Tuesday, August 30, 2005


I'm legal! I got a job yesterday. It was remarkably easy. I went into the school a few days ago for an interview, it went well and the interviewer had me come back yesterday to give a demonstration of my skills. The demonstration was a mock class with a bunch of the teachers and the school manager acting the part of students while I took charge. I nailed it and the manager was very impressed. The guy that interviewed me said my demonstration was the best he'd seen in a long time...I've got skills!

The job itself sounds great. I'll be working from 3pm to 9pm M-F and 10am to 3pm on Sats.. The children are between the ages of 8 and 14. The parents pay a lot of money to send their kids there so discipline isn't as big an ordeal as it is in the U.S.. One interesting facet of the job is I'll have a native Chinese teacher with me in the room at all times. The Chinese teacher will be bilingual so as to act as a conduit between me and the kids. I like this idea because he or she can help bridge the gap between me and my students. I start on Thursday, wish me luck!

The heat here is oppressive. I went running around the city this past weekend and couldn't believe how overwhelming the weather was. I'm not sure if it's the heat or the pollution? The smog is crazy. Taipei 101, the tallest building in the world, is viewable from my balcony. At times it's so hazy that it the only thing you can see are the lights on the top...not good.

I have been trying to upload pictures onto this computer and it's not going well. The system is a bit dated and it doesn't look good. I'll probably have to go to an internet cafe to get it done.

I mentioned that I was going to the East Coast the other day...didn't happen. The trains are a bit spiratic on Sundays and we didn't want to risk getting stuck out in the middle of nowhere.

Stay tuned for updates on my search for the perfect food and early impressions of teaching in Taiwan.

p.s. Jayne, tell Jordan I miss him a lot and hope he is enjoying the new school year. I don't have his email! can you send it to me??

Sunday, August 28, 2005

A Deer Caught In The Headlights

A tad bit overwhelming...

I think that that phrase sums up my time here thus far. I've spent the past few days trying to acclimate myself to Taipei. Figuring out where to eat, navigating the subway/train system, and finding a job have been my primary objectives this past week.

Eating has been an hysterical experience. The combination of often eating things I can't recognize and not being able to communicate with the restaurant staff is too funny. Going into a place to eat knowing that you can't read the menu is such a helpless feeling. With each visit I seem to be picking up little things that make the next time a bit less of a hassle. Thankfully there are plenty of places that seem to be accustomed to the "deer caught in the headlights" American customer.

Friday I had my first experience with the train system. It is remarkably efficient. The Taiwanese government mercifully included English on most of the signs in the train station. I managed to take a train to a suburb of the city for a job interview. It went off without a hitch. The ride was about 25 minutes and cost me about 65 cents American. I love not having to drive. Mass transit is the key to survival in a big city.

My interview went snoothly. I think I may get this job. The guy that interviewed me wants me to come back Monday afternoon and give a demonstration of my skills in front of him and the rest of the staff. If that goes well I think I will get the job. The hours are excellent and the pay seems to be more than fair...we'll see.

Stay tuned for further news on the job-front.

Yesterday a bunch of us from the hostel managed to find a British-style pub here in town and watched the world-championship of Rugby. Having never seen a rugby match I was a bit skeptical. WOW was I wrong.
I think I may have found another way to waste my time...rugby is a fascinating sport. New Zealand beat South Africa and it was a thriller.

Perhaps the best thing so far about Taipei has been this hostel. With each passing day it seems I meet a new group of great people from a different part of the planet. Yesterday I hung out with a guy from South Africa, 3 girls from Los Angeles, a couple from Switzerland, another couple from Canada, and a guy from Hong Kong. It is cool to talk about our lives from our different world-perspectives.

Gotta go, we are heading to the east coast today to explore some of Taiwan's natural treasures.

I plan on posting some pictures soon...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

2a.m. Wake-Up Call

Battling insomnia...

It's almost 2a.m. and I just woke up. I can't seem to get my sleep pattern set. I figure it should work itself out in the next few days.

The food has been a challenge thus far. A group of us from the hostel went to a Japanese restaurant today. It was decent. Everything was fine until I nearly choked to death on piece of mystery meat...lol. I've yet to find something I truly like.

It looks like I may be staying at this hostel for quite awhile. The ideal location, cleanliness, cool folks and excellent management make it an easy decision.

I've already heard back from one school. I'm heading over there to talk to the manager in the next few days.

Gotta go, it's time to heat up some fried rice and watch some bad Chinese television

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

25,000 Pennies! & Chillin in L.A.

I have arrived! This past week has been crazy!

I spent 3 days in Las Vegas with Perry & Andrea prior to flying over here. It was great. I needed an opportunity to vist with them. As usual my time with them went by waaay to fast. It was a blast. I managed to win about $250 on a penny slot machine...amazing.

I flew into LAX on Saturday afternoon, that's when the insanity started. Anyone who has flown knows that you have to show the ticket counter person the credit card that you used to purchase the ticket. Well, i bought my ticket from LAX to Taiwan several months ago and since then my bank decided to issue new debit cards. I bought my ticket with the original card and the number changed...not good. They tell you to cut up the old card, I did. So i was in a bit of a pickle. The folks at the ticket counter made me rebuy my ticket on the spot...ugh. Thankfully it was only about $100 more than the other. The only remaining issue is to make sure that the airline properly refunds my money for the original ticket. It wouldn't be that big of a deal but dealing with the bank from overseas is a headache.

Not soon after that silly situation they announced that the plane was overbooked. They offered me $400 cash, a free hotel room, a $20 meal voucher, calling cards, and a pass to the airport V.I.P. lounge if I'd be willing to wait and go on the next flight, which was in 7 hours. Of course I took it. What a deal. I hung out in a very nice hotel for the afternoon and eventually made it back to the airport that night. The flight was uneventful, long, but uneventful.

I arrived in Taipei Monday morning at about 5am. What a crazy city. It's hot here. Thankfully the hostel is air conditioned. The hostel ("Taiwanmex Guest House") is great. A cool mix of folks from all over the planet. At only $13/night it's a steal. I am about 5 minutes from the subway and the main train station. It is about 4:30am local time as I am writing this...jet lag.

Time for me to attempt to get some sleep. I'm gonna do my best to keep this thing updated as often as I can.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Dubya & Re-Packing

check out the link above, it's great stuff.

I couldn't resist putting this image on my blog...too funny.

I've been busy tying up as many loose ends as I can before my departure. Putting the finishing touches on my mom's yard, making sure the bank knows that I will be using my debit card in Asia, saying my good-byes to friends, these types of things seem to be eating up much of my time. Not to mention the steady stream of visitors we've had for the past two weeks. Time is flying and I know I'm going to be a mess by next Wednesday.

There have been some good reports from folks I've met through the various web pages. A few of them have arrived in the past week or two and seem to be doing fine.

Last Night I, once again, repacked my big suitcase. No matter what I take out of the damn thing it still ways a ton...very frustrating. I hope the airline people are understanding. If not, I am screwed!

It looks like I may be checking out Kojen schools. Henry, one of the guys I have befriended, just started with them and he is having a good time. They are one of the bigger chain schools which means there are plenty of jobs to be had in their organization. My goal is to hit the ground running once I arrive. Need to take a job pretty quickly and get rolling.

It's a shame that I have to leave the U.S. at such an intense period. If I had another few weeks I'd be joining Cindy Sheehan down in Texas. She is doing a great thing. We need to shake things up and change this dangerous course our country is on.

I'm working on putting some pics in here. Perhaps a few of home and family. Not sure yet.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Hostels & Yard Work

Currently trying to work out a place to stay in Taipei, temporarily. There are several nice hostels that range from $9 to $20 per night. I will probably have to spend the first month or so at a hostel, so this decision is pretty important. Factors include cost, location, and security. I should have my mind made up in the next week. I've made an internet pal who just recently arrived in Taipei. His name is Henry and he is Canadian. Thankfully he is keeping in touch with me via email.

I've been immersed in yard work this past week so I haven't had much time to think about Taiwan. Starting to do some things and see some folks for the last time. It's a strange feeling uprooting oneself and beginning a new thing. Mixed emotions. Gonna miss everyone a lot but I am convinced that this is the path I should take. When you leave your family it's never easy. The detachment that comes from being so far away is something I am certain I'll struggle with. Knowing that I won't be part of the birthday/holiday celebrations sucks. Even more so I won't be able to help when traumatic stuff happens. Everyone here cheering me on helps keep those thoughts buried deep.