Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Getting Ready for July

This past week has been Allie and I working towards getting ready for July. We will be really busy from our first Hash trail that we will be the Hares, to Allie going back home for Anna's wedding and everything in between. The first big event will be Canada Day Hash Run out by Taichung's Harbor. There should be plenty of good pictures of that for the blog. Then our one year aniversary, which seems amazing to think how time flies. We don't have any big plans but I have a few surprizes up my sleeve.....shhhh. The next week I will be off to Singapore with over 80 kids, 3 other English Teachers, and 4 Chinese Teachers for summer camp. This past weekend when Allie was out enjoying the Hash I was in Taipei for a six hour training going over every little detail (which is fine since I will have a free trip). The last week in July Allie will be leaving me and Taiwan for a well deserved break and will be heading home. So in short July will be a very busy and exciting month.

Our teaching has been going really good. We both have basically mastered the curiculuam and now some of our classes have over lapped and we are teaching some of the material two or three times already. This does make the lesson easy to prepare for but also a little monotinous What we need to do is challenege ourselves to be more creative and try new teaching styles and or techniques. I know our kids really like both of us because compared to the other teachers Allie and I bring a lot of energy and fun into the classroom and the kids really respond to it.

Besides teaching our day to day life is going good too. It has been really hot lately but checking the weather back in NC is seems the same. The big difference is that when the sun goes down the tempeture here stays around the same as it did during the day. It only goes down a few degrees. For example during the day it will be around 95 degrees (and yes really humid) then when we get home from teaching around 9:30 PM it is around 88 degrees and won't go lower all night.
Allie here, On Saturday after I came back from the grueling 13k 90 degree hash and Jay came back from Taipei we had a little get together at our house. We had some of our South African, Autralian, Taiwan, and American friends come over for a fun night of sitting on the deck talking and drinking some beer and wine. We also introduced our friends to the American college game of beer pong which actually seemed a lot more fun in college... for some reason it just doesn't have the same vibe. At about 1 am though our friends that Jay and I are very jealous of because they are going to Bali in about a month to work at a scuba shop and do some teaching. (IT think that might be something we want to try in the future) Anyways they had the great idea of going to McDonalds to try and steal this blow up kung fu panda because one of the guys wanted it for his kindergarten class and their performance. So we all headed to the McDonalds at sat there all looking very suspicous because no one ordered anything and thought of our plan to distract the workers and run up the stairs with the giant panda. Anyways after a failed attempt we decieded to just ask if we could have it. It seemed fairly promising but they had to talk to their bosses and see if it would be alright. Well after a long random night Jay and I went home for much needed rest. This week has been fairly easy... I have had some performances and next week I get to go to Ali Mountain to volunteer at an aboriginal village and teach some kids and play lots of games. So Jay will be a alone for a week but I think it will be a very rewarding experience and I am extremely excited to do something a little different. Until next time.....

Monday, June 16, 2008


Jay and I have a new outlook on the way we are doing things here for our last six months. I think both of us went through the culture shock thing last month and things that seem to keep going wrong didn't really help our situation... but I think we are both past it now and have a better attitude on how we are going to approach these next months. We are really starting to enjoy it here again and getting out there and exploring always helps our cause. After our awesome muddy weekend in Puli with the music festival we realized we need to start getting out as much as possible. We just finished up about 4 months of studying Chinese and I think we finally have a good basic level down. We now plan to take some time off from Chinese so that we can start exploring our surroundings whenever possible and we will start back up again as soon as possible. We of course started our hash again 2 weekends ago with a nice long run about 14 kilometers. Then last week we were very active. We bought a membership to an outdoor pool, which in such a tropical and hot country it is really difficult to come across an outdoor pool because no one here likes to get any sun. But it is really nice with and olympic sized outdoor pool, and indoor pool, mineral pools, jet pools, hot tubs, and water pressure things, where Jay and I layed down on this plank that looked as if maybe I was going to be put to death and then these fives bursts of water come from the holes in the ceiling and pound your back almost strong enough to look in the mirror afterwards to make sure it didn't break the skin. It really feels good after you get used to the pain. It is supposed to help with circulation among other things, not sure what. But that will be our new place as long as it is sunny outside... which also is hard to come by this time of the year since it is still plum rain season. This past weekend we had a really fun hash run. It was pouring rain and with an 8 k run through the dense forest of Taiwan ... it can get really muddy. At one point I crawled on my hands and knees to find that once I got to the top of the cliff I was slidding all the way back down.. Lukily Jay was there to stand as a road block and stop me from having to climb back up for 20 minutes. We really enjoyed running through the mud. It's much better to embrace the rain than sit inside and wish it wasn't raining. Jay and I have also been signed up to set a hash trail on July 12th. THis involves a lot of work. It is not as if you just go out and find some sort of looping trail. You have to go out and bushwack through bamboo and head up hills and find fake trail that are going to get the runners of course for a little while so that Jay and I (the hares) can make sure they won't catch us. Anyways on Sunday after our hard run we set off to the mountains and found a pretty good location to set a run. We found a huge buddhist temple that will be a good place to have the runners go around the mountain ridges that look down at the temple. IT was fun to go out a try to figure out a run altough it will prabably take about 4 or 5 more trips out there, exspecially since this is our first time to set one. One thing I learned while going out looking for trail on Sunday was that my fear of spiders has increased and I seriously can't hardly look at them and that Taiwan has some of the biggest spiders I have seen in my life. THe pictures I have here don't really do them justice. But you can kind of see the spider compared to the bananas. But we seriously saw about 20 of them and they were all huge. They were more like a man eating spider. I was happy to see that at some points I would make Jay walk in front of me and he would start jumping ten feet at a falling leaf. I was glad to know he was also a little scared. But of course I kept making him try to take pictures of them "Get closer honey, Maybe you can put your hand next to it to get perspective" The response "Hell now I am not doing you see that thing"

My reply " Of course I can see it, that is why I am standing way over here, I thought you weren't scared of spiders"
Jay "Yeah but they supposidly can jump like 5 feet and I don't like the looks of those fangs"
I couldn't disagree with him. I was standing there almost Hyperventilating I was so scared of it. Anyways Jay and I are enjoying Taiwan even more these days. And I think it will continue with the things we have planned to do.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Musical Rollercoaster

These past two weekends have had a music festival theme. We have traded our running shoes in for flip flops. Two weekends ago there was a music festival here in Taichung. A lot of western resturants and magazines put it on and it was really fun. The music was all western bands, the food was western food, and the beer was right off the tap and it was not the normal Taiwan Beer but good hoppy beer like we are used to from back home. It was really nice to sit in the grass with friends and listen to good music and just relax.
This past weekend there was no hash going on and we had plans to drive to a mountain city called Puli you might have heard about it if you are a regular reader of the blog, it is right near Sun Moon Lake. This time we didn't take the bus but we jumped on the scooter and rode through small mountain roads. We went with four other people so we had alittle scooter convoy with us. All last week it has been raining a lot, and it didn't change for our ride out. It was rainy and cold which didn't stop us. We put on our rain gear on and tuffed it out. When we got to the music festival we were almost surprised that it was still going on with all the rain. There were other people that braved the weather like us and set up camp, so we joined in and made the best of the weather. THe top of the mountain is owned by a foreigner who takes people paragliding. unfortunately the weather was bad so no flying for this weekend but we will definately go back to try that out. By the time the music started we had our camp site up and were too wet to worry about the rain. We just enjoyed the music, food, and the company. Everyone was really relaxed and had a good time. Lots of mud rolling, dancing. It was a complete hippiefest. The music didn't stop until late in the night. The next morning we rose to a nice view of the city Puli and some people that didn't make it back to there tent and were just sleeping in the grass. On our trip up to the festival our scooter had suffered a nail through the back tire (which it was not leaking any air but for caution we need a new tire) and also one of our friends that rode up with us had a flat tired. We heard of a scooter shop that is open on Sunday which is really rare. The scooter shop even makes house calls. An hour after calling them they were up the top of the mountian and had about five tires to choose from. A thousand NT later (about 30.41 US dollars) we had a new tire and were ready for our trip back. The ride back didn't have the rain but the energy was a little low because everyone was so tired from the night before. After making it back home we washed all the mud off of ourselves and rested our rears and had an easy evening.
The past work week has been a real rollarcoaster affair. We have been missing home since it is right the middle of our year contract. Feeling like time has stopped, and not sure if we can make it another six months. We got some really good news that both Allie and I will be going to Singapore for HESS's summer camp. Which we get a free trip to Singapore with a group of kids that we teach and take around to see the sites of Singapore. We weren't going the same time I would be going first which is on July 13th and coming back on July 20th, Allie would go Aug. 10th and get back Aug. 17th. The next day we get a call from the head guy in charge of the summer camp and informs Allie that the camp she will go with does not have enough kids so they are cancelling it. So Allie was really down and sad that she won't be able to go. The next day the person in charge of here school comes to her and tells her that she will be going just earlier. So now she would go July 7th through July 13th so now she feels really excited again, we are both happy and excited. I received an e-mail about sending my information so that they can book my tickets and training, but Allie never received her e-mail. When I faxed my information I called the guy in charge of the summer camp and asked about Allie. He said he was still waiting to hear from Allie's boss about if she could go during that time. So the next day Allie asked her boss about going. The same person that told Allie that she would be going, and she said that they aren't sure if she will go because she will be going home a week after the summer camp and that another teacher will be on vacation during that time too. So with in two days the same person told her two different things. We found out this past Monday that Allie won't be able to go to the Singapore summer camp. This time we are just down about her not going but now we feel like we have just been played like pawns in some kind of game. I will still be going which I am very excited but for the head ache that they caused with Allie it does not make it feel as sweet. This week has started like the last week raining and full of bad news. Lets just hope the sun comes out and shines on us again.