Let's play catch-up first. My birthday was super fun.
I went to Debbie's for breakfast with a few of the girls. Then I went home and researched vacations for about four hours. Then I went to the book store at Taipei 101, Page One, for three hours.
I love book stores and I wish I could go to them more often. Unfortunately, the book store in Taoyuan that I know only has one shelf of English books and they're almost all books that have been made into movies.
Page One is a dream though. It has walls upon walls of English books. It has tons of classics and modern books. It has travel books. It has everything I need. Well, mostly. The only problem is, books here tend to be really expensive.
So I spent three hours looking through the classics and then sitting on the floor in the travel section and reading about European countries I want to go to. I ended up buying a few classics: Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne; Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov; Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger; and The Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka.
That night, a few of us went to Chili's for a birthday dinner which included margaritas and queso among some of my other favorites. I know, it's kind of lame to choose an American chain — especially one I used to work for — when I live in Taiwan and probably could have had some amazing Chinese food. But I was seriously craving Mexican food and Chili's is the closest I could come.
We walked out so stuffed many of us thought we might explode.
The rest of the week since then has been pretty calm. Katie's back from Laos so I'm not all alone anymore. But I am considering adding Laos to my big trip that I'm taking this summer.
Other things to note are the crazy dreams I've been having this week. I don't know what the deal is but Tuesday morning I woke up after I had a dream that there was a massive earthquake.
I realize that I have woken up before during earthquakes and they were real, but this one most certainly was not. I think I was actually rocking back and forth in my sleep because it felt so real. (Yes, I checked to see if there had even been a minor earthquake that morning and there hadn't.) Either way, in my dream the building was rocking back and forth so much it was reaching nearly 30 degree angles — I'm pretty sure that's not even feasible. Meanwhile I was clutching my bed trying not to fall out of my open window.
Weird I know. We haven't even had a significant earthquake in awhile so I'm not sure where that came from.
The other weird dream was just last night and this one mostly makes sense.
In the dream I'm doing my scuba certification with Emil and Jon and suddenly I run out of air. I grab one of their alternate air sources and start breathing but for some reason in my dream it is customary to then render the person using the alternate air source (ahem, me) essentially paralyzed. Apparently there is a way in my dream for them to disconnect my brain from my body so that I'm able to just float around behind whoever I'm getting air from. (Note: I'm pretty sure the paralysis portion came from watching Glee last night. If you've seen it you'll know what I mean.)
Unfortunately, this isn't even the weirdest part.
So rather than immediately beginning to make an ascent since I'm out of air and using their air, they keep floating around and taking pictures and what not. Then a shark comes along. They start to try to swim away (which if I remember correctly is not exactly the procedure) and they get all angry when I can't swim on my own because they paralyzed me.
Then someone (it's unclear who) kills the shark. After killing the shark, they tie it to them with the intention of taking it back with us. (This is so not anyone in this groups style by they way. You don't kill marine life while you're diving.) Then a few minutes later it turns out the shark isn't dead and it wakes up and tries to eat me.
That's about the time I woke up.
I thought I was pretty much settled up on all the anxieties that I knew would come with diving. I mean, sure it's going to be pretty scary at first and there are lots of things that could go wrong, but overall I've decided that most of those things are unlikely as long as you follow the guidelines and are smart about things. I've also decided that those risks are pretty much outweighed by the fact that I will be breathing underwater and getting to see so many beautiful things that most people never see.
Hopefully this doesn't mean I'm going to freak out when I get in the water.