Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Living for the weekend

Sorry it has been a while... I find ourselves only blogging when there is something exciting or we have good pictures... of course crazy and exciting things happen to us every day and it is hard to keep up... I mean we are the minority over here and getting caught up in something different has become the norm for us. And also unfortunately I have been lazy bringing my camera on outings so we also have a lack of pictures.... So my new goal is to start clicking pictures of our more regular every day life. Anyways two weekends ago is where I will start this next blog.... where we found ourselves at yet another hash but this one is much different than all the rest it was the AIR All Island Run... so that means that every hash from all around Taiwan met about an hour north of where we live, in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere. The bus dropped us of in the middle of some rice paddies and we had to run from A to B... So in the 90 plus degree heat we set off with about 300 other hashers and went on about a 12kilometer journeythrough the hills and rice paddies of the Taiwan country side. THere was one point in the run we were all standing (300 of us) in the middle of a dried out rice field with no idea in a 360 degree direction to go, you would the think with the mass numbers of us it would have been a lot shorter than the 30 minutes that it took us to find our next mark and ON ON with the correct direction. After surviving the grueling heat we of course topped it off with a nice cold one and an abundance of noodles, rice, and the usual cabbage. After returning back to Taiwan in a Karokee (KTV) filled bus ride we then headed to one of the local bars that one of our friend hashers owns called La Bodega.... we enjoyed the night and then the next day was spent recuperating. So like I said before we seem to live for the weekends. Don't get me wrong our teaching is great it is so easy now and we really have the hang of things. But I feel as if I would bore you with the details of teaching that you won't come back to our blog.
We are now immersed in a Chinese class that we take twice a week. And last week we had a homework assignment to ask 4 CHinese people about 5 Chinese questions written in CHinese characters... It was pretty fun and we asked our CHinese teachers who preceeded to laugh at our pronunciation. With learning Chinese it is completely different. THey have 4 tones that go along with different pronunciation. You can say one word 4 different ways and they can mean sleep, thankyou, monkey, and crazy. So you never know what you are going to get. Even though the language is very hard I think we are making remarkable progress.. even Jay although he is a lot slower with picking it up and he calls himself the slow kid in the class although there are only 4 people in our class. Today we had our first oral and written test and I think Jay and I did fairly well... Keep in mind we are learning to write Chinese characters. 你好我來自美國 THis means Hello I am from America.... Crazy huh? Anyways this past weekend we didn't have a hash so it was a pretty laid back weekend where Daniel Ray came down to visit (who is Jay's brother in laws brother) We enjoyed a beautiful weekend outside and went out Saturday night and found ourselves coming home at 3 am in the morning after going to a going away party and going to our late night cantonese restaurant and stuffing our face. Sunday night Jay and I hosted another bbq with some of our close friends and enjoyed the weather outside on our roof and a bottle of wine. Things are going very well here and we can't believe it is already May. We have been here 5 months and 7 more to go... What will the next adventure be?再見 GoodBye!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Well the heat wave has begun here on this side of the world. It is only April and the heat is already getting to Jay and I... we are trying to conserve our air con as much as possible but at night we have to turn it on. The problem isn't that it gets that hot during the day.. it is only about 86 to 88 degrees during the day... THe problem is the night time it only gets down to 85 and 83 degrees. And this is only the beginning I can't even imagine what it is going to be like during July and August. Well this past weekend we enjoyed a smaller hash that we convinced a couple of our friends to go to as well. It was fun only about 5 miles so relatively short for the usual hash. Jay ran it twice I stayed with my new friends to make sure they got in alive and Jay of course crashed and burned on the rock slide beginning. We ate at an amazing Thai restuarant afterwards and where we gorged ourselves in Papaya salad, coconut milk soup with mushrooms, the usual Pad Thai.... but nothing like you get back home. This geared us up to start thinking about our travels after our year contract is up. The main reason for coming over here was to have an adventure and travel. So when our year is up we are going to spend two weeks before we come home for Chistmas traveling through Thailand and Cambodia..... So we are starting the planning now... Because as everyone knows airline tickets are going up by the day. It pratically cost you an arm and a leg to go anywhere. And since we are already on the other side of the world we might as well see as much as we can. This week has been fun filled with teaching and sweating. We have been able to enjoy our deck much more these days with our new baseball shaped BBQ grill. We are also taking Chinese class again and it is much more productive this time. We are learning a lot and I think we will definately come back with a good understanding of some basic Chinese. What an incredibly difficult language though!!!! Jay and I are also simplifying our life as much as possible here. We are cooking much more than when we started so therefor we are not spending an abundance on eating out and this also helps our diet.... because the food is so good here we were gaining some pounds. Now I am writing this sitting here admiring how Jay always cooks for me.... I really lucked out getting him as a husband.... I am pretty much waited on hand and foot... I don't really ask him to do it.... I think he just realizes if he really wants to eat he would rather cook it himself.... and of course I don't mind because... well if you have ever had Jays cooking you know what I am talking about... its amazing... So tonight we are eating a budget meal of grilled tomato sandwiches and some homemade sweet potato freis and that pretty much sums it up..... We are really trying to save a lot of money for the next adventure after this year.....

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Tomb Sweeping Day

After all of our visits we spent a week resting and getting back into the normal groove of things.... and wow we slept a lot... almost embarassing how much we slept.. Finally after a long weekend vacation we are back into our old habits of working out for 2 hours every morning.. This past weekend was a holiday called Tomb Sweeping Day and Jay and I both were off work Friday and Saturday and of course we took advantage of that. First let me explain the holiday in short... the name pretty much sums it up but families get together and go to their ancestors tombs to clean them... maybe plant flowers and sweep them. We were happy that the Taiwanese were celebrating their ancestors deaths because that meant we were able to explore a new part of Taiwan. There was a big music festival that was going on down at the bottom of the island (where we have already been) and Jay and I didn't want to fight the crowds and spend too much money so we steered away from that and we are so lucky we did. We left late Thursday night and went down to Kaoihsiung to stay with our friends Mike and Miranda the next morning we all set off to go the a small island called Little Liuichiu, only 9km all the way around.. We took a fairy outside the polluted city air and found oursleves which seemed an almost forgotten island. Don't get me wrong there were people there but we were all amazed that it wasn't packed because it was so peaceful and beauitiful. We camped of course and at probably one of the nicest and comfortable campgrounds we have experienced yet here in Taiwan. Our fee included a continental breakfast in the morning that had scrambled eggs to die for. We made friends with other foreigners who were staying at the campsite and we grilled out and had a fire both nights that Jay and I stayed there.... it was proper camping. One night we had some of the best steaks that we have had since we have moved here... a typical New York stip.... and we were lucky enough to get it for free, some girls had some extra... Jay and I have learned to mooch off people fairly well since we are on such a tight budget. It was about 90 degrees on the island and because we were on such a tight budget we didn't rent a scooter and walked everywhere. I know I only said it was 9km around but it is not a flat 9km... so we were scorching in the spring sun. But fortunatley where we walked to we were able to enjoy swimming in the water and we were lucky enough to make friends with a local who hooked us up with some snorkeling equipment where we then proceeded to snorkle 4 times... great things to see lots of colorful fish and beautiful coral. It was great to be by the ocean and see the stars at night which we haven't realized how much we have missed. It seems it is never truely night time in Taiwan because there are so many city lights that the stars are non existent but on this little island it was clear and we layed there and soaked in the view. We had a great weekend and of course back to normal teaching now. We are trying to save more money because we have lot of plans for vacations after our contract is up and maybe one to the Phillippines before the year is up. We will write again after a fun filled weekend of hash running.