Monday, June 23, 2008


Today knocked out my feelings of doom and gloom!
Even though the universe still isn't letting me sleep, as I got in bed at midnight and laid there awake until 5am, I had a day filled with divine intervention. This morning Jerry and I had a workshop with Bill and Serena and this guy Miles were there. He's from NY and he's been teaching here six months now so he shouldn't have really been there, but you have to go to a certain number of workshops so he just ended up in ours even though he wasn't supposed to have been. Anyway I learned a whooole lot in the workshop today and Bill basically did my lesson plan for me which was awesome. By the end of it, I felt totally comfortable with what I would be teaching.
The five of us went to lunch at this restaurant called Subbers that's hilariously modeled after Subway. It has the same like 5 varieties of bread except that they have Pumpkin seed instead of Parmesan Oregano or whatever it is. They even have the veggies in little black buckets and all of the different squeeze bottles of dressing. It didn't taste very good but it was pretty entertaining.
At lunch, I found out that Miles was teaching at Guei Shan, the school I was teaching at tonight. We made plans to meet up so he could take me on the second leg of the bus ride. He has a class much earlier than I do, but I went 2 hours early anyway just so I didn't have to figure it out on my own. When I went to catch the first bus, a girl who lives down the hall from me in the dorm, Natalie, was waiting there coincidentally. She was going into the same town I was going to, so she showed me where to get off, where to buy a bus card, and where I should catch my next bus which was amazing. I really needed that.
So then I met up with Miles and we walked to the school together. It's down kind of a random alley in Guei San, but it's fine. So I got there and hung out for 2 hours while Miles taught and then my class started at 7:10. The kids are so cute. It's a kindy class so they're like 5 or 6 years old. They were sitting in a semi-circle in these little tiny chairs instead of in regular desks like the other classes I've seen. The names I remember are.. Lily, Scott, Michelle, Becky, Debbie, Grace, and my personal favorites, Tiger and Jellyfish. Jellyfishes real name is Jerry, but he apparently only answers to Jellyfish. It makes it really easy for me to remember. Anyway the kids were really sweet and they did everything I asked and they know a whole lot of sentences. We played Simon says (which is called Teacher says), red light green light, and some other games. It was a review class so we went over writing the numbers 1-10 and spelling them. They were all able to identify the numbers written and spelled out.
So then when I got out, I realized I didn't know where to catch the bus home. As I was wandering, I saw one white guy, which is something that seldom happens, and I asked him for help. He and his friend took me to this bus stop in the middle of a back street and waited with me for the bus. It was really nice of them. Everyone I've asked for help has gone out of their way to help me today.
Once I got to the next bus stop, I asked a group of Taiwanese teenagers, of which 2 fortunately spoke English, to tell me when my bus was coming and it wasn't until 10:20 and I got there at like 9:30 so I just took a taxi home.
So it was a good day. I also bought a watch at Carrefour and it has an alarm on it, so I can stop worrying about waking up on time. Maybe that will be the key to sleep. I'm also tired from a long day of walking and thinking, so hopefully tonight will be the night for more than 20 minutes of sleep.
Here are some pictures of my dorm. The common area with Derek showing off his muscles at 3am, the kitchen, and me and my new friend Josh, who lives down the hall. He's from Florida.


Majjy said...

Reading the Taiwan guide book you left on my desk (thankfully you couldn't fit one more book in your luggage) I just broke the code for how they label street adresses. Very interesting and pretty easy. Will teach you on the phone later.

Also read a few cultural "must knows" for you to be a respectful visitor.
1) "Handing paper to someone" - Always hand a paper to someone using both hands. This shows respect. If you only use one hand you are considered rude. My guess is that you'll be "handing paper" to many people to find directions and bus info.
2) Always bring a small gift when you visit a local's home (also take shoes off) Custom has it that they'll politely refuse to take your gift at first and then you go back and forth offering the gift again. It's a game. It's also considered rude to open the gift in
the presence of the gift giver so they will open it later- but will take it from you after the banter.
3) Corollary to #2. As a visitng foreigner, folks you don't know may try to give you random gifts. They aren't trying to sell you anything (like in Mexico) if this happens to you on the street. Remember NOT to open it in front of the person who gives it to you or you will appear GREEDY in their culture.
aka mom

Majjy said...

And my favorite comment in your Taiwan guidebook is.............."One thing the Chinese detest is a dirty floor. Never mind that the outside of their homes way look like a toxic waste dump, the inside must be spotless, clean, especially the floor."

megan said...

the outside of this whole city looks like a toxic waste dump. ;)
i did notice the shoes thing. the teachers took off their shoes before they came into my room. it's taking me a little bit to get used to that.
i'll try to remember the paper thing.
thanks majjy :)