Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mishaps and Misfortunes

I have a reputation among my friends of always finding myself in unfortunate (but often hilarious situations). Throughout the years I have collected numerous stories that have provided me and those around me with many tears of laughter. For instance there was the time I got hypothermia while repelling down seven waterfalls, the time I got stuck at the train station in China with no way to get home and no way to communicate. There was  the time I found two baby owls looking at me from inside a cave as I was rock climbing. There was the time I got over 170 bug bites while camping- then took Benedryal for the first time ever (not a good idea). There are also all the countless times my digestion issues have gotten in the way of whatever I was doing and provided me with some unfortunate and awkward stories. Perhaps one of my all time favorite stories is the when 3 random strangers grabbed my butt as they were helping me down a giant pothole while I was canyoneering in Southern Utah (all while I was in a polygomy dress- try to explain that one to them.) 

These are just a few occurrences to illustrate the awkward, uncomfortable, and at times potentially dangerous, situations I seem to find myself in- and as can be expected when traveling in a foreign country I have a more than a handful of stories to add to my repitore.

Often times my story can be attributed to one or a combination of the following things: inability to read a map, lack of experience in the great outdoors, obliviousness, blonde moments, the ever so hilarious close bathroom calls, or sometimes just bad luck. Over the years these stories have provided many (including myself) with so many tears of laughter.  Here are just a few snippets of some mishaps and misfortunes I have had while living in Taiwan: 

Mishap #1: The Missing Passport 
This mishap occurred even prior to stepping on the airplane. The week before I left I was trying to figure out what I wanted to take with me and what stuff I wanted to store in America so I had my stuff in several different locations. Well in shuffling my stuff around I happened to send my passport home with my aunt who was in town visiting me. It was only by the grace of God that I realized only a few short hours after she left Utah and I was able to get it back due to the good graces of my younger sister. Could you imagine the state of panic I would be in if I didn't realize it was missing until the night before. 

Mishap #2: The Rotten Apple
On the morning of July 26th I was in the process of getting ready for the day so I could go to breakfast at a cafe and Costco with some of the other Chinese teachers. I went to the kitchen to grab an apple for a pre-breakfast snack. As I was leaving the kitchen I had a brief thought that I should grab a knife and cut my apple into pieces. I quickly dismissed it as a silly idea and an utter waste of time. I went back in my room and started talking to Cassidy about potentially going out if town for my birthday weekend. I was either so enthralled in our conversation or in a hurray to get everything done before I left (or maybe a little of both) but I was not even paying attention to what I was putting in my mouth (rookie mistake- however in my defense I thought I was pretty safe with an apple.) I was several bites into it and was really enjoying my apple when in mid chew I start tasting something bitter in my mouth. I look down to behold black rot/mold with a ginormous bite taken out of it. It looked a little something like this (except much much worse-at least in my mind).
  Realizing that the bitter taste that was in my mouth was in fact this rotting apple, I proceeded to spit out the apple onto the ground, and attempt to wash out my mouth with water. The only problem was that I was dry heaving and thus proceeded to throw up my water everywhere. It took me a few minutes to compose myself (I literally could not stand to look at or touch the apple without gagging). After I cleaned up the water it took everything I had to pick it up and throw it away. I couldn't even snap a picture because I was gagging so bad- luckily Google has my back. Moral of the story: always cut your apples before eating them.

Mishap #3: This particular mishap is what inspired this whole blog post, as it was by far the funniest mishap and such a classic Tiffanee moment. One Thursday I decide to go for a run after work. I didn't have a specific destination in mind but I felt like I knew the city well enough that I would be fine exploring. There is something so exhilarating about weaving in and out of the other cars and scooters, often coming within inches of oncoming traffic. I started making left turns and right turns and more left turns, pretty soon I had made so many turns backtracking was no longer an option. I was confident that I knew what direction I needed to head in order to go back to a familiar street, so I started running in that direction. In the process of trying to find a familiar road, I ran past this amazing street (if you could call it that). It was really an alley big enough for one scooter to drive past at a time. It was next to a small river and all of the houses were small one room shanties with dirt floors and tin scraps for a roof. They looked a little something like this :
It was truly humbling. 
By this time the sun was starting to set and my Ipod was at 15% battery. Panic started to set in.... I literally had no clue where I was and how to get back home. Luckily there are 7-11's on every corner, I knew that some if them have wifi so I would be able to text my friends at the school and they could guide me back home. Well this plan soon backfired when I found out you needed a Taiwanese phone number to get the password. I then scrambled (and panicked some more), I tried using a pay phone but couldn't remember the schools number, I went across he street to an English cram school and would you believe that NOBODY spoke English. I was able to ask in my broken Chinese where the train station was and they pointed to the opposite way I was headed. I was so confident that it was not the way I should be going so I completely ignored that advice (turns out they were right). Flustered I ended up going back to the 7-11 and through the kindness of a worker there was able to get on the Wifi with her password. I texted Ib a picture of the street sign and he showed it to our sweet friend Peggy, and she came to rescue me.
The Chinese teachers couldn't believe that I ran that far (it was only 2.5 miles), and they got a good laugh out of it. It reminded me of a bumper sticker my friend Jess showed me on Spring Summit, it said "don't follow me I am probably lost". I have since redeemed myself and successfully navigated countless runs and a trip to Taipei but I still get the occasional joke about this one. Funniest part is that the 7-11 has become a point of reference for everyone (including myself) as the 7-11 where Tiffanee got lost (which is funny because there are literally 7-11s on every corner and they all look the same.)

Mishap #4: Back in July a group of us were sitting around the kitchen table conversing about the day. Josh posed the following question: which is heavier a bucket of bricks or a bucket of feathers. Thinking that I heard this riddle before I confidently proclaimed "they weigh the same!" Everybody started busting up laughing, still thinking that I had the correct answer I clarify, "a bucket is a form of measurement, like a bushel." We all proceed to laugh even harder. It turns out that the riddle I heard years ago was "what weighs more a pound of feathers or a pound of bricks." Apparently a bucket of bricks weighs more than a bucket of feathers. Who knew?

Mishap #5: Sun Moon Lake
There is this beautiful place called Sin Moon Lake only a few hours away with some beautiful temples and pagodas, as well as a beautiful bike path around the lake. One Saturday most of the teachers decided to go as a group to explore. My job was to navigate us from Feng Yuan to Puli and once there rent bikes, after that it was somebody else's turn to navigate. Well I got us there, we got our bikes, and started on the trail. 2 hours into the bike path we realized we were not on the side with the temples but actually the complete opposite side of the lake. By time we realized we were on the wrong side we didn't have time to go to the other side, so we totally missed all of the best sites all because of one wrong turn. However I can't complain when this was the view:

And for good measure- this next mishap didn't happen to me but it was too funny to not include. 

Mishap #6: The Kitchen Chairs 
We have a problem with our kitchen chairs breaking. Once they are broken it is very difficult to distinguish them from the non-broken chairs. One of the fastest ways to tell if it is broken us to sit on it only to have an induced moment of panic as your body starts to fall to the floor. I had the misfortune of having this happen one Sunday. However I quickly decided if I was going down I was taking somebody else with me. I quickly and quietly changed seats and waited for the next unsuspecting culprit to sit down and almost plummet to to ground. It didn't take long for another person to come into the kitchen grab some food and look for a place to sit down as I sat anxiously watching. The victim happened to be Josh- the guy who has scared the crap out of me so many times because he thinks it is funny. And let me just say there is nothing sweeter than revenge, especially when it comes as an expression on the face of somebody who has caused me so much panic. You know what the say about karma... it's totally true.

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