Sunday, November 30, 2008


today in pictures:
danielle said something about putting a spoon in your mouth stops you from crying when you cut onions.
tin foil was pretty useful in a small kitchen. these are the pies
all of us hanging out in the kitchen before dinnerYUMMM. we didn't brine it, but it was delicious.
this was the colorful end of the table
my bowl of thanksgiving food. i got jaime to try to a green bean, but nothing else
joyce being cute with her mouth full
bobo, jaime and i
joyce being a ham making a funny face
my thanksgiving craft project. only one out of 8 caught on fire by the end of the night.
noe made ground beef and salsa for burritos but i think we were all kind of preoccupied with the turkey.

serena and i made apple crisp for the 4th time this week but it didn't last long enough to photograph. we were all dying waiting for lesley to get back from her walk to cut into the pumpkin pies she made, so i offered up the apple crisp while we were waiting.

it was a really nice day/night. it's not often that we all hang out together and it was fun to cook all day. we decided that it tasted remarkably north american given our taiwanese ingredients.
happy thanksgiving!

brandy alexander

it would be interesting to have a drink, or anything, named after you. i think about that every once in a while since i've been in taiwan. it's odd to be noticed by strangers. i can't imagine being nationally or globally famous so you literally can't go anywhere without being noticed.

at the same time, it means you would always be remembered. i was thinking the other day that i don't know anything about anyone in my family who came before BVZ, my great grandma, and stories i've heard about gram and spanky's parents.
but when grandpa mannix died, i decided that all of us carry pieces of the people who came before us and that even though i may not know whereall of the traditions come from, i do something that mom does that mutti does that her mom did because her mom did, and so on. i can't count how many times a day i do things because that's how someone in my family has always done it.

moving on from my diatribe ;)
my week ends with saturday and it's always a sigh of relief when i've made it through my most awful day. i won't try to explain how ridiculous my 7th graders are, but i don't know how anyone could be a 7th grade teacher every single day.

noe and i went to IKEA for dinner and i bought a set of glasses and some bakeware for the dorm. we're having our big thanksgiving dinner tomorrow and we only have about 8 cups. lesley has gone into cooking mode and she seems to have it all under control, so i contributed by making some decorations for the room. i'll show you tomorrow. and i told her that gram makes her pie crust with ice water.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

17 C

BRRRRRRRRR it is cooold today! man. i enjoy a good fall chill to the air, but driving a scooter isn't too friendly in these conditions. thank goodness for my puffy winter coat and all of the geese that help keep me warm.

did i tell you i watched a special on chicken farms? organic, free range chickens are a million times happier than factory farmed chickens. and they're chemical-free. i started eating organic chicken when i was at home and it really tastes a loooot different. AND did you know they kill baby boy chicks? they have no use for them. they're used to feed reptiles at zoos and ground up to make pet food. sad. not sad enough to kill my love of BBQ though.

i have to get in bed immediately but today was good. went to latini's for the first time in what seems like a long time. they're all decorated for christmas and it looks really beautiful.
class tonight was fun. we played a game with flashlights. they really liked the wind-up one, fajjy.

tomorrow: thanksgiving craft project and attempting green bean casserole with tempura battered onions

Friday, November 28, 2008

happy thanksgiving

it's funny how you get a feeling about people's personalities. i get really exhausted during my 2 hour outside class at the jr high because it's a giant classroom and there are twice as many kids as i'm used to, but they have such good energy that it's always a lot of fun.
they're preparing for some kind of show so today when i got there they were all doing this funny, nsync-esque choreographed dance. they were shy for 2 seconds before they said 'hey megan, check out our dance' and performed it for me. i really like them. today they told me i dress like a model. that made me laugh.
i wore the turkey earrings aunt carol sent in honor of thanksgiving today. it was funny because i forgot i was wearing them but when i went to class today, my kids looked at me oddly and started screaming 'SHE HAS TURKEY EARRINGS ON'. this picture doesn't really show them, but they were pretty funny. i'm thrilled my ears didn't get infected.

tonight i subbed a kindy class and i thought i was going to lose my mind. 13 6 and 7 year olds. i was screaming as loud as i could possibly go at one point and there was absolutely no response. it was sooo loud in there. i think one kid was seriously bipolar. one minute he was asking me every question he could think of, the next second he was bawling his eyes out.
i wore my festive red suede shoes today. they're getting really dirty from riding the scooter, but i love them.

it didn't feel like thanksgiving around here, but we did go to hot pot for dinner. 7 of us. it was fun. hot pot is a little bit of a special occasion place. i guess i talked about it when we went there last week, but it's like the melting pot but not really. man i would kill for the melting pot right now! mom said we can go there when i get back.

speaking of going home, i'm starting to get really, really excited. i peeked at my december calendar page today and it's really coming up quickly. one week of regular class, one week of special classes full of parent conferences and stuff, and then i go home on tuesday. i think 6 months is my cut off for not being able to see the fam. in some ways, it feels like a whole lifetime. but we talk every day so in other ways, nothing has changed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

merry texas christmas, you all

oh mannn i love christmas song season! it's too bad i only get to have 2 weeks of american christmas-ness this year, but i'm creating a little of it in taiwan. i'm thinking about making a whole bunch of paper snowflakes to hang all around my room. although there is a little bit of it in taiwan. tappenyaki has some snowmen on their shelves and the big department stores are all decorated.

well the best part of today was going to see mr. kuo and mrs. chan (who are married, i just found out that in taiwan the woman doesn't usually/ever take the man's last name. that threw me off for a while). anyway i peek my head around the corner and it's just the two of them, so i sit down and mrs. chan brings over these two pretty scarves and it turns out she had made them for me!
i was pretty excited. she's such a sweet lady. mr. kuo said she had stayed up from 10pm to 2am to make them last night. so i need to think of some good christmas presents to bring back from texas for them. they've given me so many things.
here are my scarf models :P mike and martyn
my only other news to report is that this was the first day back with my bad class after i was the bad cop last week. they definitely seemed to take the no chinese rule a little more seriously, but i still took away a whole ton of stickers. i think we're making progress though.

serena and i made apple crisp again. that's the third night in a row. i think we're hooked. it's so easy!
2T white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 stick butter
1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon .. cream all of the above and sprinkle over top of
6 or 8 apples, peeled and sliced
325 for 25ish minutes

ps thanks for the book recommendations! i'll check those out when i get home

hi nummy nummy

what's a good movie to show to 12 year old kids? they have to be able to understand the english. i'm thinking mary poppins or enchanted, but i'm a girl, so. maybe ratatouille?

well this morning, dan from latini's took me to his friend quinn's shop to take a look at my scooter because it was shutting off when it idled. so he took it apart and did some stuff and now it's working very well.

when i got home, i realized how many people here have done things for me and i haven't really reciprocated, so i stopped by the stationery shop on the way home and bought some really beautiful paper and made some thank you cards.
i don't have any glue so i had to improvise with some sewing kits that spanky sent me. i pricked my fingers about a million times as i tried to sew through 8 layers of paper, but i think they turned out well
other than that, today was pretty low key. thai for lunch. 2 classes. made some apple crisp. it's feeling a little more fall-ish around here now that the weather is consistently cool.
time to read and go to sleep. i'm going to try to finish at least one book tonight.
hey speaking of books, i need recommendations for round 2 of books to bring back with me after christmas. i like travel books, but i'm open to any good books. i prefer non fiction. marisa! this means you.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

clinking ice cubes

today was boring but i guess a boring day in asia is still a pretty interesting day. i hung around this morning and read and watched more gossip girl. put gas in my scooter this afternoon. in taiwan, you can't pump your own gas, so there are always a couple of attendants hanging around. inevitably, when i pull up, they send out the alert and about 4 or 5 of them peek out of their stations at me. the life of a foreigner.
i have nothing to report so i'm headed to bed. i have an early morning tomorrow to get my scooter looked at. it keeps shutting off when i'm idling and i'd like it fixed if it's possible to fix it.

majtown made an appointment for me to get my hair cut and colored dec. 19 and i couldn't be more thrilled.

Monday, November 24, 2008

the fam

fajtown told me he's making what we call 'gack' in our house.. chex mix.. and i'm bummed! i would kill for some rice chex and Worcestershire (thank you, spell check) sauce. 3 weeks, 3 weeks!

so, quickly:
i forgot to tell you that earlier this week, one of my kids was eating what i thought she called 'garlic rice' so i asked mrs. chan if she made it at her shop and she said no. but then when i went the next day, mr. kuo was actually bouncing off the walls to see me and mrs. chan had made me some curry rice. he told me about 5 times that she was my 'taiwan mom'. she's really a sweet lady. i wish she wasn't so quiet, but hopefully as my chinese improves, we'll get there.

last night a whole bunch of us went to a girl's going away party. it was nice to get out and mingle with people who i don't live with. danielle and i hung out a bit which was fun. she's a lot like my friends at home. and she likes red wine too

today i met two taiwanese americans. i guess they arent taiwanese-american, but they were both women who are from taiwan who are now living in america. one of them was linda's friend. she's living in washington DC. i asked her if she had been to that chain restaurant that sells noodles of all kinds, but she didn't know what i was talking about. (aunt carol, can you give me sarah's email address so i can ask her?)

the other woman was at this restaurant on the corner next to the coffee shop. she's back in taiwan because she got braces here because it's cheaper than america. her husband and kids are still in the US though i guess. the people in that restaurant seemed pretty excited that i finally stopped in. they had a lot of questions and they helped me with my chinese homework. it's on the corner and i have to walk by it every time i go to latini's, the coffee shop or the spa, which is daily. the kitchen guys are always sitting on the side smoking or chatting and we exchange awkward, multi-lingual hello's.

tonight we went to ali baba's for indian food. it was so delicious. i think i'm going to go once a week to get some naan.

other than that.. i've been trying really hard to fill my day with anything other than more Gossip Girl episodes. i feel like such a highschooler but i really like it, and it's hard to resist when i know i have 18 episodes downloaded to my computer.. and that's only season 1. i did go to chinese lessons today and linda cleared up all of my confusion on the latest chapter. she's really an awesome teacher. if we didn't spend so much time giggling, we would probably get a lot more done.

so today was a good day. it smelled like cooking rice as i was walking home and i was thinking about how i'm going to miss taiwan while i'm home and i'm really glad i made the decision to come back and finish my contract.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

saturday in pictures

mrs. chan made me this bun

then after class, dena and i went to the park to read because it was so beautiful outside and warm.
this is the bathroom, we think. and a man playing catch with this kid..
im almost finished with my book. it's reaaallly interesting.
dena's feet
my new hair bow and hair badly in need of new highlights. 3 weeks!

time to go to chinese. i'll update again tonight

Friday, November 21, 2008

this is my winter song to you

i downloaded a million things today. season 1 of gossip girl (which is a new-found guilty pleasure. it's a show on the CW about high school. it's for 16-18 year old girls and i love it. i've watched 3 episodes in 2 days :X), top chef season 5 episode 2, ingrid michaelson's CD 'boys and girls', aaand the first christmas CD of the season:
i've only listened to 3 songs so far, but they satisfy my need for christmas music without being overly choir-y or anything. some of them are originals, some are new.

it's good to have the internet. we're so global now.

today i bought a bunch of winter essentials. a red plaid scarf, a red hat with roses for earmuffs on the ears that Noe tolddd me was cute when i tried it on in the store, but it looked kind of stupid when i saw myself in it tonight when i got to a mirror. it's ok though, it's just to wear under my helmet to keep my head warmer. and i bought some gloves for the scooter.. and a cute silky brown hair bow with white polka dots that i guess doesn't technically count as a 'winter essential'.

time to dry my hair and watch one more gossip girl before bed. go youtube the winter songs CD and let me know what you think. i really like 'winter song' by ingrid michaelson and sarah barrieles (or however you spell it).

i love personality tests.

You Are An ENFJ

The Giver

You strive to maintain harmony in relationships, and you usually succeed.
Articulate and enthusiastic, you are good at making personal connections.
Sometimes you idealize relationships too much - and end up being let down.
You find the most energy and comfort in social situations ... where you shine.

In love, you are very protective and supporting.
However, you do need to "feel special" - and it's quite easy for you to get jealous.

At work, you are a natural leader. You can help people discover their greatest potential.
You would make a good writer, human resources director, or psychologist.

How you see yourself: Trusting, idealistic, and expressive
When other people don't get you, they see you as: Bossy, inappropriate, and loud

Thursday, November 20, 2008


it wont let me change around the order of my photos so here's the back of my new (old) scooter..

here's the side.. notice the new basket they put on it for me
it's only 50 cc's so it's pretty tiny, but it works. it has a lot of get up and go.

this is my new coat.. this is just the outside part
this is just the lining. the downy part..
and this is both of them, all poofy and warm

we went to japanese for dinner and i think 2 glasses of sake really warmed me up. it's still pretty chilly outside and in my room, but i feel really warm.

taught my outside class this morning. it was a review day so we played a bunch of games. we played a dating game that was pretty fun. i came up with lots of 'either-or' questions, they all had to write down their answer and then someone got up in front and read theirs one by one and everyone sat down as their lists differed. so it was like cat/dog, pizza/chicken, cake/ice cream, hot/cold. it was fun. i was pretending to be a game show host with my hand as a microphone until someone pointed out that we had a real microphone, but it freaked me out to hear my own voice radiating from the ceiling, so that didn't last long.

time to dry my hair, mingle, and go to sleep. i have to get up early tomorrow to register my scooter at the govt office.

just settled down for a long winter's nap

i really want to go to sleep so here are the key points:
-lesley bought a super warm jacket the other day and i was soo cold yesterday that i went to buy one just like it this morning. hers is like burgundy red and mine is kind of a pretty medium blue. they're lined with a gray, down shell that unzips if you want to wear it on its own, and then the outside is like a warm rain jacket. it was toasty on the scooter today

-i got my scooter! i rode it around after class tonight because it needed gas. they delivered it on empty, the chums. you would think if someone buys a scooter from you, you could at least put 100NT worth of gas in it. they did wash it and put a new basket on it for me though. that was nice.
it drives well. the throttle doesn't have as much play as steve's does, so i had to adjust to a quick takeoff. and the brakes are good and strong. so i'm happy. glad to be mobile. yoga, here i come.

-i laid down the law in my yellow book class that speaks mostly chinese. i told them i had come too far for them to speak chinese in my class. i haven't seen my family in 5 months, i don't have good mexican food, i dont get to sleep in my own bed, and it's just rude for them to waste my time and theirs. so i instituted a strict no chinese policy. first they lose their stickers (which we use as bait) and on the third strike, they take a note home with them telling their mom that they spoke chinese all during class, and they have to get it signed and bring it back to me. and we didn't play a game at the beginning.
it worked like a charm. so i was thrilled. it's hard for me to be the bad cop.

time for bed. i'm too toasty in bed to go down in my jammies and take a picture of my scooter, so i'll show you tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

watch my corn pop up in rows

bought a scooter today! it was actually kind of convoluted. i went to latini's and dan drove me to pick up his friend and then the three of us went to the friend's friend's scooter shop. we went out there to look at a used scooter that was $9k (around 270US) but it was 125ccs and looked way too big for me to ride. eventually we decided on a 50cc scooter for 9k. it looks used but not dead. it's turquoise. they're going to put a basket on the front of it for me ;)
the guy is going to drop it off at latini's tomorrow so i'll show you a picture tomorrow night after i give it a bath.

other than that, it was a plain day. i taught a beginner class and gave a test in my other class. it's interesting to find out which kids have no clue what's going on and which kids are doing better than you thought.
it got pretty chilly out today. probably in the mid 60s. every time i say '60s' to someone from home they say the 60s? what are you talking about? that's not cold at all. here it's ... but it really feels cold when you're used to the 90s with dripping humidity. today it was drizzly and wet and it felt reaally chilly. lesley bought a puffy jacket at carrefour for 4k and i think i'm going to go buy one tomorrow. there's no price on being warm. especially whipping around on a scooter. it gets pretty cold.

time to watch obama's 60 minutes interview, read and go to bed.

Monday, November 17, 2008

love is a song

somehow i'm down to 6 contacts for my right eye though i have 4 boxes for my left eye. it doesn't make any sense to me except that my right eye is the one that really needs correction, so there are times i only wear one contact. but still. anyway it's been on my mind that i need to get some more boxes, so tonight after school i went to a shop in guei shan to ask. i asked the man there if he thought we could get by with me speaking english and limited chinese, and he said no, so i went to a store downtown. the guy who helped me spoke enough english to get by. really, all you need to understand is 'better' or 'worse'.
so we did the eye test and it was easy enough. i guess my prescriptions (1.25 and -.50) are too weak for them to have any contacts in stock, so i have to go back tomorrow. 5 boxes is only $70 though which is cheaper than in the US.

that's really all i have to say today. class was fun. we played a game that involved stacking paper cups and then knocking them down by throwing a ball at them. it was pure chaos but it was soo fun.

i discovered i can watch parts of old isaac mizrahi episodes online so i'm going to go do that.

and mom had broth

it's funny how i always miss my family but there's something about saying it out loud that really makes you feel it. bobo was asking about my family tonight and i told her how mom stayed up with me for the first few nights on skype and when i woke up in the middle of the night i could say 'mom?' and she would say 'i'm here' and i could go back to sleep. i think that's one of the things i'll always remember about being here. being really far away has made me feel.. not closer, but it makes me realize how much of me is made up of the people around me. there are several times every day that i say/want to say 'my mom/dad/brother/gram/grandpa always says or would say..'

today was pretty low key. woke up late, showered and went to chinese lessons with linda. this week was particularly useful as i learned how to say 'i want to buy a scooter for less than 10k'. i can say more than, less than, 300 or a little more, and 'more than 300 but less than 800' which will all be very helpful.
dan made cheesecake and he had put in a package of fruit snacks which had melted. that was interesting.
then after the lesson, the three of us and alex, a guy from the dorm, went to a scooter shop to ask about scooters. the guy didn't have any, so we just turned around and went home. but dan said his friend has one for 9k so hopefully i can buy that one sometime this week.
this evening i went to bobo's to play with jaime and joyce. we colored and watched a movie. joyce has some kind of rash on her torso and her skin feels scaley. i'm not sure what it is but i think it might be from her detergent? or a food alergy?

then steve, noe and i went to ikea for dinner. i bought dish towels which we baaaadly needed, a bowl, and some cookies.

it was a good day.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

kevin bacon

no early class this morning! that was lovely. it really made a difference to sleep an extra hour and not have to tell benny to sit in his chair 200 times during class. i really love my second class with the little girls. they're so sweet and they say MEGANNN! when they see me. that's the best part of being a teacher. some of the kids really are genuinely excited to see you every week and they want to know what you like and what your family is like and stuff. it's fun.

went to mr. kuo's for lunch. he had bought me 2 passionfruit, mr. wang brought me a lemon green tea and mr. whatever brought me some fried chicken, so lunch was on them today.
mr. kuo told me he was in the military on a ship 25 years ago, so i asked to see pictures since i just learned how to say picture. mrs. chan went upstairs (they typically live above their store) and brought down pictures of mr. kuo from the military and from high school in the '70s. hilarious. and she showed me their wedding photos which were totally over the top and awesome. her dress was baby pink satin with giant puffy sleeves and tons and tons of lace with a huge headpiece. they are so fun.

i made pretzels tonight and they turned out relatively well. the recipe doesn't call for any salt in the dough, but i'd add a teaspoon or a half a teaspoon next time. recipe here
it makes about 20 and they went pretty fast. i covered the first batch in this dried, toasted garlic you can buy in packages at carrefour, and they were taaasty.

steve, noe, dena and i went to debbie's diner for dinner. she's from canada so it's all north american food. i had pancakes, bacon and grapefruit juice.
this totally adorable 4 or 5 yr old on a tricycle said hello to us and told us her name was melody and she was 6 years old. oh so i guess she's 6 :P anyway i tried asking her what school she went to, but she couldn't tell me. as we were getting on the scooters to drive home, she ran up to me and said beautiful! which was pretty sweet.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

everything's coming up roses

this will have to be quick because i need to watch the rest of greys anatomy and go to bed, but here are the highlights..

-dan at latini's gave me 2 passionfruits and made me a deliciousss dessert with a passionfruit and vanilla ice cream.
-i bought this rose scented oil thing on the way home and i think i'm allergic to it. i feel all itchy and my room smells powerfully like roses. i think i'm going to close it for a while.
-we got 2 new people in the dorm tonight, yaya and anisa. they're engaged, they just got back from a year in egypt, and they seem cool. someone sent out a text message telling us they had arrived. i think it was serena. anyway we all swarmed them and they were pretty understanding.

i think that's it. goodnight :)

Friday, November 14, 2008


let's see. a couple of things.
-got up early this morning to go to yoga, but when i got there, no one was there. the door was locked and no one was home.. soo i decided to be semi-productive and hit the breakfast stand and go to the bank before my outside class. i'm $1200US richer which makes me feel good.
yumm danbing in the morning. it's like an unsweetened crepe with egg on one side and then they douse it with garlicy, syrupy soy sauce.

went to my outside class this afternoon and taught a lesson on money. i really enjoy those kids. they speak minimal chinese, are always polite, and say hello, goodbye and thank you without prompting.
after my regular class tonight i went to read for a bit at the coffee shop. i told bruce, the guy from the hospital, i'd be at the coffee shop from 9 to 10 but then i got a text from him around 930 asking where i was. i said at the coffee shop with the dog.. turns out he was at another coffee shop with a dog :P so he met up with me and we chatted for an hour or so. it was a breath of fresh air to talk to someone new and i feel better about staying here if i can make more friends.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

is it everything you hoped it'd be?

well this morning i slept until 10:59 and i was supposed to be at chinese with jerry at 11, so i didn't make it. then dawn and i had plans to go to the bank at 1, but bobo called me at 12:30 and asked if i wanted to go to Costco with her, so dawn and i ended up going there with her and jaime instead.

costco in taipei is just like costco in austin except the noodle section is way bigger here. but they still have the frozen foods and meat and giant containers of everything. our problem was that none of us thought we could eat six packages-worth of whatever we wanted. i ended up buying pesto, these pretzel things, and tazo tea that fajjy used to buy me. it is delicious. especially brambleberry. it comes with brambleberry, peach tea, black tea and green tea.

this afternoon i steamed green beans with 2 cloves of garlic and some butter and they were sooo tasty. i don't usually like green beans but they tasted just like gram or maj made them. then tonight i used the leftover green beans and leftover pork tenderloin, potatoes, carrots and onions from yesterday to make shepherd's pie. i topped it with mashed potatoes and cheese from gram and spanky and it was really, really good.

this is steve and i a minute ago. i'm glad it's cold enough for me to wear my flannel jammies again.
when i got home tonight, i had a card under my door. check out the envelope.
keith said he saw it and it was calling my name :P

i'm going to go see if leslie's banana bread is done and try to rally the troops to watch another episode of Rome. Top chef starts tonight!


that video is pretty entertaining.

if you're in a video watching mood, i also highly recommend this:
it's the most convincing, human argument i've heard on that topic

i smell like pork tenderloin and it is lovely. i baked it with onions, potatoes and carrots and it smelled sooo good and i stood in front of the oven for a couple of minutes to get warm and it also infused me with pork tenderloin smell. it tasted pretty good but i should have let the onions get more burnt. burnt onions are a million times tastier than normal ones.

i have to get in bed soon but there was one memorable moment this morning when i went to teach jaime's class for an hour. we read 2 books that spanky sent me and played heads up seven up and musical chairs. while kids were moving around, this little girl came up to me and said 'megan, can you spell extraterrestrial? and i said yes i can. she said "do it." so i did. and then she said "you can also add an 's' to the end of that if you want."' she goes to a fancy cram school. i was impressed.
time to go to sleep before the rain stops. night!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

a cat named tiger and a dog named spot

happy birthday keith!

i think i can do today in 11 words. chinese, pumpkin soup (counts as 1), potential language exchange, class, pashmina, long commute, shower, Rome.

jerry and i went to chinese and now we can say numbers up to the 100 millions. they group things in terms of 10,000 which is kind of confusing. 100,000 is actually '10 10 thousands'. but we got it after a bit. then we went to latini's to eat some delicious soup. while i was doing my chinese homework, this woman tried to ask if i could talk to her in english once a week for 2 or 3 hours. we found a time and then she said 'i'll let you think about it' instead of committing to anything, which is so asian, as dan and justin and i agreed.

the weather is still pretty chilly with all of this rain. we had been in the high 80s and now we're in the low 70s and it feels pretty chilly and damp. i bought a pretty gray variegated pashmina for $6 on the street tonight. i can hear majjy telling me that if your upper body and neck are warm, the rest of you will be warm.

tomorrow morning i'm going to speak english with jaime's class at seven forty AM so i'm hopping into bed early tonight. goodnight all.

Monday, November 10, 2008

surrending to gravity and the unknown

tiramisu is on the menu at latini's now ;) it was pretty tasty today after chinese. linda is a really good teacher. i always look forward to our class.

well it's been rainy since saturday morning and the weather has cooled down a good 10 degrees C which is really more like 15 (or something) F. i wore my favorite shirt to celebrate the cold weather. i had been saving it for this occasion. and alex, or someone, even commented that i looked especially fall-ish today. you can't really see in this picture but it has really cute ruffles on the collar and ends of the sleeves.

josh and i went to bobo's for dinner tonight. meghan's vietnamese boyfriend and his friend made vietnamese food for all of us. it was pretty good. she tried to set me up with his friend.. but he doesn't speak any english and he knows about as much chinese as i know.. so.. i don't think that will work out.
anyway joyce and jaime and i had a bunch of fun. i drew all sorts of things that joyce ordered me to draw, and we played uno. it was nice to cuddle up with both of them. i like how little kids will just sit down with you and cuddle while you're chatting or watching tv.

then i came home and made another batch of the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. leslie made banana bread and it smelled really good in the kitchen. people were coming out of their rooms one by one to see what was going on :P everyone really liked the cookies last time so they were excited to see them again.

a bunch of us just watched the first episode of Rome. i had never heard of it, but it was pretty good. and i chatted with gram and spanky and then mom and dad so i'm all caught up and ready for bed. :)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

the dizzy rooster

today at da chu was pretty funny. i went over after my 2 kindy classes this morning and i was sitting for a minute, writing my lesson plan, and mr. wang walks in, soaking wet in his rain jacket (it was raining 'cat and dog' as mr. kuo pointed out) with a take out container in hand. he sets it down in front of me and says 'italy mien' which is 'italian noodles'. i told them a while ago that i don't like taiwanese/chinese food, i like italian. so he brought me spaghetti with meat sauce :)
then mr. kuo asked if i had tried a fruit that looked like a fig to me, and he cut it open and handed me both halves and a spoon and it turns out it was passionfruit, which i looove. the seeds are connected by a little neck thingy and then you just scoop them out once you've disconnected them. so that was cool. i order lots of passionfruit drinks but i didn't know what the actual fruit looked like.
and mrs. chan gave me salted, dried 'golden orange' tea and it had a dried mandarin orange floating in it. it was super salty but i drank it anyway. and she's been giving me this really oily toast lately. i need to think of some little gift to give them for all of their kindness.

went to the rib place with alan, natalie, steve and noe tonight. ribs are so tasty every couple of months. expensive, but super worth it. noe and i split a rack. steve was super nice and drove me on his scooter even though he didn't have a rain poncho or a visor on his helmet. he was soaking wet when we got there. steve is so nice. he does a whole lot for me.

steve, noe, josh and i went to a bar down the street tonight for a change of scenery and we just got home. i took a shower and then i figured out that the texas football game is on right now. it's halftime. i'm trying pretty hard to stay awake. 3am is past my witching hour.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

cozy and cold

i forgot to tell you that i brought ladyfingers to dan from latini's on saturday and he made me a little batch of tiramisu this week. he has lots of coffee stuff on his menu, but no dessert, which is a shame because i loooove tiramisu. anyway i went during the lunch rush right before i had class, and these women next to me were eyeing me as i ate it and they asked if it was on the menu and dan had to explain that it was really just for me because i requested it :P

class was fun today. all week, i've brought in colored paper and colored pencils and crayons that gram and spanky sent and we've been drawing things and labeling. today i had to teach a lesson on colors so it was especially appropriate. each kid drew a person and then colored and labeled their clothes with 'purple shirt, blue shorts, pink socks, yellow sneakers' or whatever. it was fun and it's a nice change to have them do something hands on. and it makes me feel more like myself and less like a pretend teacher.

the doorman at bobo's apartment complex calls me 'beautiful girl'. that doesn't get old. it's good to be blonde in taiwan.

Friday, November 7, 2008

it's easy being green

this evening as i was reading under the tuscan sun at peace coffee, next door to the spa and latini's, i was pretty inspired by the author giving advice to a woman about taking a leap and doing what you really want to do. she said something to the effect that no matter how many obstacles you have to deal with, in the end, the joy you get from living the way you really want to makes all of it worth it.

i've always cared about and been interested in environmental conservation and protection and i've spent the better part of today researching environmental grad programs. in one of the books i'm reading, a short history of nearly everything, bill bryson writes a lot about how different species are going extinct all the time and how the world is becoming less and less sustainable. the global community definitely seems interested in what it can do to reverse some of the effects humans have had on the planet. and so am i.

for now though, i'm thinking about how i can make the most of being in taiwan. this weekend i'm going to try to find a new scooter, next week i'm going to yoga down the street since i was too ill to go this week, and i'm going to hit the chinese harder from here on out. it's kind of exciting thinking about coming back because nowww i can bring back cool things from taiwan instead of leaving everything i don't have room for here.
bobo requested that i bring underwear with cartoons on it and multicolored hair bows for the girls when i come back. it's funny how they have every plastic hair thingy in the world here, but she wants grosgrain bows that are apparently only in america.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

purple mountains majesty

i already updated about today but i have three bits of urgent news from later in the day:
1. bobo, jaime and i went to joyce's school for their open house day. we just stood outside her classroom and watched through the open window. when she saw me, pandemonium broke loose. she started screaming 'MEGANNNN!' and the whole class just stopped and looked at me for 30 seconds or so and then joyce would intermittently scream 'MEGANN!' for the rest of the class.
she goes to a catholic Montessori kindergarten. i recognized some of the stuff we had at my Montessori, like those beads that are on rows and they fit inside a clear box. lots of sensory stations.

2. i got ice cream at deli manjoo (keith and my faaavorite ice cream place) on my way out of carrefour today and i got what i thought was pistachio that was really.. corn and green bean. not joking, it had french cut, frozen green beans and little kernels of corn in it. it tasted pretty good until i got a better look at it and realized what i was eating. it kind of creeped me out once i knew what it was

3. when i got to mr. kuo's today, he got his trusty note pad off the top of the counter and wrote '338-163 ObaMa' and he, mr. wang, mr. whatever and i all toasted Obama.

heck yes, america!

i am so proud of obama! he's a truly intelligent man who will surround himself with capable people and make the best collective decisions possible. it's exciting to think about what this represents for minorities of all kinds in america. hopefully he can fix everything by the time i get back in july ;) that would be nice.

this morning a bunch of us went to john's apartment to watch the election unfold while we ate delicious chocolate chip pancakes, bacon, hash browns and eggs. it was pretty exciting to watch the electoral college's votes add up with people who care about what's happening. i guess we all had a good feeling he would win, but no one wanted to jinx it.

it's weird being in taiwan while all of this is going on though. it seems like the whole nation is celebrating at home right now and it's really quiet here. a handful of american teachers are pretty excited though. we were exchanging 'happy obama day' greetings this afternoon.

a comment posted on one of the blogs i read was pretty good:
Anonymous n.maguire said...

I live in Ireland, a country relatively untouched by the outcome of this election (being as we are a tiny, tiny country on the outskirts of an increasingly irrelevant European bloc). Nonetheless, I've now been awake for 26+ hours because myself and ten other average Irish citizens drank our way through the night and the election. And I have one thing to say:

Congratulations, America. Hold your collective heads up high - you did the right thing.

Obama for president

ooh mann i am getting so exciteddd!!! can't wait for tomorrow morning to watch the polls close.

well, i think i'm getting over my cold. i had a glass of lemon iced tea at lunch with a bowl of french onion soup, chamomile iced tea before dinner, chinese rice noodle soup for dinner before class, chicken noodle soup for dinner after class. i've been hitting the liquids pretty hard.

..i don't really have much to say today. when i was walking from one bus to another tonight, a group of taiwanese men eating soup looked up and one guy said 'welcome to taiwan! merry christmas!' to me.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

it seems like only yesterday

i hate colds more than any illness. i've had this yellow baby blanket since i was born, i sleep with it, i like to smell it, it's just my thing. but when i have a cold, i can't smell it and it really makes me crazy. and i'm used to not taking in that much air when i'm sleeping and i wake up with a really dry throat. it's silly but i really hate it :P
i even got spanky on the covering your nose while you sleep train. he sleeps with a tissue over his nose now.

well i just got off the phone with aunt carol, then gram, then majjy. thank goodness for skype. there's something about hearing your mom's (or dad's) voice that just makes you feel collected. it would be nice to actually see them, but talking on the phone has been really comforting.
i think we all decided that staying to finish the rest of my contract is probably the best idea for me right now. i can learn a lot more chinese and save a bunch more money. and i'll still be back in time for the next football season and my birthday. who knows. it isn't official until i've bought my plane ticket.

today was low key. chinese class where we're learning pretty useful vocab. latini's for lunch with JG and then class. i've been dragging because of my cold, but it's running its course.
time for bed though. it's late

Monday, November 3, 2008

vaya con dios

現在我可以寫中文. (i can write in chinese now). it's been pretty exciting. i've had lots of partial conversations with everyone i can get my g-chatting hands on. i type the pinyin (the phonetic spelling) and it just pops up the characters. it's pretty easy and then i don't have to worry about missing a tiny line or a box. i'm always forgetting parts of characters.

it was a very quiet weekend. i'm still getting over my sore throat, now kind of cruddy throat and stuffy nose. i woke up at 830 to listen to the UT game. we were behind Tech the entire game until the 4th quarter with like a minute to go. we scored and were ahead by 1 point. but Tech had possession of the ball and they just marched down the field for something like 60 yards in 6 plays and scored, leaving us literally one second on the clock to try to score. but we didn't. we lost by 6 points =\ but our defense wasn't playing very well and neither was the offense, so we kind of deserved it.

other than thattt.. i attempted to make the indian pudding but the 'black syrup molasses' i bought from the baking store didn't have any sugar or something, and it tasted more like burnt vinegar than molasses.

hung around the dorm until 430 when i had my chinese lesson, but linda was still in taipei so i ended up just doing my homework in empty latini's and talked to bernice and dan. we're trying to find a new name for bernice since her name is kind of an old lady name. i'm going to make her a list of possibilities.

serena and i went to ali baba's for dinner and it was sooo tasty. i had the same thing i had last time, but this time we found out there was an ice cream station. we took turns nearly snapping our arms in half to dig out the rock solid ice cream, but it was totally worth it.

and that was my sunday. time for bed. this week will be full of early mornings.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

this is what dreams are made of

today was unreal. i taught my kindys this morning with almost no voice, but i made it through. the interesting part of the day was once i got home and attempted to make alex's mom's chocolate chip pumpkin cookies.
i made a trip to this baking store dena told me about on dayou road. i passed right by it the first time, called dena and got better directions, and found it. i missed it the first time because i had been picturing a little quaint store, when in reality, it was the size of the produce section of HEB. there were aisles and aisles of baking things and obscure ingredients. i bought molasses, brown sugar and ladyfingers, all for various projects.

then i went to carrefour to buy milk, ice cream, and butter. i figured that people around the dorm always have eggs, and i knew we had vanilla in the fridge. so i get home, i've creamed the butter and sugar, and i get an egg out of the fridge. but when i went to crack it, it was hard boiled. dena had boiled allll of her eggs for halloween games. aaand, my vanilla extract had been thrown out with the great fridge clean out of 2008. so i walked over to latini's to borrow an egg and vanilla. but i couldn't explain 'vanilla extract'. dan tried to give me a vanilla bean and vanilla syrup, but not extract. so i went to the coffee shop next door, but also had no luck. the woman from the coffee shop ended up walking with me to latini's, where after a few more minutes of pantomime, we finally figured it out.
then, i get back, mix in the egg and vanilla, steal some oatmeal from dena, add the flour (first i picked up the unlabeled bag of cornstarch, but noticed it was oddly bright white and put it down) and other dry stuff, but the can opener wasn't working so i couldn't get into the pumpkin. josh tried to stab it with this other can contraption, and jerry thought about stabbing it with a knife, but nothing worked. so i trekked back to the coffee shop, pumpkin in hand, and the coffee shop woman opened it for me.
at this point, i'm super sweaty from mixing everything in front of the preheating oven in a room without air conditioning, and from walking back and forth between the dorm and latini's twice.

anyway, the final news is that the cookies turned out very well and the dorm is raving about them. aside from the comedy show of making them, the cookies themselves have nothing wrong with them. they're super tasty and pretty healthy. i took a batch to latini's, the spa, and the coffee shop.
the boys went to some pub in nan kan tonight, but my throat is sore from screaming for 4 days and smoke would just bug it, so i stayed home and watched tv and chatted with everyone else for most of the night.
UT plays tech in the morning, 8 am my time! time for bed.