I stood in front of the class marching around with my arms stretched out and growling for a solid two minutes until I realized none of the students were going to get up and walk like a dinosaur with me. Just another thing getting lost in translation in a brand new English class. They are my youngest, and I am at an absolute loss with what to do with them. Ring around the Rosy took about 10 minutes to organize and story time is a lot of looking at pictures. Aside from the beginner class (and stepping in pee barefoot), I really do enjoy teaching. I go in early (10 A.M) to make my lesson plans for the day, (game-learn-game-review-game) get free school lunch around 11:30, have a two hour break, and my first class starts at 1:30, free school dinner around 5, teach until 7. It gets dark here very early, but not a bad life huh?
Before work on Wednesday we went to explore this abandoned temple on the edge of the city. It was halfway through being built and construction was halted, piles of tiles are lying around as if the workers just didn’t come back after lunch. The locals think it’s haunted (we went during ghost month how appropriate) and no one really seems to know why the construction stopped. It was a really cool introduction to Chinese/Taiwanese architecture for me and a good place to trail run. After a few nights of dinner out with my coworkers, we decided to go to the Taiwan Beer Factory in Taipei Friday night. An old brewery that is now a beer hall. The Taiwanese beer halls are really neat, it is a big open room with mini kegs you bring right to the table and a stage with live music, a very welcoming and open environment it feels like you are at a big party. The band was playing covers of English songs and pulling people up on stage for some kind of contest but we couldn’t figure out what for. We met a group of foreigners and Taiwanese that get together and do different events and trips. The mix of different cultures is really neat, but everyone has the same mentality, meet new people, learn new things, and party. I’ve found my people.
After some trouble with the bus and my EasyCard and translation (“Please let us ride the bus sir we are poor stupid foreigners”), Saturday we spent all day in Taipei with our new Taiwanese friend, (a French major finishing up at university). We went to the Lin Family Ancient Mansion and Gardens. It was my first “Wow I’m in Asia” moment. Words cannot describe how beautiful it was, every detail was elaborate, from the carved doorways, an ancient Chinese poem carved into the wall, many many coy fish ponds, little bridges and walls made to look like mountains, even a peacock cage with a peacock in it! A place I would definitely recommend to go see if you are ever in Taipei. We were asked to take a picture for Wiki Loves Monuments (so check it out I might be famous soon) a photo contest associated with Wikipedia. Afterwards we felt so fabulous we model posed on the veranda.
Saturday night we went to an event in Ximen, hosted by Reach to Teach, who happened to be the recruiters for both of us. It was good to meet more people, network with other English teachers and get some solid words of wisdom for teaching ESL.
As always Valar Morghulis, but first all men must live.