Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Two good days

Yesterday was a good day at work, and I slept in late in the morning. After work, April and I went to Dazhi and ate at a nice steak house. The meal, including a buffet with all you can eat fried rice, noodles, salad, fruit, tea, and soda, cost only $6 US. The steak was included, along with a cooked egg, and some other beef noodles. The spicy sauce made the meal, though.
Afterward, we went to a book store.

Today we went to two movies: Fast and Furious (the new one) and Night at the Museum 2. Both movies were quite entertaining, but I probably wouldn't buy either. Considering I spent a grand total of $5 USD on both movies and some pop and popcorn, I was pretty content. We also had the choice of choosing Terminator Salvation and Pelham 123 as our double-feature. I didn't think April would enjoy those quite as much, so I conceded with the option that included Night at the Museum 2.
At work today I had a good day. My boss actually thanked me for my hard work. So at least it isn't going unnoticed. I've also been informed that my hours are more than the rest of my coworkers. So that was nice. Also, the people at McDonald's accidentally supersized my meal for free. I can't decide if that's good or bad, but I was pretty hungry.

Well, I'm going to get ready for bed. I have a busy day of work that includes my final new class. Wish me luck!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Quick Post

I taught a new class today. It was fun but they were very naughty. They were smart, at least, and did what they were asked to do. They were loud though. Morris, one kid, prides himself on being chubby and loves to eat. I have a boy named Smile who "Loves to smile" and a girl named Jasmine who speaks very fluently with the words she does know. Her accent is quite thick, though. She speaks so quickly that it's hard for me to understand her, but it's amazing to think she's putting those sentences together at such ridiculous speed at her age. I know Taiwanese almost 3x her age that have to think much more deliberately to make a sentence.

My other class, the American school one, was great as always. They're so sweet and well-behaved. This last weekend I taught a relatively advanced class for older students, but that class was lazy and spoke lots of Chinese. It goes to show, the classes don't indicate your fluency, but how willing you are to learn that does. I have kids half the age of those in SA13, and they speak much more openly. Maybe it's because they aren't afraid of making mistakes, but overall, the kids in my American School are just excited to learn.

What else is new... Not much. April and I plan to have a date on Wednesday. We rarely see each other these days and are almost never alone. Work is really picking up the hours this week, but at least that's going well. My social life is slowly disappearing entirely, but I'm OK with that as long as I manage to find time to be with April, and on occasion, some other friends.

I don't know what else to say for now. Today I didn't eat anything until 7:30 pm. I don't know why. I just forgot. But I am full now!

Speaking of being full... I notice Taiwanese always want to check a few certain phrases with me to make sure they are right. By far the most common is "Are you full?". This is because in Taiwan's culture (not Mainland China's, though) "Are you full?" is the equivalent of "How are you?" In fact, in the Taiwanese dialect, they do not say "How are you" at all, but only "Are you full" is the greeting, besides the basic equivalent of "Hello". There's an interesting cultural lesson for you.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Typhoon, Miramar Pizza, and American School!

OK first thing's first. There was a typhoon last weekend and a lot of people in the south of Taiwan are missing. Please keep these people in your thoughts. At the moment, a village of 1000 people is almost completely lost, save for 40 survivors. This is a lot, considering people were freaked out when the US lost about as many people in 9-11. Taiwan has less than 1/10 of the United States's population. I can't even imagine the pain of losing your whole village, and everyone you ever knew or loved, so keep these people in your thoughts. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/taiwan/6003259/Typhoon-Morakot-sparks-exodus-up-to-1000-missing-in-Taiwan-landslide.html

During the Typhoon, we in Taipei were able to get by comfortably, however. During the typhoon I tutored April's sister and April and I even dared to go pick up pizza for us and her family from Pizza Hut. I almost lost April to the heavy winds, but luckily I planted my feet and had a steady grip on her. I included a picture of the Miramar Pizza, a pizza Taiwan has exclusively to celebrate the mall I always happen to go to. The pizza is beyond delicious and may be my favorite Pizza Hut pizza!

I've also been working more and more often. Starting next week, my regular schedule will finally kick in, giving me 24 hours a week. After tutoring, I make a ludicrous amount of money that I have almost no way to spend. Today was the first day of the "American School", a total immersion school program where CTs (Chinese Teacher, my assistant) can't speak Chinese, and the kids are only allowed to talk in English. I overprepared and the result was that we had a lot of fun, and the kids are mind-blisteringly cute and smart. I was told they had no background in English, but here's a taste of some words they could already spell: rhino, octopus, frog, fish, can, funny, happy, ok, no, yes, problem
They even were speaking some full sentenced by the end of Day 1. The students seemed to like me a lot, as well. A couple little girls gave me candy as a present after class. It was a very sweet gesture, and I happily accepted it.

Tomorrow is Tuesday, the day where I will only have one class. I'll be tutoring a woman in the morning, and then shopping for school supplies with my friend, Josh, who just arrived in Taiwan. He is my American friend who went to Hawaii Pacific University that I met last time I was in Taiwan. It's good to have him back. Him, Erik, Carl, and myself were all pretty close back in those day. Carl will also be returning in February. That's the thing about Taiwan. Once you go there, you always want to come back. Josh is going to grad school at TKU (named by Webometrics to be the world's number 358 university, vs. Winona State around 2000). TKU is the school where I studied abroad a couple years ago.

Anyway, that's a quick update. There's a burger joint around here Josh and I are going to hit up this weekend. Tomorrow it'll probably just be dumplings or kung pao chicken at the mall food court. The burger place is two stations from me, and its called Juicy Burger. I've included a picture of that too.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Soooorry about not posting

Pig's blood cake... It's made of churned pig's blood, so far as I can tell. I worry about Pig HIV or something so I never touch this stuff. It's gross to me, but the Taiwanese looove it.
Squid on a stick. Squid is amazing and doesn't taste fishy or leave a nasty aftertaste in my mouth. April's mom has also fed me shark, which is very expensive, and tastes just like (you guessed it) chicken!
Green onion pancakes... Don't know what else to say about it. It's crispy and yummy.
What Taiwan is most known for internationally, Milk Tea and Bubble Milk Tea. This is Bubble Milk tea... The "bubbles" are tapioca pearls. It's delicious but I prefer it without the pearls.
Taiwanese style deep fried chicken. Taiwan street vendors all have their own style, actually, and they'll deep fry just about anything you can dream up... I've had deep fried octopus on more than one occasion.

I'm sorry I'm lagging behind in posts but I am letting my new lifestyle catch up to me finally.

So here are some points that I'll just list:
  • Rent is due and I'm happy to pay but the landlord hasn't come by to collect
  • I had my second day at work today and it went very well! I think my assistant was pleased too, and the kids definitely responded to me
  • I tried the Spicy Chicken Big Mac at McDonald's, and it is proof that God is both real and overweight
  • For the first time in my life, I put my pants on backwards today
  • I've been sleeping in a little bit later but my bedtime is about the same
  • I started tutoring a law secretary and her sister, a businesswoman (at different times). The amount they will pay per month is enough to cover rent or pay for all my food and transportation costs.
  • I also have been presented with additional editing jobs that I've been checking into to see if they are a viable source of supplementary income
  • This month marks 2 and 3/4 years that April and I have been together
  • I'm getting used to ordering food here again, but I still am learning about more and more things to try. I'm not a huge fan of some seafood, which is a problem since they have so much here, but other foods are great
  • My remote control's batteries died so I haven't watched TV in a long time. I really need to get around to replacing it, but I planned to buy some rechargeable batteries and a charger for my wiimotes too, so I figure I'll wait a little while longer until I have some more cash
  • I washed my bedsheet today
  • I tutor April's sister again on Wednesday
  • I watched the Watchmen and some other films recently. I really liked the Watchmen, overall. It brought back lots of memories from the graphic novel. Also, Scooby Doo 2 is one of the greatest films of all time
I think that's about it for now. I didn't want to write all that in paragraph form and try to make it all flow together. Anyway, sorry about the delay, hope you keep watching my blog, and take care.