On Funny Birds and Other Things Which Make Me Happy

April 9, 2014

in Asia, Samantha Moritz, Spring 2014, Taiwan

Sometimes, it’s the little things in life that make you smile.

My friend and I are on a mission. We’re on the lookout for a mysterious creature.

And we call him…
The school principal.

One of my friends and I keep seeing a mysterious bird, which we’re pretty sure belongs to some important or endangered group, due to the tracker on its leg. It’s larger than a duck, and when it breaths, its neck expands to about 10 times the original size. We’ve sighted him about four times so far (with much excitement each time), and after referring to him as that-weird-school-bird for weeks, we’ve decided to give him a name. I tried to call him 小張, which is the equivalent of Mike, Paul, Bob, John (“normal” filler names) , but I hit the wrong key when writing it, making it 校長 (similar pronunciation), which means “school principal”. We thought this was fitting, as the bird seems so important, he must have some level of control over the school XD

Seriously though, we’re interested in finding out what kind of bird this is. So we’re going to ask one of our visiting professors in our forestry class a few weeks from now. I know you will be holding your breathe just as much as we are.

This is apparently part two in my epic saga of campus-bird-identification. Last year I made many sightings of large flocks of funny little black duck-like creatures down by the lakeshore path. They always made me smile, and I had no idea what they were. According to a bird-loving friend of mine, they are called coots. Huh. The more you know.

Besides the mystery bird, throughout the last week I keep running into little things that make me smile.

First of all, every morning when I go to class (rushing, no doubt, seeing as I lack the ability to get up within a reasonable period of when my alarm goes off), one of the janitorial staff yells “good morning” to me in perfect, unaccented English. Every single day it catches me off guard, and every single day it makes me smile. I think he gets a kick out of it, since he happens to be scheduled to work at the time and place when literally every Chinese-is-not-my-mother-tongue student goes to Chinese class (which happens to be at 8 am every morning). One of these days, I’m going to greet him before he does me, but for now, I guess I’ll just keep smiling and greeting him back every morning!

Secondly, there’s Rody. Rody is a popular children’s toy in Taiwan, and also the current promotional item for Family Mart (the convenience store on literally every street corner that doesn’t already have a 7/11). The first time I saw Rody, I was a little freaked out by his smile, but he’s definitely grown on me (plus, being from the land of Spongebob and Teletubbies, I have absolutely no place to criticize the character design of other country’s children’s characters). Rody is basically a creature made out of many balloons/balls put together, who ends up looking like a rocking horse. Or a rocking lama. My friends and I are still contesting exactly what kind of creature Rody is. At any rate, every time I see the character on something or in a shop, it makes me smile. Enjoy Rody!

Finally, WILLIAM WEI IS HAVING A CONCERT IN TAIPEI AND I HAVE TICKETS. William Wei is one of my favorite Chinese-language singers (he does covers of English songs as well and they’re very good- he has no accent when he sings English which is impressive). He actually graduated from NTU a few years ago, from the Foreign Languages Department (thus why his English is fantastic). He just released a new album, and one of my classmates and I rushed out to get tickets right away. So, I definitely have something to look forward to in May.


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