Sunday, March 28, 2010

Another quick update before the week starts

Hello everybody....

I thought I was going to have time to put up some pictures and write a long blog entry, but there's just no way it's going to happen.

But I'm doing fine- just super busy with work. We move into the new apartment Thursday and hopefully then I can start taking Chinese classes.

The classes I'm teaching are going great- I have a wide range of ages and I like them all in different ways. I think the younger ones are my favorite.

I can't believe it's going to be April already!

PS- I got a potted cactus and the spines are turning brown.... what should I do?

I still love being here! :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Woohoo

Really quick update before I run off to work-

Last night I went to a Chinese Medicine place and got acupuncture and suction cup therapy for my cold and post-nasal drip allergies! It was fun- apparently my inner heat is overflowing and it's dry heat... whatever that means. :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Jade Cabbage

Just a quick update while I'm trying to survive this week. I officially have a cold!!!! I was feeling a bit under the weather since I've been here but it was just mild head cold symptoms/allergies going haywire. Now my nose is stuffed, my throat's been sore/itchy. I'm going to the doctor tomorrow!

I started teaching my classes. It's demanding but I love it so far, especially the young ones.

Albert and I found a dance studio to start going to (when I get better). I'm really excited-- it's run by two professional dancers and I saw them compete a few weekends ago (where I also saw the top 7 couples in the world).

I went to the National Palace Museum this weekend with some friends. It has artifacts 2000 or more B.C. (no "E" here in this blog hehe :P). It was really interesting- we saw a cabbage carved out of a piece of jade. It was my favorite part! A little disappointing it wasn't as big as I thought it would be, but still impressive. We saw some crazy ivory/bone carvings. I don't know how to explain this clearly but there were 17 rotatable ivory balls inside each other and they all had intricate carvings in them. There was also a super tiny wood boat with an entire book carved into it. Lots of pottery, porcelain, and "wine vessels." For me it got a little boring because I don't have any background knowledge on Chinese history but I know it was an awesome experience to be able to see it.

I've tried a lot of crazy food. Surprisingly, I'm taking to eating only Chinese food really well. Western food almost grosses me out here- it tastes different. But we still have Subway and McDonalds and KFC.

But this job is a LOT of work- so much to plan.... so little time to do other things. The idea for now is to just get settled in, and get in a good routine at my schools, then when we move to central Taipei I'll start taking Chinese classes and try to catch up with some people I know but haven't seen yet.

I just hope this cold goes away fast- not fun!

Love,
Rachel

PS- I posted some new pictures on facebook under Taiwan March 2010. Go check them out.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Settled in at Neihu

Hi Everyone,

I’m sorry I haven’t been good at updating but hopefully I’ll have more time now. I got offered a job at the Hess School (the biggest English school in Taiwan) and I have three branches in Taipei to teach at. So I basically have three bosses. I’ve met two of them and they are really nice, as are the rest of the staff (teachers, Chinese teachers). I am really happy- I feel totally comfortable at this job.

The training was super intense. For nine days we had to spend all day at the MinQuan branch (where I’m actually going to be working) with 60ish other people. We listened to lectures, watched demonstrations of lessons, and had to do our own demonstrations in front of teachers and fellow trainees. It felt a little bit like Kairos (a Catholic retreat I went to in high school), only because we all bonded pretty fast. The trainers were awesome- entertaining and enthusiastic about their jobs. I was listening to Australian, New Zealand, English and South African accents all week and eventually I couldn’t differentiate between any of them. It’s fun though- I love anything foreign.

Turns out there’s another Rachel at one of my branches so I go by Rachel Marie there. :P I’m sure Grandma Genny and Aunt Foo are pleased. Haha!

I haven’t had time to do much sight-seeing. We took a bus tour of the city on our first day of training and stopped at the Chang Kai Shek Memorial. It was raining so it was not exactly fun. The weather’s been nice lately. It’s warm and sunny. Random tangent: At one of my branches there’s a lot of outdoor areas for the kids to play in, and I think it is really awesome. No other branch has that.

So right now we’re living five minutes away from that branch (just outside central Taipei, in Neihu) and I take a 20-30 minute bus to the MinQuan branch for observations. I get to start teaching this Saturday. I hope it goes well. So far I’m having a blast, even though I’m too tired to go out after I come home.

So I’m getting pretty tired right about now. I’m going to get ready for bed. I will make sure to post new pictures on facebook when I can. Love you all!