Showing posts from October, 2005

Hualian Day

On Thursday morning I boarded the train for Hualian. I go there once a month to teach some classes. I was really really impressed with the first school I went to. The teachers were really helpful and enthusiastic, and the students were lively and involved in the lesson. I wish all my classes were like that... sigh... the thing is you can take the exact same lesson and with one class it will totally bomb, while with another class it will be extremely successful. I'll be continuing to teach at this school once a month.

Speaking of totally bombing, that's kind of how I felt at the second school, though it wasn't my fault. About 10 minutes into the lesson, right around when I was saying something like "Please turn to page 65" I discovered that none of the students had brought the magazine we were supposed to be using in class. So I fielded some questions while someone went to photocopy the article we were supposed to be using. Apart from that, I just didn't reall…

Monday musings

For breakfast today I had "dan bing" and warm soy milk. They brought me my milk in a bowl with a spoon (2 NT cheaper than the paper cup!), and I had this strange feeling that I should be adding cereal to it...
My classes went quite well today. I was really impressed with my students this morning, they are so creative! They were making up self-introductions with the goal of getting a job as an actor/actress. I had one student who has previously starred in such films as Lord of the Necklace, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Water, and Legally Brown.
Every Monday the teacher at the girl's school gives me a box of different breads/pastries for my "dinner" and it's usually interesting to see what sort of things are inside. There's always at least one that's completely unidentifiable, but consists of a sweet bread with some sort of meat inside and processed cheese and garlic salt baked on top. I've learned to break it in half before biting in, just in cas…

packages and weekend fun

Let me introduce you to Joe. He was part of a "miracle" package from my former roommate, Johanna. You see, said package was mailed in August, and as September and most of October passed us by, we'd both pretty much given up on it, until it magically appeared outside my door (as all my mail does) directly from... Yuli. I'm not sure if I was more suprised by its arrival, or by the fact that the two-month-old fudge inside was still soft. Last week I received three more packages, I feel loved! :D
I got a letter and some chocolate from Kaia, and was suprised by a "house warming" gift from Ariel (in Yuli) - some dishes, and even more suprised by a box from Rose that contained a camel ornament. I was quite social this weekend, more social that I usually am in a week if you don't count classes! My lunch on Friday was wonderful! Cindy studied in the states for 8 years and her English is almost like a native speaker's. We had some really good conversations. I …

disclaimer: boring entry

I'm pretty much just writing for the sake of posting a new entry...
I read The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks. Creepy, but well-written. (One shouldn't read stalker books when one lives alone.) I read The Notebook on my way to Hong Kong. Guess I've been in a fiction mood lately.
Met some more people, I might be joining another Chinese class (one that some exchange students at the high school are taking), and I'm looking for a badminton partner. I sort of joined a small group here, but meetings aren't that great when I can't really understand the content. Thinking about starting an English group, but haven't mentioned it to anyone yet.
Met a lady who just returned from 8 years in America. Have a lunch date with her this week.
Apparently there's a rumor going around that my Chinese is good... at least until they try to talk to me! haha
Classes are going ok... I'm kind of in a teacher lull right now... i'm feeling like i'm not always teaching as well a…

One year ago!

October 16, 2004, I stepped off the plane at Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport. I have officially been in Taiwan for one year! Happy Taiwan birthday to me :D

it always pays...

... to make conversation with people at the stores you frequent (well except when they ask you to tutor their children). But anyways, the girl who works at the bakery close to my house was an English major in university, so I've chatted with her a little. Now their bakery has these chicken pitas that aren't that appetizing (chicken, some veggies, mayo and ketchup, good maybe when it hasn't been sitting out all day). But anyways, today I asked her if it was possible to just get the outside (the pita) and she said she'd try to get some for me in the futre. I'm quite excited about this prospect!

I started my Chinese class today, which I'm really happy about. The funny thing is I was showing my book to another lady from the church yesterday, and when I read one of the dialogues for her, she went on and on about how good my Chinese is. My actual teacher today, upon hearing me read the same thing said, oh you really need to work on your tones! Anyways, I hope I …

There and back again (in one day)

My Hong Kong day started, as any good day should, with a Chai latte.

Actually the day started at 5:30am with my driver to the airport telling me that it was his first day as he called his supervisor for directions on how to get out of the district I was staying in. But the Chai was the first thing I got after I got off the airport shuttle in Hong Kong (also to make change for the buses). Buses and airplanes and taxis are becoming routine for me.

I can't say the day was really exciting, but it was quite relaxing. I wandered, I reflected, I drank diet coke with lime (which hasn't yet found its way to Taiwan). I walked out the "G" exit while intentionally heading for "D". I wasn't really in a shopping mood, and I didn't have a ton of time, so I spent most of my day at Victoria Peak , one of Hong Kong's big tourist attractions. I was fortunate to be there on a Friday, and actually there weren't too many people around. I took the bus up a very w…
10 second timer.
Hong Kong
The view from the back of the mall.
A secret stair... (Ok, not so secret)
Along the walkway.
a little further up the path and you could forget how close you are to one of the world's major cities.
On my way back to the airport.

coming soon...

There and back again (in one day) : A Hong Kong tale by.....

Teaching nightmare #24

You arrive for a two hour class that is completely textbook-based. As the students open the box of fresh new books you notice something is amiss. You tell yourself you are mistaken, but on closer examination, you discover that the students have an entire class set of a book you don't have.
Do you:
A. Scrap the lesson and improvise something on the spot?

B. Borrow one of the student's books and do a quick read-through of the first chapter while attempting to improvise something on the spot?
C. Yell, scream, throw your book on the floor and stomp out of the room?

Turns out, if you chose "B" as I did, that would be the wrong choice. See the book the students have is book 3 of a series that gets progressively more difficult, (i'm not 100% sure the students are ready for book 1 of this series actually). Thinking maybe the students had somehow been through the previous books (and no Chinese teacher in sight), I decided to go with the flow and see what I could salvage out o…


I was looking at a copy of a map of Yilan that Peggy gave me, and I wondered to myself, what's the name of that really straight road that runs through the middle of town?


yeah, that really straight "road" is the line between the two pages (the map was photocopied out of a book).

In somewhat related news, I was told today that my trip to Hong Kong will only be one day after all. Pity.
Right now I am eating a very interesting dessert consisting of warm soft tofu in a hot syrup. It's called dou hua and is something I suppose grows on you. The first 2 times I had it, I didn't particularly like it. So far my favorite is a cold chocolate one.

I spent the weekend in Taipei. I'm getting a little more comfortable with being there, and not feeling so overwhelmed by its size and busyness. It was really great to see a number of friends, even though I see them so infrequently. I got to see Marcus before he returned to California, we gave our year end reports on Friday. I actually wasn't nervous. Although Doris rattled us a little when Marcus was giving his presentation and said "umm" gave a big speech about not using "um" (though he hadn't been using it excessively to that point) and then would kind of go "oh!" everytime he or I said it... of course this throws you off your train of thought, causing you to say "umm" mo…