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 really enjoy teaching in that class. I'm glad I won't be going back to that school. Actually, next month I'm scheduled for a random conversation class at one of the universities... talk about nervous!!
Anyways, after classes were finished, I went to visit my friend A-Hsiang who showed me around the international stone festival being held in Hualian. One of Hualian's big productions is marble and different kinds of rock. Actually, on a previous visit to Hualian I bought some stone necklaces. The stone looks like it could be a painting, but it all occurs naturally. Here's a picture:
There are various sculptures all over the city. I got to see some fun art and some of these huge sculptures in progress.
I even chatted with an artist from Europe.
Here's A-Hsiang and I.
After that we went to the Indian restaurant for dinner, one of my favorite restaurants in Hualian. When we entered the restaurant the owner said "Long time no see" and remembered I was moving to Yilan! So fun.
I spent yesterday getting a hairwash and attending an interesting Chinese class with one of the exchange students at the high school. The teacher was really fascinated with comparing our cultural values, but this was a little difficult for both of us to do (the other student has only been here for 2 months!). My evening class went pretty well, I had 12 students again. We were talking about fear and they had to profile some common fears, stating the worst-case scenario and advice they would give someone for overcoming that fear. One group chose "death" their report went something like this:
Worst-Case Scenario: death
Advice: Prayer and meditation, live a good life, buy life insurance