April 5, 2012

Continuing the renovation story…

The other day I discussed the second part of Phase I of my renovations.  I told you about the lighting that I had created.  I did forget one thing… the floor lamp that I also created.

I was thinking about what to do with some of the bamboo poles that I had lying around the house, and now, at the apartment.  Again, after looking over various images off Yahoo, Gary showed me one that gave me inspiration again.  The photo he showed me was this:

This one was pictured from some lighting shop in North America.  It sells for something like $600 US.  I must admit that it was very enticing.  I figured I could create something similar, to go with the lighting presently in the dining room (see April 3, 2012 entry).  So, this is my creation:

Not exactly as the picture, but the look is very similar to the overhead lighting.  It should also be noted that I used fluorescent bulbs, so there is no heat generated, and therefore, no fire hazard.  I’m still debating whether or not to keep it in the dining room, or use it in the living room…  only time will decide.

The only things left to do, are to put a frame (either painted or wood… still deciding) around each of the Matisse prints, and to paint the ceiling white.  Before I moved in, the ‘painters’ came in and painted a diamond shape around the light fixture.  It consisted of four shades of blue.  Sorry, but blue, forest green, and burgundy just don’t jive.  The ceiling will be white.

Phase II of the renovations is a little more difficult.  The apartment has a lot of ‘problems’.  First, whoever decorated this apartment must have been on drugs… seriously.  Wallpaper is called wallpaper because, well, it’s paper that is for the walls.  Whoever did this apartment, not only papered the walls, but the ceiling as well!  Yes, wallpaper on the ceiling. The other thing is, yes, it is (or was at one time) white, but there are four different kinds of paper.  It’s not like the ceiling is one type, the walls another… hell no!  When they ran out of one style, they picked up another roll and continued.  It’s a patchwork of mismatched styles.  And there isn’t even a pattern.  Since I plan on painting this apartment as well, all the paper has to come down.

The only difficult part of doing this, is that all my furniture is now in the apartment.  That means as I try to peel off the paper, I have to move the furniture around.  I live on the fourth floor, so I respect the fact that there are other people living below.

While I do the peeling, I have my computer on.  I watch Golden Girls, 3rd Rock from the Sun, or any of the Star Trek series while I do the work.  Keeps my mind off the boring task of peeling paper.  While moving the furniture, since there is only ME, items like the sofa that are too awkward, or the T.V. table, which is too heavy, I obviously can’t lift myself.  So, I drag it across the floor slowly, not to make too much noise.  After all, I’m trying to listen to my shows!

No less than a half dozen times now, my neighbour below has walked into my apartment.  No knocking.  No yelling.  Just walking in, uninvited.  He keeps saying something in Chinese about the noise.  I can understand what he’s trying to say with his hands.  Then, suddenly, he breaks into English and says that I am making too much noise.  Okay, I will admit that dragging a sofa 1 meter across the floor may cause a bit of noise, but hardly something that he could hear below.  Last night, I got a little pissed at him, and basically shoved him out of my apartment, closed the door, and locked it while he was standing in the hall.

Enough is enough!

I now understand why people double and triple lock their apartments and homes and businesses, and have steel doors that lower to hide their homes and businesses.  Simply put – people are rude!

Now, all my life growing up in Canada, I can honestly say, that I never just walked into someone’s home unless they were expecting me.  Most times, even when they were expecting me, it was common courtesy to at least knock before entering.  I can’t remember anyone ever just walking in with no warning.  For most people, and Taiwan people tend to have overly small hearts, someone just walking in to their home, would probably cause heart attacks all over the country.  So, why does this neighbour feel or assume that it is okay to just walk into my place.

I have my own theory.  He’s nosy and ignorant to others privacy.  To his friends and family he may be gloating at the fact that a foreigner is living in the building, but in reality, he doesn’t like it.  He’s nosy as to what I am doing.  He wants to see the renovating that I’m doing on the apartment.  I wonder what he would say if suddenly one day I just walked into his place?  No announcement.  No forewarning.  No knocking.  Just walk in unannounced and wander through his place!

Let’s start by saying, that would never happen.  I am neither that rude, ignorant, or nosy.  I could care less what his place looks like or how it’s decorated.  When it comes to noise, scooters and cars driving by make more noise than wallpaper being peeled off a cement wall.  When people walk by on the roadway, you can practically hear every conversation.  The neighbouring dogs bark and yelp at all hours of the day.

So now I have to do something that I never thought I would have to do.  Each time I enter or leave the apartments to go to the other, I have to lock both doors.

I’m beginning to think that there still is a lot of racism and negative feelings toward foreigners in Taiwan.  I don’t like saying this, but the longer I live here, the more I see it.  The teachers I work with and friends I have, are not like this – at least that I know of.  They treat me with respect, and I in turn treat them the same.

This particular man, even though we have seen and passed each other dozens of times over the past few months, has never so much as said “Hi” to me (or the Chinese equivalent).  He just walks by without a sound at all.  When I see my neighbours in the hallway, I always say [in Chinese] “Hi” to them.  Even though I don’t get a response back, I just feel that this is polite and respectable behaviour.  This was how I was raised.  Besides, I’ve always believed that if your neighbours know you, or at least know who you are, it makes for a better living environment.  This guy obviously doesn’t want to know me.  His loss!

Once all the renovations are completed, I plan on inviting all my fellow teachers, friends, as well as others that I have a  friendship with in the community.  My idea was to invite the people from the building as well.  However, after five months and not so much as a “Hi” from any of them, why bother?  Then again, that is not my way.  I will let my landlord know the day of the open house, and request that they invite my neighbours.

That’s it, that’s all… for now!



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2 responses to “April 5, 2012

  1. joyce oconnell

    You are doing great ! We have those people all over the world. Now that there are so many cultures sharing our living space, I don’t think it is rude, it just plan ignorance, and a lot of them don’t even try to fit in. The one thing that bothers me is the Europeans come here never worked in our country, never paid taxes, and they are collecting the pensions. Excuse my French, but they piss me off.

  2. high five and raspberries

    I can’t wait for my invitation..I will knock..we canadians are polite like that lol
    By the way, the lamp is awesome..!!

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