Taiwan summers can be unbearably hot, not because of the temperature, but because of the humidity. Sweating is the worst.

One of the best things I ever bought in Taiwan was a huge inflatable pool from Costco for 100usd.

The first time I tried to fill up the pool I didn’t know what I was doing. But who needs instructions when you already know everything? It’s just an inflatable pool, right?

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Turns out, if you don’t smooth the bottom before putting water in there, it will end up wrinkly, lopsided, and pretty useless. I figured it would straighten out by itself.

Nope.

This is the pool after my first attempt to fill it:

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It began to rain immediately, of course.

After wasting a small pond of water, and flooding the already poorly draining balcony, I managed to get it right. It was the smartest thing I ever purchased for my home.

I wasn’t really working much at the time because I didn’t want to overexert myself creating things like financial stability.

Relaxation! Poverty! Tan skin! What a life!

Olivia and I bought a charcoal barbecue and would grill steak, veggies, and drink mojitos all day and lounge in our pool.

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Me, in action. – Olivia Wycech’s Photo

Each tenant’s space on Song Jiang Lu was separated by small fences. So if someone is out watering plants, you have a full view of what the other is doing.

I was sunning myself in the pool when I spotted one of my neighbors. He was about 300-400 years old and in my other neighbors garden watering their plants.

I really liked that guy.

I got out and went over to have a chat. I started speaking to him in Mandarin and he kept looking around uncomfortably. I remembered he liked to practice his English with me so I switched, but he was still visibly pained by the conversation.

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I thought to myself,”Oh how sweet, he’s nervous!! I just need to encourage him more”. I relentlessly continued the conversation, smiling away and asking him lots of questions.

He acted like he was in some huge rush, dumping tidal waves of water on these tiny plants like there was no tomorrow.

The little foliage was falling from its’s shelves because  he was creating a tsunami while anxiously fumbling around, trying to stand them upright.

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Me, watching my neighbor.

I couldn’t understand why he kept doing this.

Slow down buddy, it’s all good!

I thought it best to lean far over the fence to help him. He still refused to look at me, staring at the floor and the plants. I persisted, helpful as ever.

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Me, handling this situation.

After a good ten minutes of this, I looked down and realized my left boob was completely exposed.

Subsequently, all our interactions had no eye contact, and awkward hellos while looking at the floor. We never rode in the elevator together again.

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You can see some of the neighbor’s plants behind me – Olivia Wycech’s Photo