Showing posts from November, 2004

Oh, the excitement!

Well, no culture shock this week (though slightly lower than normal toleration level for long sermons... i'll get over it)
I just sent in my weekly report, which reminded me that it has been a few days since i reported in here too! Of course, it was the weekend, so i'm sure you were all too busy with your exciting lives to check my blog anyways!

Friday was another school visit, which was a lot of fun! I'm getting excited about teaching... one more week! Though i have a lot of work to do before then!! Friday evening we had a "thanksgiving dinner" here with Jeff and Sherly's small group. We contributed stuffing and sweet potatoes which everyone was quite interested in! We met some really fun kids (the children of one of the teachers we will be working with actually! Everyone is connected here, it's crazy!) And they warmed up to us this time! We went to the night market after the Bible study and when the little boy saw some of his classmates he proudly grabbe…

so many new friends

It seems like every day we meet someone new, or get to spend time with someone different. We've met some really cute kids who have taken a bit to warm up to us (most kids here are quite shy at first), but then they are so fun!
We went to visit two more schools this week which again was fun, but, especially today turned into more of a "pronunciation lesson" than an observation... it did give me a feel for where the students are at though. I think I am going to have fun teaching them.
I'm really sleepy now, for some reason my body decided to wake up at 5 this morning! It can't be jet lag, so i really have no reasonable explanation! but I got to see some people practicing Tai Chi outside (when i went out on the balcony) that's such a random fact.... lol it was quite impressive to me though... ever have a moment when the reality of something becomes extremely clear? well i have that whenever i see something like that, like the farmers in the rice fields wearing th…

我 知道...

can you read that???
it says "wo zhidao" meaning "i know...."
over 30 chinese characters now!
isn't that exciting???
good thing too since we have a test tomorrow... what's up with THAT?

asian bird flu

Flu season has come (or so I'm told) and the flu is popular here every year (again so i'm told). We have the option (maybe not the best choice of words) of getting a flu shot... something I have never done in my life... i never really have a problem with getting sick, and when i do, it only lasts for a few days... i realize that getting sick in another country is crappy, but i'm quite undecided (leaning toward the negative) about this flu shot... could this be in part because of my fear of needles? or maybe my last immunization experience? here's a little excerpt from my description of it:

6:15am Friday, January 23, my alarm went off and I slowly stumbled around my dark room pulling on clothes, trying not to wake my roommate. Out the door I went, not forgetting my stuffed camel, Humphrey. Braving the early morning cold, I met up with 4 other team members, perhaps the "morning" group when we go to Brazil? When Shantelle arrived, we finally embarked upon our ex…

wo yao bing sha cafe

i'm drinking a lovely frappuccino type thing right now, if you're ever in Taiwan and want one that's what you need to say. Bing sha - shaved ice/smoothie is not to be confused with bing cha - iced tea...
Anyways, we had a fun school visit today, though it wasn't exactly what we had been expecting... i am starting to expect that more and more, especially with the schools... the chances that we will be observing a class that we would actually be teaching are quite slim... anyways we joined a class of 31 today who were quite excited to have us, the teacher maybe not so much, since we were rather distracting.... we were the cause of both small and large "lesson hijacks" (as my tesol books put it), from asking us to read a sentence on the board for them to coming up to the front and introducing ourselves (closer to the end), and singing a song for them.... talk about thinking on your feet! We sang the "English is fun when we learn it song" which sounds su…

Ooooh pretty colours

I'm feeling a little more vibrant lately (maybe due to the fact that i'm the only red head in any room...), anyways, time for a change of scenery on this blog!

I cooked again today, which was fun, I really do like cooking, and I am learning that you can cook almost anything in the frying pan/wok they have... the things i have cooked so far are:

~ vegetable beef stir fry
~ chicken curry
~ apple crisp
~ rigatoni with chunky marinara sauce

Jeff and Sherly always make a big deal if they come home when I am cooking, it is really cute, they are always like "wooooow, it smells soo good!" personally i think they are just being nice, either that or they are really shocked that a foreigner can produce appetizing food....

anyways, I finished my Christmas shopping today (the earliest ever!), although I only bought gifts for immediate family at this time, since money is tight from getting settled and all, our pay schedule is a little off at the moment... but anyways, tomorrow I w…

I know, I know

see, i'm having this problem with my uh... my blog updating chromosome, yeah, that's it!

Deepest apologies to the faithful few (or many, I really don't know who reads this, though I have now passed the 400 hits mark! woohoo! i wonder how many are mine...)
I can imagine it now, you trudge home through the snow, and as soon as your fingers unthaw you are entering the URL for my website, desperate for the next installment, to find out if i've fallen off my bike yet, to hear about the strange cultural taboos that i have broken in my attempts at communication, and most of all... ok never mind that, just needed to add a little melodrama to your lives to make up for a week of not updating...

Oh, speaking of falling off my bike, I had my first accident last week! Apparently it was nothing to write home about, since I didn't! Anyways, I was on my bike, coming up on an intersection, and there was a scooter in front of me, they were signalling to turn left, and beginning to e…

And me without a camera

I have found myself in a camera-less state a number of times these past few days, while I am seeing extraordinary things, from a suspension-bridge view to teenage boys wearing adult diapers outside their clothes, I have repeatedly mumbled under my breath "Where's my camera??"

Today we went to Yu-Shan National Park, which actually encompasses a whole mountain range, and we visited a beautiful waterfall and walked around that area for awhile. Then we went on a hike! Maybe not what I had been expecting to do when I left thae house (I even remember debating whether I should wear my flip-flops... so glad I didn't!) but it was fun, if not a little tiring! We did walk almost 4km in all, and it was very beautiful there! We crossed two suspension bridges. The scenery was simply incredible... everything is so green and lush, there were many trees that resemble palm trees but their leaves (fronds?) are like a large fern. We even almost saw a monkey! Well, maybe, we heard someth…
This was the adorable children's choir!
Here you can see them trying to give Hope the microphone! "Say something to them in English" aiiie
The boat I believe was specially constructed this year, but I could be wrong!
Us with Dr. Su and the school Principal at the Aboriginal Art Exhibit
It ended with a flag ceremony
This group was supposed to be cats I think
This was one of the many acts at the High School Anniversary, the second boy from the front is our friend Andy!

stir fry and schedules

I cooked for myself today!! Isn't that exciting?
There isn't a ton of variety to food in Yuli, you have your pick of noodles and rice, and then a few other things like Jaotze or Shway Jao as we discovered might be the correct name for it, which is little dumplings with pork and vegetables inside that are boiled. We have a couple of regular restaurants now that we know are safe. But anyways, realizing we've been lacking in the vegetable department I decided to do a little stir fry for supper! It did end up costing more than eating out, depending on where we go (simple things like Jaotze and Yuli Mein are usually less than between 50 and 80 NT, a nicer restaurant could be 100-200. By the way, 100NT is about $3.60 Canadian so in any case it was less than $10 to feed two people), but it was healthier. I came home from the supermarket and was asking Jeff if they were cooking today and told them that I would be making some food. He told me they were going out, which i so…

a day in the life...

Well today was not really a typical day since we're not actually teaching yet, but here it goes:
I woke up around 8:30, and shortly afterward Cindy called from Taipei to see if we were ok, because there was an earthquake last night.... well that was news to me! The earthquake measured about 5.7 and was north of here. The epicentre was in the ocean I believe. Anyways, I read, had some breakfast (an orange, tea, and pb and honey toast... they do have chinese breakfast stuff here, but that's more like meat and sandwiches... which i think of more as lunch), tried to phone someone in Canada (you people and your social lives! sheesh!), checked my email and studied some Chinese. We went for lunch at Yuli Mein (Yuli Noodles... yes the famous "chow mein" actually means fried noodles though it is pronounced slightly different here when you order it), and then went for a bike ride! Yes, I actually went for a bike ride of my own free will, and i actually enjoyed it... we went …


now there's some randomness for you... don't ask where i get my titles from
As last week progressed, my stress level over the impending bicycle trip augmented... especially once I actually got the bike... anyways, we were riding with the young holistic group which I think is more like Junior youth group with some older teens attending, but there were a lot of 10-12 year olds there. We were to meet them at the church at 1 and start the bike ride by 1:30, which lasted over an hour. Hope and I rode at the back.... and it wasn't long before we couldn't even see the rest of the group anymore! Poor Dr. Su rode along slowly with us. We (the whole group) stopped for a little rest, and by then we were feeling rather tired, but determined to go a little farther (we were allowed to ride along in the van when we got too tired). So here I was, tired, sweating, and wishing I was in the van when we approach a hill, not a really big hill, but definitely a easily discernible incline...…

This Crazy Week

This week has been full of meetings and visits! Almost every day we have visited a different school where we will be teaching once a week. On Tuesday night, we visited three reading stations which are places set up kinda by the church programs that kids can go for help with homework and activities. There are 12 in the area, and are held in homes, churches, schools, and even a police station! The most memorable one was the second one we visited which had about 15 kids from age 8-12 I think. They were sooo cute and some were really shy, but most were eager to talk to us. Many of them pulled out their English school books and were reading stuff to us, and asking us to read things/sing songs from them. It was really cute! It was also probably the most excited they’ve ever been about their English books ;) The funniest moment for me was when one of the girls noticed my blue eyes. She looked at me and then her eyes got really wide and she told the other kids (in Chinese, but I soon figured …

Aboriginal Blankets

Aboriginal Blankets
Originally uploaded by CharandHope. for more photos on this visit, check out

Aboriginal Church Mosaic

Church Mosaic
Originally uploaded by CharandHope. This is just a fun picture! The church had all kinds of mosaics in its walls (including Santa Claus... go figure)

Houses built into the mountain

aboriginal town
Originally uploaded by CharandHope. These homes are in the aboriginal town we visited.

Reading Station 2

Originally uploaded by CharandHope.

reading station 2

reading station2 close
Originally uploaded by CharandHope.

Our Apartment and other tales

We went to Yuli Church on Sunday, and again met a million more people. They brought us up to the front and we shared a little bit about how we got here (the amazing Libeck translated for us) and then they all prayed for us. The service lasted about 3 hours, and was probably really interesting. It was in Mandarin and translated into Taiwanese no English translation though...
We went for lunch afterward. Everywhere we have gone so far has served us sooo much food! More than we could ever eat. We spent the afternoon furniture shopping, bargaining is a really, really, really, really long process! I'm thankful that we had a Chinese person to bargain for us!
We chose to live with a couple whose English names are Jeff and Sherly. Jeff is a middle school teacher and dean of students, and Sherly works for World Vision. They are soo nice! They are a married couple in their thirties, and they speak a little bit of English. We are staying on the third floor of their beautiful apartment, and w…
Our balcony, and a nice view!
Hope's room.
Inside my room, it looks different now though, I have a different mattress!
My room from the Hallway

Our first day in Yuli

Us with the Su's
Originally uploaded by CharandHope. We are staying in a guestroom at one of the churches we will be working with for the first few nights. We got to see some kids, because one Saturday a month, they have children’s programs at the church. It was really different from the programs that run in North America! First of all, it runs all day, but most of it is the kids sitting all day! They started with singing, which was cool because the whole thing was led by some of the older kids. There was only a couple of adults singing up front, and they weren’t even on the stage! They had kids playing drums and piano, and probably about 12 kids up on stage singing (without microphones) and doing the actions for the songs. Then there was a really long “sermon” which we were very surprised at, because we rarely make our kids sit like that for more than about 10 minutes in our churches, and here were 100 kids sitting through over an hour of just preaching. Most adults…
Us after the Aboriginal Concert. Libeck is on the back left behind Doris and the flowers!


Originally uploaded by CharandHope. Here's one picture from on the way here... we see these everywhere.

On the way

We're more or less back online, so I'm going to start writing from where I left off, which was before I left Taipei. We have now been in Yuli for 5 days, although at times it feels like we've been here for weeks!
The countryside was beautiful, breathtaking. The ocean was a bright turquoise and blue with large waves, and there were greenery-covered mountains rising up from the coast and extending into the west. We saw many small towns along the way and rice paddies, tea fields, and temples. There are mountains in view no matter where you are.
We got into the train station in Hualien city, and we dropped our stuff off at Libeck’s house. We both had to use the bathroom at this point, but her house only had a “squatty potty.” So anyways, we decided to go for lunch at Pizza Hut” American food, American toilets, it makes sense right?? Well, apparently not. So we decided (considering that neither of us really knows how to use one and it didn’t seem like the most ideal time to lea…