So it's Wednesday and I'm really happy because I get to wash my hair today!!! Saturday I got it permanently straightened and they said not to wash or get it wet for 3 days. It got pretty oily the 2nd day so I'm super glad now.
This weekend I don't get to pack for America because we're going on a company trip to Gukeng county to see the biggest amusement park in Taiwan. Originally we were going to Hualien (really beautiful nature) but now I'm not so enthusiastic. We have to meet at 6:30am on Saturday. UGH! And a 4 hour bus ride, as opposed to a much shorter train ride there. Then on Sunday I have to lead the whole group in an exercise dance. I'm working on my "vacation!!!!" AAAAH! Sorry, I'm complaining. I need to let it out somewhere. I'm really worried I won't have fun because it doesn't sound like all the activities we'll be doing will be relaxing, plus I would never want to go to an amusement park.
So it's not a surprise to some, but I've decided to stay in Taiwan for another year. I'm nowhere near being fluent in Chinese and I haven't seen all the cool places in Taiwan. So I'm postponing grad school and staying at my current job. I'm going back to America for Christmas and I'll be there until New Years. So if you're free and in my area (you should know where), let me know so we can visit! :)
I had a nice Thanksgiving with my fellow teachers at Xin Hu this past Sunday. We ordered turkey, gravy, and stuffing from a local hotel. Everyone brought a dish to share: mashed potatoes, pies, cranberry sauce... It was pretty good. The week before I was smell-hallucinating about turkey and gravy.
After we gorged ourselves, we played charades and talked about what we were thankful for. :) So I helped me feel better about missing Thanksgiving at home.
Friday evening we took a High Speed Rail Train to Hualien City and checked into our hotel for the night. I got to feel my first earthquake ever in the shower. It was so small I thought I was just remembering what it felt like in the train.
Early the next morning we rented a scooter drove to Taroko gorge! It was raining since the day before so we wore ponchos and still got soaked. Here's the gate to the gorge:
Our first stop was the Eternal Springs Shrine, dedicated to the many people who lost their lives building the road through the gorge. It was really pretty (but small). A spring runs underneath it, and it's had to be rebuilt three times because of rockslides.
Then we headed to Bulowan, the aboriginal settlement in the gorge. It's all commercialized now, but the idea was still good.
The tribe is called Atayal and they're famous for their weaving techniques. We got to see an old woman weaving inside their museum. Out behind the lower village we went on the Swallow Gr…
So today at my school there was a raid from the government, and, for some reason, it's illegal for foreigners to teach kindergarten in Taiwan. So everytime this happens, the teachers have to book it outside the back and wait until it's safe to come back inside. I didn't hear the announcement because I was in the bathroom so I come downstairs and someone gives me the hand motion that means-- go back upstairs there's a raid!!! So I hid in the bathroom for a while... and then I snuck over to an empty classroom and hid in the sliding cupboards where they have spare cots...and I took a nap. ;) Pretty crazy, huh? I love playing hide and seek.
Two weekends ago (I know I'm late to update!!!) Albert and I went to Ying Ge, a small town that's famous for ceramics and pottery. We went to a workshop where we got to glaze cups and actually use a pottery wheel! It was AMAZING! I've always wanted to try it! I tried to make a bowl and it was good until I kept experimenting. So the teacher kinda redid it for me. I love some cool pictures I'll post later!!
The weather is really nice here right now. It's fall and it's cool but not cold. The rain's let up a little bit so I'm happy! This weekend we're going to Taroko Gorge (look it up on google!). It's really beautiful! Lots of hiking and nature. We've been meaning to go since mid-October so I'm glad we're finally getting there!
So this past Halloween our school went ALL out to throw a party for the children and parents. We transformed each classroom into different acitvity rooms, such as eat a donut from a string, haunted house, DIY activites, etc. And the English teachers all had to dress up and dance to Michael Jackson's Thriller. It turned out pretty well I think! I'll upload the video once I get it finished. But for now, here are some pictures!!! Enjoy! Teacher Ted, our host, as a pilot Teacher Kate as a donut queen! Me, as a candy girl Me and my Chinese co-teachers All of us after the show Teacher Katannya as the mummy in the haunted house Teacher Kate, Teacher Leanne (knigth in shining armor), and me Teacher Catherine as a pirate (sorry I didn't get the orientation right!) Teacher James as a sexy vampire, and Teacher Leanne
This past Sunday we went to Ying Ge to check out some pottery and ceramics. We went pretty late in the day so we have to go back to finish, but we walked around the inside of the Ceramics museum. We saw some nice teacups and sets in the giftshop and we ended up buying one.... It looks like jade! Really cool!
Hopefully in a few weeks we might be able to go back! Albert is going on a business trip for a week so I'll be a homebody!
I'll post pictures when I can use a computer with java. (Right now it's too much of a hassle.)
This weekend was pretty fun! It didn't end up raining (luckily) and I got to do something both days. Saturday I worked and saw a french film with Albert! Les Aventures Extraordinaires d'Adele Blanc-Sec! It was super crazy and funny and I loved it! It's set in the 20th century with teradaktyls (sp), and French speaking mummies and a whole bunch of quirky people. It's worth seeing! especially if you love French.
Sunday I went to San Xia to visit a friend and we had a photoshoot at a hotel.We did our own makeup and hair and clothes and another friend took pictures. I'll post a few when I get the chance.
So yesterday was a national holiday for the Moon and I went to Danshui for the first time! It's a large port city. I got to see the famous Dutch fort San Domingo, the old British Consulate office, and walked around the Old Streets. I tried iron eggs and a-gei. They were both interesting but not my favorites:
"Iron eggs (鐵蛋) are eggs which have been repeatedly stewed in a mix of spices and air dried. The resulting eggs are dark brown, chewy and, about half its initial size. The famous Iron eggs store is Grandma's Tiedan (阿婆鐵蛋) - 135 Zhongzheng Road (Old Street).
A-Gei (阿給) are deep fried tofu that have been stuff with flavoured crystal noodles and sealed with fish paste (surimi). It is often served with a spicy sauce. Many places serve this, but one of the original A-Gei restaurants is on Zhenli St. (真理街) - the last one on the right as you walk up this steep, narrow street." Wikipedia
I'll upload pictures later when I have more time on the computer! It was reall…
This weekend I had my first ever typhoon! I was SO excited. I wanted rain and wind and thunderstorms and blackouts, and a nice relaxing day indoors. (Plus a day off on Monday) But... in Taipei it didn't happen. I guess the mountains surrounding the city kept us from most of the damage. I got to see some rain and some winds. So I'm a little disappointed on that account. The South really got it bad and it created a LOT of damage, so I feel really sorry for them. Here's the story in our newspaper if you want to read more. http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2010/09/20/2003483316
Other than that, I feel really swamped, because I want to do a good job, especially now that I only have to go to one school. There's just a lot to be done. EEEK! But anyways, it's looking nasty outside and I should be going home before it starts raining!!!
So today I encountered a brand new English teacher from America, and, because of him, I'm reminded why we are sometimes called "foreign devils" here. It's because for some people egocentrism gets in the way of cultural sensitivity. This guy was telling a story to a group of English teachers wherein he saw a lizard fall out of a Taiwanese lady's umbrella and into her shirt. She tries to get the lizard out frantically, and this guy's reaction was to stop and laugh. So he tells this story and ends it saying that she now gives him an evil look every time she sees him, but he feels no remorse because, "It was funny."
Now I can't help but get really annoyed at hearing this, because laughing out loud at someone's discomfort is rude in American culture as well as Taiwanese. A mature person should know better, and as a brand new foreigner to the island a little sensitivity and respect for Taiwanese people is a must.
So this happened not last weekend, but a few weekends ago. My computer has been fussy so I couldn't get the pictures up till now. Albert and I went to the Picasso- Manet Art Exhibit in Taipei. It was pretty good! I love going to art exhibits! Right now my hair is CRAZY. It's so thick and poofy on tip and on the bottom layers it's still super straight from when I got it permanently done. After the museum we discovered only the best bookstore: Caves Books! There were a lot of English books about language learning- learning English or Chinese. I bought one on teaching a second language to children. This sculpture was on the way to the museum. It's for the Taipei Flora Exhibition. Every year there's a big show all about flowers. It's going to be awesome!!! Peace out!
My battery fried the motherboard so I don't know when I'll be able to have regular access to a computer again. Albert might let me use his under supervision. :fingers crossed: I'm not really trustworthy with electronics.
On Saturdays I teach teenagers and I learned a little bit about a popular boy band they like. At first I wasn't that interested. I had my NSync and Backstreet Boys phase in high school, but when I saw some of their videos and listened to their music I changed my mind a little bit.
They're called Super Junior, a band from S. Korea (which is producing a lot of the popular entertainment in Taiwan right now). 13 reallly metro guys. I thought you might like to check them out to see what some guys in Taiwan look like (hair and fashion-wise).
This next song and video really made me warm up to them. I know in real-life no guy is that romantic but it's fun to watch!
PS- The dancing is pretty cool. Despite what Albert says.
So this past Friday was pretty exciting toward the end of the day. Here's what happened: two of my kids threw up. One threw up on a teacher. Another one farted on me, and when I was helping them in the bathroom a little girl came in and peed all over the floor through her clothes!!! It was pretty crazy!
PS- Rachel it was one of your hippos! :'( "Eli-buh-buh"
Friday night we packed and cleaned the apartment a little before the trip.
Saturday we left bright and early: 9am left the apartment MRT to HSR Train Station (High Speed Rail) HSR to Zuoying 2 hours Bus from Zuoying to Kenting 2 1/2 hours We saw a really cool temple with lanterns on the bus ride! Now we're starting to see the beach!!! It was really exciting!
When we got to the hotel we were STARVING. So we checked in and ordered lunch at the cafe. THIS was the salad: a work of art! We didn't know the portions would be HUGE so we were a little daunted. I got a really yummy rice-beef dish. Albert got beef noodles. Next stop was the beach (pictures a little later) and soon it was time for dinner.
We had a free dinner with the hotel package at their Chinese restaurant. Again, it was really a meal for 5 people. Here's a dish with shrimp, beans, flower petals, and a special kind of seed.
Albert tricked me into eating this one. It's squid!!! Yuck! With a dipping sauce and some seaweed. …