February 8, 2011

Well, first day back to work.

My junior high school hasn’t started up yet – they begin next Monday. I did have my little kindergarteners today. They are so cute. Most of these little kids couldn’t even say their English names two months ago, and now they can answer questions like, “What day is today?”, “How are you?”, and “How is the weather?”

You should also know this… I never ask the same questions in the same order. I mix the questions up, so that they don’t know what question will be asked. Quite honestly, I’m impressed with these kids.

They always seem to enjoy when I come to class. They have fun, will do anything I ask of them, and are learning quite well and quickly. Like most little children, I hope these kids don’t loose that ‘joy’ of learning English.

After class, since I haven’t heard anything about my wallet, such as a phone call from the police, it was time to start replacing my cards. The first stop, my bank.

Talk about paperwork. Man oh man! I think I signed my name at least 7 times! On one sheet of paper, I had to sign my name 3 times! Crazy. The hassles of replacing identification is more of a nuisance than anything else. Anyhow, after about 45 minutes, I finally had my new card.

Off to Giraffe. I had to pick up a portion of my pay to pay the rent. My landlord now wants me to deposit the rent into their post office account. So, I want them to deposit my pay into MY post office account. Since I have to go there to do this, I may as well replace that card as well.

As anyone can attest to, the first open day after a holiday, is extremely busy. As usual, you must take a number and wait. The indicator showed a wait time of 22 minutes! Okay, that’s not so bad. However, it took a hell of a lot longer than that! An hour and 10 minutes later, my number was finally called. Good thing I had my iPhone with iPod on it. I listened to music during my wait.

Anyhow, get to the counter. Of course, there are only 2 people working the counters. You’d think that, being one of the busier days of the year, they’d have a couple extra people working the counters to take up the slack, and get people in and out. No… not in Taiwan.

And, as is sometimes the case, and today was no different, there was no one around who could speak English. I tried the best I could to explain that I needed to replace my ATM card. Of course, they needed my ‘chop’. A ‘chop’, is the stamp of one’s Chinese name. As I didn’t have it with me, I couldn’t get it replaced.

Okay, deposit my rent, and get out of there. There were still about 30 or 40 people behind me waiting to do their bank business. So, after another hour and a half, that was finished. Now, the Department of Health.

It’s a good thing that Tuesday’s are a relatively unbusy day for me. I only have the classes in the morning, and then my evening classes begin around 5pm. Get to the Health office. Again, you must take a number.

After about 15 minutes, I was finally served. Then, they had to find someone who spoke English. Again, trying to explain to them that I needed to have my card replaced, since my wallet was lost. I was asked to have a seat, and someone would be with me shortly. Considering there were what seemed like a hundred people in there (the place was packed, literally), someone did finally help me. Another 25 minute wait. This person came over and said that I needed my ARC (Alien Residency Certificate) to get the card replaced.

How to explain to them that my wallet was stolen! I had a photocopy of the card, but that was not good enough. They needed the original.

Now, anyone who knows me well enough, knows that I can be a patient person – but only up to a point. I realize that I am the foreigner in this country. I realize that I don’t speak Chinese. However, I just don’t have the patience to wait and wait and wait for help. At the very least, I could have called someone to speak with these people, but they don’t want to do that.

Okay, give up. Another hour wasted. Off to the ARC office.

Again, about a half hour or more to see an officer. While I’m explaining the situation, someone else just walks over and starts talking with her. She totally ignores me, and starts conversing with this other guy. F***! You think I have all the time in the world? I started feigning falling asleep. This person beside me just didn’t get the hint. He continued chatting as if I wasn’t there.

Finally, and now I have no idea how long I’ve been there, the paperwork was complete, photocopies given, picture given, and pay for another card. In a couple of weeks, I can go and pick up my new card.

Okay. At this point, it is getting onto 4pm. As I said, I have class at 5pm. No more time to go anywhere else. Go home, and get my books.

Just as I got home, Janice calls me. She is the manager at Giraffe. She informs me that they just got a call from the police. HA! OMG! What now?

Someone had found my wallet and returned to the police station. As there are only 500 police stations around Tainan, I asked where. Not too bad, actually close to downtown, and then work. Okay, grab my books, off to the police, then to work.

When I got there, the office knew right away how I was. He gave me the wallet, and made special note of the fact that there was still 200nt in the wallet. Can you believe it?! The person who found my wallet, didn’t even take the money!

Everything was in my wallet. Money, all my cards and ID’s, receipts, and even a sticker from 7-11. These stickers you collect, and then can cash them in for little prizes. Since I don’t collect them, I give them to one of my students, Jolin.

Well, quite honestly, I don’t know who was more surprised, me or the officer. I know, had this been North America and had lost your wallet, the chances of getting the wallet back would be slim to nil. And, even IF you got the wallet back, chances are the cash would have been gone.

The officer gave me the name and phone number of the person who returned the wallet. I wanted to thank this person, but again, since I don’t read Chinese, I had no idea who the person was. When I got over to Giraffe, I asked several people there what was written.

The only thing that any of them could understand, was the family name, Lee. So, was it a woman or man? I have no idea.

Later that night, once I got home, I did send a message to this person. I’m not sure whether this person speaks or reads English, however, I was told that the proper ‘protocol’ in Taiwan, is to send a message thanking the person.

Well, so my one bank card and ARC are being replaced. Total cost of replacements: 600nt. Total loss of time: 4 hours! Well, at least I have all my cards back, and I don’t need to get anything else replaced.

Oh, what a day! That’s it, that’s all…


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