It is sooo friggin' HOT here today ... UGH!
Anyway, I'm leaving in less than two days, so this will be my last blog entry until I get back to the States. I knew Taiwan wouldn't let me go without a fight, and today was like the Battle Royale. So, I went to school to pick up my last installment of scholarship money ... I get to the cashier's office, and they didn't have any cash!!! Hello?!?! Grrr ... fortunately, I bitched at them long enough and told them I wasn't leaving until they gave me my money, so they went and found some, thank Buddha. Then, I went to complete the rest of the steps to "officially" graduate, which meant running around to a few more offices to get my form stamped, and then finally to the Office of Graduate Studies, where they gave me my diploma (Chinese and English copies) and transcripts. So, now I OFFICIALLY have my M.A. degree, and they even spelled my English name correctly on my diploma! WOO-HOO! :graduated:
After that, I went to the bank to close out my account and get my money exchanged. I managed to get most of my deposit back from my landlady last night, which was no easy task. Even though I'd told her days in advance that I needed my deposit back on Tuesday night, she didn't have the money ... and then acted surprised that I wanted my deposit back! Again ... HELLO?!?!?! Why would I not be wanting nearly US$1,000 of MY money back?!?! But, she finally wrote out a check (which is weird in and of itself, because Taiwanese usually only deal in cash), and only deducted about US$180 worth for utilities and the first week's rent for July -- which she had originally said she wasn't going to charge me for, but I was so tired and annoyed that I didn't feel like squabbling about it.
So, I go to the bank today to take care of all my "money stuff," and since I was already at the school, I went to the branch that is right across the street from my university. BTW, my landlady and I bank with the same bank, ChinaTrust, so I didn't think getting her check cashed there would be a problem. Well ... I was wrong. First, let me say, that Taiwan is NOT a third world country, especially when it comes to finance and technology. However, you can only cash a check at the same branch of a bank where the account is located ... even though it's the SAME FRIGGIN' BANK!!! Once again ... HELLO?!?! So, I had to go all the way to the branch where my landlady's account was, because I obviously couldn't wait three days for the check (from the same bank) to "clear."
Anyway, I was there for almost two hours to close out my account and exchange my money for American dollars (combination of cash and an international money order). It was a royal pain in the ass, and I was NOT a happy Buddha. The only good news is that the exchange rate was better than I'd expected, so I ended up with a little more money than I'd originally planned on having. After that, I had to walk (in the excruciating heat) to the branch of the post office where I'd opened my account with them (yes, the post office in Taiwan has its own bank, and since I worked for the government, I had to have a separate account with them). Fortunately, closing out my account with them was painless.
I still have several hundred dollars worth of money in NTD (New Taiwanese Dollars) which I'm keeping on hand for "unexpected expenses" (Buddha only knows what Taiwan will try throwing at me before it lets me leave!), but I can exchange that little bit when I get to the airport ... unless, as places in Taiwan are prone to do, the money exchange counter is closed for no apparent reason. *sigh*
But, all that aside, almost everything is done now. I still have a little more packing to do, and tomorrow I have to drop by work for a little while to help them out with something (they paid me extra for doing that, in advance), and my last task will to be to shut off my phone and DSL line. Before I do that, however, I will try to post Ch. 22 of SOOTB, providing that I can get Ch. 23 finished today. So, barring any unforeseen problems, it should hopefully be posted on Wednesday night (US Eastern time).
I'll be leaving on Friday morning (Thursday night US time), and arriving late Friday night (US time) back on the East Coast. So, I'll be out of touch for a few days. If anything happens (at this point, who knows?!), I'll get in touch with Kitty and she can let everyone know if there's a delay, or a freak typhoon, or whatever.
Anywho, that's it ... I'll check back in once I'm safe and sound back in the good ol' US of A!
to everyone ... and extra big hugs to Kitty, Vancey, Benny, and Birdie!