Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Look at the pretty sunflowers and the tank

I decided to take advantage of the wonderful sunshine today at lunch time and took a walk by the river, which is less than 10 minutes from my house. Predictably, there weren’t many people out since Taiwanese people tend to avoid the sun. It’s such a beautiful green area with flower beds along the walking and bike trails. I once saw a woman posing her dog among the sunflowers for a portrait. But my favorite part of the river park is the bridge (I’ve always been partial to bridges), and especially the adult-sized swings underneath. I’ve always loved swings, and usually stop for a swing before I turn back to go home. Today I had company though. There was a group of about 6 business guys in their early 30s in suits, perhaps looking for a little levity, who had come down on their lunch break to swing on the swings. It was actually kind of amusing to watch them. I wonder if it’s a regular thing for them.

On the way back I saw one more very random thing. A large flatbed carrying a tank. A real-blowing-things-up-in-war-tank. And then another one. I know there’s a military training facility in Yilan, but I was weird to see them nonetheless. I only wish my cell phone camera took a little better quality pictures!

Monday, January 18, 2010

A quick look back...

I think January is one of my favorite months. It's filled with hope at the beginning of a new year, and often includes some time off for winter vacation or Chinese New Year. If all goes according to plan, I'll be in Thailand next January completing my second study term for my master's degree!
I was thinking it would be fun to take a look at some of my January activities in the past 5(!) years.
Last year, 2009, I went to the Philippines for New Year's and celebrated Chinese New Year with the Chen family, and had lots of fun with my favorite girls.

2008 - the first speech contest I entered was in January!

2007 - I had surgery to get some pins out of my leg and my parents came!

2006 - I went home for the first time after being here in Taiwan for almost a year and a half.

2005 - Teaching new friends in Yuli how to bake cookies.
This is really fun because that's exactly what I'm planning to do this month! I'm having students from my bible study and girls from the high school over in the coming weeks for some baking classes!

Here's an excerpt from that blog entry dated January 16, 2005:
Around 4:00 I had a little baking class, which was pretty fun! It's Sherly's birthday tomorrow and so she asked if I would show her how to make cookies so she can bring some to work. I agreed and suddenly there were all kinds of people signing up! It was kinda crazy, but we had fun. Eva's daughter, her name is Anna I believe, was a big help, and actually did a lot of the work, because the other ladies kind of got tired of it after the first few trays. Anyways, at some point they got the idea to start making shapes and then words out of the dough, which actually baked better than I thought....
That was also the day we unwittingly went to a Mormon Thanksgiving celebration. Oh, the memories!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I changed my blog template, hope you like it! New colors for a new year.

I'm still looking for a theme verse for 2010, which will go at the bottom of the picture.
I also still need some ideas for my 2010 archive section.

Here are some things I'm looking forward to:

Being done with all my grading!

Having students over to bake during winter vacation.

My friend Jeanine coming for a couple of days at the beginning of Chinese New Year.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Top 9 of 2009

I've been doing this ranking activity with my students, asking them to discuss what the most important things that happened in 2009 were. There was an interesting mix of things in there, and here are some of the top ones:

  • H1N1, which I blogged about not too long ago.

  • American beef, apparently causing a strain on U.S. - Taiwan relations, in daily life, it means signs popping up in all the restaurants reassuring patrons that American beef is not served there

  • Michael Jackson's death, I remember hearing about it via Facebook before going to one of the summer camps I taught at.

  • Taiwan's former president being jailed...was that 2009 or 2008? or maybe he was jailed more than once...

  • Obama winning the Nobel Prize

  • The global warming summit in Copenhagen, although the movie 2012 was equally popular

  • Typhoon Morakot, Taiwan's biggest natural disaster in recent years, which occurred when I was home in Canada

  • Wang Chien Ming being fired from the Yankees, I guess he is no longer the "light of Taiwan"

  • And lat but not least... Sorry Sorry- a song by Korean boy band Super Junior that has everyone dancing, or at least doing hand motions:

As for me, 2009 was an extremely eventful year, but as readers of this blog, you already know that ;)