Monday, December 15, 2008

More KE Kids:

I love these kids!!! So darn cute, especially when I let them be kids. They absolutely love the camera. They always laugh when they look at them in the view mode. Sam's laugh is so cute when he looks at them. He cracks up. I am going to miss this kids, but I have some really awesomely cute pics.

Almost the whole group: (L2R) Zoey, Zero, Sam, Shayley, Michael

Zero looks like a future cute

Michael in my huge sweater

I love those glasses

Shayley is swimming in my jacket

Angel is styling in her pink plastic glasses

Zoey playing dress up

Zero "working" on his name

Zero found Christmas cards I hid

Sam posing...or trying to cute

Zoey pulled her shirt over her mouth and was laughing

Aw...Kindergarten Enrichment...They are too cute.

I teach a Kindergarten Enrichment class. In the beginning I wasn't so sure about it. It was hard and I didn't know what I was doing. I really didn't know what I was doing. About two weeks into it, Gloria (one the secretaries) pulled me aside and said she had observed me teaching. I wasn't using any music and something else I have probably blocked out.

Also one of the kids had complained to his mom that he was bored in my class and didn't want to come. That almost broke my tender little teaching heart. Every teacher goes through that moment: can I really hack it??

In the beginning, I had kind of dreaded going to that class every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I really did not enjoy it. I guess I had to break in my kindergarten teaching shoes because there were too tight and making me feel sort of miserable. Gloria told me to use songs and also to go visit Morning Kindergarten. I visited it two days in a row. One day was a Thursdays and then Friday I subbed for Connie while she went to Hong Kong. It was good to observe those who seemed to know what they were doing.

Now, I am totally in love with my kids. They have come and gone, but there are some that have been with me the whole time. I feel like they are my kids in a way. I would love to see them grow up and would love to see them every step of the way. However, that is impossible. I love their personalities and they even like to help me. It is intensely cute. "I want ta heelp you!" It melts my heart. They sometimes like to help me take my stuff to the other room when we are done with gym. They all cry out in a chant: I want ta heelp you!"

Today was so wonderful. We basically played the whole hour and 1/2. And took pictures. I would love to wrap those tender, spontaneous moments up and keep them close to my heart forever. They are joyful. Aw...children. What a beautiful sight. Don't get me wrong, they can misbehave and be kids. I love their little-big personalities.

Here are some photos from today:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Crumbled on the Floor, Bleeding...

On Wednesday during break time in my Beginning Reading class, I went next door to borrow a CD player that actually plays MP3s. I was able to borrow it from Miss Emily. When I stepped into my classroom, Jojo, my student, was crumbled on the floor. Her head was bleeding everywhere and she was crying. I ran and told Gerald that one of my kids was hurt. Thankfully, Gerald was across the hall in the big room setting up for the HUGE Token-Mart store.

I ran back to my classroom and grabbed Jojo tissues and placed them on her forehead. She was still sobbing. Carol asked me if she should run downstairs and get a secretary to help. Without thinking I told her yes. As Carol ran out of the classroom, Gerald called for her to stop! Anita, one of the secretaries, came in. She said she would take Jojo downstairs. She helped Jojo up and they went downstairs.

The kids told me that he has run toward Levi and then has run into the edge of the door. I felt bad that I wasn't there. Levi kept saying: I didn't do anything! He was worried about getting in trouble, which is understandable. Francis came in a few minutes later and talked to me about what happened. I had to tell her that I was next door getting the CD player. Then she asked the kids about it in English. After Levi tried to explain it, she told him just to tell her in Chinese so she could actually understand him.

As Francis was leaving, she said, "Too many accidents today," and shook her head. Earlier that morning, one of Miss Megan's children has broken his arm. And someone else had gotten hurt.

Gerald, was saying later that in the last part of the semester more accidents happen. It is the end of the semester and kids are excited. And things are more relaxed. And today is was very evident.

Today, Jojo was back in class. She is okay. She will probably have a scar. She didn't have to get any stitches. But man, I feel bad for her.

"I had to put my foot down!"

It is scooter time and I am so excited. Connie was riding her new small scooter with me on the back a couple of nights ago. We were going around the corner, and with the added weight of me, and the scooter started to tip over. I had to put my foot down!

I joked about that one for a sounds like I was being stubborn, like a parent. That is all I want to say about that.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Two Weeks Left

WOW! There are only two weeks of school left! It is absolutely amazing! 6 months really does fly by. There is a lot to be done in the next little bit, but I am excited to have a break at the end of it! Looking back on the semester and these last 5 months, I find myself thinking of everything that has gone on. In the beginning, I knew the end would be like this. When you are at the end of something looking back it is strange. The days had gone by slowly, but the weeks quickly. Time is a strange creature I fail to understand. It is beautiful, painful, wonderful, and paradoxical. I am amazed at where my life has taken me; where I have taken myself. I should not forget I have had a hand in it. We all have a hand in our lives. I digress a little.

I feel this amazing gratitude for my life and the people in it. My life is truly blessed and to deny that would be to deny all the wonderfulness I am surrounded by. To be here in Taiwan, means the world to me. For so long, I have been inside a bubble, called the United States. And for my own country I am grateful. Being out here, despite being away from most of my family and friends, is so special to me. I need this time for myself. Although, I have left loved ones back at home, I still feel their love across continents. I still think of them often and with regard.

Taiwan is more than just a country. It is a journey and a pleasure.

Teaching has been an interesting endeavor. I am slowly learning more about it. Next semester, I will be a head-teacher for Beginning Reading. At first, I was scared of the responsibility, but as I have written on my mirror, "Yo yo, check your freakin' insecurities at the door," and this is the voice of reason I have decided to follow. Not the voice of my own nay-saying, but a voice of confidence. We all have insecurities about our abilities. We should not ignore them, but we shouldn't give into them in a way to prevent us from going for the gold and fighting the good fight. I have once before given up a position of more responsibility but this is not going to be the case this time. I will not let it.

I have another 6 months to improve on myself. Actually, I have the rest of my life.

I cannot even begin to sum up my feelings on this experience. With two weeks of teaching left, all of those feelings are coming to the surface. I wonder what the next 6 months will hold; what the new teachers will be like; etc...

And to the teachers I have spent almost 6 months with, I hope to spend some quality time with you before you go back to America. The last horrah. I am glad to have worked with you all. I am exctied for our Christmas program and to see everything you turn out. It should be wonderful. I feel like 6 months was not enough time to get to know you.

I bather on...but I finally want to thank everyone for teaching me. Everyone has taught me something valuable.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Conflict of Interests

As you all know, I am staying here in Taiwan another six months. Before I had made this decisions, I made the opposite one: of going home. Whenever, I would think about decision, I was so totally torn. If I stayed I would get to hang with Connie, who is pretty dang awesome; have financially security and a job; feel more accomplished; and learn Chinese.

If I left for home I would be able to see my family and friends again, start dating, get home for my birthday, and be able to understand the language. Each option was pulling on me. I would wake up one morning and be okay with the decision. I would wake up another morning and feel totally horrible about the decision.

This was a month or more ago. Then one morning, I decided this decision was not the right one! I walked downstairs to talk to my boss Gerald, who I had told on Monday that I wasn't going to stay, that I wanted to stay. I asked him if I could sign my contract. He agreed. After signing it, I walked upstairs with the most incredible feeling of excitement and relief. I was giddy and overjoyed. Into the kitchen I went where Jessica was sitting chatting with another teacher.

"Guess what?"
"What?" was the reply.
"I just signed my contract. I am staying for another 6 months!!"

I feel so good about this decision. I haven't looked back on that decision with regret ever since I made it! It is the right thing and I feel it most profoundly. Now, I can visit for places in Taiwan, learn more Chinese, have a job, etc... And the best part is that I have an amazing friend to share the experience. Connie. I am so glad we are friends.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Night Market & Learning Chinese

Tonight Connie and I went to the night market closest to our school. It was a pretty small night market, which Connie and I have decided we like better. There is just more time to look at things talk to people and take our time.

Tonight we talked to vendors. There is this one vendor who I like to buy shirts from; it was wonderful to talk to him and he even knows a bit of English. It was fun practicing Chinese and he even complimented us on our Taiwanese. LOL. I love i! It is just so encouraging! He and his wife are wonderfully nice. Also, there was another vendor, an older woman who we talked to and she gave us both discounts on shirts. I have the cutest shirt now! It was cool to listen to the numbers and try to figure it out. It really does help to have physical prompts i.e. the lady held up her hand and spoke the numbers as well.

I think I am going to like learning more Chinese. And with Gloria teaching us Chinese every Monday, I feel like my language will explode. Not a huge explosion, but the kind that still gets you excited.

Going to the night market is a really good way to learn language because you have to use the language to get what you want. I need to get out more and immerse myself in the language. Get-er-done!

I have my Chinese name!!!

A week ago, my Beginning Reading Student Jojo gave me my Chinese name. It consisted of three characters. I was so very excited and I had her write it on a piece of paper. I asked Jojo what it meant; she could not tell me in English.

Then, I asked Lish what it meant, and she told me the "characters" were really bup-a-ma-fa, the baby Chinese that kids use when they are still learning. The middle character she did tell me was the word for love: 'ai 4'. Lish told me to take it to someone I trust to translate it. So I took it to Gloria.

Gloria told me that she take the paper and come up with my Chinese name, meaning the characters themselves. Today, she paged me on the intercom and told me that she has finished my Chinese name. I ran down to the teacher's room all excited! It is an awesome feeling to see your name in Chinese characters. We practiced (or rather I) practiced my new name up on the board. I think I could really get into this! I love the characters and being an artist, I feel I could learn the characters pretty well.

My name means:

1) li 3, meaning plum, which Gloria says is a common last name
2) ai 4, meaning love
3) wen 2, meaning the coloring on the clouds.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Torrential Taiwan

Photo: Off the northeastern coast of Taiwan. Huge waves. The small building is a lighthouse. So you just image that those waves are huge! (not my photo)

Typhoon Sinlaku hits Taiwan, 13 injured and 782 affected...

This typhoon is really fierce this weekend. It has rained it seems since Saturday morning. It is truly amazing. I haven't been in a storm this bad since Christmas 3 years ago (or was it 2 years). We have already had two typhoon this year and this one by far is the worst. The amazing thing is that the eye of the storm hit land not one, not two, but three times which meteorologists are calling unprecedented, which it is! Quite amazing actually.

Last night, some of us teachers were up late talking and what-not and we heard a large crash that included what sounded like crushing glass! At first, I thought it was the school windows from downstairs. Thankfully it wasn't. Today, Dustin mentioned it and said it was probably a metal shed with tons of garbage on top that had collapsed. Indeed, it was! It was unmistakable.

School was canceled on Saturday, but we haven't received word for tomorrow, or rather we haven't heard word that school is canceled. School is on track for tomorrow. I am honestly hoping for school closure, but we probably will have school tomorrow. Dustin was saying that school will probably be on track because the winds are not bad right now, even though it is still raining pretty hard right now.

It is pretty incredible!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thoughts of Direction

Haven't written a blog here in what seems like forever. It is pretty crazy. I am living in Taiwan teaching English. I have been here since the end of June and it is already September...I cannot believe it sometimes. I am thinking of going back to the States at the end of the year, but I could stay until June of next year.

That would be crazy cool and plus I might want to go teach English in Russia or something like that through ILP, it would be volunteer of course, but it would still be really cool. I have grand ideas of traveling the world, but I don't know. I would like to do that, but I don't know if that is what I should do. As a matter of fact, I don't know what I want to do with my life. Not that I HAVE to figure it out right now, but I should get an idea about the next year of my life and plan accordingly.

I have been trying to do some soul-searching: to find myself or whatever. Whatever happens, this is a turning point. A big part of me wants to find someone, get married and start a family, but another part of me wants to fully understand/figure out who I am before I go anywhere serious with anyone, but myself. But who knows?? I think I need to wait a few more years before that happens. I need to find somewhat of a career and become financially stable (which is a big time goal). Just having finished school, I need to start paying it off. And after not getting paid for 4 months, I need some money.

I will all figure it out in time.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Rest In Peace

Tonight Connie and I went to go bury the little turtle that died the other day. I cannot believe that he sat out in his bowl for two days and no one wanted to bury him. So sad. The persons that owned him didn't even bother. They probably would have gotten gotten around it, but we decided to do it tonight.

It is a wanton lack of care before and after death that makes me upset. I told them he might have a fungus, and nothing happened. I am not sure where one would find the right chemical to treat it, but at least they could have cleaned the water more often and not let egg and other food decay in the water for three days before it was cleaned.

So, we took Little Dude to the park and we buried him. We put him in a plastic bag and rode our bikes in the middle of the night. We arrived and picked out a nice place to put him to rest. We choose the pond with Coy fish and dug a small hole to place him in. It was a nice spot, very peaceful and off the beaten path. After covering it back up, we said that he would finally RIP. We then headed over the fountain and threw $1 coins in as an offering.

So, if you wonder where he is...he is now resting in peace.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Chinese Language Learning

I just created another blog that deals with learning Chinese. I put up websites that I find helpful to that end. So check it out and hopefully it can help you. I just put up a post for learning Chinese numbers. Some really good stuff.

Oh yeah, the link to that blog is under 'Other Blogs of Note".

Thursday, August 7, 2008

What are you doing here?

A few us teachers went out to eat. After we were done Megan I am headed to the 24-Hour grocery store while the others left to go home.

We did our shopping. I checked out, but Megan was still up at the counter so I went to go put my drinks in the basket of the bike. I got on my bike. I saw two people pull up on scooter. I looked at the female driver and her hair was really light, so I knew she couldn't have have been Taiwanese. She turned around; I realised she was white and probably American. What followed next was hilarious. I will even give a duologue:

*girl and boy on motorbike enter stage right

[Erin] Hello, how are you?
[girl] I am well, how are you?
[Erin] What are you doing here?
[girl] umm...teaching English
[Erin] Oh yeah, me too! what school?
[girl] The Hess School.
[Erin] Oh yes, our rival school!
[girl] You are our rival school?....
[Erin] Just kidding! *oh shoot...I guess I shouldn't have said that...*

*Enter Megan.

[Erin] Hey Megan, these people teach English here!
[Megan] Hi, I am Megan.
[girl] I'm (insert name here....cause I cannot remember)
[boy] I'm (insert name here...again I don't remember)
[Erin] I'm Erin

*All shake hands.

[Erin] Megan they teach at the Hess School.

*Girl points to boy.

[boy] I teach at another school.

[everyone] (lots of dialogue I cannot remember)

[Megan] (something said about what they do for fun and should have led to conversation of getting together because after all they speak English...makes sense, right?)

[girl] I am sure we will see each other soon, Feng Yuan is pretty small. (basically, we don't care if we bump into you guys again...especially Erin, she is pretty weird)

[girl] I am sure we will run into each other again.

[Megan & Erin] Bye, have a good night!

*exit girl and boy

*Erin laughs to herself

*Megan and Erin ride near stage left on their bikes

[Erin] Megan, I think they wanted to get away from us!

[Megan] I got that vibe, too.

[Erin] I was too excited that they spoke English! But I don't think they really want to hang out with us. It seems like they are couple and they don't need other English speaker's company

[Megan] Yeah....

*Exit stage left


I just thought it was so funny that I acted like I knew them! "What are you doing here?" LOL. Funny funny. I am on something tonight! Love it!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Black Sesame Seeds & Food Discovery

Taiwan has some interesting foods, some of which I like and don't like. I do love the variety of beverages that Taiwan has to offer. AppleSidra is my favorite so far--it is made right here in Taiwan-- followed close by Bing-Shas that they sell a few streets away. I love going to that Bing-Sha place; it is run by Shen -Na and her husband. They are very cordial people; I like them a great deal! Their son's name is trouble, which I just found out yesterday.

Here in Taiwan there "sweet" things are not as sweet, which is a good thing. Even their ice cream isn't too sweet. I have only bought one kind here. It is a Taiwanese red bean ice cream. Surprisingly, the bean is not covered with something caramelized something, but plain, which I like.

Also, anything "cheesy" tastes sweet. It seems that here salt is not used as much as in America and Canada (the only two country besides this one I have been). I am used to cheesy cheesiness! I bought some cheese crackers with fake processed cheese in the middle, and they cracker itself was sweet and tasted more like peanut butter than cheese. At Asia Go, the equivalent of Wal-Mart, I bought what I thought was garlic bread and the glaze on it was sweet too, but not too sweet. I am definitely a salt-girl myself. Even the margarine tastes sweet. It is odd.

I am glad that at the 24-hour store I found real fake processed cheese and it is NOT sweet. Yay! I made grilled cheese sandwiches. Yum! It tastes really American. At the Costco in Taipei, you can buy real real cheddar cheese. Next time I have money and if I go, I want to buy some. I long to have just plain cheese melted in the microwave! It is so good to eat. It wastes, I mean uses, a lot of cheese quickly, but there is nothing better than crunchy, melty, greasy cheese.

Also at the 24-hour store, I found black sesame seeds. I wanted to try them out it see what the difference was between them and white/ivory-colored ones. I ate some when I got home and there didn’t seem to be much of a difference, so I went to the Internet. Wikipedia told me a little more about them, but it didn’t seem to say much other than, “In general, the paler varieties of sesame seem to be more valued in the West and Middle East, while the black varieties are prized in the Far East.” So there you have it, it would seem the only difference is color preference. To me, it seems, that the black sesame seeds has more of a nutty flavor. *shrug

Now moving onto candy! I do like their candy. They have this really good candy called Hi Chews. They are fruity candy, which are soft and easily chewed. Compared to Starburst, these make your mouth shout for joy and your tongue back-flips. I just love them A LOT. For a few weeks I was addicted to them. I love the green apple flavor the best followed closely by the lycee flavor. Lycee is an interesting fruit, which I also like. I do prefer the candy variation better though. Another candy, chocolate in persuasion, which I love, is called Bufio. It is nougat candy that is just yummy. Other chocolate candies here: Picnic, Always, Guts, etc…

Eating out! Dang, I almost forgot. There are night markets here in Taiwan. One night I tried squid. It was so gross looking, but with the hot marinate they put over it, it was amazing. Even eating the “tentacles” wasn’t so bad. It was yummy! I would have never thought I would be okay with it. I ate it up pretty quickly.

Eating out has been a pretty good experience. We have found this really nice restaurant called Style. It has some “American” foods. When I went the first time, I had this wonderful herbal tea: Chrysanthemum and wolfberry berry (I could never remember the last part…Shannon can remember, but I cannot.

In Taichung, we went to the mall. Just outside of the mall was a TGI Friday’s! It was wonderfully amazing! I had a big fat cheeseburger. I WILL go there again, I promise. Yum! Coincidentally, it was the first TGI Friday’s I had ever been.

Well enough of food. There is much more I would talk about, but I think I will stop for now.

Here are some other “cool” facts about sesame seeds from Wikipedia:

According to Assyrian legend, when the gods met to create the world, they drank wine made from sesame seeds. In early Hindu legends, tales are told in which sesame seeds represent a symbol of immortality. "Open sesame," the famous phrase from the Arabian Nights, reflects the distinguishing feature of the sesame seed pod, which bursts open when it reaches maturity.[3].

It is also used in Urdu literature as proverbs "til dharnay ki jagah na hona"; meaning by, a place so crowded that there is no room for a single seed of sesame and "in tilon mein teil nahee" (ان تلوں میں تیل نہیں); referred for a person who is very mean, meaning by there is no oil left in this sesame.

In recent times the seeds have become an ingredient in wiccan practices. Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen suggests their use to aid conception, to draw money, or for protection.

Friday, July 25, 2008

No, that is not a baby!

I teach a kindergarten class Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. There is a little girl Zoey who like the pat my stomach and always asks if it is a baby. Sometimes I tell her yes and sometimes I tell her no...mostly NO! For crying out loud, I am not pregnant and have never been with anyone. But bless her heart, she thinks there is a baby in there and maybe to her if she touches it, the baby might kick. It is really quite cute. If you think about it, she probably has had a little brother or sister on their way in her family. I cannot really get mad at her. How, when everyone here is pretty skinny, can she know the difference between just being fat and being pregnant.

I just don't want kids touching my stomach because it serves as a reminded that I am getting pretty fat. Oh! believe me I know...I checked the scale just yesterday!

Maybe I have a "sympathy" stomach per se; maybe I wish I had a husband and a baby on the way. But then again I would have had to had the wish for a while because one summer ago I worked for a couple of days at my old work before I went on my internship and a co-worker there came up to me. He asked, "When are you due?" ACK!!

"NO, I am just fat." I replied with a quick quip remark. You could just see his face drop and any words forthcoming were silenced in horror. Neither did I have for a few seconds. He muttered, "I thought that because of the kind of shirt you were wearing..." Geez...poor guy. Probably scarred him for the rest of the day.

But what a social faux pa, but oh well. I don't blame the kids here.

Also this week I subbed for the morning kindergarten class and even more kids said, "baby?" as they patted my stomach. "NO, that is not a baby!" How embarrassing, but what I can expect when I am fat. *oh yes, I have seen pictures.*

I just need to do something about it. I will start by eating less and then slowly adding exercise.

Also I think it might be due to something I started doing last October after my then boyfriend broke up with me. I had a mind set of, "well, if he doesn't like me for who I am, then why not be ugly and when someone does finally like me I will know it was for me and not my body or pure physical-ness." To tell the truth, that is the same reason I cut my hair. If I looked like a boy, no one would even look at me as "potential".

But I need to get in shape for myself and my health. I am not careful, I could slip into diabetes, which runs in my family. I kinda want to stick around for a while. ;)

So, I best go to work and make a positive change!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Year of the Rat

My Chinese Zodiac is the Rat. I was born between Feb. 2, 1984 and Feb. 3, 1985. Apparently I am a wood rat. I find it all interesting and fascinating. I looked it up at, which isn't exactly the end all, beat all source on the Chinese Zodiac but it is always a good starting point. Under professions Psychology is included, which is my undergrad. ^_^ I guess I am on the right track.

It also says I should avoid Horses, but that Monkeys, Dragons, and Oxen is where I find love interests and friends...makes me wonder what my past boyfriends have been. I might just have to look at that retroactively.

The following exurbs are from

The Rat () was welcomed in ancient times as a protector and bringer of material prosperity. It is an animal associated with aggression, wealth, charm, and order, yet also associated with death, war, the occult, pestilence, and atrocities. In the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of the Rat is associated with the earthly branch symbol . In some parts of the world, a year associated with this animal is referred to as Year of the Mouse because the word may be translated to "rat", "mouse", or more broadly, "rodent".


Being the first sign of the Chinese zodiac, rats are leaders, pioneers and conquerors. They are charming, passionate, charismatic, practical and hardworking. Rat people are endowed with great leadership skills and are the most highly organized, meticulous, and systematic of the twelve signs. Intelligent and cunning at the same time, rats are highly ambitious and strong-willed people who are keen and unapologetic promoters of their own agendas, which often include money and power. They are energetic and versatile and can usually find their way around obstacles, and adapt to various environments easily. A rat's natural charm and sharp demeanor make it an appealing friend for almost anyone, but rats are usually highly exclusive and selective when choosing friends and so often have only a few very close friends whom they trust.

Behind the smiles and charm, rats can be terribly obstinate and controlling, insisting on having things their way no matter what the cost. These people tend to have immense control of their emotions, which they may use as a tool to manipulate and exploit others, both emotionally and mentally. Rats are masters of mind games and can be very dangerous, calculative and downright cruel if the need arises. Quick-tempered and aggressive, they will not think twice about exacting revenge on those that hurt them in any way. Rats need to learn to relax sometimes, as they can be quite obsessed with detail, intolerant and strict, demanding order, obedience, and perfection.

A valuable lesson for Rats is to learn to consider others before themselves, at least sometimes, and to avoid forcing their ideas onto others. Rats are fair in their dealings and expect the same from others in return, and can be deeply affronted if they feel they have been deceived or that their trust has been abused. Sometimes they set their targets too high, whether in relation to their friends or in their career. But as the years pass, they will become more idealistic and tolerant. If they can develop their sense of self and realize it leaves room for others in their life as well, Rats can find true happiness.

According to tradition, Rats often carry heavy karma and at some point in life may face an identity crisis or some kind of feeling of guilt. Rats are said to often have to work very long and hard for everything they may earn or have in life. However, a Rat born during the day is said to have things a bit easier than those who are born at night. Traditionally, Rats born during the night may face extreme hardships and suffering throughout life. Rats in general should guard themselves against hedonism and nostalgia, as it may lead to self-destruction. Gambling, alcohol and drugs tend to be great temptations to Rat natives.

Traditionally, Rats should avoid Horses, but they can usually find their best friends and love interests in Monkeys, Dragons, and Oxen.

Professions include espionage, psychiatry, psychology, writing, politics, law, engineering, accounting, detective work, and pathology.

Learning Chinese

I have picked up a few words and phrases in Chinese. It will take me forever to get the tones down that is for sure. I have learned how to say: hello, how are you, good-bye, good night, no, no I don't need that (ironically only two characters)...AND that is about it. I want to learn more. Maybe when I get comfortable with teaching I can spend more time working on the language. I have a good 6 months left. ^_^

I am also interested in learning some common characters. I realized that some of them are very beautiful and elegant. Well, language learning is an evolution and I am just setting out. I am excited!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Scooter Yay!

Today, I had my first scooter ride! It was absolutely wonderful. Another teacher Lindsey just bought hers and she took me for a ride around the town. We went up hills and stopping was strange because of the balance issue, which Lindsey was great at. At first it was really scary but by the end I wanted one. I would love to drive one and not just be a passenger. I TOTALLY WANT ONE! I used to have a very staunch view on motorcycles, scooters and the like, but now I think my tune has changed. ^_^

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Typhoon Baby!!

For the past two days there has been a typhoon warning. The typhoon started last night. All the new teachers and I went to the 11:20pm showing of Batman: the Dark Knight! When I rode the movie theatre it started raining. A typhoon was basically a lot of rain. Batman was a good movie. When we got out the theatre at 2:00am, it was pouring really hard. It was fun riding home on my bike in it. Most of us brought plastic ponchos. I folded up my shorts but they still got wet. It wasn't bad at all. This morning I was awakened to the sound of someone saying that school was canceled. I was so happy ^_^. So, we got to go back to bed. Yay! So today, none of us have classes and don't have to teach. And I am going to dye my hair dark.

P.S. The typhoon isn't too bad and I am safe inside my school.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

So Here I Am!

I have been in Taiwan since about 2 weeks ago. I haven't written any blogs. For some reason I haven't felt to do it even though I NEED to! I want to preserve my memories. Taiwan is amazing, I have to say! I love riding my bike around to see the city. It is strange to wander around in a strange town, in a strange country where I don't speak the language. I often wonder how strange I must look to them. A big, fat American with blonde hair. I am out of place. Yesterday, we went to McDonald's, I ordered this humongous double BIG MAC. Every time I order at McDonald's I think to myself what I must look like: a fat American ordering a cheeseburger...oh well.. but yesterday I dyed my hair a dark mahogany brown. I fit in a little more, but my blue eyes don't...haha...

Just outside the McDonald's by SO-GO

McDonald's...Open 24 Hours

We all went out to eat to McDonald's one of the first week we were here.

I love this one...It is a HOT DOG! Heheheh...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Current Taiwan News!

Hey, I just added a box on the right-side of my blog with current events from Taiwan. You can check for what is going on here!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Address in Taiwan!!

Here is my address in Taiwan. Feel free to write and if you write I will send you back a postcard! Just think you will be able to have a piece of history with a stamp from Taiwan and everything!!

Erin Shaw
c/o Berhan Language Institute
336 Ay Gwo St.
Feng Yuan, Taichung
Taiwan ROC 42045


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Living in the Future

Now that I am over in Taiwan, the times have changed. Right now it is Sunday at almost 9 am in the morning! But over in Utah it is almost 7pm in the evening! WHOA! For some reason that just blows my mind. Over in California it is now almost 6pm on Saturday. Well, on the way over here to Taiwan we lost a day! This time change is just something that I will have to get used to. It makes time seem a little more relative than before.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Almost to Taiwan...

I cannot believe that tonight is almost my last night in the United States for a while. I am going off to Taiwan and get into Taiwan around 6am this Saturday. Crazy. I have been pretty calm up until now...tonight, it is just such a trip. No turning back now, I say to myself. This is something that you are going to do and it will be worth it! I know I can do it. It will be interesting to say the least, but it will be wonderful. It will be difficult to learn a new job with so much to know. But I know when the 6 months is over, I will have not regretted it.

Things like this always hit before right before or right after I have started something. Like the first day on track practice in the 10th grade. We had to run ...I made it pathetically around the track was supposed to be 4 times!! I said to myself then what I am saying now: WHAT AM I DOING?? OMG!!! I was out of breathe and dying and I could have said to myself: Forget this...I am crazy...I will never be able to do this... But as proof positive I did complete that entire track season, never medaled, never won a single race, but I was able to go up and beyond what I thought I could do.

I am going to miss my family and friends here in the States. Currently, I do not miss them yet, but I know I will more than I now know. I am up late because a part of me wants to stay here and not leave off to Taiwan. I am thinking of all the little excuses not to go...which I will not humor you with.

But here I go, there I come. USA TO TAIWAN. A different culture, different spoken language, etc... WOW-WEE!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Preparing to Go to Taiwan

Preparing to go to Taiwan. What a trip in and of itself! This week we had training where we learned all about the ILP (International Language Program) teaching method. It is quite fabulous. I love the system and approach they have. They focus on getting the children to speak in English and not so much memorization but getting them to talk about in English what they already know in Chinese.

I am kind of scared to go over there and teach because I feel inadequate. They did say that the only way to get good at teaching is to teach, so I must go over there and "get her done"! I am sure by the end of the first month I will be loving it! And I cannot see loving kids being against me either. do realize that kids can be quite trying and will try to test the boundaries of what the teacher will allow in the class. "The first test in the classroom, is not given by the teacher , but by the students to the teacher"!

Visas. This has been a hassle. All but one person going to Taiwan has their visa. Everyone else is still waiting for theirs. I am almost to the point where they are going to send mine unless they ask for more information. I am hoping they are satisfied and that they will send it. If not, I hope to get my passport before we leave on Thursday, the 26th of June so I can get my landing visa and not be an illegal in Taiwan. LOL. Most everyone going is in the same boat. It has been stressful and wading through bureaucracy is never fun! Unless you are a Masochist, which I am not.

Today at training, we talked about the culture and that got me really excited. It sounds like lots of fun. I want to go to the night markets, the beach, the movie theatres, and much much more. The main religions in Taiwan are Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. I want to go explore those temples and hopefully be able to watch or participate in their ceremonies. My friend Connie and I have vowed to go see those.

We will be living at the school in Feng Yeng on the 4th floor of the building. We will have Western toilets there, which is very exciting because elsewhere there are just holes in the ground. That will be some adventure. We will also have two washers and no dyers--in Taiwan clothes are hung to dry.

There is much more to tell and see when I get there. I hopefully will be a diligent writer, but since a professor once said to his students: " the past is the best predictor of the future". And if you only knew my track records. Or maybe that was just mailed letter, let's hope.

To all my friends and family, I love you dearly. Thanks for all your support! XOXOXO!