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So� I guess everyone is wondering what happened this weekend� I mean �why did I not post anything about the Chinese New Year??� Well, all I have to say is that I had a lot of fun going back to Auburn for the Chinese New Year. It really felt like a traditional New Years celebration. I think the only thing that was missing was firecrackers.

So here is what happened.

Friday 01/31/2003

I took a half day of PTO, so I can get back to Auburn in time for dinner. We tried to get to the airport as quickly as possible. Well, at least I was hoping if we get there early enough my be we will get upgraded to first class. Well, that was not the case. Anyway� we arrived in Atlanta around 4:30 pm CST. My girl friend Hsiu Hsiu was there to pick us up. I took the keys and drive back to auburn. We got to Auburn just a little over 6 pm CST. When we walked in the door, everyone was already there. My parents have invited 9 other guests. It was a very warm and happy event. Of course the food was great. My mom cooked over a dozen different dishes. It was a very, very, complete Chinese dinner.

After dinner, we all stayed around and watched a very funny Hong Kong movie called �Conman 2002�. Now, after that comes the fun part. So what happened? Well, after most of our guest left, my mom, dad, sister, girlfriend, and I sit down and started a game of Mahjong. Well, it is sort of a Chinese tradition to stay up waiting for the New Year and play games like Mahjong. Anyway, I was extremely lucky that night. Pretty much which ever tiles I need or want I can draw it from the pool. In one instance, I even got a same suite, self draw, and it was my 3 continue as the bank!!! For those of you don�t know what that means, it means everyone pays me ton of money � hee hee hee� Ok ok� I have to give Hsiu Hsiu most of the credit� she was sitting next to me the entire night, giving me guidance on what to play�so I guess� she was my lucky charm �right? So after around 12:30 or 1, we finally finished 4 rounds.

Saturday 02/01/2003

Well, Saturday was another interesting day. First, let�s give a moment of silence to the crew of the space shuttle Columbia. It was a very tragic day for the US space program, but I am sure that the space program will continue. So when did you find out about Columbia? Well, I was picking up my girlfriend on Saturday to go to lunch with my family for my sister�s birthday, when I heard the shocking news. Yep, my little sister is turning 20� can you believe that? Anyway, we went to Red Lobster � the lunch was great. Afterward, I went over to Hsiu Hsiu�s place to prepare for the Chinese student association�s new years banquet. The banquet was nice� it was a lot smaller then I remembered. I guess it is because there are less and less Taiwan students in Auburn now days. {sigh} But going back to Auburn University, brings back a lot of memories. So after dinner� guess what� Mahjong again�. Well, tonight, I was not so lucky� but I still did not loose that much�

Sunday 02/02/2003

Time to head home� Well, I slept very well on Sunday. Why? It might be because I stayed up so late for the last couple of nights. Anyway, got up around 10 � head to mass around 10:30 and we were back around 12:00� called up Hsiu Hsiu for lunch at my parents� around 2� we heading to Atlanta for my plane ride back home� Houston home that is. So I finally walked back in my home in Houston around 8:30 or so last night. And that concludes my new year�s weekend� so how did you spend your Chinese New year??

Well, Guys and Gals… my big adventure back to Taiwan is not complete. I am back home after another long long trip through the air. It was another 24 hours travel day. There were couple of thing differen on the return trip. First, on our return trip we went over the pacific and over alaska, instead of over Greenland and asia area. So in short, I guess you can say that we circle the globe on this trip to Taiwan. Second, I had to visit my good old friends at the INS again when I reenter in to the US. Well, it was quite interesting. Both Hsiu Hsiu and I got call in to the special INS office to be questioned. For some reason, we were concidered suspisious. After being questioned for about 5 mins, asking anything from when is your birthday to did you go anywhere else besides taiwan and when was the last time you are in the US. I finally got an answer to why we were concidered suspisious. for some reason, the INS computer shows that our tickets to Taiwan were purchased in Bangkok. Bangkok? we never even been to Bangkok. We purchased our tickets from a travel agent in Atlanta. Anyway, after showing the INS officers all the documentations proving that we purchase our tickets in Atlanta and not Bangkok. We were cleared. Special thanks to Hsiu Hsiu for keeping up with all the travel documents. I would have never though about bringing all those stuff. I will now. Third event that was different on the return trip. Hsiu Hsiu got upgraded to first class on the last leg of our trip from Newark to Houston. Woo Hoo!! Yep Hsiu Hsiu got to spend 3 hours in First class hobnobing with all the rich folks. She says the food and service was better then economy, but it still can’t compare to Cathay Pacific’s economy class. It makes you wonder what’s CP’s Business or First Class like? Hummm….

Finally, when we finally got to Houston, I though the adventure was over, but I was wrong. After we picked up our luggage, we went to call for a taxis. One would think that would be an easy task. Well, in Houston, Texas, it is not an easy task. Last night, there were a line at the taxis stand. That’s really no big deal, until about 6 or 7 taxis showed up and no one was moving. For some reason there some confusion so the cab were not moving and the people were not loading up. So we ended up with about 2 lines. One line of people wanting to get in to a cab and another line of cabs wanting people to get on. How stupid. Only in Houston will you see something is stupid. Anyway, after about 30-45 mins of trying to get a taxis we finally got one and were on our way home.

Well… it is good to be home. I will try to work on a page just for the Taiwan trip sometime soon.

Hello Everybody… I am now here in Taipei, Taiwan after over 24 hours of travel. The experience was very interesting. In short, it was very tiring, but a good trip. There are couple of things at I have learned on this trip. First, do not fly on a Boeing 777 aircraft for any 16 hour trips. Even though, it is the newest and the best in its technology, it is actually pretty small plane. The seats were not comfortable. The food was bad. The service was bad. There was no stretching room to walk around on the plane. And the video games on the Entertainment system sucks. 16 hours on a 777 was very, very painful. Second thing I�ve learned, the services aboard American airline companies are no comparison to others around the world. From Hong Kong to Taipei, we rode on Cathay Pacific Airline and my goodness it was incredible. It was only about 1 � hour flight, maybe even a little bit shorter then the flight from Houston to Atlanta, but the services on board was incredible. I can say this, their service in the coach section was better than my experience in first class from Houston to Atlanta in the US. I mean for such a short flight we actually got a full dinner and it is real food. Once again, the service was incredible. Finally, the third thing that I have learned, when flying over north poll around December, watch out for Santa.

Our trip from Houston started on Dec 14, 2002 4:00 am. From my house in downtown Houston, we caught a taxi to IAH. After about 2 hours of waiting and processing, we were finally on our way to Newark, NJ. The fight to Newark was not bad at all. Now, the so called �breakfast� on board needs a little improvement. Yeah, I mean, one banana and special K. umm umm� The Newark airport was very new and very, very sharp. We had about an hour to walk to our international terminal, which was only couple of terminals down. It gave us plenty of time to grab some real food. Around 12 pm we boarded the flight toward Hong Kong. When I first got aboard the 777, I did not know what I was about to go through. I thought� cool� your own personal tv and game center. This will be wonderful. After waking up after a �long� nap, I�ve realized that I still have 12 hours of flying time to go. That is when I realized, �man! It �s a long flight!� There were only about 8 different channels of programming on the mini tv on the airplane. 8 channel�s is not bad, but their program were only about 3-4 hours long each. This mean they repeat. So on the flight to Hong Kong, I�ve watched Austin Power�s Goldmember for about 3 � 4 times. About 10 hours in to the flight, I didn�t want to eat anymore. My legs were tired from sitting, Hsiu Hsiu was tired. All I wanted to do was to get to Hong Kong and get to Taipei. When we finally got to Hong Kong, we only had an hour to get to our flight and the terminal was not close at all. Luckily, there was a Cathay agent waiting for us at the arriving gate. See, once again, SERVICE. She was wonderful, she ran us down to the ticket counter, got our boarding passes and rushed us through to the departing gate. During the meantime, I got stopped by the Hong Kong airport security for random check. But it was quickly processed through because of harassment from our Cathay agent. When we got to the boarding terminal, they were originally going to break Hsiu Hsiu and my seats up, because of our arrival time, but we told time that we would like to be seated together. They went on the plane made some seats exchange and got us some seats next to each other. Service!! After a short flight of one and a half hours, we landed in Taiwan. It was very strange entering Taiwan as an American (non-citizen), but in some ways it was quicker process. How strange right?

Well, after we got our luggage, we waited for Hsiu Hsiu�s parents to arrive to pick her up. This was my first time meeting her parents. After greeting her parents, which I hope I made an ok impression, and helping Hsiu load her stuff in the car. We said good bye and I am off to my grandmother�s place. On the way back home my uncle took me to a �goat soup� place for some night snack. It sounds pretty nasty, but it was very awesome. The foods here are great!! So after about 27 hours of travel, I am finally here in Taipei. My uncle was nice and gave me a cell phone to use while I am in Taiwan. Well, everyone has one here so� I am off to bed and the adventure begins tomorrow!!!

Atlanta got to have the worst airport ever. I mean, it doesn’t really have a bad design, but try really have air traffic issues. For some reason anytime there is any inconsistancy in the weather in Atlanta, there will be delays. Hsiu Hsiu suppose to be arriving around 8:28pm today, but now ending up arriving around 9:44pm. I don’t know if she will actually arrive around that time or not. I really hope so.

It was a fun day yesterday. I got a chance to spend some time with my Auburn buddies and watch the Auburn UGA game. Well… we lost. Why? … because we suck!!! … nah.. we don’t suck that bad. We just can’t play on the second half…. so do we still have a chance to go to the SEC championship? Hell Yeah…. this is what needs to happen… LSU needs to lose one more game and then beat Arkansas. Oh and Auburn has to beat Alabama… that’s not too hard right? Well, if that happens we will go the the extra game in Atlanta. WAR EAGLE. So what else been going on this weekend? Well, nothing much really … I am just sitting around and really enjoying my new home. It is wonderful.

DOH! The Atlanta Braves lost 🙁

I finally got a response around 7:50 and the answer is “Oops, it seems like we made a mistake, but we can’t help you to fix it either. You will have to get your ass back to the south boy… back to Atlanta.” Ok, maybe that was not exactly what they said, but the point is they can’t do anything about it and they are sending me back to Atlanta to get processed. What really gets me is that, when I asked them what they need to verified me and put the seal on the certificate. They responded, �We will need to verify all document such as court records to show that you are a citizen.� So I asked, �Can you not do that through the computer?� They replied, �No!� By this time I am all fired up and I asked, �So if someone get in to something and need a citizenship verification, you guys will actually call all the INS around the country to see if that person is a citizen or not?� They answered, �Oh no, we do that through the computer.� � ??? � ???? � what the heck? �So what does the computer say about my status?� I asked. �The computer says you are a citizen�. �So why can I not get a seal and a date on my certificate? � �Because this was processed through Atlanta and you can only get it done in Atlanta!… sorry.�

Is it just me or does it make sense to everyone else??

It has been a crazy weekend. I have driven over 600 miles. Let see Friday I went back to Auburn. Saturday, I went to Birmingham and then headed for Huntsville, where Donovan got married. After the wedding we went to the reception and headed back. Boy, I have to say� Hsiu Hsiu was hot! 😉 The weekend was over all too short. And now I am back to work� it has been busy, busy, and busy. Oh guess what I saw in the ATL airport�. I saw a Ginger� or the �it � people mover. It was very awesome!!

Well, Guess what? I finally talked to someone in the INS help line. And what did they say? They told me to go to the INS office in Houston… in short it means … “Get in line, bitch!” Well, I just hope when I get to the INS office in Houston, they don’t tell me “sorry, you have to go back to Atlanta.” So… I guess I will plan for a trip to North Houston tomorrow morning.

INS sucks!!! Why do they suck? Well, humm.. where do I start? Let�s start with my citizenship. Well, since I got my US citizenship, I figure why not go ahead and get my passport. Couple days ago, I got a letter from the passport office denying my application, because my naturalization certificate was not valid. So I ask myself� �What? How could that be?� After reading the letter from the passport office and reviewing my certificate, they were correct. INS forgot to put a INS seal and a date on my certificate. So what does this mean? I don�t know what it means? Does it mean I am not a citizen?

Today, I try to contact INS to see where I need to go to clear this up? Either Houston, Atlanta, or Montgomery, either way it will probably cost more money and time. I try to find and number to call and the only number I can find is there national hotline. �Hey, that�s no biggie, I will just give them a call and they will tell me where to go.� When I called, I get this huge list of menu which nothing really helps. Here is the kicker, when I finally found the right option to push, it told me to hold on and my call is very important, and my call Will be answered in the order which it was received. But shortly after that message, it gave me another message saying that all of the agents are busy please call back at a different time and then �Thank you for calling INS� Click!� Those punks hung up on me! Just like that, they hung up on me. I guess I will have to call back � I mean what else can I do? Well, I love how efficient and friendly our government is.

July 3rd has been a really really busy day… I was in Atlanta all day. BTW Braves 6 Expos 5…. Go Braves!!!!! I guess I will talk more about it tomorrow.

Too tired now…..

Happy 4th of July!!!