Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wordle (#11)

I'm here in class this week, and my brain is going into overload, filled with words like rheme, prosody, and discourse semantics. But speaking of fun words, our prof (who was teaching at Briercrest last semester - small world!) shared this website as a teaching tool or just for fun at
Here's a sample of what I got by inputting text from this blog, enjoy!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Back to North America (#10)

I'm already 1/3 of the way through my 30 before 30 goal, that's good news!
I have a few more ideas coming up too, one of which is that this coming October will mark 7 years in Taiwan! But for now, let me share a little about my trip back to the cold west!
33-19 degrees - yes, it's a lot cooler here, which means all the pictures of me will be wearing the same hoodie since I only brought one!
24 hours of travel - including a very long trip to the airport. I booked a shuttle van to pick me up at home, and they arrived at 11:30am, to get me to the airport for 4:20pm??? I was thinking I'd get there quite early and could have lunch there, mail something etc. little did I know that after picking me up in Yilan, they'd go south (away from the airport) to Luodong, Nan-fang Ao, and then Su-Ao for other pickups! We didn't even leave Yilan until quarter to 1!! Then we hit torrential rain just past Taipei, so my ride was a little delayed. I flew to Hong Kong without incident - LOVE Cathay! It might just be my favorite airline. But when I got to Hong Kong I found out my transfer gate was WAY at the other end of the terminal, it was a bit of a walk, which was ok since I'd be sitting for so long, but the frustrating thing was that the WHOLE way down they had double sets of people movers (moving walkways) BOTH going the opposite way I was walking! But I made it to the gate just in time for boarding our very full plane, in which I was sitting in the middle seat, yes, for an 11 hour flight, fun times right? Oh wait, make that 13 hours because there was a malfunction with the airplane RESTROOM of all things which they had to call a mechanic to come fix, so we sat on the runway for another two hours! Actually it was a pretty good flight, and the seats were more spacious than I was expecting, with a new update since last time I flew - USB ipod chargers in the seatbacks! Travel is getting more convenient all the time. One of the guys I sat next to was really friendly, and told me he flies between China and Canada a few times a year for business. I was thinking I couldn't do this all the time!!!
When I got to Canada, I discovered yet another new thing in the airport - Canadian citizens can go through an electronic customs process that takes all of 3 minutes, it was awesome!! Today I've been booking my shuttle for LA and purchasing my textbooks. Off to school I go!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Kids! (#9)

Last week I helped out at a kids camp for my church. We were out in the country at this little school, and the kids were sooo cute! Actually they reminded me a lot of the kids in Yuli, a lot of them were aboriginals. For me it was fun, but kind of a challenge. The worst thing about the camp was that there were these venomous monster mosquitoes out there, that left itching red welts on my legs, if I ever go back there, I'll definitely wear long pants, 33 degrees and no air conditioner regardless. Anyways, I was teaching the youngest age group, which is quite different from the high school and adult students I'm used to. They take a lot more energy, that's for sure!

Some ways teaching 7-year-olds is different from teaching adults:
  • You have to accompany your students to the bathroom
  • You have to worry about students putting their food into the hair of the person next to them
  • You use the word "xiao peng you" ('little friends') a lot
  • Your tone of voice alternates between sweet and authoritative, "Ok, come here everyone, I'm going to tell you a story, would you like to hear a story? Jim, get your hands out of the fish tank, NOW! Ok Ruby honey, you can sit next to me, but you need to give Jacki a turn next. Jim, I'm not going to tell you again!"
  • Your students take off, stand on their desks, and put your teaching materials in their mouth
I'm guessing this will sound very familar to my friends with kids... fortunately, I got to give them back to their parents at the end of the day! Oh but they were adorable. They loved learning, dancing, singing, and were generally pretty cooperative. There were a couple of super-hyperactive kids too, so all in all it was fun but challenging. But I was amazed at how much we were able to teach them in just a week. They mastered a lot of songs with actions, and even an English bible verse.

One thing I was reminded of is that kids have no internal censor yet. They say whatever is on their minds, whether it's telling on someone, announcing they have to pee, or sharing in great detail what they did the night before. It was refreshing to have such honesty, but a good reminder too that we are called to be wise in our words. We are supposed to have "faith like a child" yet, we are called to "grow up" in our salvation. It brought to mind Hebrews 5:11-13:

11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Inspired by Nick (#8)

"If you put your happiness in temporary things, your happiness will be temporary."

Last Saturday, we took about 30 students from Yilan to see Nick Vujicic give a talk. If you have never heard of this amazing man, take a few minutes to check out his website. Nick was born without arms and legs, and doctors could give his parents no reason why. He went through a very challenging childhood and at one point, even thought about drowning himself in the bathtub. But God turned his life around and gave him a purpose. Today, he is a motivational speaker who travels around the world sharing his message of hope, speaking against bullying, and encouraging people to "Never Give Up." Words can't describe how inspiring it was to see him here in Taiwan, and have him share with a sold out auditorium. He talked about the story of the blind man in John 9, who was born blind, not because of his sin or his parent's sin, but to give glory to God. Nick told us emphatically, that he would rather have the opportunities he's had to share with thousands all over the world than have 90 years with arms and legs. Are you missing out on greatness because you are focused on your limitations and obstacles?