Upon our return at the beginning of August the weather in Taiwan was in its last summer month of very hot, humid sweltering heat. It was also typhoon season with plenty of rain. Getting our dogs outside was very seldom and it also was very laboring for them as it was taxing their breathing in the heat. But September was like a light switch. Lower humidity and the change of season in the air gave way for more time spent outside with our dogs. Sunnier and drier days are here now and are spent on most late afternoons in one of Taichung’s major city parks, called The
People’s Park in downtown Taichung. It is a 10 minute scooter ride from our home. It has a great lawn and it is very popular for letting dogs and dog owners congregate together and also popular for non dog owners for dog watching as well as allowing them to get close and personal with them.
Most of the late afternoons I am alone with the dogs as Sintty volunteers her time at Tzu Chi events. But for the last 2 month now I have been using
the opportunity and taking the dogs to the People’s Park to practice using my Mandarin Chinese. It is very hard to strike up a conversation with someone on the street, but when I am in the park with the dogs, our dogs
are very popular and they are constantly being approached to play and inquire about them. This have given me the conversational practice that I was seeking and it has been extremely beneficial to me. By hearing the same type of questions about the dogs or about myself, has given me the repetition of the word sounds and the ability to quickly recognize and
understand what I am being asked. It has also slowly given me the confidence to answer and the ability to speak a little bit, and a little bit more each time than the conversation before. I get to meet even more people every day now. Besides local Taichung residents that I am meeting, I am also meeting other people who are visiting out of town from other areas of Taiwan as Taichung is a popular city to visit. I am very proud when I am told that my Mandarin is not bad for having learned 6 months worth. Being back here 4 months now and being immersed in hearing Chinese 24-7 has really helped.