Tuesday, September 30, 2008


So, Taiwan is pretty damn cool, actually. Even if there are typhoons and millions and millions of scooters everywhere that spit out pollution and give me a sore throat. I can get over the counter oral contraceptives, I can take the bus for 50 cents, I can ride on the world's most efficient subway system for 50 cents to a dollar per ride, I can have cell phone service for US $12 a month, I can eat a decent meal for less than a dollar, and a great meal for $5, I can get almost every amenity that I enjoyed at home (sometimes at a price). Also, Taipei has some pretty cool little areas. I love wandering down alleys and side streets, where the noise of the traffic is blocked by the tall buildings and there are concrete walls and fences for me to imagine the other side of. There are some surprisingly peaceful spots just a block off of the main thoroughfares in this city. It's pretty great.
Lately I've been doing research on some other cities for a project at work, which has inspired me to get out more...
The first one was Kaohsiung, which is one of the southernmost cities. It's famous for its port, and industry, but it's trying to revamp and become an eco-city (sustainability is HUGE here). They also have a Container Arts Festival, where artists are given a shipping container with which they can do what they wish:

Thought that was pretty cool, but then again, I'm a trade geek so of course it's cool.

And then I started looking at Taichung (Central Taiwan) and discovered that they're building the coolest opera house EVER:

Scheduled completion is 2oo9. I can't wait. Yay for modernism!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I thought I should post something, since it's been a while, although there's not too much to report. Devin and I have been working hard. Working and commuting seem to occupy most of our time. I even have a class on Saturday mornings, and he's got one Sundays. We're pining to get out of Taipei, but we never seem to have the time. We're also cat-sitting, so going away for a weekend is out of the question until the kitty is gone.
I've had a lot of ups and downs lately. I lost confidence in myself and my job for a good while. I feel that my company doesn't trust me as a teacher yet. Although I know I have a lot to learn and they're trying to help me, I feel that it's not being done in a constructive way (they have a pretty skewed ideas on constructive criticism and professionalism in general). But I have to remember that most of my students really like me and feel that they've learned a lot from me. I just had a couple of bad experiences, which I suppose is normal for most new teachers.
To add to my frustration (or maybe as a result of it), I became really homesick. I am sad that I missed my old roommates Jereme and Amy get hitched, and I may miss my dear friend Carisa's wedding in October (although I'm looking at ticket prices taking donations).  At the same time as I started to get frustrated with my job and got terribly homesick, I happened to come across an amazing job opportunity in Portland at a company that I've been drooling over for years. They seemed really interested in me and my experience, and I corresponded with the HR person for about to weeks. In the end, the company decided to hold off on hiring for a few months. So I'm not moving home quite yet, but talking to this company (which deals in import/apparel production/all the things I like), made me realize that the apparel trade world is really where I want to be. It will be harder than I previously thought to pursue that avenue here, so if I want to carry on with that, I'll have to move back to the States. But I'll be saving that for later.
So for now, I want to see this whole teaching thing through. I signed a year contract, and I want to reach the end of it. I have turned my attitude around and am improving my teaching skills by leaps and bounds. I am once again happy to be doing this and appreciate the experience. I also have a lot more to see here in East Asia. I haven't been to Southern Taiwan yet! or Japan! or Korea! or the million other places that are just a short plane or boat ride away.
PS: Check my photo page for new additions.....