Friday, December 17, 2010

Packaging, Taiwan and peas

Packaging and Taiwan are definitely two peas in a pod. Every morning we venture to the local breakfast joint and order us up a couple Shao Bings. Each Shao bing is dropped into its individual plastic sack and then both are wrapped inside yet another plastic sack. We’ve learned to be thankful of the ever present tiny bags as they often accompany us on our daily walks with Audrey and have proven to be quite useful. I have never before believed that packaging was so important until a few weeks ago as we were preparing ourselves for a dinner at one of our student’s parent’s house. Upon receiving the invitation, I immediately went into overdrive deciding what to wear and what we should bring to thank them for the invitation. My mind drifted to the flower market. I became a bit excited at the thought of picking through all of the stemmed flowers for sale in order to create a beautiful bouquet. My excitement quickly dwindled as my friend rattled off all of the colors and styles of flowers that would be considered inappropriate for such a venue. Of course I couldn’t keep straight if it was okay to buy white roses but not red ones, and which chrysanthemums were appropriate, oh and then again, there was one flower that, without a doubt, were only used in funerals. UGH! So, I enlisted the help of the students in my class.

From Random Taichung

The students told me I should purchase a cake, some cookies and maybe some tea. I thought it was an awful lot to bring to dinner, but they insisted. I decided on one of the above. However, there was more to bringing the items than just showing up with the gift. I should have known. Of course, it all came down to packaging. The cakes must be packaged just right, include the tiny plates and impossible to use spears (I think they call them forks here, but trust me, they are in fact little spears). Once the cake becomes packaged, there is also a certain type of bag it must go into. I was told in no uncertain terms that the cake must not go into a plastic bag. Everything is plastic here so that definitely came as a big shock to me . Well the night went off without a hitch. I was armed with my perfectly packaged cake, complete with tiny utensils and plastic spears. The cake was swept from my hands and dropped into the kitchen, never to be seen again. That’s the other thing I was told--you bring a cake, not to eat for dessert, but for them to enjoy once you’re gone.


From Random Taichung

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