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Impromptu Interview
Pros: friendly people
Cons: none

Taipei, Taiwan
Thursday, May 13, 2004 20:08

Being Caucasian in Taiwan is like being a member of a secret society that isn’t secret at all because you’re wearing your membership card taped to your forehead. Being a part of this secret society means that other Caucasians smile and wink at you on the street because they are part of the secret society too and they have their membership cards taped to their foreheads. Taiwanese people smile and wink at you on the street, either because you remind them of their favorite celebrities, who belong to the secret society and wear their membership cards taped to their foreheads, or they want you to help them practice their English. At times being a part of this secret society can be quite enjoyable. At other times it can be quite strange.

In a particularly peculiar moment, I was jogging in my neighborhood today and I passed by a kindergarten. The owner of the kindergarten was sitting inside and must have seen me coming through the window. As I passed by, she came outside and started jumping up and down and waving her arms in the air like a crazy person. Not sure what was going on with her, I stopped to see what was up. I was completely sweaty, out of breath, and wearing nothing but a sports bra, a pair of mesh shorts, and my sneakers, and the woman starts asking me about my teaching qualifications. I explained to her that I am a teacher, but that I am not seeking further employment at this time. But that didn’t stop her. She continued to interview me right there on the spot, asking me about my teaching methods and work habits, and so on. Finally she told me that she wanted to offer me a position. At this point I had to put a stop to the conversation, given my physical state, and I suggested that we meet at a more convenient time for me, like when I am showered and wearing clothes. She agreed to let me go but made me promise to come back and give her my resume in case I become available in the future. As I loped away from her it occurred to me that I have never been interviewed for a job while working out before. What a curious thing this secret society is.

Speaking of things curious, have I mentioned the lack of copyright laws in Taiwan? I haven’t? Well, I can’t say for sure that there aren’t copyright laws in Taiwan, but I can say for sure that they are lax, to say the least. This laxness manifests itself most conspicuously in the coffee culture. If you think the United States has a lot of Starbucks, you should come to Taipei. Not only can you find a Starbucks on every corner, you can, without fail, find four of Starbucks’ competitors on all of the other three corners. And the best part is that they all have the same logo…with minor adjustments. It cracks me up, to say the least.