11 May 2015

MAY: Week Two

Currently listening: Wiz Khalifa, “See You Again.” Yeah it’s the song that they play at the end of Fast 7 during the Paul Walker montage. Yeah it’ll make you want to cry. And they ended the night with this track at a club last week. It was wonderful. Move over Al Green, this is my new closer. Here’s an hour of “See You Again” on loop, just in case you need it. Nine million views can’t be wrong...

This week marked my DJ debut. Yes, my long awaited dream of having someone let me DJ a party finally happened! My friend had a photography studio for her birthday party and her roommate (and me!) in charge of the music. Finally, yes yes yes! Basically I put together my dream dance playlist — mostly girl pop, with tons of Mariah, Janet, and Whitney — and downloaded Traktor.

By the way, Traktor for iOS is incredible. So easy to use and I haven’t even figured out any of the cool features yet. Just being able to semi-mix one song into the other is good enough though. Armed with a playlist that was sure to get the party jumping, I made my debut around midnight… and flamed out. I didn’t account for the fact that people literally a decade younger than me might not appreciate Denice Williams or Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam quite as much as my peers. Argh, Millenials! Oh well.

I was booted after about forty minutes (“Do you have anything newer? More hip hop-y?”) or what I’d like to say was me “taking a break after my first set.” When the party was winding down and most of the crowd had left, I jumped back on the zeros and ones and cranked out more Madonna and Taylor Swift. "But I got a blank space baby / And I'll write your name." Anyway, I have an awesome playlist, please invite me to DJ for you soon. Especially if you’re over thirty.

List of ender songs I was considering (none of which was used, yet):

  • Adam Levine, “Lost Stars”
  • Ritchie Valens, “Sleepwalk”
  • Kanye West, “Family Business”
  • Spandau Ballet, “True”
  • Debbie Gibson, "Lost in Your Eyes"
  • Al Green, “Let’s Stay Together”
  • 2Pac, “Check Out Time”
  • Hall & Oates, "Everytime You Go Away”
I made the stunning realization this week that I don’t have (as) many American friends here anymore! Most of my first semester classmates are gone and of the people I normally hang out with there’s a Brazilian, an Indonesian, a Taiwanese, and a Malaysian. Only one American friend in the bunch! Of course, we mostly speak English so it’s not really that much different. And all our pop culture references are the same.

When I met my Brazilian friend, I swore she was from California because her English is tinged with an American accent (whatever that is). When I asked her how come, her reply was the best: “I learned English from watching Friends. Every episode."

One of the downsides of the past few months in school is that it’s severely stunted my meeting actual Taiwanese people opportunities. As you can imagine, everyone at Shida is a foreigner and it’s far easier to just clump together. So my goal, moving forward is to meet Taiwanese people again!

School’s over at the end of the month but honestly I’m already tapped out. I moved down a level and it got too easy and my previous dedication is just not there. Plus, my classmates are very quiet compared to my previous group and I'm much less inspired to attend. So yeah, I’m out! Now that I have a methodology to learning Mandarin, I can practice vocab on my own and it’s time to get my oral skills up to speed. I don’t feel like my speaking skills have improved much while I’ve been here — mostly a function of knowing only people who speak English well — so in the future, that’s what I need to focus on.

At the rate of 40-50+ new words a week, I’ve probably learned a thousand characters so far, in six months. Of those, maybe I’ve retained half? Chinese goes quick when you aren’t constantly practicing. I wouldn’t say I can read/write that well, but it’s still exciting to be able to decipher basic stuff. Or really simple karaoke songs.

Over the weekend I went to my first Taiwanese wedding. I’d been wanting to attend a Taiwanese wedding because it sounds so different than American ones. To start, you don’t really have to dress up. Sure, you can wear a suit if you want but nicer pants and normal shoes are fine. I’ve straight up seen pictures of people showing up in sweaters and sweats. The wedding I attended was very classy though, so people came looking good.

At the banquet portion of the night, the food was course after course of rich foods: Lobster, duck, fish, crab, steak, etc. It was a little nuts how much there was. Traditionally the wedding is just a massive feast, and this one lived up to that advertisement plenty.

The big difference between American and Taiwanese weddings is that there's no party. You eat the food and then you’re done. The whole affair might take only a short afternoon even. Now I understand why the parents jet out of regular weddings so fast... For this particular wedding, since the bride was Christian, there was a church ceremony (similar to any church wedding I’d been to) so I didn’t get to see any of the traditional Taiwanese stuff. Next time I guess. Overall, a great time and the bride and groom had a singing/dancing portion that was in line with their fun personalities — not at all like most traditional weddings so I'm told.

Speaking of weddings, my sister and AMR’s December wedding was featured in a post from Exquisite Weddings! Click through if you wanna see: "Real Weddings: Georgette and Ameer."

Friday, we discovered badminton. I was unprepared in my camo shorts and no athletic gear. But next time I’m going with a headband and a plan. And I’m gonna win, win, win.