Saturday, July 25, 2009

Waiting in Airports = Time to update my blog


I'm writing from the Vancouver airport today/tonight?
I had a really smooth trip to Canada, and was actually able to sleep on the plane for about 6 hours!
When I checked in, the guy was really friendly, and got me a window seat in the very first row on the upper deck of the plane (I didn't even know the plane had an upper deck!). The extra space was MUCH appreciated. After I woke up, I watched 17 Again, which was fun.
The first thing I did when I got to Vancouver was have a Timmy's while I waited for my dear high school classmate Johnny to come pick me up! It was so fun to see him, and when he spotted me, he threw his cell phone up in the air in excitement, it was like something from a movie!
We got some Indian food and went for a drive in Stanley Park and saw these awesome raccoons who I swear, were posing for my pictures!
I got a tour of CTV where Johnny works, and did a quick wander up and down Robson Street.
Vancouver is getting ready for the Olympics, and they have these eagle sculptures all over the city.
But they just called boarding for my next flight, so off I go!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A partial eclipse of the sun



Today was a once-in-a-lifetime event for us here in Asia. There was a solar eclipse! About 85% of the sun was covered this morning. I tried to look at it with my sunglasses on, and tried to take a picture, which didn't turn out at all. It was pretty cool, but not as cool as the solar eclipse on Heroes.

Fortunately, Jake, one of my semi-expert photographer friends has a special filter for his camera for just such an event, and got some really cool shots:





I'm still waiting for my mysterious superpowers to exhibit themselves.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summer Stuff

Some other fun things I've been up to recently:



















Pictures from a photo scavenger hunt we did at a summer camp in Yilan. Can you guess our team's name?The first word is "The."













I was in Taipei after that for 1.5 weeks, which I already blogged about. Great fun.

Then I spent a week teaching at the girls' school. They have two classes that specialize in dance, and don't normally take my English conversation class. They were a fun group, but definitely had a lower English level. To whoever decided dancers don't need to learn English: it doesn't make sense. I told them that if they're
serious about being professional performers in the future, language skills will be essential. If they ever make it to the international level, or get to do performances overseas, they'll certainly need and use English.
In keeping with what I already knew they were interested in, I had the students make up dances to English songs, which they performed here on the last day. I might post a couple of videos later. One of the groups danced with umbrellas, and it was hilarious! Mostly because they hadn't thought ahead to using automatic umbrellas, so they had some difficulty opening and closing them in sync. They still had fun though!

Last weekend I had a couple of inauspicious days.... first of all, I went to Taipei overnight and left my scooter keys in my scooter, which then caused me to freak out as I was getting ready to come back because I couldn't find my keys anywhere. It's a miracle my scooter wasn't stolen, though I guess it was parked at the church! It was really funny though, because in one of the English language newspapers here, they publish the "lunar prophecy" of the day telling you which endeavors you should or shouldn't undertake and the one for Sunday said
It's a good day for:
Nothing
It's a bad day for:
Everything

It cracked me up! But I should have taken heed, because later I proceeded to fall down and scratch up my legs, get a sunburn, and spend almost a hundred dollars on unexpected scooter repairs! I'm fine now, but I guess my planets weren't aligned right, or SOMETHING!

Finally, I had a housewarming party last night! It was great to show off my new apartment, which I've found can hold a lot of people! At one point there were 23 people over! I did get in trouble with management for being too noisy though :S I assured them I wouldn't be having parties like that on a regular basis.
It was really cool to see all the connections between the people I know here. I even had some students from 4 years ago show up!
I also got a chance to do a little cooking. Here is a marble cake I baked, and an extremely popular crab artichoke dip, which I wasn't sure would turn out well or go over well. The hummus, on the other hand, was barely touched. I think I should have labeled it! Anyways, if you're ever in Yilan, I welcome you to come stay at my place!





Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New Look

It was time for a summer blog makeover, let me know if you have trouble reading/viewing it.

8 days until I go home!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

FuShan Botanical Garden


To celebrate the end of the semester, I took a trip with my Bible study students up to a beautiful place in the mountains.

Even though we departed from Yilan, Fushan Botanical Garden is actually in Taipei county. It was less than an hour's drive.

We had about 30 people total, including the families of some of my students.
Since the garden is a protected area, they only let a certain number of people in every day. The day we applied, there were over 1600 people applying for 600 spots!




There were tours available I think, but we just went and wandered around.

The main path is just under 4km around the more cultivated area. There are signs explaining the different plants and animals that can be seen. We stopped for a picnic lunch halfway through.
It was so beautiful there, the pictures don't really do it justice! If you want to see more, you can visit here. One fun thing was that we saw some monkeys from the car on our way in. I LOVE that Taiwan just has wild monkeys running around.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Summer in Taipei

I've been here in Taipei office for about a week and a half working on some projects since my summer classes don't start until Monday...some thoughts and happenings:

  • Walking down the street in Taipei you get the strangest sensation of heat and cool at the same time. The air conditioner from the stores along the street cools off your left side, as you feel the scorching heat of car exhaust as they go by on the right.
  • Eating many different kinds of shaved ice, one of my favorites this year is made from almond milk (杏仁豆腐冰)
  • Writing around 400 test questions in a week...brain slightly fried
  • "sneaking" off stage halfway through leading an activity because i forgot the central material for the game in my bag...did i mention this was in front of 100+ people? did I mention my brain is fried?
  • Taking the new MRT 6 times since it opened, no delays for me, but it actually shut down completely today :(
  • Hanging out with really cool people and getting to know some new ones
  • Being a panelist on a radio program
  • counting down the days until I go home (13 left!)
  • Wondering if staying in Taiwan so long means losing friends back home