finally moved out of the visiting and adjunct professor's room and into one of the grad-student offices here at ntu. nice to be in a more normal room, and specifically one that i haven't slept in before... ah well. now of course comes the hard part... actually sitting down and doing work. not that it's all that hard, it's just easy not to do. for instance, in this particular moment i find myself listening to an internet radio station (deepmix.ru, quite possibly the best source for eurasian deep-house and minimal beats on the entire web) and blogging away to my hearts content. mapping axial surfaces right now seems so... so.... i dunno, actually it sounds kind of interesting... i think as soon as im done with this post i'll get into it a bit.
on a different note (and in an attempt to return to my original stream of thought before thinking about work) i wanted to bring up an issue pertaining to foreigners that i've been mulling over in my head for a little while. there seems to be a sort of unspoken rule among foreigners here, that you generally avoid one another in public places and pretend like the others aren't there. in part, i think this may be due to the fact that taiwan (like many places in asia as i'm told) is such a mono-culture that any foreigner sticks out like a sore thumb. it seems like most foreign people who are actually living here would like to kind of blend as much as possible, to sort of slip under the radar. i feel like this a little... mostly because i sense it is nearly impossible to do so, and attracting stares (or more often sideways glances that are stolen when possible, since direct eye-contact with strangers here is something to be avoided) is a new experience for me. so, when i see another white person (and i've been avoiding the term 'white' so far, but that's what i really mean) in a crowd there's a sort of, "i don't see you and you don't see me, and we'll just keep right on walking like it's no big thing" reaction. in my case this is mostly because what's really running through my head is more like, "holy crap, it's a white person! who are you and what are you doing here?! ...are you just visiting or do you actually live here?". it's just an automatic reaction to seeing someone who obviously seems out of place, sort of like the old sesame street game of,"which one of these things doesn't belong here". i haven't fully figured it out yet, and probably won't until i actually stop someone on the street and ask if they've experienced a similar thing. now, this is not a universal thing. i've run across small groups of people who are quite obviously tourists... and gotten a few smiles from them.
i guess they can't be expected to know about the rules yet...