Friday, November 25, 2005

out and about

all of my students have mid term exams this week, which means no classes for me! Next week I'm going back to HK. I figured I'd take the opportunity to go visit some people, so for the next weekish, I won't be around. Here's the tentative itinerary:

Sat: Meet up with
Faith in Hualian and do some shopping, then go back to Taitung in the evening.
Sun: In Taitung
Mon: go to Yuli and stay there until Wednesday
Wed night: come back to Yilan for the one class I have to teach!
Thurs: go to Taipei
Fri: go to Hong Kong, come back Sat.
Sun: back to Yilan
Mon: Begin my LAST 4 weeks of class before I come home!!!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Winter has come to Yilan

I had a great day of classes today. We were talking about apologies and I had my students do role plays at the end of class, acting out a situation where they might have to apologize. As can be expected, there were countless repeats of the most basic scenarios with as few lines as possible, but there were a number of gems among these that made the day incredibly entertaining. I laughed a lot today, and so did my students. Some of the students at the girls' high school must watch soap operas regularly. I wish I'd recorded them! Anyways, I'll definitely do role plays again if a lesson lends itself to them.
Here's one of my favorites:
A: Hurry up, the movie's going to start

B: I'm sorry I'm late, but..... this is Jim
A: What???
B: I met him at a party yesterday, and I knew he was Mr. Right, we're in love. We're going to get married next month.

A: No! It's impossible! I love you!
B: I'm sorry, I don't love you. Goodbye!
A: Noooooooooo

Now imagine: 1. extreme overacting 2. screams and gasps coming from the "audience" - the rest of the class, including the classroom teacher

Good times. The weather has definitely changed, I think it was about 18 degrees today (balmy, I know) and rainy... actually, it rains pretty much every day here in Yilan. I went out for a bit, to get dinner (yummy tomato vegetable soup and a salad from the pasta place) and now I'm settling in with some hot chocolate to start working my way through Season 3 of 24. Such a great show. I'm addicted.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Fun Food

Here's a little something to tide you over until I get around to writing a real entry....

The mango bing - shaved ice topped with fresh mangoes and sweetened condensed milk drizzled on top. A thing of beauty.

I believe this was the coffee flavored bing. Hope and I ate this quite frequently all summer. It didn't help that the store was only about 2 blocks away from our house, or that it was sooo cheap!

A meal of homemade shui jiao (boiled dumplings) at the Chens' house.

I don't even know exactly what to call this, but it's meat inside of this soft but chewy jelly-like dough? I'm not quite sure what to call it. Anyways, I thought it looked gross at first, but actually really liked it. At the bottom of the picture you can see some fish ball soup.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

I can't believe...

  • there are only 7 weeks left in the semester
  • this picture was taken in mid-November
  • I actually captured that flying insect (click to enlarge picture)
  • I understood most of the sermon today
  • I slept for 3.5 hours this afternoon
  • I found a Les Miserables in concert VCD for NT$199 (less than 8 dollars!)
  • I'm only 15 minutes from the ocean, but haven't been there yet
  • I'm going to be teaching in a university in two weeks

Friday, November 11, 2005

Chou Dofu

I can't believe I actually tried it!

When I first arrived in Taiwan, every now and then as I was walking down the street, particularly in the night market, I'd find myself assailed by a particularly noxious smell. (This was usually accompanied by my noticing that Hope was somehow suddenly 5 feet in front of me walking quickly muttering "God help us all").

Upon inquiry, I was told it was stinky tofu, which my Taiwanese friends assured me is "hen hao chi" (really good!). Similar to the durian, I find it hard to believe something that smells so awful can actually taste good, and decided to simply avoid trying this... maybe forever... haha. Recently people have been suggesting I give it a try, to which I always reply "next time!" See stinky tofu is tofu that is soaked in a brine made of fermented vegetables and other wonderful things (which have to ferment for 6 months or more). I'm glad I looked up further information AFTER I'd tried it actually... you can read more here:

I ran into one of the other girls who lives here in the church this afternoon and asked if she wanted to have dinner together. She said sure, we could go to the night market. I was thinking about getting some noodles when she revealed that she really wanted to eat stinky tofu today. I told her "Wo bu gang chi" (I don't dare eat it), but finally mustered up the resolve to try a little, since she was eating a plate of it anyways. The smell was terrible as we ordered, but that of the individual plate wasn't so bad. It was served with kind of a sweet chili sauce and something like kim chi (korean spicy cabbage). I should also note that all my of Taiwanese friends surveyed thus far LIKE the smell of stinky tofu...

What to say about it... in my opinion, it wasn't as bad as it smelled, nor was it as bad as the durian. Did I like it? Not particularly. Will I eat it again? If I have to. Will I still cringe and hold my breath as I walk by the stinky tofu stand? Undoubtedly.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Yuli - 玉里

As I stepped off the train in Yuli, I had this sense of returning home. It was wonderful. Don't get me wrong, I do like Yilan, but the peacefulness and beauty of my former home was refreshing. Seeing the people was even better. I saw many, many good friends, and even ran into a number of people by suprise (inevitable in a small town i suppose), including friends, and former co-teachers and students. I got lots of hugs. I answered the same questions over and over again (yes, I'm used to life in Yilan, yes, Hope's really back in America). I visited "the corner place" one of the coffee shops we used to frequent, and they still had our picture up. They told me they look at it every day. It was a wonderful time. I could go on and on, but I'll save that for when I'm talking to Hope lol.

I had a really good day of classes today too. I showed a movie clip from
Paycheck since the students had read an article about John Woo, the director. One of my students who I ran into on the train a week or two ago and chatted with for awhile invited me to go to see Harry Potter when it comes out in a few weeks. Hally Potter (as they tend to pronounce it here) is extremely popular. After class I saw a student from the other weeks rotation who I've chatted with a bit between classes. She's a Christian too, actually that was one of the first questions she asked me when I met her. She asked me to pray for her today because she was having some problems. I feel encouraged that I'm starting to get to know my students here better. The more this happens, the better classes go, as they overcome their fear of speaking.

My teacher mentioned in the previous entry is undergoing brain surgery now to remove the tumors. Please pray. Here are the lyrics to a song I'm listening to now:

Faithful One - Brian Doerksen

Faithful One, so unchanging
Ageless One, You're my rock of peace
Lord of all, I depend on You
I call out to you again and again

You are my Rock in times of trouble
You lift me up when I fall down
All through the storm
Your love is the anchor
My hope is in you alone

Friday, November 04, 2005


My dear friend, teacher and mentor has been diagnosed with brain cancer. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

I am doing ok, sometimes. I'm going to Yuli this weekend. I was planning to already, but I'm really thankful I can be with my friends there. I wish I could be with everyone at home.

I have to plan my lesson for tonight now.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Xia Yu Tian can't stop us!

Winter is coming. The temperature has dropped and last weekend it poured constantly. But in spite of the rainy days, I still managed to get out and see some interesting things. Ariel was coming to Luo-Dong (the next city about 10 minutes south of here) for a test on Saturday afternoon, so when that was finished I took the train there, and her fiance, Richard, drove up from Hualian and they spent the night here. We visited Luo-Dong's night market and had this delicious lamb soup made with some special Chinese herbs. Supposedly really good for a woman's body. We also did a little shopping. While Ariel was in this one shop buying a bag, one of the buttons fell off her coat. The shop owner insisted on sewing it back on for her! People here can be so friendly. (BTW. this all happened AFTER Ariel had made her purchase)
We went to church together here on Sunday morning and Ariel graciously translated the sermon for me!! After church (which ends by 10am) we went back to Luo-Dong and went to their center for traditional arts. There was a month-long festival taking place, and Sunday was the final day! We got to see some Tibetan Dancers, and wandered around a number of shops with local crafts and lots of DIY. After taking a break at the Starbucks, we looked through the small museum and browsed the gift shop. The whole center covers a really large area, and I hope to go back sometime when it's not pouring. There are some really nice walking paths by the river.
Anyways, it was a great weekend. I'm so blessed to have wonderful friends. Even though I'm here alone, I can't feel alone, because I have great friends right here in Taiwan as well as all of you back at home! Speaking of friends, I'm planning to go visit Yuli this weekend! I'm really looking forward to it! Now hopefully it's not the weekend everyone in Yuli decides to go somewhere else!!
Enjoy some pictures:

I'm so lucky to have good friends. Posted by Picasa

Ariel and Richard, soon embarking on a little America adventure. Posted by Picasa

Chinese one-man-band. Posted by Picasa

This is called a "Sleeve Dance." It was very beautiful. There were 16 dancers total for this one. Posted by Picasa

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Tibetan dancers in traditional costume. Posted by Picasa

Some interesting statues outside the arts center. Posted by Picasa

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