Wednesday, November 30, 2005

3 Months Down...

I've come to the end of my 3rd month at work. Everything is progressing nicely. I hate to beat a dead horse, but this teaching gig is sweet. I truly love my job. Every day brings new challenges and victories. For instance, today I helped a little girl prepare for an upcoming English language competition. Every year the city of Taipei brings together the best and the brightest from all of the big English schools and judges them according to their language skills. This particular girl is representing my school in the primary school level. She is as cute as can be. I helped her shore up her pronunciation and delivery, it was too fun. She is reciting a passage named "I like summer".

As I mentioned before, I recently bought a cell phone. Wow, it's really cool and very cheap here. I can't get enough of the text message thing.

Stay tuned for some pictures in the near future...hope to download them sometime this week.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving came and went, and I didn't even realize odd. I hope everyone back home had a nice holiday. Christmas is just around the corner. It's gonna be strange to be so far away while the family celebrates.

Pizza Heaven!

I went out with my buddy Scott last night. We had a great time. I finally ate at "Alleycat's", an amazing Italian restaurant. The pizza was as good as any I've had in the States. After dinner, we headed over to the electronics night market. I bought my very first cell phone! I think I got a pretty good's a Benq phone, brand new for NT$2500, which is about $75 American. It doesn't have a camera, but it's a nice flip-style phone. Cell phones here are cheap and everyone has one. It's important for me to have one for work and to make apartment hunting easier. I saw a million cool electronic gadgets that I'd kill to have at the market...not gonna fall victim to all those enticing vendors. After the electronics market, we headed across to the clothing/food night market. This place goes on for miles, it's incredible. I managed to pick up a great jacket (about $30 American) and some rip-off Calvin Klein cologne for about $5 American. This market is mind-boggling, wall-to-wall people for miles. The bargains are great. You can find anything. We had a killer time, I think I'll be back to search for more bargains in the near future.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

This is winter?

Rain, rain, and more rain. I guess we've officially started the winter season here. It's been cool & raining for the past 4 days. It's not nearly as cold as back in Ohio, but still quite chilly. This weekend I am going to have to head out to a night market and buy a fleece. I didn't pack enough cold-weather clothing. Nights can be a bit cold because there's no such thing as central heat here, folks have to buy small space heaters for the winter. It doesn't make much sense to have a furnace here since it's cold for a very short time.

Work is steady. With each day I feel more and more comfortable. One silly thing did happen this past week. My schedule is Mon through Fri 3pm to 9pm and Sat mornings for a few hours. Essentially, I have to have 35 hours a week. These hours are a combination of teaching hours, office hours, and testing periods. Well, last Saturday I had a bunch of stuff I had to get done outside of work. I left work after a few hours because I had accomplished what they asked me to do. When I got to work Monday I caught hell from the boss because I only put in about 2.5 hours Saturday and a total of 34 hours last hour short. I thought this was a bit petty, but Carol (the boss) was not happy. Whatever. She said I should have stayed and found some busy-work to do...yeah. This type of thing is typical of bosses here, they love to nitpick their employees about the littlest things. I'm over

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Always the Bridesmaid...

Well, life is funny, in a sick sorta way. Kelly invited me over to her place tonight. We originally planned to go out to eat and go to a night market but she is battling yet another cold. Anyhow, I went out today and bought her a really cool bamboo plant for her new place. Tonight was the night I had planned on having the "talk". The one about where the relationship was headed...

After I got there and gave her the cool plant, she showed me around the place. Nice apartment. Everything was going great until she showed me her room. When I walked in, the first thing I noticed was the picture of, what I assume was, her boyfriend in Canada, on her bookshelf. Oh, and the other one pasted on her wall next to her bed...ugh. Needless to say, I was a bit deflated.

After witnessing the pics, I decided that I would back off and not rock the boat. UGH, this sucks. Always the bridesmaid, never the

Life is funny, in a sick sorta way.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Tough Week

Tough week. Scott, one of my co-workers, was sick. I had to pick up a few of his classes on top of an already tough schedule. Teaching 3 or 4 hours a day may not sound like much, but when those 3 or 4 hours are broken down into 3 or 4 completely different classes, it's a challenge. Tonight I taught first graders how to tell time, fourth graders time related statistics (60 seconds in a minute, 7 days in a week, etc.), and a bunch of fifth graders the past-perfect tense. Planning for 3 completely different classes that all run back-to-back can be tough. They pay me well for my time, so I shouldn't complain. No matter how trying the job can seem sometimes, I forget about the stress once I get in front of the kids...they are incredible.

Possible Visit From Kevin?

I just got an email from my cousin Kevin. He is currently a grad student studying in Hawaii (yikes, sounds rough, eh?? He is considering coming to visit this goofy island. Unfortunately, his vacation time falls at the worst possible time. The week he wants to come and visit coincides with the departure of two of my co-workers. Brent & Chris have both decided to go back to Canada. I can't blame them, they have been here a long time. Brent has been here for about 8 years, and Chris about 3.

Therefore, I am going to be out of my mind when that time comes...I'm gonna have to help train the new teachers and cover the classes that Brent & Chris normally teach.

I am not sure that Kevin would enjoy spending more than a few days here anyhow. It's not the most exciting vacation spot. I advised him to put together a trip that included a day or two in Taiwan and perhaps visits to Malaysia, Hong Kong, and/or Vietnam. Most folks I meet here seem to think that is the best plan of action.

Monday, November 14, 2005


the pics below are of the Chaing Kai-Shek memorial. It is in Taipei, about 10 minutes from where I live. For more details, check out the entry below the pics.


a coi pond located inside the memorial.
one of the buildings erected in honor of Chaing Kai-Shek.
this building is at the entrance. the design is incredible, so ornate.


this is the entrance to the memorial, that's Kelly on the left, she loves to take pics.
Me and Kel. Check out my hair, it's frightening.
The stutue of Chiang Kai-Shek is inside this building, it's really cool.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Haircut From Hell

hello all, life in Asia is good. Work has been going great and my social life is taking shape. I spent the day with Kelly. We went out to eat at a fabulous Mexican place and then visited the Chaing Kai-Shek memorial.

Kelly is a blast, she is bright, fun and pretty darn cute...the tri-fecta. Time spent with her is always fun. When we first started spending time together she mentioned that she had a boyfriend back in Canada. That was a few months back and she hasn't mentioned him since...I am a bit perplexed. I really dig spending time with her and I'm afraid if I attempt to take it any further she'll freak out and our relationship will come to a grinding halt. At the same time, I am losing my mind. If I don't express my feelings about her, I'm gonna lose it. This is the question that has boggled the minds of many a man...what the heck do I do???? I value our time so much, she is adorable.

Yesterday, I got the haircut from HELL. I had the owner of the hostel write down exactly what I wanted so I could take the paper in with me to the barber shop. I figured that way there wouldn't be any communication issues. When I got there I handed the paper to the guy and he dismissed it and said he knew how I wanted my haircut...ugh. He butchered it, as you can see in one of the above looks like I am greying...zoinks!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I'm Legal!

I'm going to pick up my A.R.C. today. It's my official work permit. As of today, I am an official resident of Taiwan with a legal work permit, crazy eh?

Today is also payday, time to go out and finally buy a cell phone. I think I am the last person on Earth without a cell phone. My boss keeps stressing the importance of having one so they can get ahold of me...I'm thinking that's all the more reason not to have

Kelly and I are going shopping this weekend at one of the night markets. The last time we went neither one of us had any money, so this time should be a bit more fun. She kept commenting about how many great deals there are and how she can't wait until she has money to buy them. That time has come, it's time to put our hard-earned money to good use! I'm going to look for a couple of long-sleeved shirts for the coming cold weather. The cold weather is not here yet, it's about 80 degrees here at 10a.m..

Kelly is great. She inspires me to get off my lazy butt and enjoy this crazy city. We try to do something fun every weekend. She recently moved into a new apartment in one of the coolest parts of the city...we plan on exploring the area around her place, there's lots to do over there.

This past week was interesting at work. Both Brent and Chris told the boss they planned on leaving in the next 6 months...ugh. These are the two guys that I rely so heavily upon. Brent has been there for 8 years and Chris has 3 years at Gram. It's going to be intense when they leave. I'm gonna do a quick jump up the seniority ladder. I think I'll be in a nice position to dictate my pay and working hours...we'll see. By the time they leave I should be pretty awesome at my job and the transition shouldn't be too tough.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Batman Begins

It's Saturday night and I'm exhausted. I've been fighting a bit of a cold and work is mentally draining. I LOVE the work, but by the end of the week I'm pretty burnt. Steve and Graeme are here and we're watching Batman Begins. What a cool movie, I'm impressed. We were going to go check out a microbrewery in town, but I'm too tired. Instead, we are hanging here and drinking a few cold ones.

Life here is really not much different from life in the U.S.. I have access to pretty much anything I need and many things are less expensive. One aspect of life here that is better is the women. The average woman here is considerably more attractive than in the States. My journey to work every day is like attending a beauty Being a pasty white guy garners a lot of interesting looks from the fairer sex. Taiwanese consider white skin very appealing. They hide from the sun in order to prevent any darkening of their skin. It'll be a perfectly sunny day and folks walk down the sidewalks with umbrellas. So, my super-duper white skin is quite the hit.

Two very interesting Malaysian girls just left today. They were here on vacation for 5 days. We had a blast. They were too fun. We exchanged e-mail addresses and they invited me to come and visit them in Kuala Lumpur...they would be my tour guides in what they tell me is an amazing country. I gotta put that on my agenda.