Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Second year in Taiwan

I have been in Taiwan two years now. I think my second year was much better than my first year.

My second year I decided to focus on my lock picks and jewelry work. It was a slow start a year ago, I was disorganized with my work routine, and I broke my arm on my Onewheel in October which prevented me from doing metal work for about three months. I started back up with lock pick making in February and it has been going very well since then. I have almost everything I need to make whatever picks I want, and I have made something of a work routine for myself. I work on several picks at once, with a couple at each stage of completion. I do work inside at the bench during the week, and the messy work (grinding, polishing) outside on the weekend. I also recently realized I can bring lights outside and work in the dark if I have to. It's not that bad. 

I do have a one problem. Because of covid, the mail is running slower. At first things were consistently taking 3-4 weeks. But a few months ago it started getting really unpredictable. One package took 3 months. While waiting for that, other packages that were mailed after it arrived. My little milling machine was mailed in two packages at the same time and same place, one took two weeks, the other has taken about two months so far. This is such a problem for me because I have almost run out of wood for pick handles. I received some of my wood this week, but I'm still waiting on my mill parts so I can prepare the wood. So far I have had to turn down orders for about 15 picks by people who wanted sets. I don't have enough of any one type of wood left to make a matching set. 

During winter vacation I went to Japan. Flew to Fukuoka, then went by train through Yamaguchi, Shimane, Tottori Prefectures, spent a little time in Osaka and flew back to Taiwan from there. I traveled through what some people call the most boring part of the country because I am trying to visit every prefecture in Japan. Right now I have visited a little over half of the prefectures. Not long after that public school teachers and students were prohibited from international travel due to the coronavirus. 

This summer I started picking locks again. I hadn't picked a lock in a couple years, and it had been a long time since I was doing it regularly. I am enjoying it again, but its kind of difficult to find standard pin tumbler locks here. I don't want to buy too many from the US because they are so heavy and will be expensive to ship. 

I spent summer vacation in Taiwan. I could have visited the US this summer, but I would have had to be in quarantine for two weeks when I returned. I didn't want to spend my time like that so I stayed here. I took a 12 day trip around the island on my scooter. First driving down the west side of the country, then back up the east coast. It was a tiring trip, but I'm glad I did it.

At the start of the spring semester I quit most of my Mandarin study. Beyond things like ordering food, I rarely need it and I have no Taiwanese friends to use it with. I also want to spend more time on my metal work. I still study characters, but that's all. 

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