Friday, February 26, 2010

Can your life get turned upside-down in a good way?

Because I'm pretty sure mine has.

It's going to mean a lot of work between now and then, but I think I've figured out the next chapter of my life... after Taiwan.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What would you write a book about?

The great thing about getting a country-wide vacation is that no one is really ready to come back to work.

So this has been review week and I really like that.

It basically means going back to work consists of literally doing nothing but playing games and goofing around with my kids.

Love it.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

How would you describe Taroko Gorge?

Well, our New Year vacation remained fairly uneventful in that there were no major crisis (other than my camera batteries dying and my charger being the wrong one).

I got pictures of Taroko Gorge on the first day, but unfortunately that's it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How do you travel lightly?

It's been raining pretty much non-stop on the East Coast, but we've been dawning our rain gear and going out hiking anyway.

Taroko is still as pretty as I imagined it would be despite the rain.

I didn't bring my memory card reader or I would just show you.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Why does time seem to slow down when you're excited?

I'm counting down 'til my train leaves for Hualien.

Three hours left to go.

How do you play Mahjong?

I was invited to join my co-teacher Angela at her grandmother's house for a traditional Chinese New Year's Eve celebration.

I had a lot of fun.

Friday, February 12, 2010

How do people celebrate Chinese New Year?

With a ton of fireworks, every thing you can possibly imagine covered in red, and nine days off work.

I could totally get used to this.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What do you do when your baboo breaks?

We're zeroing in on Chinese New Year vacation and tomorrow is seriously going to be the busiest day ever.

Today was already pretty busy.

What makes you laugh?

Couple of tidbits about today.

My alarm went off at 7:30 a.m. I hit my alarm every 15 minutes until 8:30 a.m.

Still way better than dragging myself out of bed at 2 or 3 p.m.

I was teaching these tiny kids today and they're hilarious and adorable. I want to steal them — but I will control myself.

Me: OK, Everyone say, 'I like your jacket.'
Children in Chorus: I like your jacket.
Me: Good. Say, 'I like your shoes.'
Children: I like your shoes.
Me: Good. Say, 'I like your eyes.'
Children: I like your eyes.
Me: Say, 'I like your nose.'
Children: I like your nose.
Little munchkin named Danny: Teacher, Teacher. I like your...

and then he pointed at his bum-bum. He's maybe four years old.

I nearly fell on the floor I was laughing so hard.

I <3>

Monday, February 8, 2010

What is too much fun?

It's funny to me that I've developed this mild terror of small children. I'm talking like really little children.

The kind that you could break by poking them.

It doesn't take long for me to get over it and just start playing with them, but every time I get around super little kids, I get a little freaked out.

That multiplies by a million when they can barely understand me because they don't speak very much English. Then again, they're also the easiest to gauge how much their learning.

I mean, when you go from zero to spelling and reading, that's just awesome.

That said, I had a demo in one of my classes today. They started in the summer and Tess was their first teacher. She had them for two months over the summer in which I subbed twice. Then after the summer was over, I ended up with the class.

So I've been teaching them for about four months.

They're super smart kids and I love showing that off.

I like that we were able to just have fun in the demo. I honestly wasn't stressed out about it in the least bit.

I remember my very first demo I was freaking out because there were only 10 kids in the class and that makes it so hard to fill up 75 minutes.

Today, we were perfect. Our timing was awesome. We had just enough fun, but not too much fun. I know what you're thinking, "What the heck is 'too much fun.'"

Well, there is a level between "having fun and learning" and "just having fun."

Something tells me parents like to see that we're learning.

Anyway, I'm waking up early every day this week. Friday and Saturday we don't have to work at Gloria so I'll have two chill days off before heading out to Hualien.

I swear it's like that last week before the end of the semester. All I want to do is play games and nothing else!

Friday, February 5, 2010

What do you get excited about?

It wasn't until the end of my first class today that I realized I wouldn't see my Friday students next week. Chinese New Year is one week away!

I know it's not really my holiday but I'm super excited.

I think it's a mixture of having a week off and everything looking so festive.

I'm pretty excited about learning more about what CNY is all about and how people celebrate it.

That and I am totally psyched about going to Taroko Gorge and Kenting.

I bought our train tickets the other day and put down the deposit on our hostel in Hualien and Leila put down the deposit on the hostel in Kenting so we are all set.

Every where you look there is something red. The staff in our apartment complex put up red lights (not really like Christmas lights because they're cylindrical) above all of the doors. Apparently if you put up red in the doors and windows it keeps out bad luck.

Again, I still have a lot to learn about CNY but I can't wait to report what I've learned.

I also spent the whole day booking things for our Thailand trip. I can almost smell the beaches. I keep thinking back to The Philippines and then I think, "Man, this is going to be even better."

Don't get me wrong — I thoroughly enjoyed myself in The Philippines — but I'm going diving for four days, snorkeling one day and kite boarding and/or surfing one day.

I'm going to be all water-sported out, if such a thing is even possible.

Of course that is all still six months away and there are a million other things to do between now and then.

For instance: What should I do on the 3-day weekend I get for Tomb Sweeping Day? I'm thinking maybe a mini-trip to Hong Kong?

Man, I know sometimes I complain about my job, but — I have to admit — it certainly has perks.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What are you doing for Chinese New Year?

My sleep schedule is all messed up again after all the celebrating we had going on this weekend.

I'm going to try to reset myself tomorrow since I only have one class so it won't be too terrible if I'm a little sleepy during it.

I'm also going tomorrow to try to buy train tickets to Haulien!

I'm not sure if I mentioned this before, but since Chinese New Year is coming up, we have a whole week off — nine days if you count our weekends.

My friend Leila and I are hoping to go to Taroko Gorge for a few days and then Kenting for a few days. I'm really excited but I'm also a little worried.

Chinese New Year is a big time for everyone to travel. Foreigners can't buy ticket until 12-days in advance, so we're running the risk of not being able to get a train ticket. And since we haven't bought train tickets yet, we haven't booked the hostel yet.

As you can see, this is snowballing into the possibility of not being able to go.

I'm sure we'll be able to make something work. I'm certainly not going to just hang around Taoyuan the entire week.

Other things to look forward to:

My Chinese teacher said tonight that she thinks we'll be finished with my textbook by Chinese New Year! I added a day and then switched my schedule around so that now I'm going on Tuesday and Thursdays instead of just the Wednesday night. I'm pretty excited about that.

She said she's really impressed with my ability to read, but that it still takes me too long to put my thoughts into actual words. She wants us to work a little more on conversation and I totally agree. Reading isn't really going to do me that much good.

Also, I booked my trip to Thailand with my sister!

This is way in advance considering we're not going until July — just in time for her birthday — but that's just how we do things. Unfortunately we don't have a ton of time so we can't really just go with the flow, but that's OK because my sister and I are big planners. We're planning a day in Bangkok and then four days diving in Koh Tao and another two just lazing around the beach before heading back to Bangkok for a night so she can catch and early flight back to America the next morning.

If anyone has any suggestions on must-see/must-do things in Bangkok let me know.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Have you ever won a prize?

Gloria hosted its Chinese New Year banquet last night.

The room was gigantic and there were SO many people. It's amazing how many people work for Gloria. I honestly didn't even realize there were so many of us.

The food was very authentic and basically disgusting. I tried to eat, but nothing was appealing except for a little bit of sashimi.

It seems that most of the foreigners found the food pretty bad and didn't really eat.

It was really funny to see everyone super drunk though. Even the people from head office were pretty tipsy.

Also, I won $1000NT in a red envelope! Yay for some good luck in the new year!