Thursday, June 30, 2005


I wasn't sure this picture would turn out, since it was getting dark, but there was a beautiful full moon on the night of Zhuo Feng's graduation. I really like the blue tint I ended up with.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Yuli Guo Xiao

My kids at Yuli Elementary (Grades 1-3). Aren't they adorable?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

San Min 9.

When I saw this picture I said "Wow, it looks like I'm an old grandma surrounded by all my grandchildren" LOL

Monday, June 27, 2005


A spider that showed up on our balcony last week. It's dead here. I'm not sure if its carcass somehow fell onto the floor or if this is after Hope sprayed raid on it.

Sunday, June 26, 2005


Today we were invited to go to Dukarel (possibly Tokar) church. The service was in Amis and Chinese. It was very interesting to listen to the Amis language. It sounds very different from Chinese. I was suprised at how much of the Chinese I understood, though not enough to totally understand the sermon yet. Close to the end of the service they had us come to the front and said thank you (I taught there all semester). Two of my students gave us Amis hats. We sang "I've got the joy" and then Hope and I sang "All in All" in English and Chinese. Afterward we went for lunch with my co-teacher, Lucia, her husband, and their three-year-old daughter, who is so cute! Lucia is going to have her second child in September, how exciting! Speaking of children, our dog, Xiao Guai had 6 puppies today! Here's the picture for today:

My Dukarel students on the last night of class.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Since I'm not doing much these days, AND I just got a bunch of photos from the past few weeks (on a friend's camera), I want to post a new photo every day instead of putting them all up at once. This is from the dragon boat races in Taitung. Remember, you can click on the photo to see the full size.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Zhuo Feng Graduation

Well, this week has been nice and slow so far, just plugging away at camp stuff. Yesterday we mass-produced emotion cards to use in our classes. Most of them we just used previously drawn cards, since we have taught this topic in the semester. But we added two new emotions that presented quite a challenge to us, especially since neither of us is that talented when it comes to art... anyways, take out a pen and some paper, and draw a cartoon face to depict "grumpy" and "nervous" or "embarrassed" for that matter! Anyways, they're done now, save for the laminating.
Yesterday afternoon we got to go see my 6th grade students graduate from Zhuo Feng. It was pretty fun, and the speeches weren't too long or unbearable. When we first got there, we got to look at some picture books that the students made of their time at Zhuo Feng, and one of the books had their grade 1 class picture. It was SO adorable! I enjoyed trying to figure out who was who. Some of the students look exactly the same, but taller, while others have changed a lot. All of the students at Zhuo Feng are from the Bunun tribe, and so as they graduated, they got to wear special clothes that they wear for dancing and other ceremonies. Some of the highlights were:

  • getting called up (out of the blue) to present a gift to one of the students
  • these hilarious skits that the students did (though we didn't understand what was going on at all, each one ended up with one or more of the students falling down)
  • a dance performed by some of the 4th grade girls (the cutest thing EVER)
  • the students saying "Thank you Hope and Charlotte for teaching us English" (in English) in the middle of their speech to thank all their teachers
  • their classroom teacher giving a really emotional speech that got half the students from the other grades crying

It was a really interesting ceremony, and since it is such a small school, there were only 6 graudating students. Afterward we stayed for their graduation dinner which included such interesting things as sashimi, a whole chicken, sweet and sour fish, pineapple shrimp and egg roll type things. It may have been the most "western" Chinese meal I've had! What I mean is the food was more similar to the Chinese food you get in North America than most of the food you get here.

Gong Xi, Gong Xi which means congratulations!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Top 5 reasons why my dad is cool

In honor of Father's Day, which isn't celebrated here until August (since the word for August is "ba ue" and the word for father is "ba ba" rather clever if you ask me), here are the top 5 reasons why my dad is cool:
1. He reads my blog faithfully and occasionally leaves witty comments
2. I can have interesting discussions with him about political and current events 3. He listens to "cool" music
4. He knows everything about cars, and can fix or build almost anything (hehe a daughter's exaggeration perhaps)
5. He is hard-working, honest, and intelligent, and has always given us everything we need (and a lot of things we wanted)
Love you Dad

Friday, June 17, 2005

The skies have opened up and deluged their contents upon Taiwan.
Fortunately, I now have in my possession a raincoat, so I can ride my bike without too much misery. The sun peeked out for a little while today, like a long lost friend. The floodwaters on our balcony have begun receeding, though who knows what tomorrow will hold...
Now that you are all rolling your eyes at my penchant for the dramatic, let me fill you in on my not-so-exciting week...
Only 4 classes this week, it was a pretty easy time. The first and last day of a class are sometimes the best ones though...
Anyways, this week I gained a new appreciation for my students, and the fact that even the smallest love, kindness, or attention I can show them can be huge in their lives.
In my Tuesday night class after I said goodbye and dismissed the students, one girl (about 10 or 11) came and hugged me and began to sob. I just hugged her and let her cry into my shoulder for a long time, wishing to show her that she was important to me. After we left the class Lucia (my coteacher) told me that she doesn't live with her parents (this is quite common due to divorce, alcoholism, and poverty among Taiwan's aboriginals).
Today I had my last class at Yon Feng, which was a lot of fun! The kids there are just SO adorable... about 10 of the girls decided that I should adopt them as daughters lol. At the end of it all, I have a huge pile of cards from my students there and a couple of really cute gifts, including a stuffed animal from a little boy, and some little homemade crafts. Two of the cards I got were just amazing, I'll take pictures of them, they are so artistic, as good as any scrapbook page I've made!
In the meantime, here are a couple picture of my students taken awhile ago, to tide you over while I wait to get pictures from the camera I've borrowed.

5th and 6th grade boys Posted by Hello

fourth grade girls Posted by Hello

fifth grade girls Posted by Hello

third grade girls Posted by Hello

third grade boys Posted by Hello

 Posted by Hello

Monday, June 13, 2005


well i must say this is an interesting job.... for someone who gets bored easily, even though i dislike the instability at times, it is a pretty good match for me i think. our schedule is changing, yet again. After this week we have two weeks where we are not teaching, but will be madly trying to prepare for summer camp which will be upon us on July 4. This consists of adapting some books into dramas, making and laminating materials for four classes, and planning our training sessions. Time does fly though... i seem to remember thinking not so long ago that camp was still ages away.

we've been watching a lot of movies lately - 3 a week actually... definitely a lot more than my usual quota (more like 3 a month), but i guess it's our fix of american culture? anyways, we've been watching some creepy movies like The Manchurian Candidate, The Mothman Prophecies, and Conspiracy Theory, as well as The Little Mermaid, and Finding Neverland which just arrived in Blockbuster, and I must say, is one of the better movies I've seen in awhile.

two weeks ago Friday during our last class at Yu Dong, my digital camera somehow got broken :( :( :( and it seems no one in Yuli can fix it. Since my 35mm camera is also "dead" I am currently camera-less. Fortunately, my dear friend Amy jieh let me borrow their extra one, so I have been able to take some pictures in the meantime, but it will be a little while before i can upload them.
We had our last classes at San Min last Thursday which were pretty fun... at the end of my first class (my "bad" class) i let them ask me questions, and some of them were "Can you forgive us for being so bad?" and "Do you have a boyfriend?" (one of my 15 year old boys mentioned he'd happily fill the position) and what kind of boys do I like? (my answer, which in one way or another rules out all of my students in that classs, was "ai Sheng Di de ren" and "hui jiang ying wen de ren" some one who loves God and can speak English... that's not asking a lot is it? haha my second class (my favorite Jr. High class) asked where I live, and wanted directions... I wonder if any of them will come visit me... I remember that was actually one of the highlights of my time in Brazil, when my students would come visit me, especially on our last couple of days there.

My little students at Yon Feng were distraught when I told them next week would be our last week.... I might shed some tears when I say goodbye to them. I'm happy I'll get to see some of them at least in August.

On Thursday after class at San Min, we went to Mandy's house, where she gave us some food specially made for Dragon Boat festival. It's a little hard to describe, but there were two kinds we had, which consist of rice and filling wrapped in bamboo leaves to make triangular packets. One was sweeter and had rice that was jelly-like in texture and some kind of bean in the middle. The other had a mixture of meat and rice. They are interesting...

Since it was Dragon Boat Festival and all, I was trying to figure out how I could get to Hualian to go see some dragon boat races. My friend Catherine supplied me with information about this endeavor, but i decided it wasn't really possible to get from the train station to where the races would be held. After I had given up on going anywhere, my Canadian friend Faith in Taitung called me and asked if we wanted to come visit them and see the events!

On Saturday around 11:30 I took the train (which I almost missed) to Taitung where I was met by Faith and her roommate Rebecca, and, with a prayer (due to the fact that they'd forgotten to bring an extra helmet) hopped on the back of Faith's scooter. We had a great lunch at this vegetarian restaurant, and then got hairwashes (a rather divine experience this time), and went down to the lake to see the dragon boat races. It wasn't as exciting as I'd envisioned (screaming fans and and olympian setting) but it was pretty cool to see the boats. I took some pictures which I'll post hopefully later this week. It was a really fun day, and so great to hang out with some fellow foreigners. Faith and I even reminisced about Tim Horton's....

so anyways, that's what I've been up to, ni ne?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

random, but interesting

You entered: 4/27/1982
You were born on a Tuesday
under the astrological sign Taurus.
Your Life path number is 6.
The Julian calendar date of your birth is 2445086.5.
The golden number for 1982 is 7.
The epact number for 1982 is 5.
The year 1982 was not a leap year.
As of 6/9/2005 12:56:12 AM CDT
You are 23 years old.
You are 278 months old.
You are 1,206 weeks old.
You are 8,444 days old.
You are 202,656 hours old.
You are 12,159,416 minutes old.
You are 729,564,972 seconds old.
There are 322 days till your next birthday
on which your cake will have 24 candles on it.
Those 24 candles produce 24 BTU's,
or 6,048 calories of heat (that's only 6.0480 food Calories) .
You can boil 2.74 US ounces of water with that many candles.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Johanna tagged me to do this, and it's interesting, so I shall participate. I'm not going to tag anyone else, but if you want to share your answers you can leave a comment.

1. Total number of books I've owned: I don't think I can count! Let's see on my little shelf above my desk there are around 35 books, a couple on the floor, and a stack on my bedside table.... then of course are the boxes of books at home... which I'm told will be a great feat to access.... I have a lot of books, but not as many as my grandma...

2. Last book I bought: I was going to say Desiring God by John Piper, but then I rememered that I bought an ESL book called something like the Taiwan English Teacher's Handbook (I don't have the exact title since Hope has it right now). It's quite a fascinating book since it so accurately describes the learning systems and situations we're dealing with!

3. Last book I read: The Scarlet Pimpernel, a classic borrowed from (and higly recommended by) my wonderful coworker, Hope. I just finished it about 30 minutes ago actually! It's quite good. Very exciting.

4. 5 books that mean a lot to me:
1. The Bible (of course)
2. Shattered Dreams by Larry Crabb (actually anything by him!)
3. My pocket Chinese phrasebook!
4. The works of George Herbert
5. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

5. (this is my own question) 4 books I wish I'd brought with me:
1. Lord of the Rings (ok that's three, but you know what I mean)
2. Connecting, by Larry Crabb
3. The complete works of Shakespeare (waay too heavy)
4. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Monday, June 06, 2005

Bats in the belfry

Whew another week has gone by... There have been some interesting moments this week. On Tuesday evening, I had my worst class EVER...
It started of quite well actually, but I didn't have a teacher helper, and by the end of the class the kids were going wild... We were doing "my body" and some of the boys felt they needed to be ah.. physiologically accurate in their pictures. I took a really strict approach to the first boy that did this, but it didn't really work.... by the end I was feeling rather frustrated with the class, and decided it wasn't worth it to try and get them through any more activities. As I was trying to get their attention back from the activity they were finishing, a bat flew into the classroom. It started flying wildly in circles.. kind of swooping up and dowoon. Now, I was slightly terrified, but tried to stay calm, ducking when it came past my head, the girls were all ducking and a few were screaming. The boys started chasing it and trying to hit it with their notebooks... it was really horrible, i didn't know what to do, and couldn't really communicate with them.. anyways, i dismissed them and then left, i was almost in tears by that point. it was such bad night! I guess that would be called, according to my textbooks, a "lesson breakdown"
Anyways, classes continued at my elementary schools and jr. highs for the rest of the week, there was the rowdy Yuli Elementary class, the half dead San Min class (seriously I had the attention of maybe 8 out of 33 students. I was teaching actions and started describing the classroom like this "There is a big room with many people sitting in it. There is someone talking at the front of the room. Two people are sleeping. One person is listening to music. Two people are hitting each other. Two people are reading comic books." it was all true of my class! ) Fortunately after that I got to teach my wonderful, lovely, favorite Jr. High class who pretend to be interested, even if they're not, participate, and answers question. I'm not sure why they're different from all my other jr. high classes, but man the students are just amazing, i love them! Anyways, on Thursday night we found out that Friday would be our last class at Yu Dong, and that we only had an hour with them (instead of 4 more hours of class left). That was actually kind of a relief, but then we had to plan our "last day" with them, which we always try to make a little more fun. This week we will have our last class at 3 more schools.
Thursday evening we had dinner with some of our adult students, which was so much fun! I'm really happy that we got to hang out with them a little. We're planning to go see the day lilies sometime in the future.
On Saturday there was kind of an all-day church event. The organization here has been building a new centre (kind of like a community/youth centre) and in the morning they had an opening ceremony. Fortunately we were free to wander around a bit, and so didn't have to sit in the sun for an hour and a half listening to Chinese speeches. One of the cool things is that they also made this huge climbing wall, and so we got to see a bunch of the teens scale the wall for the first time. In the afternoon was kind of like a big church service, the highlight of which was seeing a lot of people we know and some we haven't seen before. I also saw a couple of my Jr. High students and found out that they're Christians.
Sunday morning, we went to Grace Church, so great! We ambitiously decided to ride our bikes to Nanan and then hike to the waterfall (which I had my doubts about us acomplishing, but we made it), which I'm really glad we did. The waterfall (pubu) is really beautiful! So anyways, yesterday we rode our bikes 18km and hiked 8km. Whew!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Sun, snorkeling, scooters, and seaweed ice cream

Sunday morning, 5:30am, we woke up and quietly exited our friend Faith's apartment to get breakfast and wait for our taxi. The taxi conveyed us to the boat launch maybe 20 minutes away. We heard that we were liable to get sick on the ride so we both took some medicine. The boat was pretty fun (though we almost got on the wrong one), but I did feel a little nauseous by the end of the hour long ride to Green Island. When we got off the boat we looked for someone carrying a placard with our name on it, but no one was there for us yet, after a few uncertain moments, a man drove up in a van and apologized. What followed was perhaps a more turbulent ride than the boat itself as our host expertly maneuvered around tour buses, hordes of tourists on scooters, and pedestrians while going around curves on the narrow island road. When we got to the hotel, there were a group of guys who ended up translating for us that we couldn't rent scooters from the hotel because we don't have a scooter license, and that our rooms wouldn't be ready for about an hour, but we could leave our things in the lobby while we went out on the provided bikes.

All the guys at the hotel. The guy next to me in the blue shorts and white t-shirt is the hotel owner. Posted by Hello

Now this was all very interesting, but it worked out ok in the end. After riding our bikes for a short time we decided that a scooter was a must, and armed with information from our foreign friends back in Taidong we figured we could at least see how easy it would be for us to get scooters. We rode back to the area where the boat docked and found a scooter place where it was NT300 for two days ($10-15), and the man even drove back to our hotel and drove us back to his place. Recalling all we could from our 5 minute lessons the week before we confidently (or not so confidently) got on our scooters and went. Driving a scooter turned out to be really easy and a lot of fun. Most of the driving around the island was just on a highway without too much other traffic, and even though I was a little nervous about driving through town, that was quite simple too. I really got used to it... pity we had to give them back .

Hope on her scooter. Posted by Hello

Me with my scooter! It rained most of Monday morning. Posted by Hello

We returned to our hotel to finally get settled in our rooms and then proceeded to drive around the island! It takes about 45 minutes to drive around Green Island, though we stopped many times to look at the amazing views and decide which places we really wanted to return to the next day.

What a beautiful place! Posted by Hello

When we got back we had lunch and papaya milk, which I think is really yummy! I think I like it better than just eating papaya.... it seems rather easy to make to, just stick a papaya, some sugar and milk in the blender and then pour it over some ice, I'd recommend it! After lunch we returned to our hotel for a little nap and had to be roused to go snorkeling. After many doubts and trials in being properly attired, we finally got to go, and I'm really glad I didn't change my mind, because I almost did a couple times. I slipped and fell going in and coming out and sustained some small cuts on my hands and leg, but nothing to worry about. One of our fellow hotel guests whose name was Gus really watched out for me, which was very kind of him. For my first time snorkeling, I didn't find it too difficult. I thought it would be claustrophobic to only be able to breath through that one little thing, but it wasn't. We were out for around an hour, and started off hanging onto life preservers, but then once we felt confident we were able to let go. It was so incredible to see the underwater world in that way. Green Island has some amazing coral, with anenomes and tons of brightly colored fish. It is definitely something I want to try again! Oh yeah, at one point I got "lost" meaning I had somehow ended up in the middle of a different group, though I think my group realized it long before I did. We came home and showered and then ended up watching a movie and part of The Amazing Race. That especially was really exciting! I think Hope and I would make a good team on that show hehehehe. That is the first time we've really watched English TV since we were our hotel in Hualian. In the evening we commenced a long search for supper... both being hungry, but not knowing what we wanted and being a little short on cash, we ended up wandering up and down this road for a long time and getting rained on before we settled on cheap instead of particularly delicious, though it wasn't bad. We ended up eating oolong noodle soup, which only cost us NT90 for both of us (other places were 180-300 each). After that we decided to get some bing which is a cold dessert made of shaved ice, and usually with fruit or other sweet things topping it. As we were walking down this street this young girl tried to talk to us, it was really cute. When we tried to talk to her more though, she got really shy and ran inside her family owned restaurant, the problem was though, that it was the exact shop we had been headed for... anyways, we ended up chatting with her a bit and got bing. Hope got a pineapple one, and I, feeling adventurous, asked for their "most special one." Which WAS really special... it came in this bowl made from a giant seashell which was really cool (so sad to say I didn't have my camera with me). And was topped with (this is all going to sound gross, but it was actually quite good) these transparent jellies, sweetened condensed milk and some green stuff that I later discovered was seaweed.... yes, seaweed. Now I generally like seaweed, but we had earlier passed by a shop advertising seaweed bing and I thought, that sounds disgusting! So I suppose if I had known in advance, I wouldn't have ordered it, but it turned out to be ok!

We crashed pretty quickly after we got to the hotel, and were planning to get up for the sunrise (since we're on an eastern island), but when we woke up it was raining. I think we finally left the hotel around 8 to get breakfast and continue our drive around the island as we took a ton of pictures, which you can see after this entry. We stopped at a lovely sand and coral beach and would have stayed there longer, except that it started raining again, so we made our way to the hot springs. Green Island has a natural hot spring right on the ocean, as well as a little inlet (i'm not sure what the true term for it is) where you can swim in the ocean, but it's protected by breakers, so there aren't too many waves. Anyways, I think we spent a couple of hours there, and that's where I got most of my sunburn (it's always worse when you're in the water), though my forearms had been burnt the day before from riding the scooter.

We had lunch, drove out to visit another site and took a ton of pictures (at the cool rock formations), and then went to drop our scooters of and walk back to the hotel in time to do some shopping along the way and then get our stuff together before our 5:00 boat. But alas, it was not to be. Just as we were browsing the one store on Green Island that takes credit card, we received a call from the hotel owner saying that our boat had been cancelled, and now the last boat going out was the 3:30 boat. Current time: 3:26. We tried to explain to him that we'd just returned our scooters and were on foot now, and eventually got it through that he needed to come pick us up. Thus our leisurely trip ended in a mad frenzy of speeding back to the hotel, throwing all our stuff back into our bags and running out to the van, where he drove like an ambulance to get to the port, but since the boat had just arrived there were hordes of people milling about, cars arriving to pick them up, and just general chaos. I'm suprised our driver didn't wear out his horn trying to get through it all, meanwhile the driver of the boat is calling his cellphone asking if we're here yet... when we finally get out the boat has started to pull away and they pull it back and we hop on, a minute later realizing that they hadn't let about 6 other people on who were late like us... thanks God for taking care of us! After my heart stopped pounding, I discovered that we were allowed to go out on the deck of the boat, so I enjoyed the ride from there, which was really great! I didn't feel sick being outside either. So that was our wonderful vacation! Happy Birthday Hope!

We had to wait for a number of groups before we could take this shot of Hope rolling down this great grassy hill. Apparently it's not as fun when you're an adult...  Posted by Hello

At the beach, my camera has some issues, that i'm not sure how to fix, so don't worry, there isn't a growth on my face... Posted by Hello

At a coral beach Posted by Hello

A tunnel we drove through. Posted by Hello

 Posted by Hello

cool rock formation Posted by Hello

beautiful Hope Posted by Hello

you can kind of see the green coral under the water here Posted by Hello

this is supposed to be a dog. Posted by Hello

The famous sleeping beauty.  Posted by Hello

trees Posted by Hello

the one picture we found someone else to take for us...  Posted by Hello