Sunday, July 24, 2005

Why Teach? & Peace Corps Thoughts

Some of you out there may be wondering why I chose to travel 9000 miles in order to pursue a teaching opportunity?

As I mentioned before, I am a former Peace Corps volunteer. I served in PC in Honduras. I was sent there to build/improve water systems. About 5 months into my time there I was injured. I separated my collar bone from my sternum...a very serious injury. As a result of the accident I wasn't able to do the water system work, it was far too physical. Frustrated by my inability to use my left arm, I decided to come up with work that wouldn't require me to risk further damaging my shoulder/arm. After talking with many folks in my village I decided to start some English classes.

I spent about a two weeks developing a curriculum and speaking with other volunteers who had experience teaching. I posted several fliers around town and about 15 people showed up eager to learn. The classes were a little rough at first, but as time went on they began to flow. I felt very comfortable and the community was quickly warming up to me.

I really hoped that the doctors in Honduras would be able to handle my condition...unfortunately they were pretty clueless. Three orthopedic surgeons in Honduras were unable to properly diagnose/treat the injury. Approximately 3 months into the classes I was finally pulled out of my site by Peace Corps and sent to Washington D.C. so the American doctors could check me out. It took just one appointment in D.C. to determine that my injury was much more severe than the docs had thought in Honduras. Peace Corps HQ in D.C. decided it was a bad idea to send me back to Honduras and that, sadly, ended my life in Peace Corps. Their justification for terminating my service was I could easily aggravate the trauma and the insurance risk was too high...sigh.

The English classes were an unwitting victim of my termination. I was really in a groove in my makeshift classroom. My desire to get back to that situation is one of the driving forces in my push to teach again. Taiwan is an excellent place to attempt to regain that groove.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Mending Fences

I am building a fence today at my mom's house. These past few months I've been trying to get some things done at my mom's place. It's been a learning experience. Accomplishing things that I thought we beyond my abilities. I hope it's making mom happy and perhaps making it easier to sell the house in the future.

Just found out that we're going to be having lots of company in the near future. My sister Shelley and her kids are coming in about 2 weeks. Shelley is always fun to hang with and her kids are growing so fast. Rachel, her oldest, has always had an artistic streak in her, much like her father. Robbie is his mothers little boy, very caring. He seems to be very dedicated to mastering the piano...very exciting. The visit promises to be action-packed. Jeannie & Barry Zapol are coming into town at about the same time. They are family friends from waaaaaaay I believe their friendship pre-dates my existence. It'll be great to see them. They moved to Colorado and we haven't seen them in about 10 years or more. I foresee hours of catching up in the near future.

Tried to do some preliminary packing last night...ugh. It never goes as well as you think it will. Not terribly stressed out yet. I've gotta narrow down the wardrobe. I've already minimized the non-clothes junk, time to buckle down and let some of those t-shirts go...

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Visa & Loralee

I got my visa yesterday. I can now enter the Republic of China anytime in the next year. For those of you who wondering, Taiwan is still officially part of China. It's a big mess and I'm not really sure what it all means. Taiwan is a much more progressive place than mainland China.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to have lunch with one of my good friends who was with me in Honduras. She came home for a few weeks to visit family & friends. Loralee has an infectious attitude/smile. You can't help but enjoy spending time with her. Visiting with her brought back many wonderful memories. I really miss being part of that great group down there. Lately I have been getting some encouraging emails from several folks in the group intimating that they might be interested in visiting me once they finish up in Honduras...that would be awesome.

I need to start thinking about packing for the move. This is going to be kinda tricky. When I packed for Honduras I felt like I had to take EVERYTHING because of the lack of resources there. That wasn't totally off-base. I think I may have gone a bit overboard but everything turned out fine. This trip is very different. Life in Taiwan, as far as availability of day-to-day resources is concerned, is light-years ahead of Honduras. For some crazy reason I am still a bit stressed out about packing effectively. Thus far my essentials include clothes, shoes, music, movies, and some teaching essentials.

For anyone interested in teaching in Taiwan, here are a few excellent sites:

These sites have helped me a ton.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Operation TESL


My name is David and I am about to embark on "operation tesl". In about a month I am moving to Taiwan to begin a career teaching English as a second language.

A horrible job market in the U.S. and a desire to travel have inspired me to make this move. I decided to move to Taiwan because of the huge demand for Americans, the excellent pay scale when compared to other countries, and the killer travel opportunities in the region.

The great number of Americans and Canadians currently living/working in Taiwan was a huge factor in deciding where to go. As many of you know, I am a former Peace Corps volunteer. Integrating into Honduran culture was a great challenge. Even with the excellent support system set up within Peace Corps, it was no picnic. I am anticipating an even tougher road in Taiwan. My thinking is surrounding myself with lots of other folks in the same boat as me will surely make things easier. Knowing that people going through the same stuff as me are just a stones throw away is comforting.

Taiwan is generally considered the gateway to the Orient. Its proximity to so many fascinating countries made my decision to go there much simpler. I am excited at the opportunity to check out such places as Tokyo, Bangkok, and Manila. These are just a few off the top of my head. There are many, many more. It is remarkably inexpensive to travel within the region.

As I said above, my departure is about a month away (August 20th, to be exact). STAY TUNED, this should be fun.