As of today, I have been living in Penghu for 3 weeks. Notice that on has changed to in, that’s because I have a habit of getting it all a little wrong sometimes, so when it comes to whether one lives in or on Penghu, apparently it’s in. So I stand corrected, I live in Penghu.
And whilst we’re on the subject of habits, I have another: a habit of naming inanimate objects. Trust me, this information is relevant. There have been suitcases named Boris and Gwen, a camera called Colin and an automatic pool cleaner named Bill, to name a few. Those who know me personally will attest to this little idiosyncrasy without protest, yes I know it’s strange, but hey that’s me.
With that done, I shall get down to the business of life in Penghu 3 weeks on.
First order of the day is Francine. Remember I said I name inanimate objects? Well Francine is a rather flash, 100cc Kimco moped, or maybe I should say motorcycle (let’s not have another on or in Penghu moment) that I purchased a week ago. Our relationship didn’t get off to a good start, not that Francine did anything wrong, it was all about me. You see I have always had a fear of two-wheeled motorised transportation that I would have to control, but put me on the back and it’s okay. I know, weird. On many overseas adventures, my wonderful ex husband, (yes he’s still wonderful despite being the ex) and I would often hire a bike, and I would willingly jump on the back and enjoy the ride. Yet the thought of being in control was something that sent shivers through my body. So as much as Francine looked quite lovely and she behaved brilliantly when Asha (fellow teacher) took her for a spin, I was still somewhat reluctant to take control.
Frightened would be an understatement, mortally terrified would be a more apt description of how I felt when the time came to mount Francine. Adding to my fear, I had to ride through the centre of town on my first foray into two-wheeled motorised ownership as Asha and I had arrived together on her bike to collect Francine. As a result we had two bikes, so someone had to ride Francine home didn’t they?
A solution to my dilemma was thankfully at hand. Asha decided we would ride together on Francine to a nearby car park and have a quick lesson. Once I felt confident (cough, splutter) we would return to collect her bike, then we would ride home separately.
Sounds simple hey? And as much as I would love to relay some hilarious mishap relating to my lesson, I can’t, as much to my surprise, it actually went smoothly. After about 15 minutes of scooting around the car park I felt quite comfortable. Francine behaved beautifully and we began to bond.
One week later we have definitely bonded and I’m left to wonder why I had never addressed my fear of riding a motorbike previously. I really enjoy it. I can mix it up with the locals, even manoeuvering Francine through the mix of humanity and motorbikes that descend upon the daily market. A challenging, yet highly exhilarating experience.
Buying Francine has also given me the opportunity to head out-of-town, along narrow roads with only cows and the odd villager for company. It heralds a different kind of exhilaration and the kind that comes with being at one with myself: no expectations, no destination and open to discovery. Francine and I did that very thing yesterday. We rode along quiet roads, through remote villages to find stunning beaches and small harbours where aging fishing boats rocked gently upon azure waters.
My three weeks in Penghu have definitely allowed me to make many discoveries and many changes. Not just about this interesting island I now call home, more importantly, I’ve made them about myself. It’s a good feeling.
On a final note though, some things will never change, my need to name inanimate objects. And with that being said, my computer and constant companion here in Penghu (apart from Francine of course) is without a name.
p.s. She is a white MacBook 😉