(aaron's thoughts in parentheses)

I never knew myself to be especially sensitive to smells (I knew she was), or very skillful at sniffing out odors, but I tell you, my nostrils are on scent overload living here in Taiwan. In our apartment, after a couple of weeks, I began to detect this faint musty smell that no amount of window opening could defeat. All of our towels began to smell moldy and our closet had a hint of stinky to it.

Taiwan is extraordinarily humid-its subtropical location causes it to have high humidity year round. We discovered, after giving a moment’s thought, that opening our windows may not be the brightest idea, especially since it’s wetter outside than in. We placed small water absorbing containers around our closest after hearing horror stories about other English teachers losing favorite clothes and shoes to mildew. Within a few days, these containers were filled to the brim.

There has got to be another way, we thought, and began to scour local trading websites for a dehumidifier. Our co-worker, Travis just happened to have an old dusty dehumidifier, which he gave to us, free of charge! The only problem, is that when we plugged it in, hours later when we were fast asleep, it let off a horrible screech that we couldn’t ignore. We turned it off. Eventually (the next day, and again the next day and the day after that), Aaron did get the blasted thing fixed, by dousing the motor with grease, and our house was dry! Clothes no longer took 4 days to dry, but were crisp(crisp is right, we have to wrestle our ways into some of our clothes) in a day! My hair was easy to blow dry and stayed straight until I walked outside and heard a quiet *Pffff* as it puffed up into an afro, blindsided by humidity. (I feel compelled to tell all of you trusting readers that some facts in the story were exaggerated for the sake of good story telling, but for the most part they were accurate.)

Anyway, my point is, the humidity is only one of many sources of strange smells. We live in the Stinky Tofu capital of Taiwan, which smells like heated stale urine. It’s quite the unfortunate fragrance (But it tastes wonderful) aaron doesn't know what he's talking about-it's nasty. On the flipside though, our town is littered with mom and pop fruit stands and trucks and we are spoiled with incredible fresh fruit almost whenever we want, and it’s all of my favorites; juicy pineapple, guava, oranges, sweet grapefruit, kiwis, and passion fruit. Also, the dense vegetation gives this whole island delicious oxygen, which is especially nice after walking through Taipei, and getting blacklung from all the traffic.

I think one of the aspects of getting used to another culture is comparing seemingly mundane things, i.e., smells, with home. Or maybe that’s just me. I compare lots of other things too, but today I’ve had a mental checklist of smelly things that I experience throughout the day, probably because I’m weird, (I'm with Rika there are a lot of smelly things) but it makes walking through town even more interesting.

No comments:

Post a Comment