Friday, March 31, 2006

Further amusement

Authorized Service Station. As seen on a street in Yuli.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Real updates coming soon... while you're waiting take a closer look at these notebooks I bought last week out of sheer amusement. (Click on picture to see larger size) Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 24, 2006

One of the strangest...

Today I tried something that is as strange as it sounds - cake sushi. The store I was buying a caramel macchiato from gave me a free sample. Now this sushi roll looks very similar to the one above, but instead of white rice, imagine white CAKE is in its place. Like a normal sushi roll, it was wrapped in seaweed. In the middle was a piece of cucumber and some dried shredded pork. Definitely an odd combination of sweet and salty. It wasn't disgusting per se, but I don't think I'll try it again.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Thursday Ramblings

Personal DNA - an interesting quiz

Well another week is almost over!
First I want to say a big thank you to anyone who has been praying about my Wednesday classes. I'd have to say yesterday was the best day I've had at my tough school this semester. I wouldn't say the classes were "good" but this was the first day that I didn't feel like I was on the verge of tears and/or walking out at any point in the afternoon. Let's pray that it will keep improving.

Last night in my church class we were talking about the weather, and interestingly enough, it started pouring rain halfway through the class. Since we were on the top floor of the building, it was raining so loudly that I felt like it was drowning out my voice!

I've been teaching some classes about relationships this week and last week, and have had some interesting answers to the discussion questions I've given my students. I'm suprised at the percentage of high school girls who say they don't want to get married at all. It seems as though the age of female independence in Taiwan is alive and well. Also I was suprised that a common answer to "When should you introduce your boyfriend/girlfriend to your parents?" was "When you have a baby."

Finally, after my Chinese class today, Rebecca, my teacher's second daughter took me on a bike ride to Dong Shan River, a really beautiful place about 15 minutes away from their house by bicycle (whew can you say too many qualifiers?). We had her English class there in a hotel courtyard (lots of tables, chairs and swings that anyone can use). While we were there we were approached twice by hotel staff wanting me to teach them English! I invited them to my conversation class, and gave them my phone number. Seriously, judging from the number of times I've been approached, if I chose to, I could fill up every spare moment with private lessons.

Calla Lily Festival and Other Tales

I had one of the best weekends I've had in a long time. From getting sunburnt by the ocean (I didn't think I'd need sunsceen in MARCH), to wading in a river and looking for jade, from catching fireflies after sunset, to picking lillies on top of a mountain, I did so many different things! It's hard to believe it all happened in two short days. On Sunday after going to English church in Taipei, I went with my friend Cindy to Yangming Shan, one of Taipei's most popular tourist spots. We were particularly lucky to be able to go during the park's Calla Lily Festival, and we even got to pick our own flowers! If you have time you can click on the above links to see some great scenery pictures. If you're too lazy, you can just look at my pictures below from that day:

 Posted by Picasa

 Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 18, 2006


My Chinese teacher's youngest daughter. She's just starting to talk, and can walk on her own. She's a lively part of our lessons.  

Friday, March 17, 2006

Foto Friday

Sorry friends that I've been slacking with the pictures lately. I'll try to make it up to you in the next little while! For today: the breakfast of champions.

The breakfast place. I go there almost every day. I can get breakfast there for less than $1.00 Canadian, or the price of 3 McDonald's breakfasts. Though I do enjoy those from time to time, maybe once every couple weeks.

Dan Bing (egg cooked with a thin wrap) and Dou Jiang (warm soy milk)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Congratulations... the 4000th visitor to my blog!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

oh for a cd burner

Every now and then I am faced with questions of great importance, questions which force me to pause and consider my actions, questions like: Should I blog about the stupid things I do for friends and (potentially) stranges alike to read?
The answer to this particular question is: Why stop now?

So stupid thing #6820 that I've done recently was this:
I bought a cd burner.
Now this seems like a perfectly sensible thing to do. My hard drive is getting a bit full, and I'm sure the 2000+ pictures I have on there aren't helping. Also, it would be nice to have a backup of stuff in case my computer ever crashes. So the solution: a CD burner. I've been thinking about this for awhile, and remember one of my friends mentioning how he'd bought one last year. Therefore, somewhat impulsively, I headed to 3C the most popular electronics store in Taiwan and perused the selection of CD burners. I was pleasantly suprised by the reasonable prices, and even bought some blank cds to go with it. As I was walking home, I was thinking I could blog about how I got a CD burner AND 25 blank cds for less than $40.00 Canadian. My stupidity didn't really sink in until I opened the box and pulled out the instruction book. The instruction book which shows you how to install the burner into your computer. How to physically install the burner into your computer. It was then and ONLY then that it dawned on me that I have a laptop.

  • return useless cd burner
  • look for external cd burner
  • have another cup of coffee
  • plan lessons

Saturday, March 11, 2006

A Walk.

I walk down the street of my city. I pass unfamiliar stores with indecipherable writing adorning their signs. Shops selling Chinese herbs, Hello Kitty backpacks, lottery tickets. It's Saturday. There are a lot of people out today. I pass some old people who stare at me, heads slowly turning as I walk by. I pass some students I recognize. They're suddenly very interested in the clouds, and don't make eye contact. I pass a young boy who is furiously trying to get his sister's attention who, unfortunately for her, turns to stare at me just as I'm walking by, waiting to meet her gaze. I stop to get some milk tea and am asked by another customer: "Where are you country?" Later as I'm walking by a small food stand a lady flags me down and in perfect English asks me if I've tried this snack before, and insists that I eat one...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

new word

Inventation (noun): The pastor's son posted his wedding inventation in the elevator.

As far as I know, they really are getting married....

Anyways, welcome to spring! It was at least 25 degrees here today, I had my Chinese lesson outside today, as well as the two English lessons with Esther and Rebecca - my Chinese teacher's daughters. Some of Esther's friends came over at the end of our lesson, and I think she gained some coolness points for being spotted studying English with a foreigner. Always happy to help... LOL

I hope you like the new layout... not so much a new layout as a facelift on the old one. I'm still undecided about the background, I do have a lighter one, so if you find this difficult to read just let me know, and I'll change it.

Time to go take my videos back!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Gui Yu gen Qie Zi

I'd like to begin this entry with a little survey. Please leave your response in the form of a comment below.

In your opinion, which is more important to a dish: taste or presentation?

The reason I ask has to do with my attempts at cooking tonight. Once upon a time in Yuli, we went to Peggy's house to learn how to cook some of our favorite dishes. We took notes and pictures.

Today I decided I would attempt two of these recipes on my own: egg plant and salmon.

Eggplant (qie2 zi)
* Chop and soak in water for 10+ minutes
* Heat 1 cup of oil and add eggplant, cover and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
* Drain most of oil and remove eggplant, sauté 1-2 cloves of garlic in remaining oil and add eggplant
* Add sauce (you2 gao1) and fresh basil, stir-fry and serve.

Salmon (gui1 yu2)
* Heat oven to 230 degrees Celsius.
* Sprinkle pepper and basil over salmon and broil for 20 minutes
* Flip after 10 minutes
* Cook until salmon is browned and it’s easy to poke a chopstick through
* Add pepper and fresh lemon juice before serving

The instructions to both are rather straightforward, but I seemed to experience a couple of complications, one being that my eggplant didn't stay very purple, it turned brown as soon as I put it in the pan (maybe it was too hot or not enough oil) and nearly burned. The second was that my salmon didn't take too kindly to being flipped... so anyways, it tasted pretty good, but my finished result wasn't nearly as attractive as Peggys...

It's a little reminiscent of the "apple mess" story, last December, I baked an apple pie and when I brought it over to the Su's for dinner it kinda fell apart (also, I hadn't cooked the crust long enough). Dr. Su kindly complimented me by observing: "It's not apple pie, it's apple MESS!"

Saturday, March 04, 2006


Dear readers: I apologize in advance for the negativity of this entry. I felt I should update, but most of my recent happenings have been a little irritating...

  • Went through the "we don't know how to use our own technology" gong show for a SECOND time at the girls' high school (you'd think they'd figure it out after last week)
  • My clothes are taking almost a week to dry, if they dry at all
  • Wednesday: where do I even start?
  1. I get to the school and discover that I've been scheduled to teach the 2 hour conversation class (they didn't inform me before my arrival that class would be on Wednesday, so subsequently, I wasn't prepared for it at all)
  2. After this frustration, I arrived in my next class to discover that they'd begun using a different magazine - thanks for telling me... so again, teaching a lesson that i had no prep for
  3. We finally got it sorted out that some of the classes had indeed switched to a more difficult (and above their level) magazine, but my final class would be using the other magazine still
  4. On arriving at the last class, it became immediately apparent that the class had a different issue (wrong month) than the one I'd prepared for
  • Can you say "crappy day" ? I almost cried more than once that day. It's a rather daunting task to be faced with a class of 40 unmotivated students at the best of times, and when you don't have any activities planned, it's even moreso. I'm getting better at this flexibility thing, but I still detest these kinds of suprises. Also, I need to come up with some good 50-minute long back up games and activites for the next time this happens to me (I'm sure it will).
  • Having to wake up at 7:00 two days in a row (lol ok, that's not really anything to complain about, but while I'm on a roll...)
  • My stupid bank is for some reason not allowing me to access any of my money, which in a few days could become a very big problem
  • When is the next Harry Potter book going to come out anyways???
  • I've been talking to myself with increasing frequency... maybe I shouldn't admit that...
  • well... if i think of anything else, I'll let you know... heh.

***** end of whining *****