Saturday, August 22, 2009

deep in the heart of texas

i'm home! matt picked me up at the airport wearing a t-shirt from high school, gray thai fisherman pants and loafers. i was so ill by the time i got to austin i could barely talk without coughing. i already had a cough in taiwan but it just got worse and worse breathing that dry air in the planes. anyway i'd prefer not to think about all of that traveling.

when i got home, my mom had piled up all of the stuff i've sent home over the last 9 months on my favorite chair in the living room. it really was christmas. dresses, necklaces, cookbooks, shoes, masking tape! i haven't opened the regular mail yet but i know my non-expired debit cards are in there somewhere, too.

ripley found a baby opossum. i don't think she killed it.. it looks like she just licked it. i guess we'll see if it's there in the morning or not.
matt bought me taiwanese lychees from HEB! i love matt. i love lychees. i love taiwan.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


12 hours ago..well, i managed not to cry in the car even as mr. kuo dabbed at his eyes without saying a word, but i haven't really stopped crying since i walked through security (and i haven't even read what the people in the dorm wrote to me in my goodbye book). it makes me think of the first time i was in this airport, crying my eyes out because i didn't know what anything said, everyone was staring at me, and i didn't know how to get to my house or have anyone there except those friendly taxi drivers, who didn't understand a word i was saying, to help me.
(bras on the sidewalk in front of carrefour).
now i can ask for help and talk to the people around me. sometimes i can figure out a sign even if it isn't in english. i've swum illegally in taroko gorge, gotten $3 massages in the philippines and learned to dive in thailand. i've eaten squid balls, pig intestine soup, sheets of seaweed and fried durian.
i'll miss the stares on the street and people who talk to me through giggles just because they think i'm pretty. i'll always remember all of the things i've done and seen, all of the people i've met and things i've eaten. it's been an awesome year and a couple of months.
(asian-fab post-its).
even though i have blonde hair in blue eyes, i'll always feel a little taiwanese on the inside. i already find myself wishing i wasn't hearing the english around me. i've gotten pretty used to everything in chinese and i always looked forward to seeing the little change in people's faces when i started speaking chinese to them.
(entrance of carrefour.. which isn't usually filled with shopping carts).
time to get on the plane! all i brought in my carryon is my laptop, a book i had all of my friends/kids sign, my blanket and some shorts. and my pillow. first stop: honolulu. i asked for an exit row seat. here's hoping whoever sits next to me isn't a germaphobe because i still have a pretty annoying cough.
(fruit market).

thank you for following along with me for however long you've been here. even if you've never commented, i know you by your city from my hits tracker. from dumfries to sunnyvale, grandville, rockville and denver, columbus and brampton, the netherlands, hong kong, finland, france, sweden and beyond.. it's been nice to have you along for the ride and i hope you come with me wherever i end up!

goodbye taiwan

it's my last night in taiwan, in this bed, in the dorm, listening to clinking poker chips through my paperthin door (in a good way). most everyone hung out in the common room for a while and i got to see everyone who doesn't live at the dorm which was really nice. i can't imagine not seeing all of these teachers for several hours a day anymore! working/living/socializing with the same 30 people really brings you together in a unique way.
i've been going going going since i woke up this morning. jimmie and i changed the scooter into her name, i turned in my books, took pictures of everything/everyone in the whole country, saw the doctor for one last almost-free checkup, went to dinner with allen, showered, visited with the spa and coffee shop, chatted with everyone, raffled off my matress. it was busy.
(flashcards outside of the stationery store).
time for bed so i can get up tomorrow and finish everything. i have a looonnnggg travel day [and a half] tomorrow, so i'll post the rest of the pictures from various airport lounges. goodnight!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

some people i want you to meet

these are the people that i look forward to seeing every week. funny they're almost all food related. i guess when you don't cook, the people who make your meals become very important to you.

tsong dra bing lady who always sees it's me and then just nods and makes my food because she knows how i like it.
the people who make my stamps in guei shan
tea people in guei shan. there's one more woman but she works when the other 2 aren't there. i see them every monday and friday
linda, my chinese teacher
tina coffee ladies
ching xin tea shop people where i pick up green tea almost every day
ji dan gao woman in carrefour. we always smile and wave when i go to/leave carrefour, regardless of whether or not i buy ice cream or cakes from her.'ve seen these three before. look how cute bobo's haircut is!
grandma of grandma's
fruit market ladies. the grandma gives me a new fruit to try every week.
time to go to dinner with allen but i have about a million more pictures to upload tonight if i can find a spare moment. halfway down the to-do list!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

goodbye tuesday

alex and i picked up the stuff we made at ying ge this morning and i just realized i never managed to get a picture of it! the glazing job they did was amaaaazing. they're blue and silvery with all different shades. i gave the mug to the kuo's even though they saw my blog from when i posted the pictures. they liked it a lot.
they also said they stayed up until 2am last night translating my blog into chinese with babelfish! i would kill to be a fly on the wall for that.
after ying ge, alex, dawn and i went to tina coffee for lunch. this is my favoriiite tina coffee woman. she always sneaks me little things and we chat about her daughter and our lives. she asked if my friends would still go there. i said yes but they really want an english menu!
my fav: a waffle, fruit, panna cotta, a pot of milk tea and a scoop of the most delicious strawberry gelato. $7.

tonight was my last night at school in taiwan! i love my tuesdays but today the vibe was a little bit off because i have the flu so i couldn't be really loud. they were all kind of calm since i was being so calm. not our usual crazy selves, but still fun.
we had a nice last day in my first class. i wrote them all messages in their QA books, which i've been doing for all of my classes, and helped them translate them. and they all got double stickers today which was a big deal for them.
so cute.

my second class was a little off tonight. we just lost our old native teacher and they don't quite know what to make of the new teacher. she doesn't have a mean bone in her body, so they're pushing her limits. i couldn't really do anything today since i was so ill, so i just gave them the disappointed mom speech. 'you guys are so fun, please leave me with good memories of you. i don't want to remember you misbehaving'. and it worked. i think it took them half the class to realize that they'd never see me kid wrote 'megan you is a good teacher' at the top of the page in the book i've been asking them to sign, so a bazillion kids copied them and now it looks like all of my kids are dummies! ahhhh!!! it's kind of funny though. if you aren't their teacher.
right at the end of class when we were getting ready to leave, kevin 2 (below, front middle) blurted out 'megan you are pretty!' like it was his dying sentence. it was so sweet. it's funny how you can't help but get to know the kids who sit in the front a little better than the others.
the kids who smile biggest in all of my group pictures are the smartest ones in the class, and vice versa. jeffy and i were chatting earlier and he said next time i should just take a picture of my classes on the first day and i would know who's smart and who isn't. space cadet kids. in any language, if someone is taking a picture, don't you know you're supposed to smile?
goodbye front desk ladies!
mrs. chan gave me some chinese medicine stuff for runny noses and headaches and it worked like a charm. my kids were pretty amused when they saw it.
i am so busy tomorrow. i'll post a bazillion more pictures at the end of the day once i finish my million errands.

p.s. happy 25th anniversary, mom and dad!

Monday, August 17, 2009

goodbye monday

goodbye secretaries..
goodbye jasmine's class! teddy and isabel moved to daxi so they were gone. we kept saying 'teddy!' and then pretending to cry. he was really a joy in our class. they said if anyone else leaves, they're just all going to go on strike.
i'm going to miss those girls! we were like a little group of girlfriends, gossiping and discussing fashion and boys. i always went to class 15 minutes early so we could chat.. half in chinese, half in english. kitty, the one hanging off of me, was louder than the entire class. she and eason would scream at the top of their lungs when we read.
we started off on kind of a rough note but we turned a corner when she entered the speech competition and i went to watch her. we would exchange nervous glances before it was finally her turn.
crazy boys. eason, in the middle, is so outspoken. his old teacher, jameson, called him 'poo poo man' so he would say it 10x a day in our class.
this is my view.
in my little kid class we did the shaving cream spelling game again. they went insaaane. i had shaving cream all over one hand, so i took these pictures with my left hand and my right arm, which is why the flash is kind of screwy.
bill and debby..
neil and becky
look how sweet those boys are! could they be any cuter? far left, jerry (formerly jellyfish), bill (formerly tiger) and scott were the three who would always run away from me and then let me hug them. the kid right in front of me is neil. he's been in our class a few months and he and i have become besties. the one on the far right is ethan, who would break into spontaneous dance.
happy girls. we never bonded like the boys, but they are so fun. so smart and giggly and fun.
week 2..
week 62. look how much jerry has grown! he used to not even come up to my shoulder and now he's past it.
i stood by the door and hugged everyone and they left, and jerry came back through the line 3 times. and neil stuck around to help erase the whiteboard and asked what i would be doing in america. i told him i'd work at the white house. he kept saying the real white house? and then he followed me downstairs to the secretaries to ask them if i was serious. he asked me to write them a letter from america. i think i will.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

i've found my strength in you

these are some random pictures from the last couple of days.
i have the creepin crud (scratchy/cruddy throat, achey body, chills, headache) so i went and got a 2 hour massage today at the spa one last time. margaret is 4 months pregnant now! her tummy is pretty big. we had a conversation half in chinese and half in english today! she didn't know i was leaving, but she's very excited. she's going to send me pictures of her baby (we're hoping for a girl) and i'm going to send her pictures of me in DC.

the massage was fantastic. i managed to keep my mind from wandering for the majority of the time, which is always a struggle. every time i go, they've added some more things you can customize. which kind of oil for your foot soak (orange), which kind of spray for your room (nameless chinese stuff), which music (anything without birds), which oil for your body (lemon), which kind of tea (rose).

text message from mr. wang. it says miss megan.. something something america.. something something. mr. wang.
benny drying himself off after he took a bath in the sink after daisy creamed him with tin foil full of shaving cream.
then tonight, a whole bunch of us went to taipei for indian food at this really authentic restaurant down some little side street off of the jungshan denhua stop (exit 3, take a right, take a left at family mart and then right at the next little road. it's on the left). it was kind of my going away dinner. we had a nice time.

the bus ride home was pretty strange. we were the first ones in line for the taoyuan bus and they let the 10 of us on the bus and then stopped the line, so we were the only ones on the bus, even though there were still 20 or so taiwanese people in line. then the bus driver stopped at a light to walk back and count us. then he stopped to ask if we had seen any glasses. then he stopped to show us he had found them, so we all clapped. he was laughing. it was odd. we thought for a minute we were being kidnapped.
that's emily in her taiwan-fab top. she bought me pants from the same store. they're cream colored with red, blue and green polka dots all over them aaaand bows.
i'm still mostly feeling bummed about leaving. i'm sure once i'm home i'll be excited, but for now i'm just sad i'm leaving. i'm proud of myself for getting to the point that i wasn't missing america or my family really since we talk so often. there's been a lot of reflecting on how far i've come this year. i'm just trying to feel my feelings while i'm here so i don't get home and then freak out. done that once already!

p.s. the kid who walked from florida to washington to raise awareness for childhood homelessness emailed me back. i'm going to help him get a letter to the president's desk. it should be easy enough, right? there can't be a bazillion 11 year olds walking up the coasts of america for a cause.

aand this is a video of corey from tongue in cheek on the back of a motorcycle with her husband. if you've never been on a scooter/motorcycle before, you should watch it. he has more guts than me taking those turns so tight. i'm always way in the middle of the road.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

goodbye saturday

i am getting so tired of this whole not ever seeing my kids again thing! enough already! i'm glad tomorrow is sunday so i can take a break. i was the first foreign teacher for both of these classes, so they've only known me so far. i'm not sure it really clicked with them that they're going to have a new teacher next week.. but we did have a lot of fun today.
i brought all of the stickers i have left and stuck them all over everyone. there were stickers on the floor, walls, kids, desks, lightswitch.. (this is neely).
daisy! her wish came true: their next teacher is going to be a guy. phil. he's new/awesome. they'll love him.
phina and kiki spelling words in shaving cream.
daisy nailed benny in the face with a whole sheet of shaving cream-covered tin foil as i was taking the picture of their messy hands!
he was not thrilled.we made a biiiig mess in the bathroom. dora's class was one of my favs because it was all little girls (and ian, in the middle). most days, every single kid was wearing something with some pink on it. and vivi always had her bear.
sammy and sandy. try saying their names 3 times fast. we also had vivi and vivian.

messy hands!
after that, i spent 3 hours at the kuo's hanging out with mr. kuo, mr. chen and mr. wang for the last time. i'll see the kuo's on tuesday, but not the trio. if anyone had told me that my best friends in taiwan would be 3 drunken taiwanese men, i'm not sure if i would have believed them. they're the best though.
mrs. chan is all business, but she's great. she's always walking around on a mission and jumping up to make people food and get business done while her husband is laughing and saying hello to everyone. today they kept wanting me to drink and i said no no no, but when she went and got a bottle of wine out of the fridge, i had to. i've never see her drink a sip!
and a saturday without cake is no saturday at all. we had spaghetti that mr. chen brought, green tea, beef stir fry, guava.. and just when i thought i couldn't eat one more bite, mr. chen disappeared for a bit and came back with a bunch of cake. there was no way i was getting out of there without eating the cake, so i just stuffed it into an already full stomach.
they boss me around and make fun of me and hit on me and spoil me. what am i going to do without them?
this is the official megan's favorite cake. cake around the outside and strawberry whipped cream on the inside. yummm!
it makes me teary just to think about not coming back here every weekend. we've had such a good time. (that's mr. kuo's little sister with the pool from the other week).