Monday, August 3, 2009

my new friend peter (and little brian too)

(pre-ps sorry, this is a long story. i don’t think they’ll all be this long.)

walked into our apartment today and we were greeted with two things. the first, we were expecting, which was a hot and humid room, close to 85 degrees (f, obviously). the second little treat for us was a gecko… at least we think it was a gecko. i don’t think i’ve ever seen a gecko in real life and the only one i’ve ever seen is in the geico commercials. we didn’t hear our little buddy talk with a british accent, so we’re not sure if he is a gecko or not, but we’re calling him one for now. i can’t blame him for hanging out in our main room though. it is a clean, empty, and has the perfect jungle climate,. when we turned on the light, he decided to play frozen. since i was the one who saw him first, i pointed him out to allison, and she decided to play frozen too. so there i was with a frozen gecko and a frozen wife. eventually, allison thawed out and made me get as close as i could to him with the camera so we could prove he was there. we both decided it would be best if i went downstairs and tattled on our gecko for being in our room. at the time, this sounded like a great idea, so i ran out the door with our camera, and headed down to talk to someone that spoke no english and sucked at charades.

the old guy behind the counter (ogbc) was sitting there and didn’t look too excited to see me. when i pulled out the camera, he got a little more interested. i asked him if he spoke english, and he smiled, which i’ve come to realize, means “no.” i zoomed in on the little gecko and pointed at it, pointed straight up, and then said, “my room!” he smiled again. dammit, no help. i did the same thing again, he started to get it, and our game of charades began. i kind of tried to tell him that i thought i had three options. i shrugged my shoulders telling him i wasn’t exactly sure what i should do. first, i pretended to smash the gecko in my camera (my way of asking if i should kill it, which I really didn’t want to do at all), then i pretended to pick it up with my hands and hopped over to the door (my way of asking if I should catch and release it), and finally, i pretended to just look at it and then smiled and waved at it as i walked away (my way of ignoring it). turns out i suck at charades, not him. i’m sure that if someone was watching me, like the ten year old big boned boy on the other side of the lobby was, they would have thought I was crazy. the ogbc, was really confused and all of a sudden he started telling me that i owed him pent. next drew me a picture of a clock with two arrows going up and down, with the words “SEE” on it. whoa, back up. what? turns out he is terrible at pictionary, not charades. next thing I know, he is up on the chair, showing me how the minute hand of the clock can move counterclockwise. i’m lost, he’s on a chair, and the big boy in the corner is staring at us with his mouth on the floor. fortunately, this is where my knight in shining armor shows up and saves the day.

i felt a hand on my shoulder and a 60 year old man named peter from NE china is smiling at me with crooked teeth, and saying “hello,” (in english!) he proceeds to translate what the ogbc was trying to tell me. first, he was telling me that we owe him “pent,” which i soon found out means “rent.” when he was standing on the chair, spinning the clock, he was trying to tell me that our garage door stays open for “35 hours” when we press the button, which ended up actually being “35 seconds,” once peter realized he was getting his hours and seconds confused. i showed peter the picture of our little friend and he told me we couldn’t catch it, and it was my “little pet.” i told him i was going to name it brian, which made him laugh really hard, and he said brian was a good name and but he would go away soon. all problems solved now. i don’t owe pent, our pet brian is going to hang out and eat our bugs (so says mom) for a while, and our garage door stays open for 35 seconds if we press the button. but, best of all, I have a new friend! peter lived in LA for 13 years and has been back in taiwan for 2 years. he told me to call him from the front desk if we ever need anything translated and he would see me a lot, which made me excited all over. when I told him my wife would be excited to meet him too, he asked what part of taiwan she was from, and was pretty surprised to hear she wasn’t from taiwan. he walked me through the rain to my elevator door and held his umbrella up for me the whole time while shuffling along with a cane, we said goodbye (best buds already, right?), and i headed upstairs to tell Allison about my 15 minute adventure. whew. be back tomorrow with shorter stories and hopefully not as many spelling and grammatical errors.

thanks to allison for making this cool picture!

(drinking a guinness foreign extra and listening to blind pilot. check them out.)



  1. that is so perfectly taiwanese. i'm glad you're settling right in! peter will be invaluable and your charades will be spot-on in a few days. too bad you're not meat eaters, i have seen some hilaaaarious charades for various meats.
    have fun! check out the noodle aisle in carrefour, it will blow.your.mind.

  2. That was a fantastic story! You seriously had me laughing out loud. I'm so glad you started this blog, not only for the rest of us, but so you and Allison can look back at all of these little interactions and laugh!

  3. that's great.
    careful though, those little friends aren't as stable as they look. they are known to plop right off the ceiling onto heads...

  4. Glad you guys made it safe and sound, LOVED the story, give the Gecko a pet for me, I've always wanted to see a Gecko

  5. geckos are cool, don't harm them, they are harmless. but on the other hand, beware for the giant spiders that are around the size of a child's hand, those are pretty scary, also, don't be surprised about cockroaches, you'll see them everywhere, so stock up on pest sprays.

  6. you'll be glad to know that brian continues to startle us every day. thanks for the comment buddha. will keep our eye out for spiders (just don't tell my wife they're here. of course, she'll read this, but oh well)