Monday, July 21, 2008

Singapore Summer Camp

I am back from Singapore and all my kids made it back in one piece to..... somehow. Besides giving you the day to day adventure and up and downs I will just hit you with some highlights and let the pictures speak for themselves. My kids were really great their age ranged from 8 to 13 and there English level was all over the place too. I had two super cute little girls named Amber and Phoebe, they were my favorite, then I had two twin boys that ganged up and picked on the other kids, they were my worst kids. But everyone inbetween was really awsome! We all left Sunday morning and flew with 85 kids (and 8 teachers) to Singapore. It was a all day affair, and I will never complain about traveling with just Allie and I again. The coolest things we did with the kids was going to the zoo and night safari, the beach, and a water park. We also took them to a rain forest, little India, and a discovery place. Each day consisted of four hours of teaching in the morning then afternoon to evening events. The night was getting the kids to go to sleep then a teachers meeting to go over the day events and the next day lessons and activities. So I would wake up at 6 am to take a shower and knock on the kids doors then would go to sleep between 12:30 and 1 am. The days were high energy to keep the kids having fun and going. The whole week felt like one really long day. Even with all the work, I still had fun. I rode an elephant with some kids at the zoo, had a large snake put around me at the night safari, got a henna tattoo, got covered with sand at the beach, and got to hang out with 20 to 80 kids all day having fun.

Singapore as a city was really nice. It was like a small European city thrown into East Asia. The roads were super clean with trees and flowers everywhere. The people were from all over the world, and the mix was about even for all of the races. You could see the islands of Indoniesa and Malasia from the beach, so traveling around would be very easy. The temperature stays around 30 to 31 degrees or for us Americans 85 to 87 then would drop down at night. The tempeture stays the same all year round, with a cool ocean breeze.

Allie had an adventure here by herself. There was the first Typhoon of the year for Taiwan and it hit Taichung the hardest. There was a lot of flooding in the county. She had a Typhoon day off of work. When I was in Singapore I was watching Taichung on the news and newspapers. There were roads closed and most shops closed.

Allie will be going home this coming up Saturday for a week. So now I will be stuck here while Allie goes on her own adventure, and visits her friends and families.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Update on the dog

Today we decieded to go back to where we found the dog to see it we could find its owner. We put him where we found him and then saw a cage by this nice big house that had found waiting in it for the dog. So we did steal the dog for the night he had a nice bed and some good food but today we took him back to the mountains and also back to her owner. I am so relieved that we found its home I was really worried. So now no dog but I do think that will be a first purchase when we get home. Sorry we didn't have time to get pictures of the dog.

Look What Followed Me Home

Since Allie has been back things have been really busy! This past weekend we had Daniel (Daniel Ray is a friend and family from the Ray's: Emily and Ben Ray) down from Taipei to visit and hang out. He met Allie and I at our apartment early Saturday morning with his running shoes and an opened mind to try his hand at hashing. He has heard many storys and had many offers from us to join. This past weekend was a big run and a great run for him to be broken in. It was Canada Day Run, which is Canada Day is July 1st (I know July 4th is a closer holiday but there are more Canadians than Americans in our Hash so.... Canada Day won out). All the Hashers packed into a big chartered bus and drove about 35 minutes to a neighboring city on the coast. The run started at a cool park right off the ocean. The run was fairly flat compared to the mountain runs, but it was really hot and really long, about a 12 K. I found about 6 checks and thought that I was going to be the first person in, but the last bit was on the beach and I was running on empty when I hit the sand, and of course there was another hasher that seemed to be running faster on sand than on the trails, and no it was not Allie but Allie did pass me with about 100 yards to go, just because my glory was already taken. But right after the run and a nice beach shower they tied a rope around our waist and made us do a zip line from about 50 feet up and about 200 feet long. It was really cool but after being dead tired now you had to hold yourselves or trust the safety rope that another hasher with about two minutes of instruction had tied around you. Luckily everyone had a safe run and ride, and Daniel did really good, he kept up with the lead group and also found a short cut that took him right to the finish line, which he did have to drink for, but if you ask him it was worth it. Sunday after a long hash we dragged Daniel out to Dakeng to plan out our hash run that we are doing this weekend. We ended up getting lost and hiking for about 2 to 3 hours up and down mountains. We did finally find our way back to our scooters and some really good trails that we will use for our hash. Daniel left to go back to Taipei and I am not sure if he will be coming back any time soon. But we all had a great weekend full of excitement.

This week has been nothing but going to the mountains and hiking, running, walking, dancing, and bush whacking to make a really tough hash trail to get back at all the other hashers that made hard runs for us, and I think we have done it.

Every morning we would wake up early and head on the scooter and map out where we were going to run, today we were going to run the whole thing and time ourselves to figure out how long it was. Well some things didn't work out, we started running fine until Allie jumps up in the air about five feet and screams, I run into her and she pushes me almost down and starts running the other way yelling and not making sense. She finally stops hyperventilating and explains it was a huge snake brown with a greenish yellow stripe, fatter than her arm, about ten feet long, in the striking position, and breathing fire (I threw that last one in there since I didn't see anything and I still think it could of been a fast moving small worm). Either way Allie was not able to run fast or in the lead for the rest of the way. So we ended up running half of it and heading to our scooter. On the way back from our scooter there was a very nice looking dog with a hurt paw that Allie felt bad for and gave it some of our remaining water. Well the dog followed us all the way to our scooter and when we started to drive off it ran right next to us. I felt bad so I headed back into the direction where it came from thinking it might live at this one nice house. When we got there we gave it some water and then I drove off really fast thinking I could out ride the dog, the first time I went about 1 k and stopped and looked back. The dog was still coming. This time I put the dog on the scooter drove and got some food and more water with it on the scooter. Then drove back to where it started to follow us. Gave it some more water, and now food, and tried the same trick except I drove even faster and farther, I could hear and feel Allie crying and saying "she is such a good dog. " I drove until I could not take it, and stopped turned off the scooter and waited to see if the dog was still following us. One minute past and no dog I was about to start the scooter when the dog with on hurt leg was running as fast as it could and when it saw us still there you could tell it was happy. It ran and jumped right on the scooter gave Allie and I both a kiss. So Allie, I, and the dog (no name because we are trying to find a home for it) rode all the way home. The dog did really well it only fell off the scooter once, maybe because I was running a red light and turning left in the oncoming lane, which is a normal and excepted driving practice here in Taiwan, don't forget I am the one that passed the driving tests. We brought the dog to our apartment and bought some dog food, a bowl, and some doggie treats. She ate the food like she has not eaten in days, and she has slept for most of the day.

Besides the hashing trail and now the dog, I have been really busy trying to get ready for the Singapore Summer camp. I will be leaving this Sunday morning and coming back the next Sunday. There will be four English teachers and 4 Chinese teachers and 80 kids that are going. We will see all of the famous sights in Singapore (the zoo, beach, and little India to name a few). It will be really busy and a lot of work but I am really excited and nervous to be in charge of some many kids, I can't even keep Allie in line so how will I keep twenty kids that are hopped up on sugar in line. I am going to bring a bag of tricks; face paint, stickers, prizes, and one loud whistle, so wish me luck!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Allie went to Ali Mountain

This past week I voluteered to do a 4 day summer camp at Alishan also known as Ali Mountain at an aboriginal village and a very small elementary school. I went with 4 other Taiwanese "teachers" not really teachers. We left on Monday and it took about 3 and half hours. But when we stepped out of the car the weather was amazing. I have been so hot in Taichung and now I needed a jacket. It was a great feeling. We didn't do any teaching the first day just going to look at the miniture school in this small little village. There are only 40 students who go to the entire elementary school and 30 of them were going to come to our camp. The next day was early and filled with fun with the kids. These children didn't know any English and most of them didn't have English names so I had to give them to them... I proceeded to name some Hank, Iris, Teddy, I tried to make them sound close to their Chinese name. They were all so cute and so excited that we were there. We spent the entire day with them mainly playing games and teaching them some English which was a difficult thing since the things I was told to teach were extremely advanced for their level. But we all had fun anyways. The next day was full as well and tiring I had a lot of teaching to do that day. The last morning we woke up at 3:30 am to see the famous sunrise at Ali Mountain. We had to take a train to the top and waited for an amazing sight it was well worth the lack of sleep. Thursday was our last day and so we had a small performance with the kids and we gave out awards and went back to hot Taichung in the afternoon. I am adding a lot of pictures for this entry because I think the pictures tell the most. Hope you enjoy it.