Saturday, August 23, 2008

I like to juggle

Today is the second day back at work. It was a long day, but I feel better. I still sound like a frog, but I've got my wits about me and my head no longer feels like it's in a bubble.

Today made me laugh. It was a series of things that tested my maturity and of course, I failed miserably.

The sentence pattern for my K10 class was:

What does the blank know how to do?
The blank knows how to blah, blah, blah.

What can the blank do?
The blank can blah, blah, blah.

All was well and good until we came to the clown.

Teacher: What does the clown know how to do?
Students: The clown knows how to juggle balls.
Teacher: *giggles* No, no the clown knows how to juggle.
Teacher: What can the clown do?
Students: The clown can juggle balls.
Teacher: *giggles* The clown can juggle. No balls *giggles again*
Students: TEAcher, WHATa?!
Teacher: What does the clown know how to do?

Etc, etc until the whole class understands that the clown does not juggle balls. Even though he does, but you can't tell 10-year-olds that balls are slang for testicles because I don't know how to say testicles in Mandarin. And while I am willing to attempt to draw lopsided pictures of a lot of vocabulary in the course of an EFL class, drawing testicles for 10-year-olds will not be one of those things

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


So I am sick. It has finally happened. I've been infected with Asian fever. No, I am not talking about being madly in love with Phil. And besides, technically, I think he is Pacific Islander. He is coming out next Tuesday by the way. Did I mention how excited I am? Actually, I don't think I have, but anyway I digress

I have a slight fever, headache, what feels like two suction cups clamped onto my ears, runny nose, and a sore throat. I called in sick today. I feel no inclination to be a good worker bee today. I literally did nothing. I got of bed to go to the bathroom and to refill my water glass. Exciting. I'm writing now only because I dumped a packet of emergen C into my water, and it has made me a little antsy.

What I am worried about is really quite lame. In Taiwan, when you are sick it is considered courteous to wear a medical mask (they have all sorts of stylish varieties). This is for 2 reasons*. The first reason is, duh, not to spread germs when you sneeze and snot and do all sorts of lovely things. The second is to let other people know that you are sick and they shouldn't lick your face or the bus handrails you used. And while I know this is courteous and probably a good idea, I really, really, really don't want to do it. The idea of wearing a mask all day in the sweltering Taiwan heat sounds completely unappealing. I mean, I've done it for costume parties, why can't I just suck it up here as well?

I'm really dreading this. I don't have any at the house, but at school, they're probably going to ask me to put one on because it's a school and it's super easy to infect a bajillion people.

Yuck, yuck, indeed.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Teaching messes with my self-esteem

Sometimes teaching is a lousy job. You have to be one solid individual to be an excellent teacher. You also have to have an infinite supply of creativity, energy, patience, and respect. And, according to Harold, the ability to yell at children and not have it ruin your day.

I am definitely, definitely not there yet.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Danshui: Tour guide of sorts

It occurred to me that my blog could also be a useful resource for other people. There isn't a lot of practical information about the area of Danshui, so here is my first tid bit. It isn't helpful for soaking in the local culture, but I was damn excited about it.

MEXICAN FOOD!! and decent Mexican food at that. They have homemade tortillas and everything. No joke. The waiter was half Dominican, half Taiwanese, so I won't vouch for the authenticity of this Mexican food, but the burrito I had was tasty.

Getting to Eddy's Cantina by foot from Danshui MRT:

Walk toward McDonald's. Take a left on to Zhong Shan (zheng) Rd. Keep walking until you reach a fork in the road. You should see Eddy's Cantina at the corner of Zhong Shan Rd. N. and Zhong Zheng Rd. If you stay to the right you will walk past Danshui Elementary school, and if this happens, you've gone too far.

Professor Teacher

I am Professor Teacher again, as my students at College of Alameda so fondly called me - mostly because they couldn't say my name.

I had an interview at St. John's University today. It went well. They offered me the position on the spot. The part-time gig, as per usual, was through nepotism. The lovely George swoops in with all sorts of awesome again. Many thanks to that man. Pretty soon I will actually be qualified for these positions. I kid, I kid, kinda.

I'm pretty excited. It starts in fall. I will be teaching a basic conversation class, writing and rhetoric course, and a poetry class. There is also ample opportunity for research, which is helpful for me, as I only have a MA. (Does that read as snobby as it sounded in my head?)


DO send any and all poems and short stories you love. Also, please DO send any and all poetry lesson plans you have kicking around in your teacher files. If you're not a teacher, take a minute to reflect on any kick ass poetry projects you did whilst a student all those years ago.

Please and xie xie.

The Lovely Keelung

For the full album, you can go here

Sunday, August 10, 2008

So not true *snort*

I really, really have to thank Heels for sending me a card from someecards (though it wasn't this one, it was this one when I left for Taiwan). It has changed my life.

Danshui (foreigners included)

Our local night market

Steve fit right in

Yep, everyone was hitting their head on the roof of the bus.

View of the rail and Fisherman's Wharf in the background

Walking bridge to F.W.

Yes, you're still a tourist

I had my first official visitor yesterday. My friend Steve bopped up from Taichung to say hey and check out Danshui. His work takes him Asia pretty regularly. It was a disconnect seeing someone from the states in Taiwan. I feel like I stepped into an alternate universe and having the lines cross is a bit odd, but it is a delightful odd.

I'm not a good hostess. I've done a terrible job of exploring Danshui, so everything is still in the "sure, let's give it a go and hope we find something cool" stage. Basically, Steve came, we tried some new food at the night market, headed to Fisherman's Wharf and then headed home. In between all of this was not knowing how to get there or back or knowing where or what to eat. For me, this is fun, but not everybody is super excited for ordering things called Buddha Jump Wall and poking your chopsticks into soup and eating the random, unidentifiable things - even after you put them in your mouth - that come out.

That being said, it was great to see Steve. His appearance really inspired me to get to know my area a little better.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Hi Teacher!

Now I know what the word teacher is in Chinese. I also know how to say hello. But, I haven't really registered words in a sequence.

If someone says in English, "How do you say teacher?" I would say, "Lou shi." However, when my students speak to me in Chinese. This is what I hear: blaaah, blaAAAh, blah, blah (This is my impression of Chinese tones).

Recently, my student said (in Chinese), "Hey teacher." And I understood and responded in English. I realize it's the base form of communication, but good god I was excited. I've been here 2 months people. I don't think I'm a natural when it comes to Chinese. I'm what we in the language education world lovingly call a slow student.

Fun story. The end.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Stories to Tell

1. Had an awesome day with my former student, Winnie. (Thank you Winnie. You Rock!) She drove my roommate and I around Keelung and stuffed us full of food. We also went to see the Golden Waterfall *snort*

2. Bought a bike!! Super cheap - Bike and all the accessories cost less than my previous bike. Now, it is a piece of shit (plastic pedals and weighs a ton), but there is an beautiful bike path that winds down the river by my house. And people ride their bikes at 11 pm with no fear of being mugged. What a novelty!

3. The Taiwanese are, in general, fucking awesome. Helpful, kind, patient, and have really gone out of their way to help me even when I don't ask (Not that I could ask, haha) . It's silly and small, but still an incredibly moving experience, but I'm too sleepy to tell you about it.

Good Brother, I have one

How to tell if you have a good brother....

He sends you cheese half way around the world. Yipee! Thanks O!