Archive for the ‘Taipei’ Category


Just Another Taipei Day

October 28, 2006

My plan for today was to go to the “Roots and Shoots Animal Parade” in Taipei with Amy, an English teacher from Iowa who I met at a party last weekend, and her boyfriend.  The parade was to raise awareness about protecting Taiwan’s animals, and Jane Goodall was there.  Unfortunately, we didn’t quite make it to the parade but we did get to see most of Dr. Goodall’s speech.  It wasn’t anything new or spectacular, but there are some people that make you feel special just for having stood within a few inches of them.  Afterwards we speculated about where she was flying off to next and what it would be like to live a life like hers when you’re in your 70’s.

As I waited for the bus back to Luzhou I found myself, as usual, surrounded by chanting people in red shirts.  If you’re not in Taiwan you probably don’t know about the current events here, but for over a month now people have been protesting daily in front of the train station in an effort to force the president, Chen Shui-bian, to resign.  Chen has survived two recall votes in parliament.  At first the protests were 24/7, but for the last week or so they’ve only been at night.  They chant “A-bian xia tai!”, step down A-bian! (president’s nickname).  Anyway, the whole point of this explanation was just to say that tonight they were chanting “xia tai xia tai” in rhythm to “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana and it amused me greatly.

On the way home I fought off claustrophobic panic by counting people on the 24-seat bus.  61.


It does exist!

September 25, 2006

Last night I spent a few hours in the “foreign ghetto”, Tianmu.  Tianmu is an area of Taipei known for its large population of foreigners, including westerners as well as people from other parts of Asia.  It was amazing, there were foreigners everywhere!  And the Taiwanese people didn’t seem particularly interested in me, which was a big change from Luzhou.  I didn’t have any real reason for going, so I didn’t do much while I was there, but at least now when the time comes that I crave certain comforts of my homeland, I know which bus to get on.

Teaching has been going a little more smoothly, although I still have at least two classes that frustrate me for every one that goes well.  Kindergarten especially is a roller coaster ride.  Some days I can’t believe that anyone would pay me to play a bunch of games and sing songs with cute kids, and some days the little brats just about drive me up a wall.

Soon my already busy schedule will get worse since I’ll start doing some subbing.  It will be stressful, but my holiday will come in due time, and anyhow, I’ve got a long list on the fridge of things I want to buy and I’ve learned that money helps with that.

My apartment is being taken over by ants.  This is war, and I will not back down until the floor is littered with ant corpses.  Oh wait, it already is, and I still seem to be losing.  Any advice?


Welcome to Taipei

September 3, 2006

I’m starting this blog to document life as a new English teacher in Taiwan.  I hope that whether you are a friend, relative, random web surfer, or someone interested in coming to Taiwan that you will find some of my tales entertaining and informative.

 I’m here for a year, with the option of staying longer if I so choose.  Tomorrow I start a week of intensive training and then I will start teaching at my school, which is actually outside of Taipei, in Luzhou. I haven’t had a chance to go see that area yet.

 I spent yesterday with my good friend from college, Julie, who is from Taipei. She showed me all sorts of useful things and took me on a quick driving tour of the city, including a stop at Hsingtien Temple where I learned the proper procedure for making an offering and praying. It’s all a rather complicated process if you aren’t familiar with it, involving oracle blocks and bamboo sticks with numbers corresponding to the prayer’s answer. To me it seemed very crowded, but Julie informed me that it’s usually worse. After that, we went to the National Palace Museum where Julie used to work, and finally out to dinner with her parents. I’m extremely grateful that she and her family could help me get adjusted a bit on my first day, which was completely overwhelming.

Later last night I got the chance to meet some of the people I’ll be training with.  I’m not exactly sure how many people are part of this training group, but I suppose I’ll find out tomorrow morning.

This morning I wanted to do some exploring on my own.  I managed to familiarize myself with the MRT a little and tried various types of food and drink. So far I love this city, although the heat and humidity is a bit more than this poor Minnesotan can take.  Just walking down the street this morning I got such a rush of excitement for the year ahead.

So stay tuned!  And don’t be afraid to leave a comment or two!