Archive for the ‘foooood’ Category

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Things That Make Me Happy

October 17, 2006

I’ve been in a brighter mood lately, so I felt a little optimism was in order.  Here are some things that make me happy here, in whatever random order they pop into my mind:

1. Not being (very) sick. For the first time in a long time, I am more or less healthy.  As it turns out, not constantly feeling miserable does wonders for one’s mood. 

2. Paying my bills.  Really.  The bills themselves are no fun, but paying them is terribly convenient.  I just scamper on down to the 7/11 right next door and they ring it up at the register like any other purchase.

3. Speaking Chinese. If I was ranking these in any particular order, this would be one of the most significant.  Unfortunately, it’s usually more a matter of being unhappy because I don’t speak Chinese, but tonight I’m flying high because I just had an actual legitimate conversation with a cab driver.  He complimented my Chinese and asked me where I’d learned it, where I’m from, how long I’ve been here, whether I’m a teacher or a student, etc., and I managed to come up with coherent answers most of the time.  Made my day.

4. Greasy night market food.  Good for the soul, if not the physique.  mmmm 鍋貼。

5. Carrefour.  My extraordinary discovery of the day.  I knew it existed, of course, but I hadn’t been there and I didn’t realize I cared until I took my kindergartners there on a field trip this morning.  Carrefour is a french chain of “hypermarkets”, basically filling the same niche as Wal-mart.   I feel somewhat guilty about being so happy about it.  I want to say that I have no interest in Carrefour, I’d rather just do all my shopping at local mom and pop stores or night/morning markets.  But when I first stepped into Carrefour…. I almost cried. (OK, not really, but I liked it a lot.)

6. Some kids, sometimes.   I’m not going to go so far as to say that my students always bring me joy.  In fact, a lot of them make me fairly miserable.  But I’ve got to admit, some of those little brats are alright.

Well, 6 things to be happy about isn’t a bad start.  I’m sure there would be more if I was in a thinking mood.  Suffice it to say, the sun is shining here in Luzhou.  (Not literally, of course. )

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Kaitlin’s Big Day

September 13, 2006

Today was a very big day for me, both stressful and exciting.  I taught my first three classes today.  None of them went all that well, but I don’t think they were complete disasters either.  When it was over, I felt like all life had been sucked out of me, but everyone keeps telling me that it will get easier and I can see that it’s true.  Even between my first and second class yesterday I felt like things got a bit better.

The exciting part of my day was moving into my new apartment!  Maybe I’ll post some pictures in the future.  I got an amazing deal on this place and I love it. 

Maybe I should back up a bit, since my lack of internet access the last few days has prevented me from delivering the important details of my life to you.  I moved out of Taipei City to Luzhou, a suburb of Taipei.  Although geographically close, Luzhou is very different from Taipei.  Less English, more blatant staring at the unbelievably tall white girl. I’m very happy to be here though, where it’s less commercial and where I might actually have to remember a few Chinese characters to get by.  And Taipei is just a short bus or cab ride away, so I can go there in my free time if I so choose.

Everyone I work with seems really cool, and helpful too.  From what I hear I think I got pretty lucky being placed at this branch.  Also, the kindergarten is super nice, with an outdoor playground and track and large classrooms with lofts.

If I decide to stay here forever, blame it on the dumplings.

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Training Days

September 5, 2006

I’m quickly becoming accostomed to shoving unfamiliar food objects into my mouth and bracing for the surprise.  There’s some amazing food here, but there are also those moments when I wonder if someone is toying with me and feeding me an eraser to see what I do.

I got my health exam taken here today.  It was probably one of the most efficient encounters with the medical world I’ve ever had.  American hospitals might place a bit more emphasis on being private and personable, but this sure was fast.

My last two days have been spent at training.  The days are long and draining but I think my actual job, which I start next Wednesday, should be manageable.  Basically all the curriculum is provided to us.

Sunday I’ll move out to Luzhou, the suburb of Taipei where my school is located.  I have a few options for housing, all of which sound perfectly decent, and one of which sounds especially attractive. I’m sure I’ll let you know when I actually have a place.