Saturday, February 28, 2009


Saturday 28 February 2009

Two outdoor New Year door signs, on doors right next to each other.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Cookie culture

Friday 27 February 2009

A week ago our manager announced that we were going to make cookies, so I took over the project to try and cut down on the . . . idiocy. It didn't work, they still found a few ways to ruin things, but that's beside the point.

We, the English teachers, had time to bake a few batches of cookies, then we handed the pot holders to the Chinese teachers, who did things a little differently. At the end of the day, I went to get some cookies for my kids, and I chose the ones we had baked - the soft, chewy ones with Nestle chocolate chips. But I had two different Chinese teachers tell me "Oh no, those ones are yucky, here take these," pointing to the burned ones with fake chocolate-flavored sprinkles on top. I asked about it, and I guess that is the Taiwanese ideal cookie - crispy, crunchy, and with over-sweetened fake chocolate on top. A very cultural difference, I guess.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Thursday 26 February 2009

Two self portraits, almost in a row - lucky you!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Wednesday 25 February 2009

A reflective sunscreen through a special tinted window - I thought it was a cool pattern and color.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Street mirror

Tuesday 24 February 2009

This photo unfortunately demonstrates my camera's latest malady. I must have bumped it at some point, and now the protective lens cover doesn't always open and close properly. Ugh! But I like this little self-portrait.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Wheels on the Bus

Monday 23 February 2009

I love Mondays. Not only do I not have any extra classes after kindgarten and can go home right at 4:30, but it is also Song day! Well, technically every day is song day, because we sing a lot in my class, but Monday is Song day on the schedule, so that's when we learn new songs. Today: the Wheels on the Bus.

I just love this picture - they're singing "the grandma on the bus says 'you sit down!'" But some of them look so stern. Eugene, the kid in the front who's the only one not singing, looks like the one that all the little grandmas are yelling at. (For the record, he was sad all day, missing his mom.)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Maggie's cookies

Sunday 22 February 2009

When you get married in Taiwan, you have to give everyone cookies or cake first! Our manager, Maggie, is getting married in a couple of weeks, so she just gave out her cookies. You see how big that box is? There were dozens and dozens of cookies in there - very impressive, which is very much the point. A few of them were pretty good, but a lot were dry Taiwanese cookies. Ryan gave most of them to some of his other students.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Election poster

Saturday 21 February 2009

This is an election poster. You can see one characteristic typical of such posters here - you can see both hands of the guy running. But why someone would choose such a terrible picture of themselves, I don't know. I drive past this all the time, and just want to flick the hair out of his face every time.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Name stickers

Friday 20 February 2009

These are my name stickers - I put them on everything! Just about every Taiwanese kid, and many adults, have these little stickers to claim what's theirs.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Thursday 19 February 2009

An acupuncture sign, on the same block as my first apartment here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"Fall" leaves

Wednesday 18 February 2009

It's kinda funny - in Taiwan, in early spring, some of the trees lose the leaves from the previous year to get ready for the new leaves that'll start coming in soon. So even though it's spring, there are a few trees here and there with beautiful red and orange leaves. Nothing like the show back home, of course, but a little something pretty.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Another field trip

Tuesday 17 February 2009

We went to the airport today to look at the airplanes. The only problem is, we only saw one taxiing plane. The rest of the time we spent on what felt like a few miles of conveyor belt.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Chinese magazine

Monday 16 February 2009

I just wanted to show everyone back home what Chinese magazines and books look like. They open on the left, and read backwards from the way we read. The trouble with Chinese is that when it is vertical, it always reads right to left, top to bottom. But when it is horizontal, it can read either right to left or left to right. You just have to know what you're looking for.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Sunday 15 February 2009

I was making truffles today, and rolling them got a little messy. (For the next batch I got a melon-baller, which made things waaaay easier and more uniform)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Squid on a stick

Saturday 14 February 2009

We went out to an QiJin island today (a few minutes by ferry) and got one of my favorite Taiwanese snacks - squid on a stick!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Keys in the scooter

Friday 13 February 2009

Ryan left his keys in his scooter today, they were out there on the street all morning. But when we came back, there they were. I haven't done this since we got back, but I can't tell you how many times I did it when I first got here and was working a ton of hours and doing theater and not getting enough sleep.

This is why I love Taiwan.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Owen's billboard

Thursday 12 February 2009

This is an ad for a wedding photographer, starring a friend of ours, Owen. I guess he was walking down the street with his girlfriend at the time, and someone from the shop saw them and wanted them to come and be models for the shop! So, now they have a couple of billboards up on major roads.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Wednesday 11 February 2009

I'm hoping to get a better picture, but here is the latest in scooter pimping technology. Some people, especially males between the ages of maybe 18 and 25, like to drive fancy expensive scooters with all the gadgets. These taillights come in stars, circles, triangles, and the most popular - hearts.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Guardian of tooth

Tuesday 10 February 2009

These are two of the leading brands of toothpaste here in Taiwan. The top one is called "Black Man," and the bottom "Whitemen." I guess you get to choose whose teeth you would prefer - Asian teeth seem to be out of the question. We personally like the taste of Black Man a lot better, although I would prefer to buy Whitemen, because it's Taiwanese.

Monday, February 09, 2009

River park

Monday 9 February 2009

A park I pass every day on my way to and from work.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Festive street

Sunday 8 February 2009

This is what so many of the streets here look like right now, with all the decorations for Chinese New Year and Lantern Festival.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Robbie Burns Supper

Saturday 7 February 2009

Tonight I attended my very first Robbie Burns Supper - a tradition that goes back over 200 years. They are held sometime around Robert Burns's birthday (January 25) to celebrate his life and poetry. We went, had a good time with friends, ate haggis (pictured here with pratties), drank scotch, and were thoroughly confused by the Scottish dialect in which his poems are written. It was a great night!

Just so you know, Robert Burns was the guy who wrote the songs "Loch Lomond" and "Auld Lang Syne," the new year's eve song.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Lantern Festival 2009

Friday 6 February 2009

Lantern Festival itself is actually on Monday, but they set up all the lanterns and stuff a while before, and keep them up a while after. Ryan and I went down to the river tonight to check out this year's lanterns. They are not just the red round ones, but all different shapes and sizes, almost all of them cows. (This being the year of the ox.) Let me tell you, cows don't make that interesting of a lantern subject. Monkeys were good, a few years back, and I imagine the year of the dragon would be great!

Anyway, here are some hearts and Kaohsiung's famous dragon statue.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

New building

Thursday 5 February 2009

This is one my favorite shots in a long time. The reflection is actually on the top of a car. I was using it to steady my camera when I noticed it was creating a pretty nice reflection and decided to play with it.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Sushi the cat

Wednesday 4 February 2009

This is Sushi, the cat we've temporarily taken in. He's noisy and pushy and affectionate and always has to be at the center of everything. I do hope he finds a good home, but in the meantime we're enjoying having him around.

P.S. Don't you just love my pajama pants? They are SO comfy! Thanks, Mr. and Mrs. Bird!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Guanghua Road at night

Tuesday 3 February 2009

We're all getting ready for Lantern Festival! So many streets around town look so nice all red and lit-up.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Firecracker scar

Monday 2 February 2009

Oh man, during the two weeks just after Chinese New Year, EVERYONE sets off firecrackers. Yesterday we were woken up at 6am by some right across the street. When we got to school today, we noticed this burn on the sidewalk right in front - I guess the bosses were looking for some good luck this year.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Rock Band

Sunday 1 February 2009

Today was Kevin's birthday, so we all went over to his place for an afternoon of playing Rock Band. I have never really liked video games, but this one I love! I'm not great at it, but we all have a good time together. Here are Becka and Rick, rocking out.