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Another Accident

Oh come on!

The day after I put up that journal about my series of unfortunate accidents... I GOT INTO A CAR CRASH!!!

Thankfully I wasn't the one driving but I should've been. My mom drove but she wasn't very focused. Basically, we slammed into a stopped car at 30mph. The front of our car was smashed in and there was gas and antifreeze leaking from the engine.

I spent the rest of the week recovering from shock and injuries. Yeah, I was badly bruised up. Being a witness and passenger in the accident I was being interviewed a lot by officers and insurance companies. Most I'd be doing all the talking because my mom doesn't really speak English.

This sucks! The time spent after a car accident is really troublesome and boring. It also sucks that we no longer have a car... We need to get it fixed. My neck is still a little weird, so I guess I'll end the journal here and get off the computer.

Tags:

Painting in Progress...

I've been taping up corners all week.
The contents of my entire room are now in the basement. I put on a layer of primer yesterday and today we put on the last two coats of the semi-gloss finish I picked out. We went with a different brand so instead of the forest green which was my second choice, I actually got that green apple color I wanted.

My hands are all white and one of my feet is white, but I'll get to that story way later.

We only finished my room, two more to go...
Right now I'm helping Miki clear out her room.

I need to prime all the rooms in the house, then I need to paint them. After that, I need to install hardwood flooring in the hallways and kitchen. Yeah... I know how to install floors... my dad and I are the fix-it people of our house.

I'm fantasizing about the new fixtures I will be putting in my room. New furniture and stuff. I want to have a spot  where I can worship display all of my Reborn! action figures. I really really want a bookshelf. My manga reaches the ceiling and I have no place for it.

Damn my vacation is taking a lot longer than I thought.

Busy Days.

I thought I would be writing more since I'm still on break, I guess not.
I still haven't even updated AAAttackers, I'm still working on the stuff for it.

I've been working like crazy ever since getting back from Taiwan. In and out of work constantly. When I'm not at work, I'm cleaning out my room because our mom had the sudden urge to repaint the entire house. I had to move all of my belongings into the basement. The only things that haven't been taken out is my furniture,(tables, bed, etc..) and my extensive manga collection (good luck with that). All my cds were put into a crate. *pout* When we were picking colors... at first I wanted a vibrant yellowy-green, but my mom screamed no. I was thinking about orange because I like that color, but then I realized it would be too traumatizing since it would make me think of work (my workplace, the restaurant walls are painted bright orange). I just went with a super pale forest-green color. Miki still hasn't decided yet on her color.

I had been working on a Reborn! jigsaw puzzle I bought from Taiwan. It only took me a little over an hour without cheating (I did not look at the completed picture while working on it) to complete it, seeing as it was only 300 pieces. I was surprised that I only bought the jigsaw for $7 at the animate store in Taiwan. It's official Reborn! merch too. Before going on my trip, I saw another puzzle online and it was like nearly $100 and it was a 1000 piece set. I really wanted that particular one, but of course I never found it, however when I walked into that Taiwanese anime store I assumed the puzzles were expensive and they aren't. Anyways I spent a lot of time framing it. Actually, you know what happened? After I completed the puzzle the first time... I took it apart and put it away. A few days later I finally went out  to buy a frame. I had to put it together again when I was framing it. I put it together and glued it to a posterboard, then I framed it. I will put up a picture when I have time to snap a photo of it.

When I do get breaks, I watch random movies or shows with Miki. I got to see "The Proposal," it was funny and reminded me of a Chinese movie called "Contract Lover." Just yesterday we ended up watching "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." I haven't seen that musical movie since Catholic school. I only remembered bits and pieces. It was so cheesy and I laughed through their choices of music genres. But it was still a good musical. Elvis Pharaoh...

I started working on a miniature building model. It's really cool. I bought it from Taiwan and it's a model kit of a Japanese bakery. I finished gluing the main structure of the building, but I still have much more to do.

That's pretty much it, I work all week and I build when I rest.

4th of July Holiday

Actually we light things up on the 3rd of July in Chicago...
Whatever, we had a barbeque and lit some stuff on the 4th.

Seriously, the 4th becomes another excuse to light stuff on fire and blow things up.
This year, we obtained some "nice" firecrackers from out of state, darn Illinois law against anything that doesn't release smoke.

With our stuff... I nearly set myself on fire...
Though, it was a harmless Chinese firecracker. It wasn't the 1,000 chain one either, this chain only had 12 pieces. I lit it and threw to the side. You know, you light one and it ignites all twelve, well... after it was on the ground, one of the 12 misfired and scattered the other now ignited 11 other ones. They went in random directions, one just happened to fly my way and hit me directly in the gut and exploding on impact. One exploded on my stomach... it left a blast mark on new shirt dammit!

My friends and I nearly got blown up like seven times, thanks to our neighbors. They were lighting "fireworks," the bombs that blow up in the sky. There were so many accidents when they were lighting them. More than often did their funnels fall over and misfire. When they had lit one, the funnel fell over and was aimed right at them. One of the guys quickly ran over and kicked the funnel away towards us. I remember them screaming "GET BACK!" at us. We dodged it when it launched and it blew up several yards behind us. This repeated several times or sometimes it would go up but come up short and then land (instead of being in the sky) nearby us then explode. There were instances where it wouldn't even launch at all and just explode on the spot right in front of them.

Barely escaped getting burned.

Oh yeah... Attack All Attackers.
Jet-lag is still killing me. I wanted to work on a little special. But they pulled me into work after I got back. Awwwww I was hoping to relax this summer but that doesn't look like its gonna happen. Work sucks!!!!!!! I wanted to do like a AAAttackers photo album special with the characters on their trip. I'll get it up maybe next week?

I can't stop ushishishi-ing for some odd reason, I am addicted Belphegor's laugh. I wasn't before but now I am, what is wrong with me?! Before I forget... they got me! I'm actually starting to "like" anime concerts/musicals. I've been pulled in! I feel so weird cuz I'd normally laugh at people who even bring it up... now I'm one of them... oh no.

Back in Chicago

*grumble*
That flight was too friggin long! Taipei to Tokyo to San Francisco to Chicago.

We had an hour and a half to chill in Tokyo, which wasn't that bad... and I picked myself up a new wind chime. However, It was San Fran that really killed us. We had to wait 7 hours for our next flight! There were so many earlier flights available, but no... our travel agent had to book the latest flight. It was so boring and long. My flight anxiety was making me nauseous and dizzy (only occurs after I get off a plane for some odd reason).

All we did was eat at the food court... Californians are crazy about healthy food selections. After we ate, we went to our gate to wait another 6 hours for our flight. You know how the chairs have multiple seats? Both me and Miki sprawled ourselves across the seats and slept like that for the next 6 hours. It was really funny because people that would walk nearby would just see my feet dangling over the armrest on one side and see Miki's feet way over on the opposite side. Fortunately the chilly a/c woke me up just in time to hear an announcement about our Chicago flight that will start boarding in 6 minutes.

We got on the flight... 5 hours later, we were at O'Hare Airport in Chicago.
We arrived here at midnight and no one wanted to pick us up because it was so late. Our parents still picked us up though. We left for Taiwan with 4 bags, we came back with 6 bags. Bag in a bag method, it helps you bring back so many souvenirs.

I'm more than happy to be on the ground... and to be home.
Pikus was craving attention right when I walked through the door.

Not much happened today...
All I did today was assemble the toys I bought from Taiwan (no different than what I did after I got back from Japan).

Last Day in Taiwan!

Gahhhh...
Last day! Last day!

Yesterday... we couldn't do anything because a typhoon (a mini-hurricane) hit Taipei in the morning. I've experienced monsoons and typhoons in Thailand... and yeah, they can knock you off your feet and you have a high chance of getting impaled by someone's detached roofing. It's really dangerous to be outside, so our apartment was on lockdown from 2am until 2pm. We can hear the high speed winds from our windows as we waited. Oh yeah, no one told us the tenants of our apartment were having a potluck feast downstairs during the typhoon. Of course the foreigners (we) didn't get the memo.

There was a food expo going on the same day. Which we did attend later in the day when the typhoon cleared out. Lots of industries and companies were their. I really want a ice shaver. It's a new model! It shaves ice cream instead of ice. It cuts ice cream into thin ribbons, giving it a fluffy texture. The consistency of the ice cream mixture is different too. It contains more water than cream. The machine costs $400 USD. I want one for my restaurant! We need to market more ice products! We met an old man who makes custom logo touch screen wipers. They were really cool, they had a reusable adhesive backing too that would still retain stickiness even after washing it in water.

Well today... we did some last minute shopping near Shilin station, then we went to Taipei Main Station to get to Q-square, which is a popular mall. It was raining like crazy when we were at both places. Of course we didn't have umbrellas with us, we never have one when the sky decides to rain on us. Stupid weather! We ran around outside like idiots from one building to another, one bus shelter to another. We returned to the apartment earlier than usual because I had a stomach ache and the rain was to insane. We also needed to pack, that would be the main reason. Most of our bags are quite heavy.

We have a portable handheld scale with us to weigh our bags. The limit for international flights are 50 lbs per bag. Our scale is off by 4 lbs or so, two bags weigh around 42 lbs individually, but the other two are at 47 lbs, that's pushing it... The things that are weighing our bags down so much is FOOD!!! We packed 5 lbs of peanut cookies, 20 lbs of jajang sauce, 15 lbs of olives, 8 lbs of pineapple cake. All of these things are exclusive to Taiwan. We're bringing them back for our family. Yes... we love them too much that we'd bring them vast amounts of food.

I gotta fly 5 hours from now.
Wish me luck. See ya on the ground back in Chicago!!!

One Week Until Return

Aww... I'm down to my last week in Taiwan. It didn't really feel like a vacation because I'm here for a month. It felt more like temporary living. We hit up tons of awesome food places, did a LOT of walking, and we constantly got lost.

Yesterday, we went up Taipei 101, the tallest building in Taiwan, no joke... They have absolutely no tall buildings here... except Taipei 101. Soooo... you can literally see Taipei 101 from EVERY angle, no matter where in Taipei you are. For example...... in our area, the "tallest" building is our apartment... which is 14 floors. Since other buildings don't seem to exceed 15 stories, Taipei 101 is always super visible.

Today, we went to a famous restaurant that is hidden behind a brewery... Really creepy place. The brewery is owned by the government. So, this restaurant sits behind gated government walls... and is well hidden behind a crate stockyard. Yeah... it looks like one of those places where mafia dealings go down... open warehouses... crates of bottles stacked high... lots of delivery trucks parked around... dimly lit. After you walk past the crates of beer bottles, warehouses, and trucks, there's a beacon of light... a string of blue x-mas lights arranged to spell out three simple numbers... "346." The name (which is also the address) of the restaurant is "346." People go there to enjoy the food and the entertainment, as well as the beer. You can get a mug or a few... you can even have an entire keg brought to your table. Today, we had deep fried pig intestines, fried chicken kiel bone, bacon veggie stir fry, and blackbean fried chicken. I don't need to tell you this, but of course I did NOT drink, everyone knows I detest the smell and taste of beer. We were allowed to get coke instead of beer, yay!

We got lost again on the way back, we didn't know where the bus stop was... typical. So we ended up walking all the way back to the apartment.

I haven't shown anyone my updated shopping stash.
I went Gundam crazy here!!!
TADA!!!
I'm so crazy... Every time I buy new stuff, I put it up on the shelf for display, it also helps me keep track of when we need to pack it to take back to Chicago. I got tons of Gundams... The Zaku is for Marvin, Infinite Justice is for Maciek... everything else on the shelves are all mine muahahahaha!!! I got some nanoblocks here and there. Yes... I got a Hitman Reborn jigsaw puzzle... IT'S MISSING LAMBO, CHROME AND MUKURO, WTF?! I got a Reborn mug too... yeah, hardcore fan. I also got the whole set of Reborn keychains... in the entire set... all of the characters are normal, but why are Dino and Hibari the only ones that are naked?! Well they're naked in a hot spring. I need to take a picture later because they were already packed into or suitcase. Out of all the other keychains, Dino and Hibari are the only ones naked? These are official legit keychains! OMG they are totally hinting D18!!! Reborn fans will know what I mean. For those non-Reborn fans out there, the characters in Reborn have numbers (or letters) that correspond to their names, these "numbers" are used in reference by fans. Example, the main character, Tsuna's fandom number is 27, because "tsu" deriving from the English word "two" and "na" from "nana" the Japanese word for seven, tsu + na = 27.

I bought lots of souvenirs for myself, mostly cellphone straps or a model of a miniature building. I bought tea from Maokong (cat mountain). I got headphones from Danshui. I got a One Piece treasure digging set and my Reborn puzzle from the "Animate" store in Ximending. There was also that doll of the damper baby from Taipei 101...

I'm not quite ready to return home yet, but I sure do miss everyone.

OMG Earthquake!

Yeah, there was an earthquake in Taipei, Taiwan at 6:18pm on June 19th (today).
The epicenter was on the eastern coast, but I totally felt it!

I was sitting on the floor of our apartment, attempting to cool off under the a/c. Miki on the other hand was lounging on the bed.

I was staring at the ceiling, then suddenly... *rumble* *rumble* rumble* the floor began to shake side to side under me and I fell over. I screamed, "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!" Miki turns from the bed (unfazed) and asks "what's wrong?" I yelled back, "the entire apartment just shook, you didn't feel that?! wait but you're on the bed." Then Miki said, "what are you talking about? the apartment is not shaking." *rumble* *rumble* Miki then says, "... nevermind, I just felt that last one."  I finally scream "EARTHQUAKE!" Me and Miki stare at each other wide-eyed... but nothing happens.

Still doubtful, Miki says, "it was probably a thunder boom that shook the building." (as it was raining before we arrived at our apartment) I then protested, "there's no way a mere thunder boom can shake a 14-story apartment!" Then of course we get on the internet to check if it was really a quake.

Fortunately I found a Taiwan government site that has seismic activity records.
And here's what I pulled up:
Ha! Extreme proof that it totally was an earthquake!
It was a 5.1 mag.
That was the first earthquake I've ever experienced conscious.
Most earthquakes back in Chicago occur at night for some weird reason.
 

I've Never Felt so Horrible in My Life

So... here we go...

Now... we were hungry from all that wandering, so we decided to leave the apartment again to eat at a restaurant. We got to a fancy Taiwanese restaurant and ate a lovely dinner. After eating, we went back outside to look for a bus that would take us to our apartment. The problem is... we didn't remember which side of the road we got off at. Lost again?! But we just knew that we needed to get on bus route 204. We took a guess and hopped on a 204 bus. If you didn't notice, we have absolutely no understanding of the Taiwan bus system, which is why we get lost all the time.

After breezing through multiple stops we didn't recognize, we both sighed and assumed the bus would loop back after the final stop. The bus continued to drive on and the seats were emptying. The bus kept going further and further into a dark and unfamiliar part of town. On a poorly lit street, in the middle of nowhere, the bus driver stops the bus suddenly, turns in his chair to look at us (the ONLY people left on the bus) and says something in Chinese. In all my confusion because I have no idea what is going on, I turn to Miki and say "I think he's talking to us, what is he saying?!" At this point, we're terrified.

This is our awkward conversation-

Bus man: *repeats what sounds like a warning in Chinese*
Miki: *shakes head in confusion*
Me: "whaaa?!" *head tilt*
Bus man: *repeats again*
Me: "I think he's telling us this is the end of the line... get off now"
Miki: *asks in Chinese* "can you speak English?"
Bus man: *shakes head rapidly* "11...."
Me and Miki: "huh?!"
Bus man: "11..." *points outside door*
Me: "I think he really wants us off the bus"
Me and Miki: *both get up and walk towards door*
Miki: "oh yeah, all buses stop running at 11:15 pm, no later" (it's 11:30pm)
Bus man: (notices our sad confused faces) *rubs temples roughly* "where?"
*shuts bus door*

The bus man points back at the chairs, signaling for us to sit back down. He then drives into the busyard and a fellow employee hops onto the bus to empty the fare collector. The other man chuckles and asks what I'm guessing "why are there still people on this bus?" We assumed he wanted us off at that point, but... he drove out of the busyard and stopped the bus again. I am then screaming in my mind (OH NO!!!! HIS SHIFT IS OVER HE WAS SUPPOSED TO GO HOME AFTER GOT TO THE BUSYARD!!!!)

The bus man then walks to the center of the bus where the route map is and points to it asking where we need to go. We point to one of the train stations on the route map, the bus man then kneels down and goes silent as he looks over the map not understanding what we want. Miki then remembered that she had a sentence prewritten in Chinese in her notebook that says, "please take me to the nearest train(MRT) station." She showed it to the bus man and he nodded. He then went back into the driver's seat and sat there for 3 minutes with his face buried in his hand. After he thought to himself, he started the bus and drove off to restart the route.

After passing three stops, people started signaling to get on the bus (here, you actually need to wave your hand if you want to get on, if not, the bus will pass you). It's midnight and the bus is half full. (no buses are running at all at this time). Me and Miki are talking to eat other, "wait a minute, he's willing to drive the full route and drop off all these people, even though his shift is over, for the sake of getting us back safely?!" At this point, we feel very horrible about ourselves. Because of us, he's doing something he shouldn't be doing. He is going to waste 3 hours of unpaid time because of us. He is the nicest man we've ever met since arriving in Taiwan... I wanted to cry right there on the bus (but I couldn't, instead, my chest hurt during the ride), I'm crying now though, that bus man was too kind to us. The bus does stop in front of our apartment, but we wanted him to drop us off at a train station because we didn't want him to drive any further(we assumed he would turn back), but with all those other people, he had no choice but to drive the entire route. When got close to a train station he called us to the front of the bus to make sure we'd get on the train. He gave us a weak smile and we both thanked him. We got off the bus and went into the station, then boarded the train back to the apartment.

We got off the train and continued walking down Xinyi Rd (the street in front of our apartment). The station was a few blocks from our apartment, so the walk wasn't bad. The 204 bus is a route that drives down Xinyi Rd. It's 12:30 am, his bus is the only one on the street. As we walked to our place, we had just reach the front of our apartment. I turn to look at the street... and it felt as if my heart had shattered into a million pieces as I saw that same bus man driving that 204 bus right in front of us. I really wanted to cry, what bad timing that we'd meet one last time. Bus man... we never got your name, but we will never forget you.

I wanted to keep his face in my memory, so I did a quick doodle of what he looked like. It's a general idea, but it's close, I still need to revise it.

We need to find this man and thank him properly!!!
I need to redraw this more accurately first... I curse my chibi skills.
 

The end was no joke, we did see bus man in front of our apartment, we didn't think he'd actually drive up that far.

Lost... Unlost, Lost Again

I don't have much to write about yesterday.
Besides waking up at 4am from jetlag and getting lost around the SOGO shopping district, nothing interesting happened.

Well... we did go to "Breeze Center" which is a large western-style mall. It was because when we were making our usual round of buying water at the 7eleven near our apartment, I saw a girl carrying a bag  with the "Tokyu Hands" logo on it. Which Tokyu Hands is the best store in Japan EVER!!! Except the logo didn't say Tokyu Hands it said "Hands Tailung." I yelped and told Miki that we must find the Tokyu Hands look-alike. I fortunately found the Tapei locations on google. We got there just fine, but we got super lost on the way back. It was because we decided to hit up a nearby night market. We wandered inside on of the SOGO buildings, exited, then we forgot which direction we should go to get back to our apartment.

We figured it out eventually. But we were really tired from wandering aimlessly.

So today, we woke up really early to go to the weekend flower and jade market a block away. It's the largest outdoor market for both objects. There were so many amazing flowers and plants in the flower market. I really wanted to take a mini bonsai home or even a baby cactus in a pot the size of a tealight candle. They had a lot of pretty orchids too. The jade market which was just across the street from the flower market was amazing. There were so many varieties of jade. There were many rings, pendants, carvings, and sculptures. I wanted a jade ring, but I'll probably buy it next week if I still have a lot of money left. I want more models to build!

We attempt to go see the Dragon Boat Festival today... We took the right bus and everything. We count the distance by stops, since we can't read Chinese. It was 9 stops and we needed to get off so we could hop on a different bus to take us to the river... I think we got off at the wrong stop because the bus we needed to change to wasn't listed at the terminal. We were in an unfamiliar place in the city. Feeling so lost and hopeless, we decided to try the festival tomorrow. Next big issue "HOW THE HECK ARE WE GETTING BACK?!" We figured it out from reading the destination list for the bus routes (thankfully that part was in English).

On the way back, we got off the bus halfway because there was a cool farmer's market on the side of the road. I bought some delicious syrup glazed olives. They are super sweet and delicious. We got some wild boar sausage, YUMMY! We also got some grilled meatballs.... reminds me of Thailand. We also wandered into the electronics market, man it looked a lot like the electronic market in Akiba. Then we finally got on the right bus that dropped us off in front of our apartment.

We ate all the stuff we had bought outside for our dinner.
This sounds sad and makes me feel very awkward, we had to eat our durian in the bathroom bathtub. Durian... the nastiest smelliest fruit in the world which we would've gotten complaints from our neighbors it they had known we snuck it into the apartment. We had to eat the durian in the bathtub because it is the ONLY isolated room with a big window for ventilation. And my friends ask me, "what did you do in Taiwan?" my response, "oh... I ate durian in the bathtub..."

*groan*
I'm so tired from walking so much.
It's more tiring to wander around lost then to know where you're going.