Tuesday, December 21, 2004


Wow what a night. We had our Christmas concert last night at the American Club in China. It's a posh country club with high membership costs and stupid, elite rules. But aside from that it is very nice and I was so happy when it was all said and done. The longest 10 minutes was our class play. I am not sure who was more nervous, me or them! They did fabulous and everyone was suitably impressed. For those of you in Victoria you'll see the video, Steph taped it with her camera so I could bring it home! Thanks Steph.

Anyway I must get moving and head to school. I have another cold... and I am getting on a plane tomorrow, not a good combination. Oh well can't do anything about it.

By the way have I mentioned that the weather is fabulous here. When it's sunny (5 out of 7 days) it's about 20 degrees and then on the days it rains it's cold. Well colder, I could get used to this.

Be well

Saturday, December 18, 2004

I will not wear it,  Posted by Hello
Okay it's off, now what the heck did she put on my head? Posted by Hello
She's only sitting still because under her there are bars like the one that are behind her and she knows that if she moves the she will fall off the cardboard she is sitting on. I am am mean I know but it was the only way to get her to sit still. This is my dining room, see no walls or windows just the great fresh polluted air all the time. It works here but is alittle cold sometimes. The rest of the rooms have walls though. Posted by Hello

Shopping at midnight

I was cycling home from a birthday party last night, it was late, almost 12 and I was thinking about the last minute things I needed to get before I leave next week. Dog food, stickers to finish the picture frame, shampoo and so on. Well as I contemplating these things I rode up to my favorite store and it was still open, at midnight! I was thrilled. It's a big (well big for here) store with 3 floors of almost everything you could ever need or want.

I got all the things that I needed and came home and now I don't have to go get them today. More time to finish those darn report cards! They will be finished this morning if it kills me!.


Almost finshed.....

- report cards, 5 of 30 left.
- January calender for day program, just have to type it, ( just remebered I have after school one to do! opps)
- christmas shopping, one more gift.
-laundry, another load.
-my kids Christmas cards for work on Monday.
- packing..... nope haven't even started that.

The to do list is getting smaller and I am off to get my haircut. Since I haven't cut it since last Christmas I decided it was time.

3 more working days and 5 more sleeps!!!!!!!!!! very excited.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


A week to go! I am sick, I have a brutal cold and my kids are sick and we all need a vacation. Not to much to tell you, still working, actually not working on report cards. Letters from Santa are finished though and Christmas ornaments for my kids are started and almost finished.

So I guess I am making a dent in the work. I spent last weekend shopping... but that had to been done to as all those munchkins on the island need something from Taiwan. I found lots of cool stuff, I still need one more gift but I have another weekend.

Okay it's time to go to work, Wednesday already. I came home sick on Monday and that has helped to speed things up, that and the fact that we are doing very little work and mostly just playing!

To those of you watching your mailboxes... Christmas cards are bought but probably won't be written until I am on the plane next week, then or on the ferry so they will be more like New Years cards, but oh well.

see ya

Saturday, December 11, 2004

oh well

The apartment is spotless, the dog had a great walk, I knit with my friends, ate supper out and took out the garbage but....... the report cards still aren't finished!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Good morning

Good morning,

Well I am a little less whiny this morning although I am having a lot of trouble with my joints and that is certainly contributing to the whiny teacher syndrome.

On a brighter note its Wednesday and that means only 2 more days till Friday and 14 days until the Christmas break. Work yesterday was an absolute zoo, Santa came to visit and take photos with all the kids, it was a zoo as a result and then they left the Santa costume in the library and my kids saw it... some quick justicication about an extra coat in case one got dirty and we were okay again. Man it was a close call.

But the reason I was writing this was to tell just tell you about my adorable kids and their letters to Santa. I had them write them without asking for things as not all of them celebrate Christmas. Eric decided to ask Santa what kind of bells his reindeer wear and Nerissa wanted to know what kind of Christmas tree he likes. But my favorite was Felix who wanted Santa to know that he has a good brother names Victor, that was the whole letter, one line about his brother. He's a special kid and that just reflects how very special he really is.

Anyway that's it I have to get ready to go to school, have a good Wednesday.

Sunday, December 5, 2004

whine, whine, whine

I'm Tireddddd, I have to much work to doooooo, I'm cold and it's almost time for work againnnn.

It's Sunday n ight, tomorrow is Monday and the weekend just wasn't long enough! I have a million things to do in the next 10 of work and frankly not enough time to do them! The weather has finally turned and it is cool today, funny considering last Thursday was about 25. Everything is cool though as there is no heat or insulation.

We had winter typhoon/tropical storm this weekend, the first since sometime in the 40's. It wasn't to bad. Most of it happened on Friday night and so I was sleeping. I saw Bridget Jones last night, it was pretty good. Went wandering in Shilin today and then for supper, i had poutine... there are 2 place here where you can get it, tonights was the best by far. No chesse curds but oh well, grated cheese works too.

Okay I am off to try to finish the purse I am making for our staff gift exchange ( i made up the pattern myself and it is pretty, well I think it is), so much to do between now and the 22! Be well.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

17 days!

I just wanted to share how many more working days there are until the Christmas break, I can hardly wait. I am looking forward to an eggnog latte and long hot bath!

I had a good weekend, yesterday I went exploring to find some felt for work and discovered amazing yarn stores in the process, well they are actually bead stores that sell yarn. It is really funny to see, there are these signs in Chinese and then in English that say D.I.Y. (do it yourself). Like beading or crafts is up there with plumbing or some other trade, I don't think of a crafts as a DIY activity, just something that is fun to do.

Anyway after that I met up with the gang from work and knit for awhile, I love knitting! On Saturday night I went and saw Alexander at the theater, don't see it. It was okay but I found it to be rather slow, difficult to follow and disjointed. I had high hopes.... oh well I had fun with my friends.

Alright well that's it I am off to work , we are being PC this month and learning about winter celebrations, this week Kwanzaa, next week Hanukkah and after that Christmas. I just want to make potato pancakes and gingerbread for 3 weeks!

have a good week.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Happy (American) Thanksgiving

well it's Thursday here, thus if I was American it would Thanksgiving and since I work at an American school it is but we still have to work. We are having lunch today and I am looking very forward to turkey and cranberry sauce, 2 of my favorite things.

In other news... I have been knitting up a storm as Christmas is coming and it seems the whole world is pregnant too. I heard from a high school friend the other day, she is expecting in January, one of the teacher's at school is due in February and I have heard a rumor that one other person in Winnipeg is also expecting but that has yet to be confirmed. Thus the blanket and hat knitting has begun. I am also working on a few xmas gifts and something for the staff gift exchange. I have been branching out and trying new stiches and making up pattern as I go along, I am having fun and I guess hat's all that matters in the long run.

Anyway that's it, gotta go.

Okay just one more comment... I wrote that entry about no comments , over 40 people visited since then... that's it I won't comment on your silence. That's it, I won't say anything else about it, just needed to draw your attention to one last time.

Monday, November 22, 2004


My sister says it looks lonely here with no comments! (see her comment on the last post) I think she's right, I know that you are out there and that you read but you never tell me what you think. Thus the mysterious title... I was curious about if anyone ever visited this and so a few weeks ago I added a counter at the bottom, so now I know that there are people out there but they are very quiet people.

Speaking of quiet that is how I can describe my weekend, not much happened. I did laundry, took tai to the vet for her last round of shots, met a friend for dinner, knit and read. Oh yeah I walked the dog too. Not to much just life and such. I have a lot to do for work this week, report cards are looming in my near future and so is our Christmas play.

Alright I am off to make some dinner and tidy the apartment, the puppy had too much fun to day! She found a box with packing peanuts in it and a pen... both have been ingested and the remnants are scattered around the apartment, the packing peanuts anyway. The remaining pen is all over her! PUPPIES.


Thursday, November 18, 2004

the rest....

Okay so I have about 10 minutes to do this, it's going to be hard but I will rise to the occasion, at least I will try. The dog has decided she wants to play a rousing game of find the stuffed toy and I really don't want to play. She doesn't understand and keeps on putting her paws up up on the side of the chair... it's cute but I want her to move on and entertain herself for the next 10 minutes or so. I guess that is a lot to ask of a 6 month old puppy.

Okay so to finish the last post, on Sunday I went to Yinnge. It's a pottery/ceramics village that's a 30 minute train ride away. I went with some friends and we all had a great time. The shopping was good (very important) and there was a really cool museum full of great artifacts from the area. It was a great day and really nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, there were lots of people but not as many as here.

I was just thinking that I should add some photos to this post and realized that my camera is at school... oh well I will add them later.

I also wanted to tell you about my zoo experience, this is a developed country and apparently has a great zoo. Well the developed country part is accurate but the zoo is really horrible. The animals live in cement enclosures that may or may not have plants inside. The koala's live in little cement rooms with a tree like structure and some leaves shoved into a canister. I saw pacing wolves and unhappy cougars. It amazes me that zoo's can get away with this. It is apparently hosting some international conference this year, maybe it will help. The grounds are huge but it is mostly just space for walking and taking photos on statues rather than space for the animals to move around.

Some times I really wonder why we bother to keep animals in captivity, I agree in protecting endangered animals but keeping wild animals in tiny enclosures just seems so wrong. Yet over here it is the norm, not the exception. Why is that?

Okay gotta go to work... Yippee it's FRIDAY.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

So much to say, so little time

I have had an impressive time since I last wrote and I don't even know where to start. I meant to write here last night but it had been a long day and I had a headache so I went to bed instead.

On Saturday the director of my school took all the teachers out the this amazing dumpling restaurant for breakfast, yes they eat dumplings all day. I couldn't eat them but I did have a few so that I could say that I had eaten there and tried them. They were really good, think about the best wontons you have ever had and then think about something better, that's how good they were. The fillings were really good and wrappers were very thin and tasted great. Apparently the restaurant is on the list of the top ten in the world, the food was good but I haven't eaten any other dumpings here (just wontons from home) I have nothing to compare it too.

After that a few of the teachers and I went to the park and knit, it was an amazing day ( I could of had shorts on!), we attracted a bit of an audience, it was really funny. Anyway as we say and knit this lady came up and tried to help us because I guess she decided that we didn't know what we were doing. Sarah speaks pretty good Chinese and talked to her a bit and then she fixed the way that Steph was pulling her wool off her ball. I guess she doesn't like pulling from the the inside like I do! Anyway she was just one of many who stood and stared at us, I imagine for white chicks knitting in a park is not something you see every day here.

Okay i have to get moving so that I can go to work but I still need to tell you about Sunday and my zoo trip yesterday.... I will have to write again later.


Wednesday, November 10, 2004

lovin the hat, they do wear them here and often put yellow and orange covers on them, just like the vests worn by people working on the streetss, very cute. Posted by Hello

Whining children are universal

I saw the whiniest child ever the other day, I wish that I had a movie camera. She was about 8 and ready to burst, I have no idea what was happening but I think she should get a prize for the most annoying whine ever. Her mom was patient at first and then started to lose it when her daughter wouldn't stop. Then last night at school I had 2 grade fours who were tired and whiny too... so annoying.

On a completely different note, I found a place on the weekend to walk Tai where I could take her off her leash and actually let her play in the grass, she was very excited to be able to run around without me having to run along side her. The only downfall was that it was by the river and she managed to find a dead fish... yuck! It was pretty old though and as a result not to smelly.

Okay I am off to work... 1 more sleep till the weekend and starting next week I am getting to teach all kindergarten, all the time. They have hired a new teacher and so I have given up my grade 4 class (they are a really tough group) and will just teach Kindergarten. Woo hoo I am very happy about this. I also have plans to go out of the city this weekend on Sunday, to a village that specialize in pottery, that means new pictures and lots of exciting things to tell you.

Have a good day/night/whatever.

Saturday, November 6, 2004

knitting anyone

I am happy to say that helped a new knitter today (and refreshed the memory of another)... We will take over the world eventually. I made a scarf for one of the other teachers at work and some others saw it and expressed interest. So today we went off to the other side of the city in search of some yarn and found some! There is a yarn store in Taipei I think there is probably more than one but I was excited to hear about this one.

They had all sorts of exciting things, not a huge selection but enough for the new knitters to find some wool for scarves and also some cool merino and some other really soft fuzzy something that looked great . I don't need any wool at the moment but if I do I know where to go. Then we went to a coffee shop and got the scarves started, everyone is doing well and hopefully they will knit without to much trouble.

I was walking home after and all of a sudden there was this guy beside me and he started to talking to me... it was very funny.
him: Are you from France or England?
me: neither, Canada.
him: Ontario or BC?
me: Ontario, I guess
him: Toronto or Ottawa?
me: Ottawa
him: so you speak French?
me: no
him: are your descendents from England or Ireland?
me: neither my ancestors are from lots of places
him: Oh, Catholicism or Protestantism?
me: catholic
him: are more Canadians catholic or protestant?
me: neither, not to much religion in Canada.
him: so your English teacher
me: no not really just regular teacher.
him: republican or democrat
me: neither Liberal.

And on and on, and on it went until finally there was a spot where I could say that I was turning. It was so weird, apparently in his world there are only 2 choices for everything.

I am off to walk the dog.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

she is always sticking her tongue out when she wants something, I think that it is cute.  Posted by Hello

No she is my dog!

Like a good dog owner I walk my dog each day, we usually go walk up towards the cemetery (on a hill behind my house) as the street is very quiet and I get to see things like gecko's and crickets.

On Thursday I was walking Tai and I was exhausted so I didn't take her as far as the cemetery just around the neighbourhood and all of a sudden this woman starts following me and then yelling at me in mandarin, I turned around so she could see I was foreigner (from the back I could be local) and told her I didn't understand. She kept on yelling at me and then walked away.

I made it around the next corner and she showed up again on a scooter with another woman, they got off and started telling me Tai was there dog, they spoke no English, they just kept trying to take her and calling to her in Chinese. Tai is really friendly and would go home with anyone so it was a bit of a problem. I kept saying no and trying to leave. Finally someone came by on a bike and luckily for me she spoke English. She tried to help me explain to these women that this was not their dog. The first lady got back on her scooter and took off and left me to deal with the second one. The English speaker was helpful but the lady was convinced Tai was her lost dog.

I finally told her where I live and that she could come to my house and would show her Tai's vet papers. I started to leave and the scooter lady showed up with 3rd person, they got off the scooter, she took one look at Tai and said, no that's not your dog to her friend. They said sorry, got on the scooter and they all took off. That was it, they ranted and raved for 10 minutes and then they were gone.

Looking back it was funny but I was rather frustrated in the moment, sometimes the language barrier is the hardest part of this experience. There was no I could make these ladies understand with my 20 Chinese words that Tai was not theirs. Some days I might give her away but I am rather attached.

OK that's all, a crazy little glitch just happened in cyberspace and I ended up with someone elses post inside this one, it was very wierd... I have removed it and now you can just see mine. Hope you are enjoying the weekend, have a happy Halloween.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Olfactory phantoms and sick kids

Okay, remember first year English? Well I do and I learned about olfactory phantoms. I don't remember the book it was from but do remember the prof was nasty and thought that vocab tests were essential, that was on one. I got it wrong at the time but never will again. Memories that are are triggered by a smell, for me yesterday the smell was pumpkins.

When I was in 4th grade we moved to this little quiet street in Victoria, there were other kids on the street and this one family had a boy a little younger than me. His name was Adam he had an amazing climber in his backyard and every year had a pumpkin carving party in his basement. Heaps of fun and the smell of fresh pumpkins still makes me happy. So yesterday and today I carved jack o lanterns with my kids, 6 in total! A lot of cutting but fun none the less, they loved and so did I. I still have some roasted seeds too!

My monkeys and I had a great time celebrating Halloween, complete with costumes and trick or treating in our school. We all had a blast and I must say it was fun even if they were bouncing off the walls excited all day. It's funny how at home we move away from celebrating holidays in schools and here we celebrate them till we are blue in the face even though the majority of the culture does not. Halloween, American Thanksgiving and Christmas are all a very big deal at our school. Today we had a Halloween concert, there are pictures on my classroom blog.

On a sadder note one of my little monkeys is ill, he has leukemia that is in remission and has been home since last week with fever and such. Being sick here is interesting, they have many modern medicine practices but have a strange obsession with taking anti-biotics as soon as you show signs of an illness, any illness. Luke told me that he was going to the doctor this afternoon, but then my TA told me he was going to the hospital. Both of which could be the case as many dr's practice within hospitals. Regardless of that his mom told me he would be away next week and she only brought him today because he insisted on coming. Well of course he insisted, it was Halloween after all and we have talking about it for weeks!

Anyway I hope that he is ok, it sucks that little men like him have to deal with such big issues. He is a very sweet boy, that happens to be a picture of him with the dinosaur costume. Another one of my kids had one to but wouldn't wear it and so his mom gave it to me for Ethan, I asked where she got it and she said I could have it... rich and generous parents.

It's late and I am sleepy, tomorrow I will tell you about the crazy trio who tried to convince me that Tai was there dog and I stole her... funny in retrospect.
Am I not the coolest Auntie in the world, I scored one of these great self-inflating dino's for my nephew today.  Posted by Hello

Monday, October 25, 2004

photos, photos, photos

Okay if you click on the title it will magically take you to the photo album.

I'm off to bed with my fingers crossed that the typhoon last another day, not likely given it's current course but I am hoping none the less.


Sunday, October 24, 2004

Woo Hoo Typhoon Nock-ten

Did you know that Nock-ten is the Laotian word for bird, interesting name choice. Bird makes me think of something graceful and lovely.... not a typhoon that is threatening to blow me off the top of my apartment building! However the wind, rain and noise aside I am happy to be home today and if the storm stays on it's predicted course I will be home tomorrow too.

The last typhoon reeked havoc on my apartment because of the direction of the wind, so far the wind has been blowing in the other direction and my apartment has stayed relatively dry. It may change as the storm worsens through the day but it washes my floor for me so I can't complain to much. It's funny, this is typhoon number 3 (well the 3rd one in Taiwan but I only got time off in August, July's wasn't so bad here in the city) for me and I there were people here before me who never saw one in all the years (3) that they lived here .

Ok I am off to work on my November planning, later I will get to that photo album, I promise. By the way, if you click on the title of this post it will take to a weather page that shows you the path of the typhoon.


Please, Please, Please

There is a typhoon brewing and I hope it hits us! I know mean for teh people who will experience flooding and the other nasty side effects but it would be a day off and I have a cold, I'd like to have a day off.

Aside from the long day of pouring rain things are ok. I made it through the second day of parent teacher interviews and didn't kill anyone, always better that way. A few parents drove me a little crazy but for the most part day 2 was easier than day one.

I have to go finsh my planning book for the coming week, I hope that there is no work tomorrow but I won't know till morning... I'll have my fingers crossed. You'll know if I'm home cause I will get around to finishing that online photo album... and then send out the link.
Be well,

Thursday, October 21, 2004

blah blah blah

Your child is doing wonderful... blah, blah, blah. Yes I did make her sit with 2 boys yesterday well I am sorry that she didn't like it but it was only for a cooperative learning task, not for the whole day.
No we are not going to have spelling tests in kindergarten, yes your son may be ready to practice his spelling and we can do that in other ways.
No your sons reading is just fine, he is right where he should be, yes he is not reading chapter books yet but that's okay he only just turned 6 last week.
Yes your son is bright and his english is good but he needs to learn the sound that letters make before he learns to read.

Blah, blah, blah, there will be more lovely comments after day 2! Wish me luck.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Over the legal limit

hmmm... I wonder what would happen if you got pulled over for riding your bicycle when you are over the legal limit? I mean at home when I am out with friends I would usually just take the bus home and go back and get my bike the next day... But last night I went to a co-workers house and had a number of glasses of red wine and then had to get myself home. Well I rode my bike there and thus needed to ride it home as I did not know how to get back on the bus. Anyway the point of this senseless babbling is that I found myself wondering as I rode home what would happen if I got stopped.

Now I wasn't falling over drunk or anything but I was certainly over the legal limit of being able to drive a motor vehicle, even here. But how does one classify a bicycle? I obviously made it home in one piece but it was a long ride and I was tired. Sadly all red wine does for me is make me want to go bed so as I cycled home keeping my eyes open was my biggest challenge.

So aside from an evening of carousing with a bunch of foreigners I had a pretty quiet weekend. Took the dog to the vet, bought groceries (I'd be lost without Costco!!!!!) and dog food and wrote parent teacher interview notes, exciting stuff. Now it is Sunday evening and I am waiting for the water to boil for supper, just some pasta and pesto (yeah Costco again) and then it will be off to bed as the whole cycle starts again tomorrow.

Hope you are all enjoying your Sunday.

Thursday, October 14, 2004


Okay so it finally starting to cool down here, I have worn a sweater about 4 times and last night was cool when outside in just my cotton shirt. But it is hardly cold, it is lovely during the day and cool in the evenings and mornings. It reminds me of Victoria in the summer. I am quite content with the current weather, as I type it is 20 and raining, cooler than 35 but not cold right.


Locals and even some foreigners seem to think that is winter. I baby in a snugli last night on my way home and it had a snowsuit on, no I am not kidding a snowsuit like we would use at home. It was the funniest thing. The next baby was also bundled up and hat a winter hat on. It is crazy, yes it is cool but let's not over react. Yes I wore a sweatshirt this morning when I walked the dog at 6 am but just a sweat shirt!!!!!

People are funny. I wonder what they would do if they spent time in Ottawa or Winnipeg!

Must be off, hey if you are interested in seeing my classroom I have started a blog for my crazy over protective parents www.coolcatskindergarten.blogspot.com no kid pictures but classroom ones and I will update them so feel free to check back. they don't know about this site, nor will they so if you leave a comment don't mention this blog! I wouldn't be able to complain about them if they knew about it.


Saturday, October 9, 2004


Alright so it wasn't some Asian super bug it was my own fault, I think. I think that I gave myself Salmonella from an egg, it makes sense, the symptoms match and it explains the joint pain. Oh well I am fine now, live and learn. So that's my big excitement for the week, food poisoning.

Yesterday I did laundry as it was a super sunny day and given that my laundry dries outside it has to be a nice day to get it done. So laundry, marking and house cleaning an exciting Saturday. Today is another lovely day but also a holiday, 10/10 day, a Taiwans birthday kind of day so I want to get out and see some stuff but I am not sure what yet. I'll let you know what if it is anything exciting.

Wishing the weekend was 3 days instead of 2!

Thursday, October 7, 2004

Tai in a tree Posted by Hello


I have been the unfortunate recipient of some nasty Asian flu bug and have been one grumpy lady for the last few days. I am still under the weather but feeling much more human and willing to converse with the world again.

I was fine on Tuesday, a long and tiring day complicated by an sad email from my mom saying that our family dog passed away. She was old and we all knew it would happen eventually, 14 years is a long time to have pet though and I'll miss her. So I was moping around the school contemplating whether I should joke about taking a grief day, lucky for me I didn't because it turned out I really would need a day off. I awoke in the wee hours of the morning sicker than I have been in a long time. I did a quick mental inventory of recent meals and decided that indeed this was not just because I had eaten some flour but I was indeed ill. To make a long story short, I was sick, everything hurt and all I wanted to do was sleep, so I did. I went into work for awhile yesterday but that was a mistake and then stayed home for most of today.

I am much better (touch wood) this evening and hope that is the last nasty bug I have for a long while. Okay I am off to walk the dog, take out the garbage and write in my kindergarten communication books. Ahhh a night at J's house, full of fun and excitement!


Sunday, October 3, 2004


You know that you have settled in somewhere when you spend the weekend grocery shopping, cleaning you apartment and finishing the work you were supposed to have done on Friday. Yes that is what I did this weekend, not terribly exciting. I did get out though, I went out for diner with girls from work on Friday night and then was supposed to go out on Saturday but my friend was not feeling well and so I made her stay in, no point in hanging out with someone who is not feeling well. The pup and I went for some lovely walks and I bought groceries.... not very exciting.

Not much else to say, well yes there is on Tuesday it was moon festival and I went with a friend who was visiting to Danshui, it's a boardwalk out on the ocean, it was nice to get out of the city, I took lots of great photos, they are in my computer but not an album yet, hopefully this week although there is lots to do at work as parent teacher interviews are quickly approaching. We'll see how effectively I manage my time and as soon as there is an album I will let you know.

Since I spent my weekend at home I spent some time contemplating my next port of call, not sure where I want to be although I with the rising Canadian dollar being here is less and less lucrative every time I go to the bank to send money home. It's a lot of hours and a lot of work and with crummy exchange it just becomes frustrating so I am contemplating my options as to where to go next, I really have no idea at this point, maybe I would even stay here and just work somewhere else, maybe the bottom will fall out of the Canadian dollar again and then all will be well. Patient, I must be patient.

Off to bed, well dishes and then bed.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

bin shoppin

Man do I love Taipei. I went shopping and I found clothes that fit me, nice clothes and cheap too, well sort of. I spent a few thousand dollars (Taiwan dollars) and got some amazing stuff... ahhh American clothes that come in real sizes. I finally found a watch strap ( I have been looking for weeks) and a funky new bed for Tai. It's a little tent that folds up and it's really great because it is so portable. I didn't get it but I will go back for it another day.

Not much else to say, the weather is great during the week and nasty when I want it to be nice. My friend Lexi is here from Korea and it has rained all weekend, sad but true. I went to Elton John on Thursday night and it rained the whole time, but the sun is shining when I inside my school, I swear. It's not fair. Elton John was great even though I was wet the whole time and when I am old I can say that I saw him in the pouring rain in an outdoor soccer stadium and sat on cement bleachers.

Well that's it because it is late and I am tired, tomorrow is Monday already!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004


Why does my 5 year old write his F backwards.
Why is your classroom so small?
Why does child A hit child B?
Why does your room smell like shoes?
How do I make my child be on time?
How can I make his printing neater?
Why isn't my child reading yet?
If my child is tired can he have a nap?

Take one of the following answers and insert where applicable No, I don't know or I don't care!

We had open house tonight... it was a really long day and now I am writitng in communication books... a long day, a long night and then another long day as I am going to Elton John tomorrow night... ahhh life in the fast lane. NOT. Till the wekend that is all there is.


Tuesday, September 21, 2004

okay i am loving teaching......

BUT there are moments when I would like to take one or two of them and throw them out a 3rd story window!!!!!!

I think it would be a problem if I did and so I will restrain myself but man I think some of the little monsters sit around and try to think up ways to drive me crazy.

Innoncent (not) boy #1
Hmmmm... says the little boy, I'm bored, what to do. I am sitting beside my teacher and her chair looks like a good place to crawl under... I wonder if she would notice, well why don't I just try it and see what happens. Well this working so far, I am under the chair and she seems not to care, oh wait I feel a hand grabbing at my shirt and hear a loud voice yeling something in English... ohh she wants me to get out here... okay well if I just back out the way I came all should be well. Oh wait, my head is stuck, now she is yelling louder, she is saying that she is not happy, maybe if I pull a little harder.... owwwwww I am stuck. She says that she hopes I am stuck and have to stay there all afternoon, well I'll show her and get out, if I just tilt my head this way and then push with my hands.... look I am free. So there lady, I got out.

Hmm what can I do now, oh look there are some scisors on the shelf I am not allowed to touch, what if I grab them and start poking other kids....

No word of a lie, he did get his head stuck under my chair on the carpet today and I think that he did it on purpose and YES I did tell him he could stay there... maybe next time he will think about it before he tries it again.

Innocent child # 2

Amazing teacher says, "okay boys and girls listen for the words that rhyme, remember that ryhming words have the same sound at the end and usually the same last 2 or 3 letters. Teacher points to the pictures and says " cat, pin, mat, six"

Child shouts out "pin and six"

"umm no, good try though and please put up your hand" says the teacher, frustrated as we
have been working on rhyming words since the 1st week of school.

Someone answers corectly and the teacher moves on to the next one "pan, flag, van, map,"

Same child shouts out "map and flag"

Teacher " uhhh no, sorry those words don't have the same end sounds so they don't rhyme, can you please put up your hand! "

"Okay Ms Kruz".

Ms Kruz had 10 of these questions to get through and he shouted out the wrong answer for every single one!!!! Man was I frustrated.

Our day went downhill from there... but it's done now and it's Tuesday and in 3 sleeps it will be Friday and I am going to Elton John on Thursday night. I figured then I could say that I saw Elton John in Taipei!


Saturday, September 18, 2004

and because folks have been asking about the youngest princess in my life here she is... cute as ever and working really hard to learn to walk before her 1st birthday. She is almost 10 months at the moment. Posted by Hello
Recent knitting, a little bag crazy...some worked better than other. These are all headed to Toronto. Not many people can say they had bags knitted for them in Taipei! Tai is dying to eat the bags, she has already tried to snek up and take one away, she thinks that is she moves slowly enough I might not notice. Posted by Hello
This one is a few weeks old but also her getting into trouble! It's what she does best.  Posted by Hello
This is what she can do in an hour by her self! This hallway was clean when I put her out of my room this morning and I already picked up most of the red foam! Posted by Hello


okay it's saturday, well it's almost over and I have had a migrane all day, actually this is day 3, it's almost 10 and I am feeling a little better but I have taken enough medicine to kill a small horse.

On a brighter note I dragged myself out of the apartment to take tai to the vet for some much over due shots. Since we were unsure of her actual age it was fine to wait but now i have to take her back on time for the next ones. Anyway to point is that I was so impressed with the minimal cost. When vets are affordable it makes pet ownership so much easier.

Okay that's all I am going back to knitting in the dark living room, the light hurts me head and I don't really need to see as I am knitting a purse/bag and it's just straight around although i have added some cool stripes.

I am aware of my lack of photos lately, sorry. Things are really busy I will try to get on it soon.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

puppies and puddles

Did you know that my dog is afraid of the rain, and has rained for 3 days here. It's been a bit of an issue for her. She is also afraid of loud noises and stairs, also an issue as I live in the city on the roof of an apartment building. She will now go upstairs with a lot of encouragment but not down.

It stated raining on Friday and poured and poured and poured, get the idea, I was stuck inside for 2 days. I did got out but was soaked the whole time, not worth it.

So since I was trapped inside all weekend, I knit and read. My sister sent me great books and knitting projects. I am a happy girl. I finished some purses for some friends in Toronto ( M and J they are finished and one for S too, M the 1st one didn't work so well so you are getting two and J you need to got to knitty.com and find a vest pattern or 2) All I have to do now is mail them and that could take awhile knowing me.

Well it's monday already and I have to go to work, now!!!! or i will be late, this is so much more fun though. Have a good week all.

Wednesday, September 8, 2004

Did u know....

that it is impossible to plan the coming week when you leave your planning book at SCHOOL. It was a long day and as a I packed up all my treats (tell u in a minute) and my books I some how neglected to stick it in my bike bag... dumb, dumb, very dumb. Oh well nothing i can do about it now, I'll do it tomorrow with my communication books and my spelling books and the million other things i have to do!

On a brighter note my sister mailed me the most amazing birthday/care package and I got it today. Books, wool, Justine friendly brownie mix, a shirt died with chocolate and various other exciting things including gold band aids! It was definitely a mid week spirit boost.

On my way home today in the pouring rain! I stopped to buy some fruit as I usually do on my way home. Well the man who runs the stand really likes Tai (everyone does) and he discovered last week that she likes mango, he gave her a piece when I stopped on Friday night.. Likes is not really a strong enough word, she goes insane as soon as she smells it. So Monday he was all sorry because he did not have anything for her, she was practically leaping out of my basket she was so excited to see him, actually she was. So today when I stopped he had a whole mango for her, before I could even pick out my guava he was peeling it and feeding it to her, she was over the moon she was so happy. What's she going to do when I move to a land where mangos aren't 2 for a buck and there is not fresh guava... ahh life in the mid tropics ain't so bad.

Okay I am off to bed. Night

Sunday, September 5, 2004

I am always forgetting bout the good stuff

I realized as I was walking home from the movies that I am forgetting to tell you about the small things that happen that are interesting... days are jut starting to run together.

This past week has been "ghost week" when Buddhists remember/honor the spirits of the deceased. So as a result there have been ghost money fires all over the city. So what's that? Well people haul a table out in front of their office/store/house and pile with fruit, bread, and such(I have seen coke) as a gift for the spirits and then burn incense. Then takes these piles of beautifully decorated paper called ghost money and burn it in a little tin on the sidewalk(can be dangerous for cyclists such as myself). The ghost money is burnt in order that it gets to the heavens and the deceased and in return the mortal folks down here get real money in return, or so the theory goes. I'll tell you if I get rich.

This evening I went out to walk the dog and take out the garbage. Here you have to physically take your garbage to the truck which stops in your neighborhood 2 times a day for 10 minutes. Well it is supposed to come everyday but Wednesday and Saturday and so I cleaned out my fridge, grabbed my recycling and headed out. The street was unusually quite but I plodded on with my dog, recycling and garbage. I got to the park and there is only 1 other person there, a bad sign. Well needless to say the garbage truck never came and everyone else in the neighborhood knew it. So we both left, well I quickly decided that I was not bringing my huge bag of "cleaned out fridge" garbage home, so I left it there. It was bad I know but the truck will come in the morning and I am assuming someone will chuck it in. Sadly I am not usually home when the truck comes so if it's not out on Sunday I may have it for a another week.

So I left it there and then went to walk Tai, well as we passed the local temple there was quite the party going on, they had taken over the street and had all these table out and were eating. Someone was singing and it all seemed very festive. I wish I had my camera.

Anyway not much else, the weather here was sad today so I went to the movies, The Terminal with Tom Hanks. It was good but slow, I see why it got bad reviews. Then I walked home from the mall and had Sushi on the way, it was good.

I came home to a very excited puppy as she had been alone for a number of hours. So that's it, my weekend is over and I will be back at work in 11 hours. It goes really fast. Here's to a better a better week this week, if it is bad at least I will have root beer (got some Dad's at Costco) and Lasange, I made it on Saturday night for me and Su as Shauna is a goddess and mailed me some gluten free noodles, yes my Mom and Celeste are goddess' too as they also mail me noodles.

So I am going to have my daily ration of Reese pieces (also Shauna), do the dishes and head to bed. Maybe I will start a new book, I have Mother of Pearl and Wild Swans waiting and I just finished The Rock Cried Out, it was okay.

be well

Saturday, September 4, 2004

Ahh Saturday

well another week is gone, it was a long one but it's Saturday and I am enjoying a day of house cleaning, reading and marking. Not the most enjoyable activities (except the reading) but I have to get them done and this is really my only time. I work until 6 everyday and then by the time I get home the last thing I want to do is clean the bathroom! So today it is, besides it's hot and I don't want to go anywhere until it cools down in a couple of hours.

Hmmm what can I tell you about... There is a another typhoon warning for Monday - part of me wants it to hit (day off) and part of me dreads all the water but I know I'll survive and my apartment won't blow away. The last one was the worst one Taipei has seen in 30 years! Hard to believe co considering that the city was left unharmed aside from some downed tress and power outages.

No big sight seeing plans for the weekend, I am hoping to get tomorrow and go to TeinMu, a really nice neighbourhood with lots of great shops and such, including a used bookstore. Last weekend I wandered around another great neighbourhood near my school, lots of fun restaurants and fun clothing shops. Not that there was anything that would fit me!

I really wish that stores here sold regular sizes. Yes there are lots of small Asians but due to the increasing fast food industry there are also lots of what we would consider average size folk, ( obesity is becoming a problem in children but it is a new problem) anyway but nothing in most shops goes beyond a 8, I can buy men clothes or I can look for american chains that sell large. Many stores like Roots and North Face simply only stock small and medium... It is a very annoying dilemma.

Aside from wandering neighbourhood plans I am afraid there won't be anything to exciting going on for the next few weeks. My friend Lexi is coming form Korea at the end of the month and that will bring some sight seeing and finally some new photos.

Okay I am going back to my book. Hope all is well out there .

Saturday, August 28, 2004


I am finally online at home! It was a huge production and after a phone call to the states and a helpful sister and brother-in-law it is finally working.

It has been an interesting week, as you heard there was a typhoon but I wasn't any where near the bad parts ( huge flooding in lots of areas of the city). The meter of rain we got did cause me and my apartment to get very wet. It is pouring with rain again as I type this.

School started on Thursday again, my classroom got wet, and of course it was the corner where my stereo and books are kept. The stereo has been replaced and I am drying out my books hoping that they survive. I think that I will have to replace most of them, very sad especially since they are mine and not the schools.

Aside from that all is well, my class seems to be good, even though there are 15 boys and 6 girls, this is not usually the case in our school all the other classes are balanced just not mine! I also have the biggest class. It's okay though, most of them are great kids and are really happy to be at school.

Anyway I should be off as I have a lot to do for next week. Enjoy the photos of the puppy, they are recent, I will put up some of her when she was small but they are on my computer at work at them moment... maybe on Monday.
she's gotten really big Posted by Hello
ain't she cute Posted by Hello

Monday, August 23, 2004

First day

I made it... through my first day with my first class, well sort of. We let the monkeys come in today with their parents and stay for awhile, then we kicked them all out and went for lunch. I made it through the parents and the kids and am excited for tomorrow when I can wear regualer clothes and just have to deal withthe kids and not their parents too! Although I must say that all the parents were very well behaved and no one asked me to turn their son or daughter into a rocket sciencist in a year.

Happy that it's almost time to go home, 4 mintues and counting. Here's hoping that tomorrow goes as well as today did!


Saturday, August 21, 2004

stupid, stupid, stupid

Hello World,

It has been a long and crazy week, I have been setting up my classroom and planning my year. Those of you who are teachers will relate well to my feeling of .... oh my god I am never going to be ready for the munchkins to arrive!...... My friends here where amazed at my level of exhaustion after two weeks of vacation and then a week at work with no kids, they have no idea how much work was actually accomplished! But it's done my classroom is ready and my first days planned and life is good, I think. I still have to organize what I want to say to those lovely parents when they arrive in my classroom tomorrow morning for their 30 minutes of listen to the teacher babble at you before you leave your children with her tomorrow and she warps their little minds to her western cultural practices, like chewing with their mouths closed and cutting their food instead of putting it all in their mouths at once. Just little things that they need to learn, reading and writing will come along as the year progress' I promise.

Aside from a long week at work I have done nothing else my friend Lynn arrived on my doorstep on Wed. night after a miserable job experience just outside of the city. She hummed and hawed about her choices and in the end decided to go back to South Africa. She left last night and it was lovely to have some company for a few days... someone to chat with and play with the puppy. Who by the way is getting big and last night slept through the night for the first time... what a good dog she is. I hope the sleeping pattern continues as I am tired(literally) of getting up to let her out in the night.

In regards to company my friend Lexi is also coming from Korea next month, very excited about that! It will be great to see her and I even have a day off while she is here, Moon festival. Should anyone else feel the desire to visit, please do! I'd love the company and have the space. Visitors are always welcome.

Not much else to let you know I am off to meet Su for some... can you guess... shopping, her shopping not mine, (yeah right!) and then dinner later. But I must go home first and get the puppy so she can come too, she has one of those nifty little puppy bags and she goes all over the place on the weekends, it works very well for both of us. So I will think of you while I am shopping and enjoying the heat, it is really hot.

Hope all is well in the rest of the world.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Things I will never get used to

Okay there are few things here that are driving me crazy and I feel the need to share them with the world because even though they are driving me crazy they are kinda funny.

Tiles, instead of paving sidewalks and other surfaces they put tiles on them, very annoying because tiles are slippery when wet and it rain a lot here. Someone was sleeping in the design department. The other thing is that as the tiles age they come lose and then you walking along on will move on you causing you to trip, slip, or slide and end up on the ground.

Nose picking, if you want to do please do it at home... not on the street corner while waiting for the light to change, that and spitting are driving me crazy.

Heat, it's hot, really hot and all the time, even at night.

Traffic, okay there are lots of things that drive me crazy about the traffic here but my favourite two things are that cars don't stop for red lights, they might stop after it has turned red or if the oncoming traffic is blocking the intersection. And yet pedestrians will stand at a deserted street corner waiting for the light to change so they can cross, there is not a car in sight but yet none of them will cross the street until the light changes. It's very strange.

Bugs, there are heaps of them, everywhere all them time. I found a large spider in my house last night, I have never seen anything so big, the broom and I convinced it to leave after I took a picture. There are cockroaches, mosquitoes and they huge flying red ant things, to many bugs for me.

Puppy obession, okay my dog is cute but they are all crazy about her, she is getting bigger and so the attention getting is not as great as before but they stop and pick her up while we are walking, ask to take her picture, whistle at her to get her attention and generally make the process of walking her very difficult. Last Sunday a mom stopped me so her 2 year old could pet Tai, okay who am I to say no to a cute little kid, then the kid grabbed the leash and tried to walk away with her... she didn't get far.

Space cadets, people are on there own planet when walking on the city streets I am not sure how they survive, people will wander along with scooters honking at them or bike bells ringing in their ears and they don't move, they are practically run over and they still just wandering along contemplating their belly buttons (poopitz gazing). The sidewalks here are huge and it's not like they couldn't move over, bikes and scooters are always on the sidewalks, it's nothing new and yet people seem shocked when the scooter gets frustrated and tries to move them by knocking them over.

Betel nuts, they are kinds they equivalent of chewing tobacco, people, men mostly chew on them and as a result always look like they have a huge wad of gum in there mouth, they die your mouth this horrible shade of red and cause you to spit, (see earlier complaint) except that it is the same red as blood is and so the sidewalks often look someone has just bled to death on them.

Escalator, in the subway there are big signs and announcements that say please leave the left side of the escalator open for people who are in a hurry. Stand on the right, walk on the left... not a hard concept to understand, right. Well why is it that people here don't understand, they stand on the left and then when someone like me tries to get past they get all angry and give me these dirty looks, I don't understand.

Just a few things to complain about, it could be a lot worse though. Other than the general daily annoyances all is well, I have enjoyed my time off and am sad but excited that works starts again on Monday. I am looking forward to it but wish I could still sleep in. Okay must be off, lots to do today.


Thursday, August 5, 2004

feels like home

Okay so I am vacation and generally just being a lazy bum as a result... and lovin it! So yesterday I went to work to photocopy some stuff and then went to my local Starbucks and when I walked in they were playing Dar Williams ( one of my favorite musicians). It was like walking into a Starbucks at home, Dar Williams, a caramel frappucino and a good book, what more could I need.

Taipei is a lot like home, a lot more so than Seoul was and I am amazed and the differences. I mean yes I am in Asia and there are lots of cultural differences but I can get everything I want here (almost... clothes is an issue, they are ugly or to small).

Hmmm not much to tell you all about, the puppy is good, annoying but good... she definitely makes me rethink motherhood! Maybe I don't want little people. Speaking of little people my niece is officially ours to keep, Riley's adoption went through on Monday so my sister is stuck with her now, she is crawling and pulling herself up on things and generally driving my sister (who has a broken foot at the moment) crazy, in a good way of course. Riley seems to think that her age and developmental stages (she's 8 months) are not at all linked and is trying really hard to walk long before she is supposed to. Anyway needless to say every one is quite happy that the adoption is now official and they are all heading to Victoria this weekend to visit the grandparents.

Alright back to me, so I am still trying to get internet access at home, it is proving to be more of a challenge than I had anticipated and I probably won't have it till next week. I have no big plans for the coming week, I am hoping to get into the school to start setting up my classroom and such and maybe take another trip to the beach. It's really hot here and as a result I am not to motivated to do much except read in my nice air conditioned bedroom. Nights are better but then I am tired and then there is the puppy that adds to the equation, I can't leave her for to long so I either have to take her or come home to let her out. We'll see what happens, I'm sure I'll tell you all about anything exciting that I do do.

Time in the cafe is up. Be well

Sunday, August 1, 2004


Did you know that the pacific ocean is more salty over here... Apparently the warmer the water the saltier (chemistry says more salt closer together in warm water than cold) I am not sure about the technical aspect of the whole thing but I can assure that it is saltier here than at home. The waves here are great too!

All that to say that I did make it to the beach yesterday and it was lovely, had lots of fun swimming and lying on the beach. I must admit that it was weird to play in water that wasn't frigid whe you first got in. We just sort of strolled in and it was like a warm shower. Those of you who have been to the southern part of the world know what I am talking about... I didn't really realize that it was possible for the water to be so warm. I mean it would be warmer but it was really warm, oddly as a result not really very refreshing, nice but it didn't cool you off as you would expect it to.

Okay so enough babbling about the water temp. After he beach we rode the bus back to the MRT station and stopped at the 7-11 for some Smirnoff Ices... you can drink in public here so we strolled through the night market and along the board walk drinking, it was really lovely. Being that we were on the coast it was much cooler and the air was a lot cleaner than here in the city. It's only abut 45 minutes away and then a bus ride to get tot he beach were you can swim, sadly I forgot my camera (I've been doing that a lot lately) so there are no photos but I will have to go back so there will be photos eventually.

Alright well enough typing I am off to enjoy the fact that I don't have to work today but am still getting paid... what a novel concept paid vacation is.


Saturday, July 31, 2004


Okay issue of the day... house training this darn puppy!!! Okay so she is really cute and lots of fun but she is a little dense in the "this is not a bathroom" (the couch, my bed, the kitchen) department. I have done all the things the book says to and she just doesn't get it, I understand that she is small (about 9 weeks today) but my patience is slowing as last night I took her out, for a long walk and then brought her inside where she immediatley peed on the blanket on the couch, needless to say she was rempremanded and sent to her bed... she seems better about the issue ( using the paper provided instead of the couch) this morning but you never know.

Thanks to my mom's brillant suggestion I am growing her an indoor garden of sorts, a grassy patch in my dinning room which is actually outside but has a tile floor and half walls (half way up that is, the rest is bars, yes there will be photos eventually! of the apartemnt that is and the puppy too) Hopefully it will help but until it grows a little I will still have to run down my 6 floors every time she looks like she need to go out!

To top it all off she has developed a lovely rash ( she had it when I got her but it has become much worse) and so now all her hair is falling out and I have to make a trip to the vet tomorrow, she looks a bit like a balding old man... very funny to see but sad as she is really itchy.

On a brighter note I am heading to the beach this afternoon with a new friend... to bad the puppy is so small or she could come too, I am afraid that the heat would be to much for her given her size. Anyway I am rather excited and I am looking very forward to a swim in the ocean, I love swimming in the ocean ( very fond memories from my childhood) and I am hoping that this end of the pacific will not be as bloody cold as it is at home!

On that note I will be off as I need to go by some more seeds and then head back to my house to walk the puppy before I leave her trapped in the house for the afternoon.


Friday, July 30, 2004

Vacation, vacation, vacation

It was a wonderful feeling this morning when I woke up, actually was awoken by a whining puppy... but none the less and I realized that for the next 2 weeks I have no where to be! I have lots of work to do for school to get ready for the year but I don't have to be anywhere and I can stay in my air condtioned apartment all day if I want.

It is hot!!! very hot here. I walked the dog at 7 ish this morning and it was already like 30 and then I went for a bike ride and was dying by the time I got here, the internet cafe. Aside from the heat things are good, I am looking forward to seeing some of the city in my time off. I am getting to know my way around a little bit and hope to take a day trip or two to the country to see other things besides shopping malls and pollution.

I haven't seen or done to much exciting this week and my landlords haven't cleaned my apartment latley. I went out for this fun Japanense dinner last night (staff meal, last day of summer camp), it was a set menu but there were a few choices, most of it was pretty good. I discovered that I don't like Japanese yam... it looks like an apple but is slimy and cruchy at the same time, it was strange. I also had a piece of the rarest steak I have ever eaten, it tasted pretty good even though it was practically mooing.

Okay well that's it, I am still waiting for internet access at home, I have applied but haven't been hooked up yet. I will come to the cafe this week though to check and to write. Hope all is well in the rest of the world.


Saturday, July 24, 2004

They did it again!

Man oh man these landlords in Asia.. I went out last night and came home to find that my landlords had been over in my absence and cleaned my house again, and they must think that I am slob and never put anything away. The fact of the matter is that I don't like most of the things that they have left in the place and have slowly been hiding them away, like the orange plastic table cloth that I have left off the table for the last 2 weeks, that they put back on the table. (it has been removed again and replaced with a blue table runner... hopefully they'll get the hint!)

Anyway I have been here for 7 weeks, amazing how time flies! and have one more week of work and then 2 weeks of vacation! Yipee, not that I am going anywhere or doing anything but it is nice to know that I won't have to leave my apartment unless I want to.

Friday was an amusing day, the child who has driven me batty all summer arrived and announced that it was his last day ( I did a happy dance and demanded that his mother be called to confirm as I didn't want to get my hopes up for nothing) Well he was right and it was last day ( a long day at that) and after a very long day withthe little monster I escourted him to his waiting car at the end of the day and his mom said that she hoped I would still be at the school in a year when he came back... I held back my ... not if mylife depends on it will I ever be your sons teacher again.. comments and smiled and nodded, said a polite goodbye and did a happy dance as they drove away. He is off to an elite private school for kindergarten, ours isn't elite enough I guess... that's fine with me. My kindergarten class will have 19 young monkeys in it and 13 of them are boys!!!! it will be a long year I think.

Anyway my time a the cafe is almost up so I must be off, I will have net access at home sometime next week I hope, as soon as the last of my visa stuff is processed.

Hope all is well in the rest of the world! You can write and let me know... the novelty of my being gone has worn off and I haven't from anyone is ages... sad for me but I trust that it is cause you are all so busy.


Saturday, July 17, 2004

Feeling rather reflective... and a little sweaty!

Hello world,

Well it's saturday and oddly enough my 27th birthday... Happy birthday to me... and I am happy that I am here, enjoying the adventure.I was thinking as I walked here to the cafe that when I am a little old lasy and I look back on my "youth" I will be happy that I had the guts to travel to the other side of the world and see it. Korea was a tough few months but it got me here, to Taipei and I love it here so I guess Korea was worth it. I am loving my new job ( I know I say that a lot) and I am really looking forward to the start of the school year in August. It's been a long time coming but I am finally feeling settled and like things are moving a long as they should be and it's a great feeling!

Okay enough reflecting! I was fortunate enough to get a present from my parents in the mail (it arrived yesterday, perfect timing) and in it was a Costco card, I am now a very happy teacher. I went to Costco last night and spent way to many of my hard earned pennies on treats for me and a new friend. Yes I have a pet, unfortunatley the tailess gecko has perished, I did my best but I guess it was just not meant to be, However I have rescued someone else of the 4 legged variety and she is pretty damn cute! (photos soon) I have a puppy, a very small puppy that was taken away from it's mommy to soon in life. 2 weekends ago I was riding home and this man had puppies for sale on a street corner (I saw him again today), I looked in the box and among the crew of dogs was 2 golden lab puppies, a big beagle puppy, a full grown shiztu and the littlest puppy (alone that is) I have ever seen lying on the bottom of the cardboard box. I picked her up and she was almost lifeless and had quite a bad cough. I paid the dirty old man the money he wanted and took her home in my fanny pack on my bicycle. I wasn't sure if I could keep her but I knew that if I left her there she would die.

She has since been to the vet, he thinks the was only about 5 weeks old, so now she is 7 or so and her cough is gone, all in all she is doing a lot better. I take her to work with me and she stays in the principals apartment (she lives in the building the school is in) and then she gets let out and played with at lunch time and after school. I am still contemplating her long term living situation but I am quite in love with the little thing ( I named her Tai, after Taipei) and you can bring dogs back to Canada from here with no quarentine (sp?) so we'll what happens. The downfall to the dog is that I live in a roof top apartment and there is no elevator so I must walk her down 6 floors to go outside, it's a long hike but I'll survive.

Funny moment of the day....this morning I am lounging around my apartment, (luckily for me dressed) and my landlords showed up unannounced. They came to fix a leak in the roof which they did but then stayed for hours and cleaned my apartment for me, it was quite wierd. They washed my floors and picked at the plants and told me that they thought they had fixed the leak but we needed to wait for the next rain storm to see for sure. They took my garbage with them and left, it was very strange and I am sure that they are telling there family and friends about the forgeiner who never washes her floors... I have only lived there a week and a bit and they were hardly dirty but it was nice of them none the less.

On that note, those of you have lived with me would be amazed at how clean my kitchen is! It's clean all the time and there aren't any dishes on the counter either, maybe a mug in the sink from morning coffee but that's it. Why? Taipei has a very active insect population and cockroaches here can fly! Since a lot of my apartment is open to the great outdoors I get a variety of 6 legged creatures who like to explore my space and a very clean kitchen gives them less reason to take up residence. Cockroaches do appear evry few days, they fly in and I usually attck them with a shoe or I am feeling like a buddhist trap them and let them go again, they are huge though and have scared me half to death at night as that is when thye tend to flyin the windows, they are about _________________________ big, I am not joking. Ahhhh the wonders of a tropical climate.

Anyway I must be off, I am meeting someone from work for dinner and movie to celebrate my birthday and before I do that I must get home and feed the dog. So I will head back out in to the heat and run home, actually ride home. Hope you are all well and that life in North America (except the odd one of you who is in Korea) is treating you well.


Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Good Morning

It's a bright sunny wednesday morning here and I am looking forward to a long fun filled day at the local aquarium. I will be looking at exotic local sea life and I forgot my camera! So sad.

It has been and interesting few days, my class is adorable but there are a few of them who are driving me crazy. I did a happy dance yesterday when one of them stayed home sick. It doesn't matter what the cultural differences are, this kid would be a handfull in any culture!

I am looking forward to the weekend... I have plans to go shopping, my favourite activity on Saturday (cause it's my birthday and I want too!) and hopefully head to the beach on Sunday, it is really hot and the beach would be a nice change. It is kinda far, it takes about an hour from the city. We'll see how much work I get done between now and then.

Wel that is all the exciting news that I have to share today. Must be off as the little people will be arriving soon... with parents in tow.


Sunday, July 11, 2004

Chickens, goat and crickets

Okay so I am riding my bike home from work the other day and low and behold I see a chicken! No I am not lying or making it up there was a chicken outside a shop just wandering around. I am talking about a busy intersection during rush hour, it was amazing. I am sure that she was dinner for someone.

It's Sunday morning and on my way here, to the internet cafe I saw a goat. Someone had a goat standing in a rather large cage on the sidewalk. It was getting a lot of attention, a petting zoo of sorts just randomly created for the benefit of the city folk.

I went to Tianmu ( a very nice part of town with lots of foreigners) last night to pick up some free stuff that was advertised on one of the local message boards and once I finally found the house I discovered that there is a place in taipei where there are houses and no street noise. It was the mopst amazing thing, they had a yard, a pool and a real house! He works for some company that foots the bill, which I imagine must be huge! But it was a beautiful space and I am so jealous. I could here crickets chirping, I am not lying. Taipei is such a cememnt jungle and I live right in the middle of it, I never realised such places existed. Anyway it is way to far from work for it to even be an opition but it was a lovley spot to see.

The weekend is almost over and my hour and at the cafe is almost up and so I must be off... if anyone is bored later this week and trying to find something to do with all their free time they can sit down and write me a long gossipy email... yes, I have resorted to shamless begging on my part... I am homesick/spacesick and would love to hear how life is on the other side of the world.

Miss ya

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Internet cafes are loud

Okay can some one tell me why the boys who come to cafes to play copmputer games have to have the volume turned up loud enough to cause hearing loss! There are always heaps of people in here playing games at this insane volume... I don't understand.

Life here is good, busy but good. I am busy with my camp kids and trying to get ready for my class in the fall... so much to do so little time. It is official that i will be the kindergarten techer, I'll have 19 munchkins in full day kindergatrten and I am looking quite forward to it.

The new apartment is great, I love that i can get up and sit outside in the mornings while I drink my coffee. The street noise is a little loud at times but life goes on, it's just noise and I can't really here it from my room so I can sleep and all.

I haven't had much time for sight seeing or anyhting else to exciting as I have been busy wiht work but I am hoping to make it to the beach next weekend and have a swim... it is really hot here and I am desperate for some water to paly in. Anyway the noise is driving me crazy and so I am will be off.

I should have internet at home soon and then will be around more often again.


Tuesday, June 29, 2004

lions and tiger and TYPHOONS

There is a typhoon on it's way. Is it wrong to pray that it hits so I get Friday off? You can see it's progress at http://www.cwb.gov.tw/V4e/weather/satellite/index_e.htm click on the taiwan option and the loop 12 hours too and you can see it moving, Taipei is at the north end of the island and at the moment it looks as though it will only hit the south.... I'll keep my fingers crossed that it blows north.

Japanese Gecko

Guess what was floor in the staff bathroom at my school today (on the 3rd floor of and office building) a newly hatched Japenese Gecko, the cutest little thing I have ever seen... he dropped his tail as he was terrified but other than that he's adorable and I am hoping that I can keep him alive long enough to get big and healthy. I can't believe that we found him inside...

I'll keep you posted, not to much else going on here... work, work, work and a trip to COSTCO, it was very exciting. Anyway I'll be back soon, it's late and I am tired.


Saturday, June 26, 2004


Okay so we all here about monsoon season or the rainy season in various parts of the world, well I have now experienced it first hand. There have been days where I have seen it just randomly start to rain/pour, but everyday since tuesday at about 2:30 it has started pouring with rain. Rain is not such a bad thing but our students are picked up at 3 and as a result I have spent pick up time in the pouring rain, and I mean pouring. Not fun... hopefully the timing will shift and it will rain a little earlier, it did yesterday and so by pick up time it was just sprinkling, much better.

It's saturday morning and I am off to explore the city on my new bike, yes i bought a bicycle. It's not the nicest one ever but it works and it has these great back brakes that actually stop the wheel by the spokes, thus no slipping breaks in the rain, very cool. Befroe you even ask yes I bought a helemet and yes I'm wearing it, no one here has them or wears them but I do. The traffic is scary and the pedestrains are worse! Anyway I am off, I'll write more later and tell you about my day.


Tuesday, June 22, 2004

New Photos

Click on the New Photos title at the top and it will take you to my most recent photo album, the lantern festical in Korea and a few things I have seen since arriving in Taipei.

Not to much to report today, it's a holiday and I went to see the Dragon Boat races. It was amazingly quite there, we saw one race, wandered around a little and then left. It started to pour about 20 minutes after we got back to the subway so we were happy that we left when we did. It is a big event here a and there were lots of teams from all over the world just not to many onlookers today.

I am going to try to head home in between the rain clouds, it's pouring at the moment but it stops and starts so hopefully I'll make it in the next clearing. Enjoy the photos and I'll talk to you all again soon.


PS if you look at my weather pixie she now is wearign a bathing suit and holding an unbrella... quite funny.

Monday, June 21, 2004

So Proud of Myself

Guess what I did last night, I figured out how to add a weather pixie to my blog! So if you scroll down a little and look on the right hand side you will see a lady dressed in the appropriate attire for the weather here, yes that is bathing suit and most days I wish I could wear one! It's hot and humid all the time if and or when it finally cools down she'll change her clothes.

Tomorrow is the dragon boat festival - it's a holiday! I'll tell you all about it after I go. At the moment I off to dinner.


Sunday, June 20, 2004

Cute furry four legged friends

Okay someone needs to be with me at all times when I go shopping in this city otherwise I am going to come home with a four legged friend sometime very soon. On thursday night it was some very sad and hot lop earred bunnies at the night market. Yesterday it was basset hound puppies and today it was beagles... I don't know if I have enough self control not to bring one of these very cute little critters home with me! I have to go back to the night market soon to get something for work and I am dreading all the little friends that I will see desperate for new homes. Poor little puppies and bunnies and kittens and hamsters and even the ferrets I saw today even though they aren't cute and I don't want one.

The fish that I have in my classroom at school just aren't the same, they don't give kisses and aren't happy to see me... except when I feed them. Okay I'm off to the market, if you want to lay bets on when I will come home with a pet feel free, someone will win eventually I'm sure.

Friday, June 18, 2004

just takinga break to catch up

Good morning,

Things here in Taipei are good…It’s Saturday morning and I am spending a lazy few hours catching up on the all the things I haven’t had time to get to because this new job is keeping me on my toes! So I have been uploading photos to make a new photo album (look for it soon) and tidying up my apartment, what fun.

I’ve had a good week, it was long but good. I spent a long time yesterday setting up my classroom, yes I have my very own classroom for the next 6 weeks of summer camp (I’ll probably move into another one for the fall), I needed to make room for a tent as the theme for the next 2 weeks is “In the Woods”. Most of the children at our school come from the upper class of Taipei and none of them have ever been camping, one of them told me had slept in a tent at his Aunt’s house once but it was inside. Everyone here lives in apartments, I haven’t seen a house in the city and so none of the children even know about camping in their yards, bug hunts or bike riding in the driveway. It’s a different world (many of our kids have nannies, drivers and some have cooks). I think that we will have a fun few weeks, I’ll have fun anyway and I hope that they do too.

Last weekend I did some sight seeing and apartment hunting, I think I found one on my own that I can move into next month, it is one of the other teacher’s places. It’s a great space but hard to explain so you’ll have to wait until I move in and can take some photos.

After that I went with one of the other teachers from school to see the national theatre, it’s in a park and beautiful to see. There are lots of great concerts there and I took some great photos. I went to the world’s tallest building, It’s called Taipei 101 and is huge! It has a large mall and book store in it and just about every North American store you could ever want. The expensive but wonderful grocery store is in the basement there, I made another trip there too.

Taipei has these great night markets that I am in love with, there is one on the way home from work and it has amazing deals and all kinds of stores that only open at night, it’s cool to see and quite the shopping experience. You can by roasted chickens or geese, but here they roast the whole thing and they eat all of it, the kids tell me that they like the heads! YUCK! I have seen whole pigs and pigs ears and snouts are popular too, They eat everything here and I have seen enough animal liver to last me a life time.

On a brighter note there are lots of great restaurants and I went for Vietnamese last weekend that was great and for hot pot on Thursday night – asian fondue, a little different than Korea but good. I have encountered a great deal of MSG, they use it like salt here and since it makes feel rather ill I have been avoiding most restaurants unless I really know what I am going to eat.

Not much else to tell you about, it’s hot here and the mosquitoes are vicious and I’ve got a million bites. Not fun although they have these great electric mosquito zappers that run on batteries and look like a tennis racket, you touch the bug and zap it’s dead. There are also cockroaches here – they are huge and can fly… I’ve seen plenty of those too.

Well I think that’s about it for today, I still can’t access my email at home but can at school and do check it when I get a chance, now that I have keys I have a little more freedom to come and go there. Hope everyone is well, I get that photo album finished this week and send the link on Monday. Be well


Friday, June 11, 2004


Okay so I know I promised photos but much like my hotmail it won't work with this damn internet connection, SORRY.

I finished my first week of work and I must say that I am quite happy with things here. I just came home from dinner with the staff at a great Italian restaurant in town, (it is actually owned by a parent from the school, not why we went but a tid bit of information) Anyway ir was great and we all had a lot of fun. There is a lot of turn over at the school at the moment as teachers are heading home to do things like have babies and go to grad school. I cabbed home with 2 who are leaving and made some comment about my age and one of them just about died, she thought I was 19... ha ha ha I know that I look young, but that young, I hope not. I haven't been asked for ID for ages and finally thought that I looked old enough to be a grown up, I guess not.

I am so happy that the weekend has arrived and I can have a lazy morning. I am looking forward to a day of exploring my new neighbourhood and seeing what there is at the local night market. But now I am off to bed as it is late!

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

I can find everything here

Wow is all I have to say, I found gluten free cookies, rice cakes and real feta cheese here today! It was all an insane price but that is fine they are important to me and thus I will pay!

Taipei is great and everything is going well. The new job is wonderful, I have 4,5, and 6 year olds for the summer camp and then in mid August I will have a class, yes just one, (what a novel idea) I am hoping it will be kindergarten (depends on enrollment) and then I will have one after school language arts class every day. The school is in great spot and has great classrooms and resources. I am looking forward to all the things that go with having my own class even concerts and report cards…. ask me again around Christmas.

The apartment that I found is pretty good, not amazing but I do have lots of my own space and it will do for the summer, I will probably try to find my own place in the fall once I know the city better. There are 4 people who live downstairs but we seem to keep fairly opposite schedules so it works out ok.

Taipei is beautiful, there are trees everywhere and it is very tropical. The weather is around 30 everyday and humid. There are heaps of mosquitoes too, I could do without those. I spent this past weekend staying is a great little hotel not to far away and got some sight seeing done.

I went to a great little Buddhist temple, to an observation deck in the “old tallest” building and to some amazing markets. The streets here are filled with vendors and stalls like in Korea but the selection here is much different and I have seen more chicken/goose parts than I could ever want to. They eat everything, except the feathers. The fruit is divine, I could live just off pineapple, watermelon and mango’s. There is heaps of selection in the grocery stores and most people speak English, at least a little bit. On Saturday night I saw Harry Potter, definitely a high point for me. On Sunday I went to this great market that happens every weekend under a bridge it is divided up into a few sections flowers, jade and crafts, it was really neat.

Today I went to the world’s tallest building (at the moment) it is huge, it’s called the Taipei 101 building and has amazing stores including my dreamy grocery store and the hugest bookstore ( I stayed away from it). I want to go back and just wander around, it has amazing security and the whole thing is quite impressive, the bottom 5 levels are shopping and the rest is offices.

Hmmm what else can I tell you about, not much else has happened since I have only been here for 5 days! Getting out of Korea was a bit challenging but I did finally leave and arrived here in one piece with all of my stuff in tow.

Hope you are all well, I’ll write again soon.


Monday, June 7, 2004

GRRRR frustrated

Okay for those of you who are wondering why I have stopped answering emails... hotmail will not let me access my account, why i do not know. So no exciting news that way.

Taipei is great, the new job is good and I promise I will sit down tomorrow and tell you all about it. There are so many great things and I am really excited. At the moment I have to go and get some supper. Hope you are all well.


Thursday, June 3, 2004


Hello there,

I made it one piece. I have enjoyed a lovely bubble bath some real fresh coffee and am amazed at the difference two hours makes in temperature, culture and fruit! They have MANGOS and they are not 4 dollars like in Korea and you should see the size of the watermelons, they are huge. I am a happy camper.

I move into my new place on Sunday and so there will be more from me after that.

happy in taipei

Friday, May 28, 2004

Just a small rant about how mommies run the schools here!

Okay so I’m still in Korea for another 4 days, it’s a good thing I’m leaving otherwise I would of quit my job on the spot. I got yelled at on Friday for playing games in class, games that are in the textbook to be meant as learning experiences.

Let me take you back to the moment, it is Friday afternoon and I am in class waiting for a few stragglers to show up, so the kids and I who are there starting playing a card game that they love while we wait for the kids who are late ( I know that they will arrive within the next 10 minutes or so as they are always late ) anyway so after about 10 minutes they start to wander in and so I tell the 3 kids who are playing cards that after this hand they will have to stop so we can start the class, well 2 seconds after that the last student arrives with his mom right behind him and she sees that we are playing cards and goes off to find my supervisor. Man was I mad, anyway so at the break I get this call that Scarlett wants to talk to me so off I go to find her.

Let it be said now that this parent has been a thorn in my side since I started teaching her son, she claims that I don’t give enough homework, a change from home that’s for sure, I have never heard a parent in Canada express concern at the lack of homework, anyway back to my story.

So I go to find Scarlett and she informs that this parent is unhappy, so I tell her what was happening and that I think that it is unfair that she just walks into my class and makes a judgment about my teaching from a 2 second window of watching. She tells me that another parent (she won’t tell me who) has complained too about us playing games. Yes I said I play scrabble with my kids, all my kids whose English level is high enough and they love it, they usually beat me, (can you imagine a parent complaining about scrabble). We also play hangman, Simon says and a version of concentration along with all the games that are in the text book ( in my level 1 book the word game appears 30 times, I counted after). So if you don’t want kids going home and saying that we played games than you’ll have to change out textbook!

I told here that game is a broad term, the kids here think that anything that does not involve a worksheet is a game, even puzzles. If she had a problem with way that I taught then I would stop but that she would have to provide me with enough materials to keep the kids busy that did not involve games ( a joke because the materials at our school are horrible). She quickly back tracked and told me that she would talk to the parent again and I should just try to avoid the word game.

Then at the break she told me that I had to juggle the kids around in some of my classes because some parents wanted friends to be together, no concern for their abilities or level, the moms want them in the same class and so we will accommodate. It was a bad day.

It is a good thing I’m leaving cause otherwise I would of quit on the spot! So that’s my rant for today, I am off to meet Lexi, I think we should go shopping!

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

My Lantern is the one on the right, the purple one. Don't ask me how I am going to get it to Taipei, not to sure yet.  Posted by Hello

8 days and counting.

8 days and counting.

Hello world,

It’s Buddha’s birthday today and thus a national holiday, yippee no work. It has been a long and lazy day, I have had fun playing on the internet, I love high speed internet and I have created a blog! For those of you don’t know what Blog means – it’s a web based log or an online journal. I posted my emails that I have sent to you all and a few pictures from this weekends lantern festival. I thought that it would be a little more effective than constantly emailing everyone, not that I don’t love writing to you all, actually it’s that I am enjoying writing so much that I want to do it more often, this way I can write as often as I want and then email you all to let you know that it has been updated and I can link my photo albums to it, fun high tech stuff! You can see my blog at www.asiaadventure.blogspot.com

The last week or so has been pretty good, the highlight was by far the lantern festival this weekend in Insa-dong. They have a huge street festival to celebrate Buddha’s birthday and I am sure that there were more foreigners there than locals. My friend Emma came into the city for the weekend, on Saturday night we went to see the lanterns at the temple and these huge rice paper floats – very cool. On Sunday we went back and got to make Lotus Flower Lanterns and see all kinds of cool things at the street fair (lots of great photos to come soon)

Korea continues to amaze me, last night we went for chicken after work (yes just chicken, most restaurants only serve one or two things, this was barbeque chicken – spicy!) and we wanted to sit outside and so the lasy set us up a table on the street, a patio rather close to oncoming traffic but we all survived. By the time we were quite the sight, 10 or so foreigners sitting in the road drinking beer and making enough noise to wake the whole neighbourhood, it’s a good thing that nothing here shuts down early, everyone else was just as loud as we were. It was fun.

Hmmm what else can I tell you about, not much I am afraid, there have been moments this week when I saw something at thought that it would be funny to write home about but I can’t think of anything at this moment. If it comes to me I’ll let you know. I am off to Taipei in a week and am quite excited so the next email you’ll get form me will be from there, in the mean time check out my blog, there are even a few photos there and I will be in touch with you all again soon.

The Lanterns at the temple Posted by Hello
if you carry your lantern on your head then the crowd can't crush it.  Posted by Hello

Monday, May 24, 2004

Bathing a golden Buddha statue

I am rather proud of myself

Hello all,

This is it, my new blog, I figured it would be a great way to keep you allinformed of the daily happenings in my world and more interactive than emails, I will still email but this will be here too and I will post here more often so check in and see what has been happening. Below you will find all my emails since I arrived in Korea and a couple of photos from the Lantern Festival this weekend, it was fun. I will make a new photo album soon.

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my

Hello world,
Below is the link for my most current photo album, it is not to exciting but some of the photos are fun. My favorite is the man selling band-aids on the subway. Anyway there is not much else that is to exciting here at the moment. I am really looking forward to moving on to Taipei, I have found even found an apartment and it has a bathtub! The internet and I are such good friends.

This weekend I showed the new teacher around the city a bit, it wa pretty fun. He needed a computer monitor and so we went to the techno part of town, 7000 electronic stores in a bout 5 city blocks. I have never seen so many computer things. He got his monitor and I got the coolest rubber keyboard for my laptop, it is made of rubber and rolls up into a small circle for transport. Those of you who know my laptop know how small the keyboard is, this was a great solution and it was really inexpensive.

Anyway next weekend is the Lantern festival to celebrate Buddha's birthday and I am really excited about it. There will be things going on for a whole week and it promises to be a grand adventure. I'll let you know how it goes.
Enjoy the photos, miss you.