Ten Things of Thankful: A Taiwan Coffee Edition

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you follow this blog at all, you know I’m crazy for coffee shops. You may even know I’m just crazy, but that can be our little secret.

During the last couple of years, I spent a fair amount of time at a coffee shop called Lovely Beans. The menu changed a couple of times during those two years, but the coffee was a constant–an excellent constant. A couple months back, Mina closed that shop to open a new pasta and coffee shop in Taoyuan City–two bus trips from me, and we finally tracked her down on Monday. As you can see in the picture at the left.

  1. I’m thankful for the reasonable taxi fares in Taiwan. In five years, I’ve never had a car, or worse, a scooter (motorcycle). Buses, walking, and taxis have served us well. For longer distances, there is a good train system throughout Taiwan and an MRT (subway) in Taipei.
  2. I’m thankful for the time my husband spent online tracking down how to find the new shop. He had even explored the bus routes that it would take to get us there. One downtown, and then another to the part of town where the shop was. His mapping and other investigation paid off. On Monday, after we took care of some errands downtown, he surprised me by suggesting that we visit the new shop. It turns out we were not far from it at all. A great diversion!
  3. We found the place without too much trouble, only to discover that it wouldn’t open for dinner until 5. In her new shop, she closes (like many such places) between lunch and dinner–in her case, between between 2:30 and 5:00. That might not sound like something to be thankful about, but I ended up at a 7-11 not TOO far away, sipping an iced latte while working on a project that wouldn’t have gotten started for another week or so.
  4. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter settling me in at 7-11 (no other real coffee shops in that particular area), he wandered the neighborhood to see what else was there. He also went to Mina’s shop at 5 to make sure she was actually there before having me walk back there. She was. Dave came to get me, and we headed over to the pasta shop (see photo on right).
  5. Mina greeted me with a huge smile and a hug and led us to a table. Here’s the fun part. My Chinese is pretty crappy, i.e. I can order iced coffee without sugar in Chinese and be understood (if I’m in a coffee shop, where it makes sense in context).Β  Mina’s English consists of “I don’t know,” and “I love you.” Which brings us to trying to order dinner.
  6. I am thankful that Mina has a basic idea of what we like to eat. We have a way of signaling shrimp by curling our pointer finger. Rice is shown with a little space between finger and thumb. Sauce could be selectedΒ  by colored lettering on the menu (at least for red–meat sauce and green–pesto). Dave wanted cream sauce and I was struggling to figure out that one, when Mina pointed to the white space between sections on the menu. Whew! Dinner ordered.Β  πŸ™‚
  7. I am grateful for the wonderful food and for the iced latte–don’t judge, I like my coffee. Mina makes a mean latte! She came and sat with us several times, as the shop was busy, but not crazy.
  8. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am grateful for Mina’s generosity in giving us an amazing discount on our dinner.
  9. I am grateful for her help in getting us home afterwards. We could catch a bus to the train station area of downtown and then take our regular bus home. Or take a taxi. We were leaning toward the taxi, as it had been kind of a long day at that point. Mina offered (through our unique form of communication) that she would help us get the cab and tell him where we were going. What she DIDN’T tell me is that she planned to slip the fare to the driver for our ride.
  10. I am grateful for this special friendship. It’s true that if we have something specific that has to be communicated, we need Google Translate or another person who can translate for us. But in spite of our spoken language barrier, we somehow manage to convey our care for one another. I may not be able to visit Mina’s new shop as often as I did the one in my neighborhood, but I will always treasure the times we do have together.

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And a TTofT (Ten Things of Thankful) HONORABLE MENTION TO Not a Punk Rocker. She often starts her list during times of insomnia and doesn’t always guarantee their readability. So when she changed her ways this week, she offered an item that we could use on our list. I had ten things already, but nice to know she offered this just in case: β€œI didn’t have to read insomnia dreck and got an early TToT post instead!”

 

Thank you to Lizzi at Considerings for setting this blog hop up every week. Β If you want to join, go on over to link in and then check out what others are saying about their weeks too!

 

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29 comments on “Ten Things of Thankful: A Taiwan Coffee Edition

  1. What a wonderful story of your day! Mina must make a great cup of coffee, but beyond that, she must really be a lovely young woman to welcome you so well. I’m sure she was very happy you took the effort to seek her out! Obviously there is a great connection between you.

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the story. It is amazing to me how many really wonderful people are here, and how willing they are to welcome someone who is not very good at the language. I have to say that I’ve been impressed with the gratitude expressed by many of the shop owners in this town. They know that I am here to help students learn English, even though my home and family are half a world away. It’s been an amazing five years.

      • My daughter & grands live in Africa, where the native language is either French or an African dialect. She too has her language challenges, but finds the people are very helpful. Hong Kong is on their next list of choices for work, and I am guessing her children will grow up speaking both French and Chinese. What an amazing adventure for you. I am sure you are learning along with the students.

      • I love the students most of the time. I teach English writing to some students, and English writing to English majors at a university here. It’s been a great adventure, but I’m looking forward to returning to the US next summer. I miss my family, and especially my children and my grandson.

    • Thanks, Heather! There are some others coming soon with photos from recent outings. I just don’t seem to have enough time to post as much as I’d like. Darn bills and the need to earn money! πŸ˜‰

    • Right! That’s so true. I have had some occasions where I haven’t been able to communicate with people, but they are rare. There is usually someone around willing to help. But with some people, like with Mina, we connect at a level that goes beyond language. It’s awesome! πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Emmely! I have many such stories. It’s one of the reasons I blog. I have these little snapshots captured throughout the blog. Maybe at some point, I’ll do a compilation with links to the specific posts. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks! It was quite a joyful reunion. I miss just going around the corner to have my latte and see her. But at least I know the way now when I want to go. πŸ™‚

    • That’s so true. And there are lots and lots of local businesses here. Of course, I liked the one around the corner even better, but at least I can still get to her. πŸ™‚

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