Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dear World, Meet Eddie

Maybe it is the lack of white males here in Taiwan, but we were definitely super lovin' on this model for Burberry in the Taipei 101 mall this past week. As you can see, pictures were taken, and I'll admit that they may be currently used as phone backgrounds, or as something that is viewed often.

Later that day while walking back to our hostel I saw a poster for The Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary concert DVD coming out soon. So of course, as is bound to happen with a group of 20-something year-old ladies, we started talking about Les Miserables. We talked about Nick Jonas, and Alfie Boe, how we were ok with Hugh Jackman in the movie, and how Taylor Swift would rise to the occasion if she is cast. And then we were at the hostel and ready for a nap.

A few mornings later I was laying in bed, and I began to wonder if they had actually cast T-Swift or not. Thank goodness for IMDB, I looked that one up real quick. As of now, she has not been cast yet, but the actor for Marius has. And who does it happen to be? None other than our favorite Burberry model! I couldn't even believe it, I hopped out of bed and ran across the hostel to the other room to tell all...and they couldn't believe it either. Their reactions were better than I could have hoped for. There was much rejoicing.

I am writing this post (I was voted best blogger) to announce to the world that we were some of the first to discover Eddie Redmayne. Ok, first meaning after the Burberry people (obviously) and the casting director, and the casting director of My Week with Marylin, and probably most people in Britain. But none-the-less, we have found our dear Eddie. We even decided that this event was blessed enough that we have to gather once again to see the film upon its release. And we sure loved this little surprise here in Asia.

-M Team, OUT!

Bad Kids

Oh what a magical week. I forgot that I live here in Taiwan. It felt like vacation. On Wednesday morning we took a train up to Taipei to meet up with, well, actually meet some girls I had been introduced to via Facebook and other friends we all know. We were very lucky because the tickets some random man sold us got in 5 minutes before the others. Everything went so perfectly and smoothly. I know I've traveled a lot, but anything that could cause possible drama (such as getting lost and never finding the other girls, because they are phone-less) gives me so much stress. But everything was awesome. Our little trip consisted of walking, eating, laughing, and shopping, over and over again. After everything I consumed this week I was shocked to find myself hungry this morning. Last night as Ashley and I were biking home from the train station I told her that I would probably never eat again. I  loved Taipei, but I was more than pleased to return to our little Hualien. I overheard Ashley telling her mom today that there are 23 million people in Taiwan, and like 21 million of them were in Taipei this weekend. She speaks the truth!
I think I like Chinese New Year more than normal New Years. Yep. I do.

Sometimes Chinese New Year makes you think you're in a war zone.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ain't That Peculiar

This may not be the best picture, but I can't stop looking at it. It makes my heart happy.

It finally happened. It happened as I sat at a large table filled with food I wasn't all that into, being embarrassed completely by the Elders, and being forced into eating that food I did not want to eat...
I love it here. My catchphrase of the past few months returned tonight, "I am so happy!"
It may have taken two weeks, one day, my luggage getting here 4 days later than myself, a bout of sickness with some Chinese drugs, giant bugs in our cupboards, crying in the middle of teaching a class, eating squid and giant shrimp, and riding my stupid bike in the rain for like two hours, but it happened.
And all I have to say is: it sure took long enough!

Happy Chinese New Year's Eve!!
(maybe the fireworks will stop soon so I can sleep...but I doubt it.)

This picture is for my mother. She might not believe me otherwise.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Whole Made of Pieces

So, if you can recall, we thought we had killed Barty. Oh no, we had not. We opened that cupboard like we were in charge, and there she (yes, Barty was a she, the laying eggs kind of she) was. We sprayed her maybe twice, and she ran to the back of the cupboard. It took us a few days to regain enough courage to remove all the empty bottles and boxes to get back to where she had died. We did all of that last night. While doing this, we found a few cockroach eggs. Google image it. Right now.

This week started out quite rough, but turned out better than I could have hoped. I will leave you with a few pictures for your viewing pleasure. Be prepared for cuteness. These are some of the 5 year olds.

Miss Eva and her Cheetos

Sandy and Claire

Happy Chinese New Year! On Wednesday I will be heading up to Taipei to meet up with a few other teachers for the weekend, and I cannot wait. Mostly to have actual friends here. Hopefully we can start traveling with them, that would be a blast and a half.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

River Shiver

Update: that was not Bartholomew. It was a look alike. More info to come.

Monday, January 16, 2012

DIY: How to Kill a Cockroach

You may have heard of the Giant Cockroach Fiasco of 2011...I will refresh your memory: it involved the biggest cockroach I have ever seen, a tent on an African safari, complete darkness, one flashlight, four screaming girls, and one little square of toilet paper. But I don't want to think about that horrible experience right now.

Ashley and I had been planning the execution of our friend Bartholomew for a few days.  He'd been residing in one of the cupboards in the kitchen for the last week. We just left him there to do his thing. I have written the five easy steps to killing any cockroach you may come across. Enjoy!

The first thing you will need is bug spray. This is the kind I like to use. I found it under the kitchen sink. I have had good results, but the fumes are terrible. Make sure to leave the premises for a few days to avoid death.

Make sure you arm yourself pre-opening of the cupboard.

Next step, open the cupboard. Unfortunately for us, our surprise attack was foiled when old Barty surprised us by being in the cupboard under the sink instead of his usual hide-out. This came as a great shock, and there was a lot of screaming involved. Luckily we had already prepared ourselves with the bug spray.

He was crawling around on those bottles.

Now that the target is in sight, spray until the insect scares you too much, and you can't take it anymore and run across the room. Or he runs further into the cupboard to die.

A combination of both of these things may have happened to us.

Upon further examination the latter definitely had occurred. Don't be too grossed out by those legs.

After removing all obstacles to find the dead cockroach, use the available resources to remove the body from the scene.

As you can see, we used a plunger.

After you have removed the body, use the dustpan to pick it up.

Then, take the dustpan outside, and throw it off the roof (well, we on the roof, so that is where we threw it off of) because you don't even want that in the garbage until garbage day, which happens to be Friday.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Lesson from Asia: #1

Here is 3 days worth of medicine
If you become sick, and cannot be around the children, you will be given some medicine. Lots of medicine. And you will use a lot of tissues, and wish you were at home with some chocolate cake to eat. And potato cheese soup. And your queen size bed. But you're not homesick yet, you just miss the comforts of the good ol' US of A.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Life Among the Gorillas

Today was probably the best day thus far. My activities went well, and we had a meeting where we discussed exactly what we will be doing everyday. Until the 22nd of June. Let me share it with you:
               9:00-10:00: Center Time, This is a 25-30 minute center, and we only have to plan 2 or 3 of those a week. Phew.
               10:00: 15 minutes Monday-Friday with the 2 year olds.
               10:40-12:10: 30 minute rotations for music, literature, science, health, self-esteem, chores, etc.
               3:00-4:30: 45 minute rotation on our topic. 
My topic for the next month: rice. Yep, you heard it, rice. How it is grown, its characteristics, the different types, which rice products are used in which region, what the rice by-products are used name it, I will teach it.  This is not a topic given by the preschool, it was originally assigned by the government.

I'm really glad to know more of what I'm supposed to do.  It makes me feel better.

Last night, Ashley and I rode our bikes, yes, we rode the bicycles, in the night, to the church to help with the English classes there.  I got to help out in the Advanced Class, so basically we just had conversation about a topic.  But the moral of the story is, we did not die en route.  And also we made some noodles last night (way too spicy) and when we took the pot off the stove there was a crisp, newly fried cockroach laying there. It was really gross.

On Wednesday, J. Coleman entered the MTC.  I am so happy for her, she is going to serve the people of Birmingham, Alabama.  I love her, and will miss her dearly.  I'm so glad I got to play with her a lot during the break.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Little Wonders

The luggage arrived.
-sigh of relief-

Monday, January 9, 2012

Just Want You to Know

Today was the first day of class at the Owl Preschool.  Let me tell you, it was exhausting. It is 8:33 pm, and I'm just about ready to hit the sack.  I hope it is not like this everyday, I will be completely burnt out in a week, for sure.  And I am now known as "Teacha Milk."  Do not ask me why, because I do not know.
We had to do one 20 minute lesson three times, one 30 minute lesson three times, and then a 45 minute lesson twice. It was crazy. And we have to do it all over again tomorrow, and almost everyday for the next 6 months. Hopefully it will get a lot better when we have a topic, and are not just making it up as we go.

I still haven't gotten my luggage, and I'm getting really sick of these gross clothes I've been wearing since Thursday/Sunday. Luckily I packed a few clean things in my carry on.  My bags are now in Taiwan, but they were supposed to get here this afternoon, and I have not seen them yet, so cross your fingers they come in the morning maybe.

Today after school we met up with the Sister Missionaries and they took us to the famous night market, which is full of different little restaurants.  Transfers are on Sunday, and we're crossing our fingers neither of them leave us, we love them already.  I practically ate a whole pineapple.  And some gross pancake thing with cabbage and ham in the middle, maybe I picked out the cabbage and ham to eat...
Next time I'm definitely sticking to the rice, beef, and veggie plate.  Mmhmm.

Sister Wu and Sister Kang

Also, today I named a kid.  Yep, you read that right.  Yuling (the principal) said that there were two children that hadn't received English names yet.  She then said that sometimes the parents like them to sound like their Chinese names.  She pointed at a little boy running around and said "he needs a manly name, he is strong." Then she said his Chinese name that was something like "Juoin-gin," so immediately I said Justin (Juoin-gin fast, and in the Chinese tones sounds exactly like Justin).  And there you have it, the kid's name is now Justin.  It wasn't until a couple hours later did I put together his new name and my love for the teen dream JB. Weird, "Baby" just shuffled on. It's a sign.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Welcome to Asia

Yesterday, or the day before that (it depends on what time zone you are currently in) I packed up, yes, I am a very last minute packer, and moved to Taiwan for the next 6 months, or 180 days.  I don't know why, but my family was so relaxed about everything leading up to this, we didn't even check to see if my flights were on time, mostly because it was a family effort to get me all packed up.  Everything went more than smoothly until we got off the plane in LA...lemme tell ya all about it.

So, we got off the flight to LAX and we were in the usual terminal for delta international flights.  We looked at the board to see which gate our next flight was, and all it said next to ours was "TBT."  Obviously, we had no idea what that meant, so we were thinking of ideas like "to be taxied," or "tai-bei terminal" (it is spelled taipei, but is said tai-bei). So we sat there for awhile, tried to get internet access, and kept checking the board.  So finally I went up to the desk to ask, and right as I got there both the people walked away, so I went to another desk, the people walked away, finally, I found a desk where the people would stay to answer my question. Turns out that "TBT" does not mean "to be taxied," but means "Tom Bradley Terminal."  So therefore we had to run down the hall, exit the building, run down the street three buildings down, and then check in, since they wouldn't check me in in Salt Lake.  Now this is like 10 minutes before they were supposed to start boarding.  But once we got to the other gate, we had to wait like 45 minutes before they started boarding, and then we waited another very long time to take off, so by that time we were definitely over an hour behind. I was going to try to stay up a few hours before going to sleep, yeah right, I lasted maybe 10 minutes and was out for a good 8 hours.

Once we got off the flight we slowly made our way down to the baggage claim and there was a sign going around on it that said "CLIFFORD, KAMILLE BAGGAGE HAS BEEN DELAYED." Great. I went and talked to them and had to sign some stuff, but made sure they would get it to Hualien. And then I was finally able to get Wi-Fi to email my parents and had a very minor break down which only included tears and a runny nose. Then we had to get on a bus, which was easy.  We took the bus to a giant train station, and had to wait for Yuling's friend Dennis to come get us, he was mad because Yuling only told him we were coming yesterday.  He really wants one of those puffy vests from Hollister and some other things from Abercrombie & Fitch, because "that stuff is hott here," and she didn't give him time to tell us what he wanted. haha. We got on the train, and we were both asleep in no time.  Luckily, we were able to get on a quick, more direct train rather than the train we had tickets reserved for.

Yuling and her adorable son Daniel were waiting at the exit for us.  We got into her mother's car, which almost didn't start and headed off into the next six months.  I thought I would be ok with the whole culture shock thing, seeing as I've previously been to Asia, and experienced next to nothing of the sort when I spent 6 weeks in a Ugandan village, but no, 6 months is a lot longer, and I understand pretty much ZERO Mandarin.  Hopefully once my bags get here (Yuling called them and arranged everything-they should be here by Monday, they were still in LA, probably due to the "TBT" incident.) I will feel a lot better about things.  But I'm very excited to start playing and teaching the children, the preschool is so cute. We took a little tour today, seeing as our apartment is on the roof.

Everyone cross your fingers right now that my stuff comes tomorrow.  Mostly because I want my sweat pants and thicker sweatshirt to sleep in, or maybe just clean clothes all together.