Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Things I will miss

1. Seeing my beautiful, fun loving kids
2. Being a celebrity
3. Having my picture taken either with my knowledge or without
4. Playing charades every time I want to communicate with people
5. Riding my bike everywhere
6. Riding my bike in the middle of the street
7. Going to other countries--We have named specific places Japan, Vietnam, Philippines and Korea
8. Chocolate Bing-shas (I need to figure out how to make them at home because I will go through some serious withdraws)
9. Almost always having someone with me when I go somewhere (ok, I might not miss this too much, but I will most certainly miss the company that my roomies provide me)
10. Getting lost with no way to figure out how to get unlost- no phone and a language barrier
11. Going to Clothes Street or Food Street
12. Staring at people and not feeling bad or awkward
13. Being stared at 24/7!
14. Haggling prices for stuff
15. Buying shoes for $6 USD
16. Trying to decipher what a sign says
17. Making up translations for what is being said
18. Talking about people when they are right next to me
19. Carefree life of living here
20. Waking up after I am scheduled to go to work, and not rushing to get to work
21. Asian fashion style... anything goes here!
22. The people I have met
23. Fresh fruits! They are amazing here
24. 7/11 on every other corner- The ones at home just don't compare to the ones here.
25. Night markets
26. Shopping in Taichung
27. The Philippinos!
28. The garbage truck song

I am pretty sure there are things that I missed, but you get the idea. I have learned to appreciate this country and the things in it. I still think to myself, Really, Really that just happened?!? But it is those moments that I love the most. A lot of things are very different than in the States, but if they were the same it would not be Taiwan. I hope to come back to visit some day (maybe by then I will have learned some Chinese). I can't believe I only have one more week of teaching and 2 more weeks until I am home. This might have been the fastest 6 months of my life!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The end is coming...

Well I failed miserably at my year in photo challenge. Oh well. I am not too upset about it. But I do have some photos of what I have been up to.

We had our Spectacular show in the beginning of June. This is me and Gina. She is not one of my students but she is fun to talk to.
My favorites! This is Amily on the left and Minnie on the right. If I could take home any of the kids it would be these two. I just love them. They are so fun and adorable. They make my class entertaining. Sometimes they get a little too out of control, but in general are very good students. I am going to miss them so much!
Walking along the street in Taichung from Japan. We found the equivalent of the Japanese dollar store and have been there multiple times. When you go there you find things that you did not know you couldn't live without, such as a rice molder in the shape of a heart.! But as we were walking back to the train station we looked up and saw this billboard. Yes, that is a baby in a test tube. Gotta love Taiwan :)

President and Sister Hoer. This is the mission president for the Taichung Taiwan Mission and his wife. I absolutely love these two. They were so great and helpful and nice. I have decided that I want to be like Sister Hoer. She is a spunky, energetic, passionate woman. They leave the same time as us to return home after 3 years here in Taiwan.
Finding a bathroom is sometimes hard to do here and when you do you are scared of the conditions it will be in. One night while shopping in Taichung we found this bathroom in the back of an eyeglass shop. This is a picture posted on the wall of the real toilet. The other one was a squatter. I just love the picture of the Lego man.

What is that you ask? Oh that is a bunny in the mall's food court! The guy took it out of its cage and sat it down and started feeding it. I did not know you were allowed to bring animals into the mall but now am intrigued to find out exactly what kind of animals I can smuggle into the mall.
Saturday afternoon I went to my friend Nic's boxing match. This is the second one that I have seen and the second one that he has ever done. The first one was pretty bad on his end. But he improved a lot and won his match! Way to go Nic!
Saturday night we had a talent show in our branch. This is Emily playing the piano. She is 5 and is one of the cutest kids ever. She is the Branch President's daughter and is such an angel. I am going to miss her and her brother Bradley so much! You would be amazed to see how well behaved the two of them are.
This is Rolland. He gets the most changed award. He was a quiet boy that did not talk a lot in class. Now he is the class clown. He loves to say "Teacher want to die" and draw pictures of me dying. He is much more outgoing in class and I love it. He has such a cute smile and a fun personality. I am so glad that I was able to see this side of him before I leave. But it makes leaving him that much harder.
Oh, why hello. I did not see you there. Oh wait, you're not real?!? You are a mannequin! They love to have their mannequin's look like real people. They do not look asian either. They have wigs and make up on. It is crazy to see them and I frequently think that it is a real person and then feel stupid after realizing that is fake.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Oil everywhere!

Since being out the country and having less chances of hearing the news, I have been trying to read the news to keep up with what is going on. Thankfully I have Candice who is much better at it than me and tells me plenty of news that I don't read. But how can I not have read about the major oil spill that happen in the Gulf.

I did not read about it when it first happened, because I was watching the news on Thailand to see if it was safe for me to travel there or not. Now that I am not traveling anywhere in Asia, by attention has turned back to American news stories. The oil leak is the worst in history and let's hope there are no more after it that surpasses the damage that has been caused.

I have thought how thankful I am that I am not on BP's Public Relations team. I can't even imagine the nightmare of having to deal with this kind of catastrophe. I never wanted to go in to crisis PR and definitely do not envy their jobs right now. People are angry for the damage being done to the water, marshes, beaches and their lives. I completely understand where their fear and terror come from. But people are forgetting that it is because of them that this is happening too. No, I am not talking about the end of the world and the showing of the times. I am talking about the need for oil. Every person needs it. Every person expects to have oil to make their lives run easier. It has always been a risk that a rig will explode and/or leak. I am sure that there were things that BP could have done to prevent it, but that time has come and gone. Now they are trying what they can to get through this and to clean up the damage that they have created. But if our need for oil did not drive their company, would they have been in the Gulf?

I am not trying to play devil's advocate, or defend BP. I just want people to remember that it is impossible to place all the blame on one party. They are a business and we are the consumers.

I also am slightly annoyed at the people that are angry at President Obama. They are upset that he is not showing more emotion, but then when he does show emotion some people call him out on it. The position of being president is one of the most difficult things to do, I imagine, and it is impossible to be Superman. People forget that he is human and that it takes the same time as anyone to gather and process information before he acts. If he made decisions with getting all the information he could, and made the wrong decision people would never let him forget it. I hope that he takes the time to learn what he can before he makes a decision that could cause more harm and damage to an already fragile situation.

Alright, I am done venting about things. Let's hope BP can drill those relief wells quickly!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Year in Photo

Some of my friends here decided to do a picture a day for a year. The picture would be the highlight of the day, or just whatever popped out at him/her at the moment. I thought that was a great idea. I have been slacking on taking photos for the past 3 months and really need to start again. I have my new camera and I am in this beautiful and amazing country. I need to take advantage of it. And I will be returning home in 5 short weeks and I know that there will be plenty to document.

I had planned to start this yesterday, but I fell asleep before I remembered to post the picture and what not. So here is yesterday and today. (Side note- I know myself too well and know that I will not be able to post a picture a day, so I will most likely do a post a week with 7 photos... or maybe every 5 days since blogger only allows 5 photo uploads at a time)

Monday May 24, 2010
Facials. Since coming to Taiwan I have sort of let myself go. I rarely wear makeup (it normally drips off of me the moment I walk outside), I could care less what the people around me think. I have the mind frame of I'm in Taiwan, I might as well do whatever I want while I am here and when I get back home I will deal with it. But, Carly came back from Taipei with some face masks and I joined her in using one. It has been so long since I have properly had a beauty night. The masks were interesting and made us look hilarious. So here is photo number one!

Tuesday May 25, 2010.
I went to bed a little nervous that I would not have anything to take a picture of for today's picture. But good old Taiwan pulled through for me. I was woken up to beating drums and LOTS of fireworks. There was a political rally taking place in the courtyard of my apartment building. People were giving food to their ancestors, doing the Bye-Bye (a religious prayer for ancestors) and 3 drum guys and 2 cymbal guys were banging away. Later came the dragons. This went on for quite some time and have no idea when I ended because I had to leave and go to work. I am under the impression that people do not work here. They are always at the market or at rallys in the middle of the day. I wonder when they actually work.

Then at school today we only had 3 kids. Tuesdays are the smallest day because Chinese school is longer on tuesdays and so only the younger kids that parents are at work come to school. Well Sam puts his hat on Jimmy and tells him to twist his fingers and it was just hilarious! Jimmy is such a great kid. He is so smart and really getting the hang of English. Unfortunately he realizes that he is good and is starting to try and push his luck and become a little punk. But for now, he is still a great kid (most of the time).

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lots to Tell...

I have been up to quite a lot since my last post, which was far too long ago. I thought being in another country would help me get in the habit of blogging, but it hasn't.
There is much to tell about, but I don't really know how. Living here has opened my eyes to so many things. I have grown as an individual and matured in a lot of ways. I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have had to come here and experience life here.

Some of the things that has/will happen:
One Saturday me, Candice and Carly went to Ershui and saw monkeys. We were 5 feet away from us. There were mostly females and they had their baby monkeys with them! They were so cute. I forgot my camera that day so I don't really have any pictures to show for that. I still need to steal them from my roomies.

I have also been on quite a few home visits. Mostly with Sam and his kids, but it is still fun. It is nice to meet the parents of the kids we teach and to spend some time with real Taiwanese families and go to places that I would have never gone to if it weren't for them.

This past saturday all of us, except Candice, went hiking with a family from the school. They have taken us out before and they are really great people. Both parents have spent time living in the states and attended college there so they know english really well. We went hiking at Shitou Park. It was a little chilly and rainy when we went and it made it so much better. There was a beautiful mist that covered the area and much of where we were was covered by trees so we were hidden in the forest for most of the day. It was so gorgeous. The main attraction is the "Big Tree." It really is just a big tree that is in surrounded by many other trees. It is said that the tree is about 2,000 some years old and you could tell it had been hit by lightning. It was cool, but not that great.

I have a busy next couple of weeks and am sure that the last 2 months that I have here are going to fly by. This upcoming saturday I am going to Sun Moon Lake, again for the 3rd time, with Sam and one of his kids' family. May 9th I am going to Taipei to see Elder Christofferson speak at a YSA fireside. My stake is paying for us to go on a bus and feeding us dinner! I am so excited to go. May 13 BYU-H Concert Choir will be doing a performance in Taichiung, which is where I go to church, so we are planning on going to that. May 15th I am going on a home visit with one of my kids. It is the only one I am going on that is one of my own so I am pretty dang excited for it. They are taking me to Lugang, which is a town pretty much on the coast of western Taiwan. There is a fan maker there that paints pictures on to fans. In the past other teachers have gotten temples put on the fans. I am excited to see what pictures he can do and see if I can get a cool fan to bring home.

Speaking of bringing stuff home, I have started a list of things I want to make sure I bring home with me. One the top of that list is peanut butter and socks! Weird I know, but it;s true. Also, cards. I went to the stationary store (that is what we call it because we don't know the real name, and we name everything) and spend almost $30 USD. I bought a ton of cool cards because they were so unique. It is hard to find really fun cards in the states sometimes so I am stocking up on cards. I also am buying lots of tights while I am here. Everyone wears tights here so it is pretty easy to find lots of different style of them.

The main reason (which took me a while to get to because I realized how much there was to talk about) is about one of my kids, Frank. He is such a fun-loving, crazy, out-there kid. He tries really hard in school and I am so afraid to give him bad grades because he gets beat if he gets below an A. (If you ever wonder why Asians, from asia, are smart it's because many of them are required to do well and go to school for 10 hours a day!) I found out that on Saturday he was hit by a car. He ran out of his front door into the street and got hit. From what I can understand from the people at work he was in a coma, but is conscience now. He is still in ICU as far as I know. I wanted to ask for you to pray for Frank and his family. I do not know how bad his condition is, but I know that it is bad. I get to go to the hospital with my boss Wednesday morning to see him. I almost cried when I was talking to my boss about this. It really breaks my heart to hear when one of my kids is hurt or upset. A few weeks ago, Minnie, came to school on tuesday and she was the only one there (there are normally only 2 on tuesday). She was really tired and I think sad/intimidated to be the only one. She spent half the time crying. It was so painful to see how upset she was and now with Frank I can barely handle it. Carly pointed out that she loves how me and Candice call our students "my kids." It really is true, I spend 15 hours a week with these kids and get to see them almost every day. I have such a deep love for my kids and want nothing but the best for them. I know that this is just a glimpse into how much I will love my own kids, but I truly care about each and everyone of them. So, please pray for Frank to make a full recovery.

Here are some pictures of Frank:
I have no idea what he was doing, just hugging the wall...
Andy (on the left) and Frank (on the right) playing with the rope during a game of monkey in the middle.

Frank at McDonald's for super student of the month celebration. This is a slight glimpse into the crazy faces he gives me everyday.

More to come about my adventures and thoughts about Taiwan. There are so many, but as soon as I sit down to write them on here I can't think of any!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The people I spend most of my day with

I wrote a post about my roommates, now it is time to show you who I truly spend most of my time with during the week. It is the kids that I teach. Until now I did not have a good camera to take a picture of them. You might think, "any camera would take a picture of them?" Well for some odd reason these kids hate to have their picture taken. When ever I would bring out my camera they would run away from it. They would hide under desks and out the door in order not to have their picture taken. It is quite entertaining, and I have it on video. If I can figure out how to post videos on here I will put them up.

This is Amily. I hate to say that I have a favorite, but it is true. I absolutely love this girl. She is loud and outgoing, but listens to me when I tell her to do something. She always participates in class. She is a sassy girl with a lot of attitude. I cannot help but love her! I want to take her home with me.

Minnie! She is the youngest one in my class at the age of 6. She is such a smart girl.
Cindy... oh Cindy. I never liked teacher's pets when I was school and now that I am a teacher I still don't like them. She is crazy, cannot focus on one thing for a long time and is too clingy. I try really hard not to show that I can not handle her, but sometimes it seeps through. I'm working on it.
Duncan (left) and Thomas (right) So cute! I only teach Thomas one day a week, but Duncan I get for 4 days. They are the cutest kids. They are quiet and do not talk a whole lot, but when they do it shocks me almost every time. Their faces light up when the smile or know an answer

Yoyo. Definitely the most unique name of my kids, but his brother runs a close second with Engine
Frank. He is one crazy asian.
Emerson. Number one punk. He never listens to me. But he is so dang funny I can never really get mad at him.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Last Lecture

I have started to enjoy reading more, now that I am not in school. I can choose the books that interest me and am not forced to read a book. Reading has become much more pleasurable. I just finished "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch. He was a professor at Carnegie Mellon when diagnosed with pancreatic caner. The book went into more detail about his life and his reasons for saying what he did during his last lecture. I love books about life. They are normally written by someone that does not have a lot of time left and has time to reflect on everything that has happened or could have happened in his/her lifetime. I love to hear the advice people give, and what is most important to them. When someone finds out they only have 3-6 months to live, that persons true self comes out. You can learn what that person cherishes and what he loves. It was an inspiring book about living your life and living it well. I think it was a great read.

Lantern Festival

I believe I came to Taiwan at the best time. There are two different semesters that I could have been here, and this one is definitely the best. We get more days off (which we get paid for) we miss typhoon season and we got to see Lantern Festival.

Lantern Festival lasts for about a week and today me, Candice and Carly went to Chiayi to see the largest Lantern Festival in all of Taiwan. It was only an hour and a half train ride to Chiayi. We got off the train and started walking down the street that would lead us to the Festival and went into a book/stationary store. We spent a good hour or so in that store. the bottom floor was books and the top was anything imaginable that was related to school and then some. It had art supplies and random collectables. I cannot explain the randomness that I found there, but it was definitely interesting. We then continued to walk towards the festival. Once we got there is was about dusk so the lights started to turn on. It was pretty cool to see all the different displays. The displays were was massive and the area was much larger than I thought it would be. There were not a lot of lanterns, but more lit up stationary floats. It is the year of the Tiger, so the tiger was raised above the other and it would move around in a circle. We got there when a performance was beginning and the big theatrical part was the tiger turned in a circle to music. There might have been more things afterwards, but we could not understand what the announcer was saying. For some reason he was speaking Chinese?!?! I have not yet mastered the language. I am very close though; I know hello, foreigner, american and the numbers 1-3!

Below are some pictures taken today, with my new camera!!! I love it. The color is very vivid and I feel like the pictures turn out much better. So far it has been a great buy! Thank you Nicholas and Stacy for taking me and interpreting for me. I have become so grateful for kind, considerate people. Living in another country and not being able to communicate what I want is hard, so when there are people there to make it easier I have become much more appreciative for their willingness to help me.

Lantern Festival! Great thing to experience and partake of as a local. (I got my resident visa and officially live in Taiwan!!!)
I love the cute little pink dress the tiger has on!
There is a restaurant that we call the toilet restaurant because they serve all of their courses in different types of toilets. We find an ice cream vendor that served their ice cream in a squatter! Of course I had to get one and document it! I think it is so funny, and definitely want to go to the restaurant.
My favorite Tiger of them all at the festival. I feel like this is the typical idea of something asian... a karate tiger!
The massive Tiger that was near the main performance stage.

Friday, March 5, 2010


I am excited to tell you that I got a new camera today. About a month ago I dropped my camera while hiking and broke my screen. I can only see out part of the screen and it makes for interesting pictures because I cannot see what I am taking a picture of. My parents sent me an old camera, but it just was not doing the trick. I am not very good at taking pictures and I have a shaky hand so when I used the old camera a lot of my pictures would come out blurry. I would get aggravated and frustrated with the camera so i stopped bringing it all together. Well, when you live in another country there are so many things you want to take a picture of to document and I was not doing that. So I got a new camera so I can remember all of my experiences and adventures I had in Taiwan. I took a few photos on the roof of my apartment building to test it out! I am so excited to start using it and I am sure it will come in hand when i am going to Chiayi tomorrow for the Lantern Festival!

I got a Canon Ixus 130. It is a new model and has only been out for about a month. It is so small! I really wanted to get the orange one, but the store I went to only had black so I decided that was ok. I am still a little sad about not getting the orange, but it is still a great camera!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

6.4 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Taiwan... I am ok!

This morning Taiwan had a 6.4 earthquake in the south eastern part of the country. At about 8:20 the earthquake happened. I was asleep, after hitting my snooze button, when I was jolted awake to a creaking sound. At first I thought it was my roommate Candice getting ready for work, but I quickly realized that it was an earthquake. I sat in my bed and could feel the building move. I have necklaces hung on my walls that I could hear shaking, so I knew it was not in my head. It last for maybe 15 seconds. It was about a 4.0 here in Changhua when it hit. It was an interesting experience for me, because it was the first earthquake I have experienced. It was not scary, mainly because it was not a violent shaking, more of a swaying. After it happened, one of my roommates, Brittney, asked if anyone felt that. (Sometimes we will ask if anyone just felt that earthquake, because they are little ones that just make you feel dizzy, and sometimes you are just imagining it) But this one we all felt.

Look at the story here from CNN.com for more information.

Their have been so many earthquakes in the past month... Haiti, Chile, Japan and here that it makes me wonder, have there always been this many natural disasters to this magnitude, this close together? Or is it a sign of the times?

Monday, March 1, 2010


I am beginning to plan my trip through Southeast Asia and China. And I need your help. I want to know if anyone has been there and where I should go. I would love some tips on traveling, seeing as this will be the first time I will be traveling.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Chinese New Year- Little Liouciou

Last week was Chinese New Year, and that meant a whole week off of work (and yes, I still got paid for that week of work). The new year is a big thing around here. A lot of stores and businesses are closed for the week and they spend time with all the family. Each night they do something a little different, but most of it involves eating a lot of food and setting off fireworks. Some of my roommates got to go to dinner with a family and experience it first hand.
We went to an island on the southwestern side of Taiwan, little Liouciou. It was beautiful. It was only about 5 km wide, but it was sunny and warm. We had to wake up early to catch a train down south and hop on a bus to get to a small town to catch a ferry to the island. Some of the most adventures come from transportation to your destinations. Let's just say if it was not for Lonely Planet and some nice people on the streets we would never have made it to Liouciou, but luckily we did. We got off the ferry and tried to rent scooters. Easy enough, right? Wrong! The street was crowded with tourists and we were in the way with 4 scooters. Brittany attempts to get out of the way of oncoming traffic, but does not know how to drive a scooter. She presses on the gas handle and goes, right into Carly, who was 5 ft away knocking her off the scooter. The people at the scooter place immediately grab Brittany, get her off the scooter and hand her back the money. Carly is still on the ground with a scooter on top of her and her humungous pack with sleeping bag and pillow attached to the outside. Luckily no one was hurt and we went on our way, heads a little bit down so no one could see the "stupid americans that do not know how to drive a scooter." At the time it was not funny for me. It would have been so nice to have a scooter to drive around the island, but alas, we could not. But it turned out to be okay. We walked to the campsite and got to enjoy a beautiful walking path along the coast that we would not have been able to see if we were on our scooters. The next day we went to a different scooter rental and rented 2 scooters, which Carly and Candice drove. Brittney and I took scooter driving lessons so when we were to Kenting we would not have a problem with renting scooters due to the fact that we did not know how to drive them.
The island is made up of mostly coral along the coast. It makes for beautiful images, but not so comfortable walks on the beach. It was nice to be one of the islands of our island and to see and smell the ocean. I forgot how much I love the ocean. Being in Utah did not allow me the chance to feel the breeze or feel the serenity that water brings me. A even now it is not very often that I get to be near the water. I now can appreciate it more, knowing that I do not get to have it near me all the time.

The campsite that we stayed at how a decent amount of people. In the morning before we left for our excursion of exploring the island I asked Carly to do my hair. She does some nice french braiding, which I take advantage of the fact that she has this skill. I sit down to have her do my hair and an Asian man comes over and motions that he would like to do my hair as well. So we say yes and he begins to braid the other half of my head. It was so funny, because his whole family came around to watch him braid the meigourens (americans) hair. I called him the asian hairdresser. His braid turned out very nice and lasted me all day and into the next.

Here are some pictures of Little Liouciou. I did not take any pictures and so all of these are from the internet.

This is the famous Vase Rock. This is the most famous thing about the island. It is just a chunk of coral that is shaped like that. It is kind of cool!

The joys of teaching

I am not very good at being authoritative. I am the youngest and never had the opportunity to boss around a younger sibling. I also hate confrontation and will do everything possible to avoid it. I do not like knowing I made someone feel bad. Well that personality does not always work when teaching. Sometimes you just have to put your fist down and scold the kids. Today was that type of day. My evening class, a class of 4 boys, was their usually rowdy obnoxious selves. I usually will play for the first bit of the class, but when I tell them to stop and it is time to be serious, I expect them to understand that. Today they did not want to listen. I told them to stand in line nicely and quietly. Did they do that? Of course not, they are boys! So what did I do? I took away gym for them. That is the ultimate punishment for these boys. They love gym! So when I take it away they know they did something bad. When we sat down in the classroom I just looked at each one of them and was silent. They didn't say anything or make a noise (which has never happened before). I asked them why they did not get to go to gym and no one would answer. It took a while before they would start to talk. I have never had to be so harsh, but they needed it. After our little talk we started to read a book. I turned to write something on the white board and got a huge grin on my face. I thought to myself, "That felt good." That might be a horrible thing to say, but after you tell them to do the same thing about 25 times each class for 2 months, you start to get sick of it! We will see how the kids are tomorrow. Hopefully they learned their lesson, but probably not!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

My roommates

I have been without internet for most of the past week. It went out in our whole building, but then we put the internet cable in the wrong port and went an extra 2 days without internet. It is hard to be without internet, but when your only connection with anything outside of your town is through internet you start to feel a little stranded. Luckily I have some amazing roommates and the long hours at work made it not quite so hard to be without (and we have internet at the school).

I have told you briefly about some of my adventures. I have been on more since my last post. I went to Taipei last weekend. And I just got back from another trip to Taipei, which we went on daytrips to Wulai and Danshui. They were interesting towns. Wulai is an aboriginal village next to a river with waterfalls and hot springs. Danshui is a harbor town at the top of the island. More to come on that when I have my pictures.

I wanted to tell you a little about my everyday life, well to be specific my roommates. Imagine living with, working with, eating with, and traveling with the same 5 people for 6 months. Lucky for me, I have some awesome roommates that make things much more manageable. I was a little nervous when I came that I would not like my roommates. I can get along with anyone, but liking them is a different thing. I am so glad that I have the roommates that I like. There are many different dynamics within my apartment but it adds to the experience.

Let's start with Sam.
He is the only boy with 4 girls. He was living with all girls for 6 months before I got here. Poor guy. I don't know how he does it. He puts up with a lot. I do not know what I would do without him. He has helped me and my roommates out so much. He has shown us the ropes, communicated with many people because we do not know any Chinese. Basically, he is a life saver! I give him a lot of crap, but I truly appreciate everything that he has done for me.

Next, we have my fellow east coaster, Candice.
She is from Vermont and is my floor roommate. She is one of the reasons that I don't sleep very much! Well thats not completely true, but whenever I am close to going to bed I always end up talking to her for much longer than both of us should. She makes me laugh and has the best stories. The craziest things happen to her and we all benefit from it.

Here we have Brittney.
She is mellow and adventurous. She is the reason I have opened my eyes to so many new possibilities. We are both going to be here for a year and then travel together for a little bit afterwards. I plan on getting my open water diving license in the Philippines (thanks to her). She is very down to earth and great to talk to about anything. She is open to anything. She may be one of the few people that have been able to open me up to new things that I thought I would never do. So, thank you Brittney.

And last, but definitely not least, here is Carly.
Oh Carly! So is crazy, outgoing, a great listener and so much fun. And not to mention she says the darnest things. The comments that come out of her mouth shock you and you can't help but laugh. She loves sweets and will do anything to get them. And she bakes!!!!! I love her cookies :) She is a great conversationalist and very smart.

I am so excited to spend more time with them and get to know them more. We have our moments of tension, but they never last long. We banter like family, and let's face it... we are. There are not many foreigners, which means there are not many people to talk to. They are my social life and the people that I share all my amazing experiences with. I started to think about when they leave, it is not for 5 more months but I already am dreading that moment. I will be sad to see them gone and nervous for the next set to come in.

Thank you to my roommates for all the great experiences so far and many more to come!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sunday Fun Day

On Sunday I went to a friend's boxing match. It was his first match ever and we all went to support him/see him get hit. (yeah, we are great friends, aren't we!)

It was in Taichung, a city close to us, where I go for church. I had my roommates phone so that they could text me the address and I could show it to the cab driver and he could take me there. Well the text never came and I really wanted to go (apparently it was sent like 4 times, but not a single one came to me). They had said it was by the Art Museum, so that is where I told the cab driver to go to. Well once there, I had to find it. I walked down about 3 streets and felt hopeless. I had no idea where this boxing studio was, and if I did pass it, would I know it was the boxing studio?? Finally I got in another cab and one of the girls told the driver where to go.

Small tasks like getting to a friend's match, much more difficult when you don't speak the language and phones suck!

Well the trouble of getting there was well worth it. I did not miss the match, thankfully! I saw a few other matches before him and I must say, asians are not the best for crowds. There was no cheering or clapping. They just stood there with their arms folded, not saying anything. Well being the Meiguorans (American) we had to be loud. We are always the loudest in any situation so why should this be any different.

Nic gets in the ring and we cheer. The bell sounds and the match begins. A few dance moves between the two men and the first punch is thrown. Nic gets hit. Ouch! If you do not like getting hit, I do not suggest boxing. It looks painful to watch the guys get beat up and worse, they pay to get hit! But anyways, After those first few punches, Nic is pretty disoriented. I am not sure what happened, but I think he completely forgot how to block a punch. The rest of the match was a little hard to watch. But it was his first one and he did well for it. If only he had blocked... who knows how the match would have turned out. April is his next match... let's see how well he improves ;)

Here are some pictures from the evening.

Beastly girl warming up! You do not want to mess with her.

Before the match... thinkin' he's a big shot...

And he is hit...

After the match, looking a little tired.

A few of us at the match. Me, Leah and Jeff.

Side note... I was in 7eleven yesterday and saw a british guy (that taught at another school in town) and did not like it! It is weird to see other foreigners. I felt like they were intruding on my space. The people are suppose to stare at me, not them!

Next adventure... Taipei on Saturday. Then dancing that night. Pretty dang excited for that!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Adventures in Taiwan

Living in another country has opened my eyes. I cannot believe that I live here.

I am in my third week of teaching. My kids are so cute. I teach kids between 7 and 8. They are in the basic reading program. They are beginning to read. Teaching english has taught me a lot about our language. There are so many random things about english that are difficult to teach. It is something that you just pick up through listening to it. Now I have to figure out how to teach kids, that are never around english, to understand the weird quirks of the english language. I am hoping to take pictures soon of my kids to show you how cute they are.

A family from the school to me and my roommates/other teachers hiking in Tianjhong. Their hiking consists mainly of stairs. So we hiked stairs/mountain. At the top was an amazing tea farm. And on the way was just forest around us. The pictures I took did not do it any justice. And we saw so many fruit plants; pineapple and dragon fruit were my favorite to see. In the village just beyond the tea farm was a cute family that came out to say hi. I don't think any of them could speak english but it is amazing to see the communication the goes on between people of two different languages. Smiles go a long way. They offered us some hot tea.
At the end of the day the family took us to a restaurant that serves 7 courses. It was amazing! I could not finish it. After being in Asia for a while you get used to eating less. Just rice, vegetables and a little meat. Going from those meals to a 7 course meal does things to your stomach, but it was SO good! It cost 500 NT... which is about $18 USD. But it is an expensive meal for Taiwan.

Random quirks of Taiwan
1. When you hear car with music... it's not the ice cream man, it is the garbage man. It confused me so much. I would get my hopes up, only to have them crumble when I saw it was just the garbage.
2. Traffic laws are more of a guideline. Scooters control the road and if you are near a bus, you feel the life sucked out of you.
3. As I bike around my city, it is the greatest site ever to see a temple or monastery pop out of no where.
4. Korean artists are HUGE here! One of the most popular songs here is called Sorry Sorry by Super Junior. Super Junior is a band of about 13 boys-- Backstreet boys on speed!

(I cannot figure out how to post the actual video one here... Stacy help!!!!)


Here is a Korean Girl Group singing Nobody But You, another big song out here!

From our hiking trip... this is the baby dragon that is being protected by its momma at a temple in the village near the tea farm. I think it is so cute!

A lady working in the tea field.

Angry dog... I think this was the first dog that actually growled at me!

Someone that it was a good idea to dig a hole to China, too bad they didn't that far

I will post more soon... once I get a new camera to use... I dropped it while hiking, and now I can't see the screen.

Ps. I think I have started to change, for the better. When I dropped my camera and couldn't see the screen anymore, if I were still in the states I probably would have been really upset and angry, but here I did not care. It just goes along with the adventures. I have a new outlook on things. It is only a bad situation if you think it is. Think positive and look for the brighter things. If you are in a bad situation, just think you are alive.