Wednesday, August 31, 2005

This is where I'm going. It's about 3 hours from here by train.  Posted by Picasa

Change of the Day...

Here is part of a blog entry I wrote last October while I was waiting to come here:
Sometimes things change so fast they leave my head spinning, a few hours of quiet, then a flurry of phone calls and emails, and then nothing until the next day. This will mark my life for the next year, things will be pretty constantly in flux, which is something that is exciting and exhausting. But it is possible to prepare myself for it, to rely on the laidback side of my personality, and choose to not become too flustered by the perceived instability. - Oct. 9/04

A huge aspect of this culture is how fast things change. This is also reflected in some of my frustration this past year over communication styles. As the subordinate you don't need to know every step in a decision-making process, in fact, you'll more than likely find out at the last possible minute about things like class changes or cancellations, meetings, having to sing in front of a large group, etc. While this ignorance can brings about a more peaceful state of mind in the short term, it often ends abruptly. Anyhow, since everything is currently in "flux" now, I don't want to write out all the details that could and maybe will be different in the morning, but there is a possibility I could be leaving here as early as next week for another city (which would likely change any visit to Canada to January/February). There also could be potential for me to stay here (in Yuli) another year, though in the long run that may not be the best thing to do even though right now I feel like I REALLY don't want to leave. Everything's a little muddled at the moment, but it will all work out.

In other news, there's a typhoon heading our way for tomorrow sometime. It looks like it will be a pretty big one, but thus far none of the typhoons have been really bad here (we're inland from the coast and surrounded by mountains on the east and west).

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Nanan Pubu

Today we went to Nanan waterfall with the new teachers (did I mention there were 6 new foreign teachers coming here for the next year? 3 of them arrived yesterday, and we've been having fun showing them our favorite places around town), Hannah, and Apple, the pastor's wife. Although there's a short path from the parking area to where you can wade, they decided to take us up a different way.... Posted by Picasa

Below the main waterfall Posted by Picasa

The top of Nanan Waterfall Posted by Picasa

a very interesting sign that depicts what will happen to you if you jump from the lookout point into the water below.  Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 29, 2005

current state of mind

generally an enjoyable diversion, you should try it sometime.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Main Street, Yuli, going toward our house. Posted by Picasa

Main street, Yuli 180 degrees. If you look carefully you'll note that there's a 7-11 at BOTH ends of these two streets. This street also includes our favorite breakfast place, hairwash place, and one of the coffee places we used to frequent.  Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 26, 2005

New Blog Toy

Not that my blog has had too many visitors lately, but this is fun for all readers, new and old. If I can direct your attention to the left side of the page below the tag board, you will see something called a guestmap. If you click on there, you can add the location of where you're reading from. Why not?

*** note: if you don't have a website or don't want to leave your email, just make one up and it will let you post to the map! ***

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Things that make a teacher happy

1. returning to your favorite classes after a good break
2. returning to a class after 2 months and finding they still remember what you taught them before!
3. hearing from other places that students like your class

This week we have been doing a mini-camp at Yon Feng, my favorite school. It's been so great to see the kids again, and I'm always so amazed by them, both their behaviour and their level of comprehension. Granted, they're still beginners, but they always get my classroom instructions so quickly, and seem to catch onto new things really fast!

Today was also the last day of our elementary class in Euodia, the new building across from Dr. Su's. It was pretty fun, though having 50 kids from grades 1-5 in one room can be a nightmare. Today there were times where we had to stop every 30 seconds and get them to be quiet again! It was a little exhausting. Anyways, a lot of the students in this class go to Buxiban so we can get the scoop on them from our Buxiban teacher friends haha. As encouragement to them, we can really tell which students have attended Buxiban before. We've been hearing a lot of good reports too such as "My student so-and-so loves your class/told me about this activity/said it's really fun"
I had lunch with my lovely friend Ariel yesterday and she related that she's seen a big improvement in one of her problem students since he's been attending our class, I was shocked to find out which student he was, since he was one of my BEST students! Although a typical pre-teen, I wouldn't have considered him a problem student!

In other news... the corner place is now out of luo li niu nai.... their exact words were "Nimen he wan le" you two drank it all.... oh dear! That's the bad thing about seasonal fruits... they're only cheap/available for such a short time! Papaya milk, another favorite of mine used to be 35 and now it's 50!!! Anyways maybe I'll get some at the night market tomorrow, it's still cheap there (but only once a week!)

Monday, August 22, 2005


I got bored with the old look, as I tend to do...
I didn't create this template myself, but DID combine two I liked.
I figured I should look up the quote before I did my final publish just in case it's credited to someone terrible lol... I was delighted to find that it's actually from Tolkien.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

We went on a bike ride today, and on the way back I had to stop and take a picture of this beautiful sky. I'm thankful to live in such a beautiful place.

new discovery

Avacado milk mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm........
It sounds gross I suppose, but it's really quite amazing. It's made with ripe avocados and sweetened condensed milk and real milk all blended with ice to make a smooth, thick drink.... I've had it every day this week. I discovered it by asking the lady at the coffee place we frequent "What kind of fruit drinks do you have right now" she said "luo li niu nai" and I had no clue what that was, but said ok, i'll try it... sometimes being adventurous pays off, and sometimes it means you eat things like frog or sea cucumber....

Anyways, here's a fun little picture of us with the lao ban (boss) of the "corner place" as we call it. She's really fun, and always remembers information about us, like how long we've been here, what we're doing here, and what we like to drink.

Friday, August 19, 2005


Our puppies are getting pretty big now. We still have 4 left from the original 7. I got some pictures of them today, but they get so excited when we come out that it's really hard to get a still shot! Here are the three that still don't have homes: anybody want one?? haha

Freckles. Posted by Picasa

Hua-sheng-dun. It's the Chinese word for "Washington" but actually came about beacause "Hua-sheng" is the word for peanut, which we thought was close to her color.

Reese. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

More than a taste...

This weekend was one of the most enjoyable of my time here. On Saturday, despite continued rain off and on, we decided to go to Hualian. Our good friend Michelle joined us. She's a teacher at the cram school here. We did some shopping and were going to go to the Indian restaurant for dinner, but it was closed, so we ended up going to KFC instead. Wow, has it ever been a long time! Then we went to Hualian's Cave books, but unfortunately arrived about 5 minutes before closing. Michelle tried to talk the guy into staying open a little longer and eventually got her way more or less, as he helped her find her books and purchase them. Meanwhile the other clerk was turning off all the lights and giving us dirty looks! When we finally left (after the second coworker) we had to duck under the half closed metal garage type door which covers the front of most stores when they're closed. We spent some quality time at Starbucks and then came home on the train.

On Sunday after church, I was chatting with our friend and former student, Su Han and she asked if I had any plans for the afternoon. I didn't, so she invited me to go to Taitung with her! The first place we went was an aboriginal village about 25 minutes away from Taitung, which was founded by a pastor who wanted to give his people a source of income. I can't remember how many people live there, but they make their livelihood through tourism, including the traditional crafts and food they sell, and a show they put on daily. We were fortunate to be there for the afternoon show which included singing and dancing. It was really impressive! We have had some students who are from the Bunun tribe (all the students at Zhuo Feng) and so have already learned a little about the culture, which made the experience all the more enjoyable. We bought a CD of their music and had it signed, then had a late lunch/early dinner which also included some traditional foods.

This in itself was really fun and memorable, but our day was far from over. We stopped to buy some "famous" Baozi - steamed buns with meat inside from a little shop that constantly had people lined up out the door. Then we continued up a little mountain road to a tea house/garden which overlooks Taitung city.
It was a really pretty place, and the first time I'd been to such a place, though I hear it's a popular pastime in Taiwan. First you buy a jar of whatever kind of tea you want to drink, and then they bring you a little tray with the loose leaf tea, a little pot and small cups. Beside each table is a little pit where they set another pot of water over some hot coals, and you just continue to fill your pot and cups, all day I suppose! Well we drank at least 3 full pots of tea, and used just a fraction of the tea leaves (or in this case, flowers).

When we were finished there, we somehow got to talking about KTV, a favorite pastime in Taiwan, and decided to go see if we could find a KTV in Taitung. KTV is karaoke, except your group gets a private room, and thus a much smaller potential audience, which is much more to my liking! Anyways, we spent about two hours there before heading home. On the way home, we stopped to buy some custard apples, or Buddha heads as they are roughly translated to in English. I think I may have eaten a variety of this in Brazil, called abacate, but I'm not 100% sure. They're really sweet, but quite good!

All in all, it was just a great day. I really enjoyed the company of Su Han and Susan who both work at one of the mental hospitals in Yuli. They were talking about us taking another trip to the south of Taiwan (where Su Han's hometown is) and saying that we're not allowed to live in Taiwan for a year and never see Kenting, so perhaps there will be more adventures with them in the future!
Enjoy the pictures below, all taken with my new camera!

Our wonderful friends Su Han (Vivian) and Susan.  Posted by Picasa

One of many carvings that mark the village entrance.  Posted by Picasa

A number of the chairs in the coffee shop area were carved to look like people. Almost as if with or with out you table conversation will continue.  Posted by Picasa

After we had been at the Bunun village for awhile, browsing their bookstore and stuff, we got to watch the daily show they put on, which included singing and dancing to traditional songs. I took a number of pictures. Sorry, some of them are a little dark, but remember, you can click on them to see a larger size, which you'll definitely want to do with some of them. Posted by Picasa

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A really talented young lady.  Posted by Picasa

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Some wooden statues of a Bunun family. Posted by Picasa

A closer shot, I think that little boy is afraid of foreigners, not unlike some of the children we've met here (thankfully not too many).  Posted by Picasa

I was trying out the black and white function on my new camera. Posted by Picasa

After we left the Bunun village we went to a teahouse/garden which overlooks Taitung city and the ocean. What a beautiful view.  Posted by Picasa

We're trying out the dance moves. Su Han is from the Paiwan tribe, and was teaching us how to dance at the tea place we visited. On either side you can see small pits where they set a pot of water over some hot coals. We had chrysanthemum tea.  Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Happy Belated Birthday, Blog

My blog turned one year old this past Wednesday!
To think, all of this was nothing but a distant imagining...

Friday, August 12, 2005

the rains came down and the floods came up...

I woke up this morning to the sound of heavy rain pounding on the roof next door out my slightly open window. One of the first sights I saw was this:

Yes, my balcony was being transformed into a swimming pool, and my (dead) little plant was on the verge floating away. Eventually, I braved the torrents and went out to clear the drains, so that crisis was averted. I believe we're experiencing the edge of a typhoon that's hitting the Philippines, which you can read about here. Actually, it's kind of strange, because this rainy day has more rain and stronger winds than we experienced in either of the two real typhoons that hit so far this summer. I think the difference to our particular location is that it's coming from the south, but hey, I'm no metereologist.
Anyways, to pass the blustery day we watched West Side Story, baked cinnamon rolls, and started on the puzzle Hope gave me for my birthday.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The hair picture! As you can see it's actually more wavy than curly. Anyways, what do you think?  Posted by Picasa