Wednesday, August 31, 2005
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
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....
Monday, August 29, 2005
Saturday, August 27, 2005
Friday, August 26, 2005
*** 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
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 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
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
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
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!
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.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Friday, August 12, 2005
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.