Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Do you remember the rush of emotion you went through as you were beginning high school? I remember being afraid I'd get lost in the hallways, or walk into the wrong class. I worried I wouldn't have any friends in my classes. How hard would the classes be? How much homework would there be?
Ah. Memories. This week I'm teaching fresh(wo)men, in literally their first week at their new high school. (Speaking of freshmen, my "baby" brother -who was starting kindergarten when I graduated from high school- is entering grade 9 in the fall. Where DOES the time go?) They're so cute, both shy and excited at the same time. It's fun to be able to say welcome to LY Girls' High School! I also have to remind myself that they're not the same students I left behind last semester who were just getting ready to embark on their final year of high school. I have to talk slowly. I have to explain how to do a "Find someone who..." activity in great detail. I have to try not to seem too scary.
I also ran into two of my favorite former students from last year today. It made me reflect on what a short time I have with these young people! Just a few hours and a few months and then they're moving up and on and out into the big world. There's a responsibility there.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

More camp tales

Last week's camp was a lot of fun! After a week of "cool" teenagers who don't like to do actions to songs or show they're excited about anything, it was great to be with a group of fun, very easily amused kids! The junior high week was challenging for me, partly because I think I was expecting the students to be more mature than they were. I was expecting the kids last week to be restless though, and planned accordingly!

The pictures from last week will be coming from a really cool team of people from a church in western Taiwan who came to Yilan for the week. They took care of the first half of the camp, and then I showed up to teach English. There were almost 40 kids, most from the local elementary school. Their English level was REALLY low, quite a difference from the "city" kids of the week before. I actually ended up teaching a lot in Chinese. Anyways, I had a lot of fun, the kids were cute and loved most of the activities we did! On the last day they had a relay race with clothes (they had to send a team member to find the piece of clothing i called out and put it on their team's "model" at the back of the room), and they had a great time! It was already past the time to go home, and they were begging me to play again! I can't wait to post the pictures of the many-layered models workin' it

My next set of classes is postponed a day because guessed it... ANOTHER typhoon! Apparently last week's storm was just a practice run... this one looks like it's going to be a big one. Work and school are canceled in all of Taiwan tomorrow. Being on the east, not far from where the typhoon is approaching, we were getting pretty strong winds and crazy rain (sunny one moment, pouring the next) starting quite early today. It's been pouring and blowing sideways since about 7pm, and all my doors and windows are rattling.... I'm really thankful that the wall the air conditioner was on (still getting repaired) is facing the inside of my apartment building, since they didn't actually cover the hole when they removed the unit. I was supposed to get my a/c back tomorrow.... hopefully Tuesday? The rain on the roof is REALLY loud now! Check out the satellite image of this storm here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

technology often rebels against me

Nothing too dire or serious, but sadly, I forgot my cell phone charger in Taipei, where it sits somewhere near my my back up cell phone charger (also in Taipei...). Why do I do this to myself?? After about 30 minutes of running (ok hobbling) around to various 7-11s and cell phone stores yesterday, I found that no one was able (or willing) to let me charge it in-store. Most places said "Only Taipei has this kind of service" well if I were in Taipei before THURSDAY I wouldn't NEED the service. So anyways, I had to dig out my old cell phone and charger and switch back for the week, not so bad, I suppose.
I also discovered last night that my air conditioner doesn't get cold anymore.............
It made for a grumpy and uncomfortable night.... I called around to see if I can get it fixed asap. Right now I'm just using a tiny doraemon fan that someone won out of one of those claw machines.
Anyways, I'd better get ready for camp this afternoon! Me +40 kids.... will be interesting!

In other, very random thoughts... I get a daily email from with a sentence to study. Today's sentence is:

People threw eggs at him, but he didn't complain at all.

I can't imagine ever needing to use that sentence in real life.

Friday, July 18, 2008


We just had a crazy week of camp that ended yesterday! 4 days of early mornings, prayer, chasing 13 year old boys, making a video, singing praise songs, teaching English, getting to know new people, and a lot more.... I'll have to write more about it soon... as for today, I thought I'd have to work, but we ended up having a typhoon day! It's nice to catch up on my sleep, but I'm bummed that Friday Night Live was canceled, since we invited our students from camp to go! Anyways, my leg is doing amazingly well... i managed all week being fairly active (but abstaining from any running games) and I can walk and do stairs pretty well... besides pain and swelling at the end of the day, life is slowly getting back to normal... I'll go see the doctor next week when I get back to Yilan. Speaking of which, I have a kids camp next week in the afternoons! Let's hope it goes well! I actually don't teach kids very often at all anymore, and I do prefer teaching high school students. Starting July 28 I'm back at my favorite school for 3 weeks of summer class!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Stitches out!

The bandages on my leg suddenly got a lot smaller as I got my stitches out today. As promised, I took a picture of the x-ray, but since I took it with my cell phone, you really can't see anything at all..... by the way the doctor seemed really excited to let me take a picture, he even got out of his chair so i could get up close! Actually that's his hand in the picture pointing to the screw holes. My doctor cracks me up.
2 things I learned today: first the screw holes look wierd and kinda gross, and second the chunk that broke the first time is actually still sticking way out, the gap has just filled in. If you look carefully at the x-ray on the right you can see a light piece of something sharp looking...pretty much parallel to the tip of the pen: that's the errant bone. Maybe you can't see it, but I can see it... then again i've been looking at x-rays of my leg regularly for almost 2 years now!
I'm off to Taipei soon and back to work again. Wish me luck and no falling down!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Post-surgery post 4

Ok, well there's not really a part four, especially since this is already day 10.
The doctor stopped in on Sunday and added seafood and fish to my list of forbidden foods.... apparently fish is "too healthy" and will cause my tissue to grow back too rapidly making for an ugly scar.... wish he would have told me that before I bought a ton of healthy fish and put it in my freezer to cook after I got home!! About an hour later, someone from the church brought me dinner..... salmon fried rice! I decided to stop eating fish the next day instead.....
So now the list of things I can't eat or drink:

  • coffee, tea, or cola (caffeine) and probably other carbonated drinks which are bad for your bones
  • mangoes and bananas for some unknown reason
  • fish and seafood

Well I'm not sure how long I'll follow all those rules, but i'm trying to be good for now, at least until i'm all healed up. I did have a wonderful friend bring me some decaf coffee though! So at least I can pretend I'm still drinking coffee. Does that count?

I got discharged with a few more rules:
  • no falling
  • no bike or scooter for 1-2 months (connected to the falling thing)
  • no swimming for 3 months!! I don't know if I'll be able to follow that one, as I was hoping to get back in the pool as soon as my stitches were healed.

Whew, it sounds like I have a lot of rules all of a sudden... apart from that, my life has had almost no structure since I got home. I slept a lot the first few, well until now. I think the meds I'm on make me sleepy.
My leg really has been feeling better every day though! I came home on two crutches and within two days was down to one. Then I was able to make it around the house without crutches. Next step was to venture outside. I made it to the corner with one crutch to buy fresh vegetables, then the next day for a hairwash and 7-11!

The days really have all blended together, but I've had some visitors at home too, which has been nice. I've also been playing a lot of facebook scrabble..... actually i sent out an email to everyone at the office in Taipei when I got home, and within two days people were sending me "emergency" stuff to work on. But it was ok, I didn't really have anything better to do. As I return things completed, the reply always seems to be "You finished it so fast!"

Lisa and Peter came down on Saturday and we went out for lunch and then out to this really pretty lake (large pond?) where i actually walked quite a bit (with one crutch still). We had a nice time before I saw them off to Hualian, and then slept for a couple of hours!

After that I felt I was able to walk more, and I made it all the way to the video store the next day! I rented the first season of Heroes, since I've been hearing a lot of people talking about it lately. Not bad so far, though I'm glad I didn't have to watch one episode at a time, I think I might have given up on it. But it's interesting, like X-men-plus or something.

The latest news from the doctor is that the stitches can come out Thursday morning. Great timing since that's the day I have to go to Taipei and back to work! I still haven't seen the current x-ray of my leg though, I'll have to ask to see it next time. If I remember, I'll try to snap a picture of it.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Hospital Days, part 3 - Waiting....


Had a mini cold war with my roommate. Her great-grandchildren came to visit from 10-12, just as I was about to take a nap. They were really noisy, so I put in my headphones…. But then they decided it would be a fun game to peek around the curtain at the foreigner and run away screaming if I looked at them…. My dread grew when I head mom coaching them: “How are you?” “My name is __ what’s your name?”

I wondered if I feigned a coma would they leave me alone, but it didn’t seem likely. To give the little girl credit, she really wanted to try speaking English with me. She finally jumped out from behind the curtain and said very quickly, “My name is Cindy, what’s your name?”

I said “Hello” and she bolted for her mother.

Back again “My name is Cindy, what’s your name”

Charlotte” (run away)

Back again, “My name is Cindy”

“How old are you?”

My name is Cindy”


I got my revenge when Christine came for lunch with her 3 youngest daughters, and I encouraged them to stay until 2. I asked them what songs they could sing. Too bad I didn’t have any laser guns or electric keyboards or squeaky dolls or something…

Anyways, we made our peace later when I asked her “Jia ba bway” at dinner which is Taiwanese for “have you eaten yet?” she said yes, then tried to ask me something else… nothing doing…. Another friend came to visit and she acted as a translator, and we had a nice chat (of sorts) the 3 of us. I found out that she’s been to Canada twice and to Mainland China over 30 times, and that she’s a great grandmother and her husband has Alzheimer’s . Ok, I’m an evil person for not letting an 82-year old lady have her post-lunch nap.

There was also an amazing sunset on Saturday which I photographed from my window.

Sunday morning

my last day in the slammer. I’ve already watched 12 episodes of Friends, 6 of Corner Gas, 2 Anita Renfro DVDs from my mom (yes, she is pretty funny, though I’ll probably enjoy it even more when I’m 40 and have kids), oh and Shaolin Soccer. And I’ve finished 2 books and done countless Wordokus ( brilliant variation of Sudoku discovered by Naomi that has kept me occupied on various commutes).

Only 20 more hours left to go! It’s almost lunch time so that means I’ll be getting a lot of visitors soon! haha

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Hospital Days, part 2 - Post-surgery

Thursday afternoon

Woke up shivering and teeth chattering, it was really intense. People were talking to me and I could answer, but really couldn’t make myself stop shaking. Learned a new Chinese word: fa dou (shivering or shaking) it sounds like “giving out beans” though probably not the same tones. 發抖....發豆 Finally I did stop and they took me down to x-ray (requiring your bed to be wheeled through where all the outpatients wait, isn’t that lovely?) and back up to my room. I slept off and on, and had more visitors.

The cleaning lady bought me dinner. I’d chatted with her a bit earlier when she came to empty my garbage, and around 5 she started getting concerned that I might be hungry. I ate ritz crackers and an apple, but she insisted that she go down and buy me something. I tried to refuse again and told her that some people were bringing me stuff later. She came back to my room a 3rd time and said she was about to get off work and she really thought I should eat something, so finally I said ok. Actually I’m glad she did since my other friends didn’t show up bearing food until after 8.

Friday morning

Had a ton of visitors right around 11am, including my coworker who brought two huge bags of bread for me. As per Taiwanese custom, I’ve been inundated with fruit as well. So far in my room there have been 8 giant asian pears, two big apples, three bunches of grapes, some plums and bell fruit, cut up pineapple, and 3 highly debated bananas. If you’re not familiar with the banana story, may I direct your attention here. Apparently in Chinese medicine, bananas are bad for bones, or legs, or surgical incisions or something.. must be all the potassium… my theory is that the word for banana – xiang jiao, has the word for leg in it (jiao) albeit different characters and tones. That’s the most sense I can make out of it.. the Indonesian girl TOTALLY tracked with me on that theory by the way!

After the 5 people left on Friday, I didn’t have any more visitors until Saturday morning.. they really gotta coordinate something! I got the bad news on one of those days that I had to stay in the hospital until Monday. I really started to miss my bed, and my Facebook…