Motivated by the Dragon Boat Festival

A Taiwanese tamale, usually enjoyed around the Dragon Boat Festival

Due to various factors, I haven’t posted here in more two than months, and I started to feel this inner restlessness that is so typical for me. That’s the reason why I spontaneously decided to again write something down.

Especially the stand that since April I have been renting monthly at the traditional market where I started to sell my own food a year ago, has kept me extremely busy.

That first month I worked every day, promoting two new types of German bread that I began offering on request by some of my clients, who probably never liked the soft, oily and sweet Taiwanese version.

Although I have always been an early riser, soon I realized that getting up around five in the morning each day was wearing me out quite fast. That’s why I cut it down to five days in May.

Besides the increasing tiredness, I had to learn that a constant presence isn’t necessarily good for business. Customers might take your products for granted and keep postponing a planned purchase or even end up not buying anything if you give them too much freedom.

Nevertheless, it was an unpleasant surprise that even with two “free days” I still felt overworked and burnt out, hardly without time for many issues that I needed or wanted to take care of.

So, in the end I decided that from June on I would set up my tailor-made, extra high folding table with its flamboyant red cloth only from Saturday to Tuesday.

I ultimately got the feeling that I had at least some time for myself and would get a bit of accumulated work off my back. Further positive results are that I went to swim for the first time since last year’s frustrating experience and that I’m now typing this article.

Another seemingly endless project, which recently also took a lot of time, finally came to a good end: on June 13th, my 56th birthday, I was able to self-publish my first book, Ein Preuße in Taiwan (A Prussian in Taiwan).

It’s a compilation of anecdotes about Taiwan, published during four months in a German online publication, and various background stories about how I got involved with Chinee culture almost 38 years ago.

Last Thursday we celebrated the Dragon Boat Festival, one of the four most relevant traditional Chinese holidays, which falls on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, and commemorates the death of Qu Yuan (c. 340 BC – 278 BC), an ancient poet who drowned himself out of despair about his homeland, the state of Chu.

I originally wanted to take advantage of the opportunity and try to make some extra money the day of the festivity with my usual stock of bread, salads, meat balls, and even olive oil.

But as I had been warned that most Taiwanese would stick to the seasonal Zongzi, a dish made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo leaves, similar in appearance to a Central American tamale, I decided to keep a low profile.

In the end, my limited offer that day was quite successful and I sold out quickly. Most likely I could have profited more of the occasion, though better safe than sorry!


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