Archive for February, 2010

Internet famous

You guys, I am in a webcomic!

It’s not quite as exciting as it seems, since the artist solicited readers to be in a big party scene, but I still think it’s kind of cool and maybe you guys all want to see.  I’m the one with glasses in teal on the center left, fending off the admiral.

I actually found out about this the day I got to Taiwan, but I was too tired to say anything, and I just remembered now.  So, have fun with that, I guess.  Also, happy Peace Day (commemorates a massacre here in Taiwan)!

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Housing envy

I had a fun night tonight, on which I will elaborate tomorrow, but I must first bitch about my roommate’s amazing good fortune.  She is going to a city very near mine and living just across the river off the MRT.  She’ll be living with two other teachers at her branch, and the place they have is amazing.  Since they’ve been living there for a while, it’s fully furnished and nicely decorated, and it has a washer and a dryer.  The floors are wood instead of tile or linoleum, and the ceilings are lofty.  High speed internet is included and utilities only come to 1000NT each month, and that’s with 4 air conditioners.  Not only that, but the girl she’s replacing left her the keys to her old scooter.  Holy dang!

Meanwhile, I’ve only seen three places, none of which was furnished with anything (including AC and fridges), and one of which was already rented.  I feel like my management is not trying very hard, probably because my head teacher has a furnished empty room where I can stay until I find something else.  Conflict of interest?!?!  It’s not like it’s a bad place, but he’ll be moving out in August and I don’t want to take over the lease, and I think it would be irritating to move after 6 months, especially since I just did it in September.

The plan is to look around on Monday at some more places, but I think they’ve resorted to an agent, which means I have to pay a fee of 1/2 a month’s rent to the agent.  This is not ideal, but I don’t really know what else I can do.  Maybe my friends in Danshui can help me out since she speaks Chinese and he’s a native…

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Busy day!

For a day that was supposed to be a break day, I sure got a lot done yesterday!

I had arranged a few days before to go out to Xinzhuang and meet my head teacher and look for apartments, so I started my day a little later than normal with a taxi ride over the river and into Xinzhuang with my new boss André.  My first impression of the city was very favorable, since it was a beautiful day and I rode on the back of a hot guy’s scooter all day.  I hadn’t intended to get a scooter, but I think one will be up for sale soon at my branch, and I’ll probably buy it, especially since it’ll only be about $300 dollars.  SCOOTER!

So then we looked at places, and options are not amazing so far, which I will get to in another entry.  I saw my future workplaces and watched a class of 7-year-olds, which was both reassuring and terrifying.  Then I took a bus to Taipei Main Station (took about 20 minutes during rush hour) and rode the MRT up to hang with Rebecca.  She helped me buy a phone (it’s pretty nice!) and get everything activated, and then we walked around and eventually wound up at her place.  It was great to just hang out in someone’s house instead of being in training or being in a hotel; almost as good as having my own place.

Eventually, I had to head back because of training in the morning and the fact that the last subway runs at midnight.  There are many wonderful things about the MRT, but that is not one of them.  Another thing that sucks about the MRT and Taipei maps in general is that they do not always orient north, which means a lot of mental rotation and reading in Chinese, two things I am not good at.  Nevertheless, I made it back to the hotel safe and sound, despite the fact that it was about midnight.  What a chill city!

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A little night out

So happy to be back!Wednesday is our training-free day, so I went out for a relaxing night on the town with my good friend since I don’t have to be up so early tomorrow. She and her mother-in-law picked me up from my hotel, which was very nice of them, and took me on a meandering drive up to Danshui by way of Shilin, Tianmu, and Guandu. I got to see her new apartment (fantastic!) and say hi to Steve’s mom again, and once we had dropped her off, Rebecca and I wandered the night market street for food.

I got fried chicken from a stand I remembered from last time, and it was almost as good as I remembered. The smell and the spices were beautiful, but I think I should have paid for a better piece of meat. It was still tasty, though, and so were the sweet potato fries. Just being back in Danshui was wonderful, and I have a cute picture of me at the station with the night market behind me.

I also bought a SIM card and therefore a cell phone number, but I haven’t gotten the phone itself yet. I want to get a relatively nice one, and there’s a shop near me that has a big selection. Let me know if you want the number, and I’ll get it to you.

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Lesson planning

Already! It’s the end of the third day of training and already I’m prepping a lesson plan for tomorrow. This is good, I suppose, since I’ll be teaching for real soon, but it is also very stressful. I’m not very good with the wrap-ups, but I just worked over a lot of these things with my team and I think tomorrow will go well.

On another note, it’s stopped raining here, and the street I walk along twice every day is interesting in the mornings and striking at night. Maybe I’ll buy a camera soon or get a camera phone and give you guys an idea of how it looks.

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First day observations

Wax apples are great.
South African accents are awesome.
There’s a girl in my cohort who looks like Summer Glau.
There’s a guy who looks like Shia LeBouef and James Purefoy got stuck in a blender and came out as one unscathed person.
This teaching thing is going to take a lot of energy.

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Ten minutes late. My suitcases took about 45 minutes to arrive, and then I told my ride to go to the wrong terminal. Not the best start, but everything made it through and I’m about to go to sleep, so I can’t ask for much more.

It’s raining, which I like, and my good friend and her husband picked me up, which was fun and sweet of them. I think that balances out the delays.

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