, if she were in my shoes (recovering from the brain surgery and relocating to Asia all in one breath) she'd be home sucking her thumb! I told her, well, despite outward appearances, I am still shell shocked, but it gets a bit easier day by day. As long as I get out the door, I am fine. Sometimes I just want to stay in bed under the covers. It's dangerous being able to sleep now...I am making up for lost sleep, that's all. (That's what I keep telling myself).

I received the best present this week from one of Rachel's bloggers (she's not on BLOGGER though, sadly). Many of you may know who she is - her screen name on Rachel's is: IBeME. She had a (mint green) prayer shawl knitted for me at an Abbey in Pennsylvania. I just love it. I pray with it every day (the woman who knitted it prayed for me while making it, which is very cool). This woman is related to someone with the same last name as me (DeSimone- not a very common name!). I like to snuggle with it- it is very comforting. It came with a few beautiful prayers also - one by the writer/monk Thomas Merton. I know I sound like a broken record, but I truly believe that my tumour was a blessing in disguise. It was a VERY LARGE nudge from God to teach me that we are ALL CONNECTED. There are no strangers among us - we are all part of one family - it IS an illusion that we are separate from eachother, and from God (ok I haven't gotten THAT far on my spiritual path, but I believe it). SO....VERY SPECIAL THANKS TO TRISH! xxxx

While volunteering at the Center last week, one of the ladies who works there convinced me to go on a tour up Yangmingshan Mountain to a palatial government building called Chung Shan Hall. I am sounding like a broken record again, but I WISH I HAD A FREAKING CAMERA. Oh my goodness it was so beautiful and the location was STUNNING!! I promise to go back and take pictures. It was built in 1965 in just 13 months (during the Chinese Cultural Revolution) by Chiang Kai - Shek and was only recently opened to the public. It is the only structure in the world to be built on a sulphuric volcanic crater (and the architect was a woman - who was only 40 years old when she designed it). It was really fascinating - she had to come up with a special metal foundation that would not corrode. I asked the docent WHY it had to be built THERE and she said...for feng shui reasons...then when I pressed for more information she said, "you'll see!" So later...when we went to the front balcony - she showed us mountains on either side that looked like the arms of an emperor's chair - with one mountain in back forming the back of the chair. So the bottom line was, whatever Chiang Kai-shek wished for, he would receive! It was where the (now defunct) National Assembly would meet (we got to sit in the front row chairs!) and where the President would entertain dignitaries. The art work was especially beautiful - porcelain paintings - I've never seen them before. The watercolors were gorgeous too - one of the artists taught Jackie Onassis.

On Friday we went to the American School to watch an awesome production of the musical, "Once Upon a Mattress." It was really well done - performed by the high school students. Anjoli can't wait to act - she is especially interested in musicals. She sat in the second row with one of her classmates.

That's all for now folks!
Hope everyone is well.
Take care.
Lots of love,

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Our 'hood

I am feeling badly about not being able to post pictures. I am missing our camera something fierce. This is a picture of the Taipei American School, which is about a 10 minute walk from our apartment. Anjoli is in 4th grade and is quite lucky to be attending this fabulous school. She is beaming by the time she reaches school. I have NEVER in my life seen so many happy children in a school setting.

Wait until you see the view of the mountains from my balcony. It's breathtaking. Only problem is the ugly apartment buildings in the foreground. Most of the architecture here is, ah, not very pretty.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Healing and Struggling

I had a trying week. After my happy days (daze?) the giddiness wore off and I suddenly found myself in a black hole. Anjoli has an autumn mini-break (she's been off since Wednesday) and the change in our daily routine really kills me!

Feeling much better now though - I just got back from an acupuncture session. He put needles in different points today and kept me there longer. His nurse also burned mugwort on the needles on my arm today - that was different. She really burned my belly today - weird - it usually doesn't hurt.

I also took a 90 minute yoga class called "Flow" this morning and it REALLY brought me peace. I am THRILLED because I was able to do all but one pose (a headstand...I don't think my neck is quite up to THAT pose just yet). I felt so relaxed and completely centered afterward. I want to buy a package and save money but I don't have the credit cards they accept, so I can't "join" until we get our Alien Resident Card and then we'll get a China Trust credit card. I can't afford to pay for the package in cash up front. I hope we get the card soon! Then I will also have national health insurance - so medical fees (including acupuncture, of course) will be next to nothing! I only pay $20 per session now but I go three times per week.

The line next to my nose is getting deeper and my mouth is straighter. I can close my left eye much faster now and... the GREAT news is that I NO LONGER HAVE INSOMNNIA!!! I sleep like a baby now! woo hoo!! I'm tellin' ya - acupuncture is the BOMB!!!! I was sold even before I had it but, now, I am living proof that it WORKS.

I figured out that it's only a 20 minute walk to my acupuncturist's office. I discovered a beautiful park today. I HAVE to get a camera soon. I keep seeing all these interesting things to shoot. I saw one great shot today of these old ladies in a beauty parlor - they looked so cute under these old fashioned hair dryers. I hope we find a good camera at a decent price soon.

Gotta scoot.

Take care everyone and thanks for your love and support!


Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Yup. I am finally feeling like myself lately. Not that I am always happy...but I am getting comfortable with my surroundings, and I have been keeping BUSY.

I met my new friend, Mohini, FINALLY, yesterday at Starbucks. I had Evian. I don't do caffeine anymore...being the insomniac that I am. She's WONDERFUL. It helps that she's moved here from Oregon, a state where I have never visited, but I KNOW I belong there. Every Oregonian I meet nods their head when they meet me. Yes, it's MY kinda place (especially Ashland, OR).
We just met for about an hour, but then we see eachother at the Taipei American School. She helped Anjoli with her tendonitis. Anjoli walked for the first time in a week tonight! woo hoo!

Today I volunteered at the Community Center. I won't divulge the mind numbing task I was given...but they were so happy with me that they've asked me to volunteer every Tuesday. Hurrah! Oh I need this so badly. It was heaven - hearing English spoken (by Americans mostly). I know, how NATIONALISTIC of me. Yeah yeah. I miss my homeland!
But I am enjoying Taipei now. I appreciate how it is SO DIFFERENT from home.

Today I ALSO saw my new acupuncturist for the second time. He is such a sweet man, but he has a bad short term memory. The first visit he asked me 4 times about when I had my surgery (when did the Palsy start?). Today, while walking to the acupuncture room, he asked me how I was sleeping. Then, about a half hour later, while removing the needles, he asked me again how I was sleeping. He said after 5 visits or so, he'd give me herbs to help me sleep if I needed them. I am psyched! I love seeing all the herbs, mushrooms...weeds (whatever they are). I can't wait to see what he prescribes. I am Hecate incarnate - a witch (according to one of my profs of Greek mythology from BU).
In addition to acupuncture, I am getting a treatment known as "moxibustion." The nurse burns a stick of cotton and the herb mugwort and she runs it in weird patterns on my belly. It has to do with warming my "chi" (energy) which is too cold. It works in conjunction w/the acupuncture. I have read on the internet that studies have proven that this combination has cured Bell's Palsy. I HAVE seen results already. The line next to my nose is deeper and I am feeling lots more sensation under my eyes and still next to my nose. I am sleeping a little better also. So it's ALL GOOD.

I even took the bus ON MY OWN to the doc today! Mohini sent me a site with an English translation. I could never figure out the busses last time I lived here. Now I am psyched. I do enjoy walking - I still have a good walk from the stop to his office though. I love walking in the city (I am not afraid of getting run over by scooters anymore. Although I nearly got hit by a car this evening! oops).

Another mixed blessing is that my clothes don't fit me (most of them). They are TOO BIG!! I'm now a medium (size 10) in the US. But I am still a blimp by Taiwanese standards! I may have to shop at this plus size shop - no lie. The name of the store is 5X. I so don't want to set foot in a store by that name. I think I'll just have my clothes altered instead. I know, quelle probs, ay?

Hope you are all well.

Much love,

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Typhoon Season is here!

Yikes! Taiwan is getting slammed by Typhoon Krosa (Cambodian for "crane").

I've never seen such fierce winds - it's pretty scary. Our bedroom got a bit flooded due to a big gap in our wall where we had an air conditioner installed. What a pain! We are having a TIME soaking up the rain, but thank goodness Sujoy remembered that I had brought home duct tape on my flight from Boston (don't ask me why!). So it's much better now.

I am thankful that I am safe and sound with my little family, and I am praying for everyone else's safety too.

I seem to be running into many (nature induced) obstacles lately. Anjoli hurt herself, so I couldn't meet my "new friend" for lunch last week and I missed both my yoga AND Buddhist meditation classes today due to the typhoon. Mother Nature is very humbling, and I am learning to just roll with things, no point in getting frustrated. I am sure that will be a big part of my meditation classes...learning to be at peace with the way things are. I am becoming more and more patient every day. It's not easy, that's for sure.

Hope you are all well.

I miss San Diego and my friends so much.

Lots of love,

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Oh no!

Took Anjoli (my 9 year old ) to the doctor today. Turns out she has Acute (Achilles) Tendonitis. Poor babe. She's in a lot of pain. The doc told me to borrow crutches from her school, so we did. She may need them for two weeks! (I hope not). Bummer because she wants to sign up for a girl's soccer team - it starts next week. I will be a "soccer mom" of course and ask nicely if she can maybe attend practice but watch from the sidelines until she's good and ready to play. I am SO tired of her being indoors so much. It's hard - it's so hot, but more than that - there's nothing to DO here in our neighborhood. She really needs to be part of some athletic team. Fingers crossed it will work out.

So I didn't get to have my lunch with my new friend today... I've haven't met her yet (she's a friend of a friend). See- I'm an optimist (most of the time). So we are meeting for coffee Monday morning. She's a physical therapist and she sweetly offered her services (stretching/massaging) to help Anjoli. That was very kind of her.

I am getting used to Taipei (again! We lived here for 6 months last year as many of you know). The scooters really annoy me, as they did last year. The "scooterists" somehow feel they are above traffic laws. I have stopped caring about whether I am going to get hit by one while crossing the street though. My attitude is, "you want to hit me, go ahead." So they just swerve around me. I would love to see an aerial view of traffic here. Cars (especially TAXIS- cabbies are truly insane), pedestrians, scooters - they all just snake around each other. I have spent a lot of time traveling in India where you honestly see your life flash by every 30 seconds if you are traveling by car, so I guess my ticker is used to it. People (for the most part) do obey traffic lights on main drags here though. This is a very un PC thing to say, but one of our friends said he's going to print up a bumper sticker that says: "Fuck you, I'm Chinese!" I know that sounds unlike me to write, but it's SO true! Ok you should never call a Taiwanese person Chinese, but you get my drift.

Speaking of the "F" word. People here are very into wearing t-shirts with silly sayings that often make no sense. Last night at the gym I saw this very demure looking woman - she was maybe 30- with a t-shirt which had Dunkin' Donuts colors and lettering - it had a picture of a glass (maybe it's supposed to be a styrofoam cup) with liquid spilling out of it - and it said "Go fuckin' nuts."
I wanted SO badly to ask her: "Um, do you know what your shirt says?" Of course I DIDN'T, but I am 99% sure she had no idea what it said. I could be wrong! [Anjoli thinks she most likely doesn't know what it says].

One OTHER thing that bugs me is, well, the sidewalks here are very narrow, and sometimes you're forced to walk in the street. I have noticed that in general, people DO NOT scoot aside for you. I am ALWAYS the one to make way! I don't care, but I wonder why that is? Tonight I stepped aside for a woman and her two kids (well, no problem there) and I smiled at her little boy who was probably 4. He looked up at me and kept looking behind, smiling at me, as if to say, "hey thanks!"

The other WEIRD thing (it doesn't bug me) is that, whenever a cop is driving his cop car, he MUST keep his flashing lights on, and that goes for the cops on scooters too. (I saw a cop on a scooter for the first time today). I can't remember if he obeyed the traffic light or not. I'm guessing NOT. :)

Monday, October 01, 2007

Celebrating the Moon Festival and a pic of my face

Someone stole our camera from our I apologize for the lack of photos. I need to buy a new camera.

Sujoy took this pic last week with his cell phone. You can see my new 'do.

Sujoy took this pic last night. I didn't smile because it's very crooked! It's the best I have looked so far. You can see it's going to take time for my facial nerve to heal. I hope and pray it does....I know I know be POSTIVE.