speeches, swimming, and a spiritual retreat

May = Busy. It always has. I guess it's at that position in between holidays but close enough to summer that you start to realize how much you have to get done before the end of June. Anyways, May has been incredibly busy for me, especially with an extra, extremely time consuming project that came up at work involving proofreading/editing 80 stories and then working on the voice recording for some of them. It's been a challenge, but has been a good way to practice my Chinese, since the stories I'm editing have been translated from Chinese, and sometimes I need to go back and look at the original in order to figure out the intended meaning.

Speaking of learning Chinese, it is Chinese speech contest time again, but this year, I am NOT a participant. When I got the email in mid-April about the upcoming contest, I was torn. It's always nice to get some money if I win, but I have so many other things going on right now, including an online MA course. So I thought I'd give someone else a chance this year. Little did I know that one of those "someones" would be my friend from Yilan, Courtney. She's teaching there for the year and goes to my church. Well when I found out she was doing the speech contest, I was really excited, and went to cheer her on. I felt a little nostalgic as I listened to the speeches, and even a little regretful that I wasn't going to take the stage...but definitely not regretful of the hours of preparation and practice it would have taken! Anyways, Courtney made it to the final, which is this Saturday, so I'm going to go see her there. In the meantime, anyone reading this can go here to vote for her to win the people's choice award (determined by Internet Vote).

I'm too tired to write much about the other two "S's" from the title, so here's the short version. We had a staff retreat this past Monday and Tuesday, the highlight of which was hearing Jamie Taylor, the grandson of famous missionary Hudson Taylor speak. He gave both sermons in flawless Mandarin, having grown up in Taiwan. What an inspiration! Oh, the content was great too haha... I'll try to post a few notes from that if I remember.

And swimming.... this coming Sunday, I'm going on a 3km open water swim from Yilan toward Turtle Island, which can be seen off the coast. Hopefully there will be someone to tow me if I get too tired. Pictures to come after it's over!