Sunday, December 30, 2007

Getting Setup

Coming home from Church on the bus.
sacrificial food for the ancestors ( they eat it after all the jig-amoral is done)
The Taoist Temple

I Heart Taiwan!!!!  Everything is so new and entertaining.  I'm just letting myself get swept up in the swage smelling air, and carried to and fro in the scooter cover streets, and into crazy celebration that are that are so quintessentially Taiwan that I can't help but smile.  The last few days have been extraordinary.  The first full day in Taiwan was filled with a lot of paper work, for visas and work permits.  But we also picked out bikes, mine is a blue SPEEDA, it rattles, squeaks, the gears don't work, and basket on the front is bent on one side from what I imagine being a run in with a out of control scooter,  but I love it, as it is my only form of  transportation for the next 6 months.  On Saturday night we went to Asia-go, the Taiwan eqivent of Walmart. That was the craziest shopping experience of my life. I walked the alies looking for anything I could possibly decipher.  But for the most part, I picked up things a could tell what they where by the pictures, and what the extremely pushy asian clerks put in my baskets for me.  I don't know if they saw me as a lost and scared American, which I was, and were just trying to help, but I need lean to say "no".  The next day was Sunday, which was a whirlwind.  I woke up at 10am, hopefully recovered form the jet lag, and got a phone call which I was reluctant to pick up because, hay I don't speak  Mandarin, but it turned out to be on of the old teachers that was going to be taking us to church. She, Lou, was so excieted about this Taoist celebration that she had wandered upon earlier in the morning.  We all ran downstairs in our pj's, breakfast in hand wondering  what's going on.  We ended up jumping on bikes for a 15 min ride to what looked like a carnival.  There where games, and neon colored, what looked like some sort of fun house, but eneded up being the temple.  The rows upon rows of food for there ancestors, mountains of rice and slottered pigs with a apples in the mouths. We learned from Lou that this was the 40th anavsery of the temple and a few years ago was damaged by earth quake, so this was also a rededication of the temple.  The number 4 has a very bad connotation, as if you say it with a different tone means death, which is taboo to talk about here. But the guess was that they where also having this celebration, to word off the evil sprits.  We left to go church shortly after that on a 45 min bus ride to Taichung where the English speaking branch is. I'm so sad because I left my new water bottle on the bus, I've only had it for a totally of 4 days. Boo! if it isn't coats it something else.  
 Because we were almost all new in the ward we had a little lesson on some of the laws and rules of living here as a American. Very interesting. There was about 25 people there including some Asians, but mostly it was English teachers like me.  I'm so excited to be able to go to church that looks that same and hear the same words as home. Hopefully this will help with homesickness.  But after returning home around 6 ish, we were hungry.  We all busted out of food that in the most part was fantastic.  Later on we returned to the Taoists temple rededication, it was bigger, louder and had more food, more pigs and goats.  We didn't stay long because well, I thought my ear drums were going to explode. 
I woke up a 6 am today again. But today there was  a reason, we had to go to the hospital and get out check ups so that we could get out resident visas and so on.  It was very strange to go to a hospital in a different country, Lots of waiting rooms, and you just take a number. But all in all nothing super sckechy. When we got home we explored the local bakery which is heaven.  We decided that since today in new years, for us at least , we would get a cake.  It ended up being about 800NT which is about 25US but it look beautiful and I can't wait to dig in.  But the reminder of the day was in training, for the school, as well how to recycle which is  a bit more complicated.  We went to dinner and it was fab dumplings, and then we went the bing shaw stand , everyone got all these fantastic flavors, and then I got pineapple, and I was so sadly disappointed with my choice, but what can you do, I'll figure it out one day. Well that New Years party is going to be starting, Kiss. 

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Getting Here

This is a perfect example of Chinglish.                  View from my apartment

We got to Taiwan, and we loved them already      Fabulous sign in the Taipei Airport. Beware the                                                                                                       Quarantine beagles!!!
P.S. I tried to copy paste the blog in here and didn't work, so just sent it out as a email. But here are the pics and some explanation.

This Mary and I before we left LAX, we found out that we have the same sun glasses, instant friend.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I never knew that leaving would be so hard

Well Christmas has come and gone, the presents have been opened with only one trip to the ER. No joke, heat sealed plastic boxes are dangerous.  My father was trying to open his very fancy new pen that he got for Christmas. When trying to use his scissors on his mini Letterman, it slipped,  punching his hand, hitting a never which caused him to jerk his hand away and flinging blood all over himself, my Mom and the floor.  He ended up going to the ER but no necessary stitches, just a tetanus shot, and he may or may not get the feeling back in his finger. The family thinks that, that finger wants to commit suicide. 7 years ago that same finger was ran though a table saw blade, it's really just a matter of time before its chopped off completely. But other then that no serous injures were incurred this Christmas season.  
The day after Christmas I needed to leave to get up to Portland for my flight to LA and then to Taiwan. But the trouble was the 4 inches of snow that we got the night before and and the sheet of ice that the roads became.  We actually got out of the driveway after a
bout 20 min of shoveling and my father saying that the front tires needed more weight on them and then jumping on the hood of the car as my bother-in-law backed out. Yes, this is the same father that went to the ER the previous day.  And we all wonder why he gets injured so often.  Even after all the shoveling and jumping on cars we didn't make it far until we realized that we rather wait until the hill wasn't a sheet of ice before venturing on.  But about an hour later we were on our way to Portland, where we arrived with out harm or accident. All in all I only had to say goodbye to my family 3 times before I actually got more then a mile away from the house. 

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Salt Lake City

Well I just got back from the most enjoyable 3 days of my life, sort, of. In the first two days of training I developed a form of speech called molding. It's pretty much saying something like " this is my paper, who's paper is it, it's your paper" and then havening who ever say that. So I apologize in advance if I talk to you like you can't speak English. But that last day was the best. One of the old teachers, that had been there before, did a presentation about the kids we'll teach and the places we'll see, and giving helpful tips about where to eat and what to bring. This created a atmosphere of excitement throughout the class. But upon getting the plane tickets it all became real, and I felt a bit nauseated. I'm excited about the people that I'll be teaching with, they are all so happy, and even a bit nauseated as well. But I'm sure that it will make for a great 6 months!
After we where done with all the rigmarole in Provo, some of the teachers and I went to Salt Lake to play around. We went to a book store to find some Mandarin Language books but all they really had where books in Mandarin, so of no real use. But I did see one of my favorite people there. Steven Colbert!!! Ok it was his cut-out but the excitement was real.
There is 12 more days till I'll leave and I have a lot of shopping to do. Not just for the trip but for Christmas!!! I haven't even started!! I leave on December 27 at 7 am, so at least I'
ll be able to be with my family for Christmas, and that's one of the most important things for me.