Saturday, January 29, 2005

Lots to talk about today

On today's agenda for discussion,
1. Annoying cultural issues
2. A cool tradition
3. My Secret Pal
4. Have I told anyone that I am going to the Philippines in 5 DAYS!!!!!

1. On Friday night we went to a very posh Thai restaurant for a staff party to celebrate Chinese New Year, all employers do it for there staff at this time of year and it was quite the event. It's called a Wei-ah and to make a long story short it is a chance for the employer to thank their employees for all the hard work they have done over the past year with a great meal and some sort of a new years bonus. Sounds great so far right, well it would of been until they began the games. Instead of just giving everybody who works equally hard the same cash bonus they play a lottery game. So in the end some people home with about $20 (Canadian) and others go home with closer to $500. The difference is what bothered me, we all do the same job, we all work the same long exhausting hours and some people get so much while others get so little. I came out in the middle with about $80, great as far as I am concerned.
Apparently this is normal, the boss walks around with wads of cash (almost 4 grand in our case) and gives it away. She actually had all that cash with her and flashed it around all night. Every business does it differently and sometimes some people go home with nothing while another person goes home with a car. Maybe it's the teacher in me that finds this all so unfair, I think that we would all be better served if you just divided it equally among your employees. The Taiwanese teachers had no issues with it, just us foreigners who think that everyone should be treated the same.

2. On a brighter note I met with 2 of the other teachers yesterday for tea and knitting. ( I am working on a hat, and almost finished a scarf, but I am not happy with it and so I think I will frog it and start again... Long story) Anyway we went to this very cool Chinese Tea House. It was my first experience here, I had done the same thing in Korea but here it is really different. There is a tea ceremony like in Japan but it is not as rigid. We had so lovely fresh Oolong tea, picked from a local mountain. It was a great time and now I want to go back. The house itself has a lot of great history, many democratic "radicals" met there in the 60's and 70's when Taiwan was in the middle of it's political upheaval. Now it is a heritage house and really very cool. Come visit me and I will take you there!

3. As you know I signed up for secret pals 4 a little while ago and I heard from my secret pal today, I am so excited. I can't wait for some treats and I am really excited about ending some Asian treats to someone else. Anyway the person who has me wanted to know where I wanted to travel. The answer is simple, everywhere! I am heading the Philippines next week and have plans to see Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam this summer. I would like to go to Africa and see Europe at some point. While I am hear I have plans to spend a weekend in Hong Kong and hopefully another in Beijing. I want to see it all! As for things from home that I miss, some fresh air and open space would be great but I don't think you can mail those. I really miss chocolate with mint in it, not like peppermint paddies but actual chocolate that tastes like mint. I am not sure about mailing it though, Jackie said something about not being able to mail chocolate to some places, I think I have gotten it in the mail here but I can't remember. I also really miss decent gummy candies, like gummy bears and cola bottles and reeses pieces candies too. Yes, I just miss candy, actually that is not true but the other stuff I miss is hard to mail or difficult to explain and find. Since I have no idea where you are I'll just stick to things that are pretty universal.

4. I AM GOING TO SEE A BIT OF THIS BEAUTIFUL WORLD ON SATURDAY! Just in case you have missed it I am going to the Philippines on Saturday. I am going to spend a few days in Manila and then head to a nearby island to see the rainforest, tribal culture and of course the beach. I wanted to go diving but I think that I will have to settle for snorkeling instead.

This ends todays discussion, although I did also want to tell you about the cute things the pup has been up to, the kitchen set up on the sidewalk and a really crowded restaurant experience but I will save those for another day. Have a great Sunday.

This is at the tea house, there is a process involved in serving the tea but it took me awhile to remember that I had my camera and so this after my cup has been poured. Posted by Hello

This is Steph (a teacher), Thersea ( the boss) and Janus, (the accountant) showing off how they give money to their staff. It's unfair and Steph did really well but poor Sarah got almost nothing! Posted by Hello

Thursday, January 27, 2005

I need a little TLC

Okay I had a bad day yesterday and I need a hug! First my littlest friend who tends to drive me crazy was sent home because he was out of control and I had had enough. Well, the bell the rings and instead of just Grandma who I was assuming would be standing there I saw his DAD (who I have never met) had come to get him. I hope he gets the message that hitting teachers is not acceptable, maybe his parents will figure out that when you have a child who has special needs you need to look at your lives and adjust them accordingly. His mom is a flight attendant and he is often with his Grandma as a result.... It's a long complicated story but he is really a very sweet boy who needs a lot of attention.

Then at the end of the day I was on my way out of the school for a break before my after school class and I was stopped by someone who was with one of my kids. His neighbor had come to get him because his father had passed away during the afternoon. My heart just broke, this is a very sweet boy who has said nothing about his Dad being sick. I wonder how much he really knew, dad had cancer and he has been in the hospital all week. None of us had any idea. Poor kid, he is an only child and his mom is pretty protective so I imagine he has not been filled in on a lot of the details. What do you say to a 6 year old in a situation like this? I don't think he will be at school today but then I would not be surprised if he was.

Okay I have to get moving and go to work. Thankfully it is Friday!

Answers for Secret Pals 4

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer high- a nd/natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you? I like just about anything but do tend to buy cotton based fibers unless I am planning on felting it
2. Do you spin? Crochet? Nope
3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.) I am not a huge fan of perfume and am allergic to smoke
4. How long have you been knitting?I I relearned about 2 years ago
5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? No, sorry
6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.) Vanilla
7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Yes, I love chocolate especially mint chocolate
8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? I scrapbook, cross stich a little and like beading
9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) I like lots of different things, Indigo Girls, Spirit of the West, Jann Arden, most canadian groups in general.
10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? I am big fan of red and puple but not usually together.
11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? I am single and have a dog named Tai
12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know) To see the world, I am on my way but there is still a long way to go.
13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? Anything soft, the softer the better
14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? I don't know
15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s? Quick projects that are portable
16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? hats, felted bags and I want to be a sock knitter but got stalled on my first one and have to frog it and start again.
17. What are you knitting right now? A scarf, baby blanket, felted purse and a hat.
18. What do you think about ponchos? I wore them when I was a kid, I am not sure if I want to wear one again
19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Circular
20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? plastic or bamboo - the dog enjoys the bamboo ones though.
21. Are you a sock knitter? see the answer to 16
22. How did you learn to knit? My grandmother as a chid and then my sister and mom for a refresher course.
23. How old is your oldest UFO? what's a UFO, I think it is something unfinished but I have never heard the expression before
24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird? monkey's and pandas
25. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas
26. Is there anything that you collect? not really

Saturday, January 22, 2005


Okay nothing new in the last few hours but I did get the photo album finished, click on the title Pictures to go see the album.


The sun is shining and I am home with a nasty cold, sad, very sad. This is the first really nice day we have had all month. Not to much to say, I am home knitting and watching movies on HBO. Sadly they are not terribly exciting movies though. I am working on an online photo album and maybe it will be ready to go by the end of the day, I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Look my box is easy to carry ( and the dog wanted to be in the photo) we need these in Canada!. I went to buy a heater yesterday and they very nicley put a handle on it so I could carry it home more easily. It works and it made riding my bike all the way home with it much easier as I just held it in my left hand by the HANDLE.  Posted by Hello

Saturday, January 15, 2005


Well yesterday I could see my breath in my living room. It's not really cold according to the temperature but it sure feels it when there is no way to get warm. Well that is not true I can get warm but I have to stay in my bed. The sun is out today for the first time since I got back, there is nothing like 15 days of rain.

I went to the movies last night, I saw Flight of the Phoniex. It was pretty good. I also went grocery shopping and guess what the grocery store got....... GLUTEN FREE PASTA. I was over the moon with excitement. I just brought some back from Canada but this means it doesn't have to be as carefully rationed as it was before and I can eat pasta when I ever I want to. It's kinda expensive but so are all the other imported things that I like to buy. It probably will disappear off the shelves just as I get used to having it but I bought 2 bags and will by more on each trip to stock pile it.

What else can I tell you about, not to much. I am on my way to the laundry mat to dry my clothes (when it is this cold and wet they take days to dry!) This afternoon I am heading out to knit with the girls from work, I am working on a blanket for a baby that was born 2 weeks ago. She should get it by her first birthday. I am also knitting some scarves, one for me and one for a friends partner.

The washer just clicked off so I am going to dry those clothes. See ya

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Corn Starch

My dog, is a little bit dumb, actually I call her special but anyway yesterday in her attempt to make mischief she discovered a bag of cornstarch on the shelf.... well I came home to a house full of cornstarch. Needless to say I was not impressed but I cleaned it up and moved on. Well the damn dog did it again today, I don't know where she found it this time because the bag is in the fridge now ( all open things go in the fridge so that there are no bugs!) but there is cornstarch all over the house again. I think that she stashed some somewhere so that she could play again today., regardless htere is cornstarch all over my apartment.... AGAIN and it is a pain in the @#& (this is a G rated blog) to clean up because it is so fine.

Anyway on a brighter note it's Wednesday night and that means 2 more days till the weekend and then 3 more weeks till the Philippines! WooHoo.

I signed up for this great cyberspace gift/treat exchange. It's called secret pals and you get a name of another knitter/blogger somewhere else in the world and then you send them some treats... or at least that is the idea. I think it sounds like great fun, if you knit and have a blog you can sign up All the instructions are there.

Here's to the coming weekend :)

Saturday, January 8, 2005

It's chilly

Well after a very long week I have finally made it to the weekend! Jet lag and 5 year olds are not a good combination. Need less to say it was pretty uneventful week and the most exciting this I did was buy groceries. Oh and lose my wallet yeterday, luckily for me some kind soul returned it, Thank God, otherwise it would of been a nightmare to cancel all the things in it!

It has been cold and rainy since I returned, this is made worse by the fact that there is not heat or insulation anywhere, so it is cold all the time. I was even to cold to knit last night, sad but true. Not much else to tell I am off to the grocery store to get some banana's for muffins, yummy. Be well and enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, January 4, 2005


Ok so I said I would post again but really I don't have to much to say. Maybe that is partially because I feel really brain dead after working all day. Jet lag is always tougher at the end of a trip when you have little to look forward to.

Home was good. The munchkins continue to grow and are as adorable as ever. Time flies when your having fun and my time there was over before I knew it. It was nice to see my family and friends and sleep as much as I wanted. Shopping was a definite highlight as was being able to ask clerks to tell me where something was instead of wandering aimlessly through the store looking for it because of a language barrier.

It's cold and I am tired. There is no heat here or insulation and as a result I am chilled right through, so I am off to bed. Lots of bankets are a good thing! Night

Monday, January 3, 2005

just a quick note

I am back in Taipei safe and sound. I had a great vacation and enjoyed every minute of my time in Canada. I am also back at work, it's the same chaotic place that it was when I left. I am here but part of me wishes I wasn't, I miss wide open spaces and grocery stores with all my favorite foods.

My dog survived my absence although she has taken up the habit of howling when alone... it better of just been a temporary measure cause if it continues she will have to find another home! I don't think my neighbours will tolerate it for long.

Anyway I have to get moving and go to work but I will write a proper post after work today when I am a little bit more awake and with it.