Saturday, September 26, 2009

a list

taken from the wish jar...

1. life and people are impermanent.
2. slow down.
3. look people in the eye.
4. drink tea.
5. be kind.
6. simple things hold the secret.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Keelung beach.

the hike.
keelung beach .

me with my favorite co-teacher, David.

this was a big spider on our hike.
a little hike near Keelung.
the wonderful Shanon King for one night only.

my Tuesday drive.
Rhonda, my lovely scooter.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dynamic Demo

Last Friday I had a parent's demonstration with my favourite class. These kids are so smart and are incredibly enthusiastic to learn English. I always look forward to my Friday nights with them.

We sang a song called '10 Little Indians' so I made them all headbands with feathers.

Betty, Lisa and Cindy. These 3 girls are the chattiest, sweetest students I have.

This is Benny from one of my older classes. He was being punished for speaking Chinese in class. He had to perform the 'model walk'. Basically, you have to strut down the center of the classroom and pose at the front. He is such a character, he pretends like he doesn't like to but I know he secretly loves doing it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Taipei Zoo

These are some pictures from our field trip to the Taipei zoo with my summer classes. This was the day before the big typhoon so there was tonnes of rain.

Chris and Johnathan.

My co-teacher David with a few of the kids.

Most of the day poured rain.

Don't these kids look happy?

Johnny and Johnson, identical twins that also dress alike.

Poop Art! They are obsessed with poo.

100 ideas

Katie and I are going to work through this list every time we have a spare moment and make a book of it!

Here are a few pics of me and my lovely room mate Katie:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Baishawan or White Sands Beach

On Sunday Steph, Carley, Danielle, Jon, Jimmie and I drove to a lovely little beach 2 hours away. The beach is called Baishawan or White Sands Beach, more like Brown Sands but still nice. It was a long trek by scooter but was definetly worth it in the end.

On the way we stopped in Danshui for lunch at an awesome Mexican restaurant called Eddy's Cantina. The owner is from northern British Columbia, small world!

There were life gaurds everywhere and everytime you went deep enough where the water was past your waist they would blow their whistle at you. Taiwanese are really weird about swimming. Even though the country is an island surrounded by water and most people live near the coast many people do not know how to swim. I've heard that it has something to do with their continental shelf. Most coastal areas in the world have a long continental shelf so it is safe to swim far out in the ocean. Where as, Taiwan's shelf drops off right away and creates strong rip tides. As well, this month is ghost month and the superstition is that ghosts will drown you if you go swimming. With these reasons combined I'm a little surprised none of us drowned.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

some new artwork

Here are a couple of paintings I have done since I have been in Taiwan:

This is a pink bird painted on a T-shirt for Jamie (Bobo's daughter) for her birthday. I hope it fits!

This one was for my beautiful cousin Sarah:

She is a true Leo so I decided to paint her lioness alter ego.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Taiwan Stardom!

I had a totally Taiwan moment on Monday. Mike (another foreign teacher) asked me to be his pretend girlfriend for the day in a hot pot commercial! It was definetly one of the most interesting days I have experienced since being in Taiwan.

Since I forgot to bring my camera with me here is a picture of Steph and I eating hot pot when she came to visit.

All Mike and I had to do was eat hot pot and act like it was delicious (which it is not) and then cheers all of our Taiwanese friends. We did that for about 15 takes and then had a bunch of pictures taken for a newspaper ad. The Taiwanese actors spoke little or very little English so it was pretty funny trying to have pretend conversation with them while we were filming. Mike and I would say things like "mmmm this onion tastes so good". Fast forward to take 15 "mmmm this onion still tastes so good". The Taiwanese actors and director had no idea what we were saying. I am pretty sure that it didn't matter and they will probably just dub over the sound with some cheesy Taiwan music.

After eating the hot pot for 2 hours we were filmed being given a tour around the restaurant. You can put anything you want in the hot pot. Delicious items including stomach, lung, congealed pigs blood, squid balls, processed mini weiners, liver and whole squid with eyes intact. Doesn't that make you want to hop on a plane, come to Taiwan and try this exceptional local meal?

The newspaper advertisement comes out on Friday and the commercial is going to be played in movie theaters in Chungli (the town south of us) probably in the next few weeks. To sum it all up it was a fun and different way to make $50 and I hope to do it again soon.

Friday, July 3, 2009

me, me teacher!

I made an observation today; I have been in Taiwan for 4 months now and I have yet to report anything on the teaching side of things here. I think this is interesting since my main motivation for coming to Taiwan was to gain teaching experience.

As I get more comfortable with my classes and the method that Gloria English is set up the more I can learn to be a better teacher. A few things I have learned so far:

  • It takes ALOT to motivate a group of teenagers
  • Kids 7 and under learn a million times faster than everyone else
  • Spending 4 hours everyday playing games from when you were a kid is good for your health
  • Students have about a one minute attention span
  • Once you notice a class is no longer listening to you make them all do jumping jacks and start again (seriously works)
  • A smile goes a long way in a beginner's class
  • Pre-teens aged 12 to 14 are the worst to teach (too cool for EVERYTHING!)
  • Taiwanese kids are cuter and chubbier than North American kids
I am really happy and thankful that I ended up at this school. The money is good and we only have to work 4 hours a day. As well, every class has a Taiwanese co-teacher that helps keep your class on track and can translate to Chinese when needed. As a foreign teacher we have almost zero responsibility. We don't have to mark homework, make up exams or even correct tests. Basically, we are only there because it makes the school look good to have foreign teachers and for the North American accent.

Today I had a new student in one of my classes named 'Smile'. You will come across some bizarre English names because the kids are allowed to pick their own when they first start at Gloria. So far I have had Apple, Kiwi, Pinky, Ting, Angel, Rain and Yoyo. I think Smile tops the list.

Lots of times with a new class you will have 4 or more kids with the same common name. This happened to me in my brand new beginner's summer class. I have a Johnathan, a Johnny and a Johnson. This is extra confusing because Johnny and Johnson are identical twins that wear matching outfits. Yesterday was the first class and they showed up wearing matching sponge bob square pants T-shirts. I think I will just call them both John so I am always safe.

The other fun thing that we get to do is pick out names when a kid doesn't have one yet or it is still early enough to change their English name. So yesterday I had a new student in one of my beginner's classes named Laurence. He didn't like it so the whole class got to collectively choose him a new one. Most of the kids wanted his name to be Michael Jackson but he eventually went with Brad, kinda boring, I was hoping for a new weird one.

Since I have yet to have a teacher Tess picture taken here is one of me in front of a sign near one of my schools.

Monday, June 15, 2009


More of the tunnels.

Watch out for those rocks!

This is supposed to look like a frog and the pagoda is the frog's crown.

Crazy ants trying to drag a dead stick bug into their ant hill. Dad and I tried to help them in their feat but probably only made things worse by jamming the dead bug into a crack, oops!

more from Taroko

Here are a few more pictures from the majestic Taroko Gorge.This area of the gorge is called the tunnel of nine turns. There was a rock slide before we went so all the tourists had to wear hard hats as they walked through. Sparrows nest in the cracks in the rocks. There were so many flying about feeding their little chicks.

Mom and I coming out of the water curtain cave.

The one thing that will continually amaze/annoy me about Taiwan is the sheer number and amount of people everywhere. You can never get away from the people! When I go back to Vancouver I will probably have reverse culture shock because we are so used to having so much space. Taiwan is about the size of Vancouver Island with a population of 23 million people. Apparently, the Taiwanese feel that foreigners live a lonelier life because we like our personal space and time to ourselves. They are always used to having people around them at all times. It is nearly impossible to find a one bedroom apartment in Taiwan because it is unheard of for people to live on their own. Many families still live with their parents and grandparents. One of the questions I teach in my beginner's class is "How many people are there in your family?" So many of the kids reply with "There are 9 (10 or up to 11) people in my family; they are my mother, father, 2 brothers, grandmother, grandfather.....etc and me." It is going to take forever to do our demo when all the kids have to present to their parents.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Taroko Gorge

Crazy Sunday!

Went hiking up spectacular Yangmingshan with Katie yesterday. Just can't get enough of the Dr.Seus trees, stinky sulphur vents and majestic tree ferns. It's like going on a mossy stairmaster for an hour.
Met up with Danielle and Chris for dinner and found ANOTHER pub with Guiness on tap and POUTINE! I can now be a complete and happy person. Have you ever seen me look this joyful before?

Dragon Boat Festival

Here are a few pictures from the Dragon Boat festival when my parents came to visit. The first day was pretty relaxed. We decided to see the main sights of Taipei. I took them up Taipei 101 (my second visit) and then to Ximending for some shopping and beers.

The next day I thought I would take them up Yang Ming Shan. I absolutely love this hike and have done it 3 times now. It is one of my favorite things to do in Taiwan so far. I think mom found it a little grueling but dad loved it! It's a bit like Taipei's version of the Grouse Grind but a million times prettier and more interesting.

The bus ride off the mountain was crazy. Because it was a holiday everyone was out hiking so we didn't have any seats, the bus was crammed and the road was incredibly windy . Mom claimed it was one of the craziest bus rides she had ever been on.

After the hike we decided to head back to Taoyuan. I had never taken the train back to Taoyuan from Taipei (only the bus). So I wasn't totally sure how to do it. We asked a couple of people to help us and they sent us on the wrong train. We were going in the right direction, the only problem was the train did not stop in Taoyuan, it just flew by my train station. It turned out we were on the express train to Taichung which is another city halfway down the country! Thankfully, Taiwan is not that big so it was only a 2 hour train ride and another 2 hours back. We made it back to Taoyuan by 10pm, just enough time to take my parents to Great White Shark one of my favorite places to eat in Taoyuan.
Dad and I posing along the east coast highway.

Mom and I in a tunnel in Taroko Gorge.

This is a town we stopped at for a nasty seafood lunch along the east coast on our way to Taroko Gorge. We ordered our food by pointing at the seafood tanks in front of the restaurant. We got some gross tiny crabs, prawns with heads, eyes, shells intact (yes...I ate prawns, my environmental morals are going downhill) whole squids complete with ink sacs and eye balls and topped it all off with a water, ginger, oyster soup. Mom and I stayed clear of the squid but Dad actually ate most of them. The plate was left with a pool of black ink, mmm-mmm.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Mom and Dad in Taiwan

Mom and Dad came and visited me for the 4 day Dragon boat festival. It was a very fast trip but we managed to fit in as much as possible. I loved having them here and it was so nice to be spoiled and sleep in a REAL bed! They left early this morning. That means back to work for me.