Saturday, June 28, 2008

my Lohas bag

Jerry and I constantly joke about my Lohas bag. It's just a canvas bag I bought at Carrefour. They charge you for plastic bags, so I thought it was a good investment for $1. We just like the name mainly. But it turns out that it's a whole movement.
It stands for Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability. My bag just says 'Lifestyle of Health Sustainability' though.

I can't remember what I did this morning. Slept until 9! for one thing. Hung out. Watched the news (we get CNN, the discovery channel, and the travel channel). Read a little. Did my lesson plans. Jerry and Erin came over for lunch and we went to this place called Cafe Orange. It's all decorated in bright orange and the wallpaper makes me dizzy, it's like a magic eye puzzle. I had 'red wine braised beef risotto' and it didn't taste anything like it sounded, but it was pretty good. It's the most expensive thing I've eaten in Taiwan at a hefty $6. The meals at 7-11 are like $3 on the high end, usually $1.
After that, the three of us explored Carrefour a little more. Jerry and I sat in these whole body massage chairs. I liked it until the thing started to squeeze my legs really tightly. I got claustrophobic and jumped out of it before it crushed me. I found banana bread in the bakery and I bought some chocolate candies called Skittles that I used to like in England. Speaking of England, I heard an ad for Brighton on the Taiwanese radio in the taxi tonight. What are the odds? (I studied abroad in Brighton, England for a semester in Fall of '06).

The near-adventure I had today was realizing, as I was on the first of 2 buses to my school in a section of town named Guei San, that I had no idea where I was supposed to get off the second bus. I looked all through my things and I had forgotten to bring the map that a) acts as a map and b) has the address of the school written in English and Chinese. All my notes said was 'get off the bus. Take your first right' without any street names or landmarks. But I got to the second bus stop and talked to this white guy who I found sitting there for a bit while I tried to collect my thoughts. He was from Florida but had been living in southern Taiwan for a while but was on his way home this week. He wasn't helpful but it was nice to chat. In general, any time you see another white person on the street, you stop and talk to them. Everyone I've talked to has heard wonderful things about Austin. It's nice.
I tried asking a taxi driver if he knew where the GES in Guei San was and he didn't have any idea but he put me through to an English operator on his cell phone. She wasn't able to help either so I just decided to get on the bus and wing it. All I could remember was that I was supposed to get off at a jewelry store. The problem is that the streets are all lined with these crappy little shops and they all look the same, so I was doubtful that I would be able to find it, but it did! When I got on the bus, I asked 'Guei San?' the driver said yes, I sat down, he told me when we were in the area and I just kept my eyes peeled for the jewelry store and eventually I saw it and got off the bus. It was a small miracle how well my memory served me because it's generally really really bad.

School was interesting. My first class was like 18 boys and 2 girls which is a recipe for disaster. Classes full of boys are generally really wild. They have a demo coming up where we have an open house for the parents and we basically do the ideal lesson plan. They sing tons of songs, introduce themselves, and we play learning games. Tonight we had to teach them Do Re Mi and it was HILARIOUS. Think about the words for a moment. 'Doe, a deer, a female deer.. Sew, a needle pulling thread.' This does not make sense to a non-English speaker. Not at all. Fortunately, they're just taught to memorize stuff regardless of meaning, so they were able to sing the song by the end of it. But I had written the words on the board and they had to write it down with the English and the Chinese, and they had a little trouble with my handwriting. I tried my best not to, but I naturally connect a lot of letters and they can't read it at all so they make weird mistakes when they write it. A lot of the kids flip letters around. They commonly swap b's and d's. Anyway I survived that class purely thanks to my co-teacher, Gene. He is awesome. They love him.

After that I had a kindergarten class so they were like 6 years old and adorable. Memorable names: Eunice, Mable, Tiger (there seems to be 1 in every class), Tanya pronounced 'tan-ee-yuh', and Small. She's cute and tiny, appropriately. They were a lot of fun, did everything I asked and told me goodbye at the end. It was magical. I wish every class was full of little kids who love to be there and play games.

Tonight when I got home, the people in the dorm were making green curry chicken with coconut milk and ginger rice. It was delicious. We all bought part an ingredient and shared chopping up stuff and cooking it. I love curry. I'm going to start cooking more. It's hard when there's no air conditioning in the common areas. It gets stifling hot. We had fun though. We discussed moles and how it's good luck to have the longest hair possible growing out of it. Gross.
Time for bed! I have class at 10am and I haven't done a lesson plan so I need to wake up a bit early to do that. 1 week down! 51 to go.

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