Archive for November, 2006


Is it really almost December already?

November 30, 2006

We’ve got some construction going on at the kindergarten this week, so this morning when I walked into the building there was sawdust covering the floor and I couldn’t hear my co-workers over the noise of pneumatic tools being used to construct a small stage.  In other words, it finally seemed like the sort of place where I would work.

I got caught sneaking some recycling in with the trash on Tuesday.  I recycle to an extent, but I have such a difficult time with the whole trash/recycling system here that sometimes I just don’t bother.  The way it works is that when the trash and recycling trucks drive by they play a song like the ice cream truck back home, and you have to run out and bring them your bags.  I am almost always at work when the recycling truck comes by so if I don’t want to have an apartment totally full of recyclables, I have to throw them away now and then.

 Anyway, I could have gotten a big fine for that but I played the dumb foreigner (I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I didn’t know I couldn’t throw it away…)  and only got a scolding.

One thing that I really have a hard time with here is the bugs.  I can’t get rid of them.  I keep the place so clean (not an easy feat for someone as typically messy as me) and I have tried all sorts of traps and insecticides but as soon as I exterminate one pest another one seems to take its place.  I had a revolting experience with maggots recently which will haunt me for a long time.

At least (knock on wood) so far the roaches have left my apartment alone. However, they occasionally decide to go scampering across my students desks, which I can’t say does much for my classroom management.


Meet the Parents

November 23, 2006

Are you ready for the super exciting story of my Thanksgiving?

 It started with parents day.  All the parents of my kindergartners came to the school, met with me for half an hour, and then (gulp) all sat in the back of the classroom to watch me teach the day’s lesson to their kids.  It was terribly stressful, although not as stressful as having my boss observe me multiple times over the past week to make sure I was prepared for parents day.  I was warned that some of the parents in my class were kind of scary, but everything went smoothly.

Once I stopped being so nervous about it, it was actually pretty interesting to see where the kids were coming from.  The one who is so far behind the rest of the class has a mom with a constantly ringing cell phone who is “too busy” to help her daughter.  The boy whose bad behavior drives me mad but whose English is amazing is clearly a spoiled brat, but his mom makes a point to speak English with him.  It all provided some insight, anyway.

I was feeling sort of depressed about spending Thanksgiving that way, but my spirits were lifted slightly by a serious spending spree this afternoon at an art supply store in Taipei that I recently learned about.  Nothing like spending all my hard earned money to put a smile on my face.

Anyway, I was just settling down to relax back at home for a while (Thursday is usually an easy day sandwiched between two stressful ones) when I got a phone call.  My boss lost her voice, could I go over there immediately and sub her class?  I said yes, but it was sort of the final straw for me.  Today was terrible.

Oh, I didn’t think this post was going to end up so bitter.  But while I’m in a complaining mood, here’s one more thing:

Twice this week I’ve had people I passed on the street stop to point out the waiguoren to their small children.  Usually, I don’t mind the stares and curiosity so much; sometimes I even enjoy it.  But somehow, getting pointed at like that, as if I’m an animal in the zoo or something rubs me the wrong way more than anything else.

Careful, I bite.


Hot New Ride

November 11, 2006

I bought a new toy, isn’t it pretty?


It’s also pretty terrifying at this point.  I had to drive it home from the dealer down some major roads, so my first taste of what it was like to drive a scooter was bursting out into busy traffic.  I was basically white knuckled the whole way home.  Tonight I took it out for a little joy ride around the city though, and while I’m still mildly terrified, I also really like it!  I wonder how long it will take me to crash it…


Taiwan Blues

November 5, 2006

Tonight I went to a blues festival with Sandy, another teacher at my school. 

The beer was cheap, the smell of barbeque was in the air, and the music was fantastic.

Just one more song, we kept saying.  We can only stay for one more song….



Oh fer cute!

November 5, 2006

My kindergarten kids were so adorable on Halloween that I want to devote the next few weeks of blogging to pictures of 3 year old Taiwanese kids in costumes.  But I’ll just give you a small sample of the Halloween cuteness.

You want to learn English, do you?  BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

On the count of 3 everyone say awwwwwwwwwwwww

 Toy guns at school  This would never fly back home.

I still had a few kids left who weren’t crying… until Teacher Chris payed us a visit.

Finally, here are three of my students with this other cute kid I know, Teacha Kado.