Friday, October 31, 2008

Sea of children

Friday 31 October 2008

Our school went trick-or-treating at a nearby mall today, and oh my goodness what a mess. Over a hundred kids, easily, all in costume, waiting and waiting and waiting to spend a half hour trick-or-treating, and then just as much time setting up for a big group photo. Actually, my kids are really good, and it would have been a fun outing, if it weren't for the parents.

Nine out of ten of my students had mommies and other assorted family members there, all wanting to take pictures of their kid with me, with their friends, with family members, with other students, with particularly nice floor tiles, I don't even know. And they had to go and show Mommy each piece of candy, and some of them were crying and wanting to stay with Mommy, and some mommies were okay with that, and some were trying to encourage their kid to stay with the class, and ugh! I was trying to keep the kids together and moving forward, while the mommies were thwarting my every effort! Grrrr!

P.S. Can you find Teacher Ryan?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Yet another street

Thursday 30 October 2008

I do a lot of driving here, and the streets look so different from home - they provide a constant opportunity.

There are so many signs here!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pumpkin carving

Wednesday 29 October 2008

Have you ever carved 10 small pumpkins at the same time in a room full of three-year-olds? Not too fun, let me tell you. But oh, will the parents be impressed by the authenticity of their children's cultural experiences!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Protective hat

Tuesday 28 October 2008

There is a law here requiring everyone to wear a helmet when driving or riding on a scooter or motorcycle. It is largely obeyed - sure, you always see young guys zipping around with no helmet, or old ladies clearly running down to the grocery store, but most of the time people wear helmets. With one huge exception, that is. Kids.

They are almost never wearing helmets! People seem to think that kids don't need them, and it seems that cops are fine with this. The funny thing is, on sunny days they are all wearing hats, to protect them from the sun. (Both for health reasons, and so they don't get "black" and ugly.) And they make kid-sized helmets here, so that is no excuse. It really bothers me to see all these small kids with no helmets. But at least they won't have an unsightly tan!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Listening to the teacher

Monday 27 October 2008

My instructions, which I said repeatedly and demonstrated several times, were to pick up a circle with one hand, dip one finger on the other hand into the glue, and glue the circle onto your mask. "One hand for glue, one hand for circles," I said again and again.

This is what Daphnie did less than a minute after I said they could start. And this is the real reason I bring my camera to school every day.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dying Instinct

Sunday 26 October 2008

We went out to see our coworker's band, Dying Instinct, tonight. (This isn't him, this is the singer.) They were all right, and it was all you can eat and drink, so fun was had by all!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Twilight in Kaoshiung

Saturday 25 October 2008

On JianGong Road.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ryan reading

Friday 24 October 2008

Who's that handsome man reading?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Especially suitable for . . .

Thursday 23 October 2008

We found this at our nearby office supply store. It's a device to keep you awake, a kind of little earpiece that makes loud noise. Here is the blurb at the bottom: "Especially suitable for long-distance driving, drunk driving, and night driving."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Night lanterns

Wednesday 22 October 2008

Some pretty lanterns at night.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Stationary field trip

Tuesday 21 October 2008

We took another kinda silly field trip today - to the office supply store around the corner! We walked around for a while, me continually saying "Don't touch!" and the kids continually trying to touch all the pretty pens and stickers and things.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Our apartment

Monday 20 October 2008

Well, we've been here for a while now, but I thought I might put up a picture of our apartment, for those of you who haven't seen it on facebook. It's nice, big, airy, and two floors, and we're quite happy here!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Goodbye, Angela

Sunday 19 October 2008

Angela, one of our kong fu classmates, had her going-away party tonight (well, Saturday night, but this picture was taken in the wee moments of Sunday), and decided she wanted to set off some fireworks as a last Taiwan hoorah. That's her, one of the blurs running away from the lit fireworks. (Which you can buy at any corner store here, by the way.)

There are always fireworks going off here, so she figured there would be no trouble setting them off in an empty parking lot. Turns out, it's probably best to do them when everyone else is doing them, instead of after midnight in a quiet neighborhood. The cops showed up just as we were leaving.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Yucheng night market

Saturday 18 October 2008

I really liked this one. A guy playing one of the little games at the night market.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Air Raid

Friday 17 October 2008

Downtown Kaohsiung at 1:30 in the afternoon, and there is NO ONE on the street. Not one scooter, car, bicycle, or electric wheelchair. Why not?

Air raid drill. That's right, every six months or so they turn on the air raid sirens and everyone has to get off the road and take shelter in a building while the cops and soldiers do some kind of drill, in preparation for an attack from China. (A very unlikely event, mind you.)

It's really freaky to hear the sirens go off, like something out of a WWII movie.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lonely God

Thursday 16 October 2008

In the convenience store . . .

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Another street

Wednesday 15 October 2008

Another typical little street here in Kaohsiung. I love all the green that people have grown in every little crevice of the city.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I heart . . .

Tuesday 14 October 2008

We stopped at the LiuoHe night market tonight, and saw this great shirt.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Street gowns

Monday 13 October 2008

I think you can buy just about anything on the street here. Prom dress anyone?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Folded money thingies

Sunday 12 October 2008

The biggest pile I've ever seen of these folded ghost-money accordion things.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hand-painted sign

Saturday 11 October 2008

A hand-painted sign on a store window. Even the simplest things are beautiful in Chinese. When I see things like this, I am reminded of why I wanted to study the language in the first place.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Friday 10 October 2008

Just what I look for in a tape measure.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Thursday 9 October 2008

They have those claw machines for EVERYTHING here. These are neon light-up tamborines.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Wednesday 8 October 2008

You see this style of mannequin around sometimes, it's really really strange.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Tuesday 7 October 2008

Saw this on the way home tonight. Don't quite know what it's for - some kind of religious celebration? Right in the middle of the street. Every day is a party in Taiwan!

Monday, October 06, 2008

School building

Monday 6 October 2008

This is the building that our school is in.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


Sunday 5 October 2008

Our kong fu group was asked to do a demo today at a couple of temples - sure! we said, delighted. We had done one other demo that went great, and were excited about an all-day affair. So, we met the other kong fu school early in the morning at a temple in Kaohsiung. Right off the bat, they asked us to hold flags for a small procession just to get things started. Sure! we said, delighted. We could help them out, hold flags, see one of these religious processions from the inside. It was fun, a bit noisy, and then we were off.

We hopped on a bus that would take us to a giant temple (the biggest I've ever seen, actually) a couple hours north of here, where the kong fu school again needed us to hold the flags. Okay, we said. It was a HUGE temple holding a HUGE celebration, with enough firecrackers piled up to make mushroom clouds, screaming fireworks, people in costumes, lion dances, drums, gongs, whistles, dances, people doing kong fu on stilts, you name it, they had it. Including this guy, who would inhale incense, welcome a god into his body, and then walk around "possessed," hitting himself on the back and the head with a sword. It was very very noisy and we stood in the sun for an awfully long time, holding the flags, but we were overall happy to have seen such a unique event.

When we got back to Kaohsiung we were tired and happy and ready to go home. That was not to be! We had to hold the flags for another, much longer procession around the city, through narrow alleys reverberating with the firecrackers, fireworks, drums, and gongs. It was noisy, hot, and smokey, and we were all ready to be done. Finally, we arrived back at the original temple, where there were two more hours of noise and smoke. Then, THEN, twelve hours after we had arrived in the morning, we were asked to perform our TWO MINUTE kong fu demo. What a day.

Saturday, October 04, 2008


Saturday 4 October 2008

Religious costumes. Do you see those little holes in their bellies? That's where the person wearing them looks out - I imagine they must be awfully heavy and hot.

Friday, October 03, 2008


Friday 3 October 2008

This is my students' weekend homework. (Yes, even if it is just coloring, two-year-old kindergarten students have homework in Taiwan. They're getting off pretty easy in my class, actually.) Look closely at the 5 - does it look a little odd? Vanessa, my coworker, assured me that this is a Taiwanese five, and it is commonly taught to children this way. She could not, however, explain to me why no one ever grows up to write their fives this way. I've never seen it written like this here.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Good good eat

Thursday 2 October 2008

Well, I usually trust what everyone says without question, but that little girl looks unhappy. Perhaps just because she hasn't had any yet?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Wednesday 1 October 2008