Friday, July 31, 2009

Graduation Show

Friday 31 July 2009

Finally, after ridiculous amounts of stress and choreography and planning and directing, our graduation show went up tonight. (Honestly, this affair was more expensive, more solemn and longer than my high school graduation.) Here are my adorable kids, in their "Brown Bear" play costumes (we had only two sets of costumes - not three or four like the older classes - one for this play, and one for our two other song numbers.)

You can see me in the middle there, in full kindergarten-teacher mode, and my wonderful co-teacher Ariana. The kids are: Hank (the red bird,) Brian (the green frog), Kevin (the little monkey), Eugene (the silver shark, who completely froze up and didn't say anything), Cherry (the panda cub), Allen (the bumblebee), Jenny (the butterfly), Sam (the orange crab), Violet (the blue fish), Nina (the yellow duck), and Vania (the brown bear.)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

GuangHua Busyness

Thursday 30 July 2009

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Southern Grave

Wednesday 29 July 2009

Alright, so this one is from HengChun a while back, but this week has been devoted to getting my life back together after the World Games, and I don't have a photo for today, and I really really wanted to put this one up originally.

A traditional Chinese-style grave, overgrown.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Taiwan is My Country

Tuesday 28 July 2009

Here is another side of the games - the political side. You see, even though Taiwan is hosting the games, and Kaohsiung city pretty much paid for the whole thing out of their pocket, local athletes are not allowed to compete under their country's name or flag. They are called "Chinese Taipei," which is a huge slap in the face as far as names go, both for the Chinese part, and because this isn't Taipei, it's Kaohsiung, and people down here are proud to be southerners.

There has been some protesting, especially by this group here, but not nearly as much as I would have thought. I think most Taiwanese are just happy to be hosting the games, to maybe be getting some international attention, to have more foreigners to shout "hello!" to for a couple of weeks, and have decided to let the politics lie. But I know if this were my country, I would be awfully mad about the whole thing.

At the closing ceremony, the mayor (an incredible woman who has done time in jail for her pro-independence activities) slipped a bunch of references to Taiwan's democracy and freedom into her speech, which was fantastic.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rock and Roll Dance

Monday 27 July 2009

Okay, the World Games are over, but I have one to two more shots that have to go up. Here is the other kind of dancing we saw on Saturday, Rock and Roll. The dancing itself was really boring, but it was punctuated with lots of very cheerleadery flips and spins, which was pretty cool to watch.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Closing ceremony

Sunday 26 July 2009

Okay, I didn't put one up for the opening ceremony, I figured I'd better have one of these spectacular shots for the closing ceremony. Here, everyone in the crowd is holding up led lights, and they are releasing floating "hope lanterns" into the sky. (Where they all end up, who knows, I just hope that they are enviro-friendly!)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dance Sport

Saturday 25 July 2009

Ryan and I went to see Dance Sport today, where we saw some of the Latin and Rock and Roll competitions. Here is the Russian team - they were definitely a favorite with the crowd.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Friday 24 July 2009

Today at lunch, Ryan and I went and bought tickets at the door to see tchoukball, a sport which was created to embody non-aggression. In tchoukball, you players may not touch each other, or even attempt to block the other team's attempts to make a goal. (It felt like a lot of taking turns between goal-scoring, and as you can probably imagine, it is a very high-scoring game in general.) I don't think I'd want to play it, but it was interesting trying to figure it out. And their dramatic jumps at the net made for some good shots!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

German Party

Thursday 23 July 2009

I was complaining a while back about the American Party, but let me tell you, there were no such complaints about the German party. They had a full buffet with four different kinds of sausage, baked potatoes, salad, fruit, and all-you-can-drink beer. They held a drinking contest between German and Taiwanese, and everybody was feeling pretty merry. There were not only German athletes there, but tons of World Gamers from different countries, too. (Not to mention the foreign volunteer staff . . .)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Wednesday 22 July 2009

A partial eclipse of the sun was visible in Taiwan this morning, so I took my kids outside and we watched it with two pieces of paper. They were quite impressed (and also enjoyed all the time they got to run around outside while we waited for different phases of the eclipse - the whole thing took about an hour.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Tuesday 21 July 2009

Here are a few of my fellow foreign volunteers. From left to right: Matteo, from Italy; Rizky, from Indonesia; me; Alfredo, from Guatemala; and Conrado, from Brazil.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ribbon Gymnastics

Monday 20 July 2009

Here is the promised gymnastics photo. I had a long red ribbon like that when I was little, and man, those things are fun.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

American Party

Sunday 19 July 2009

Another last-minute snag today - tickets to the "American Party," for United Statesian athletes and delegates, which turned out to be pretty lame. There were only about a dozen foreigners there, for one thing, and about a hundred Taiwanese people. (I had been hoping to meet some different athletes. Well, I did meet some of the sumo wrestlers.) And for another thing, there was nothing to eat or drink. Some party.

I wanted to show this particularly Taiwanese phenomenon, though. Incredibly organized groups of kindergarten children doing complex choreography is a staple entertainment at these kinds of things. And at kindergarten graduations, as it turns out. I am personally planning and choreographing a dance like this one for my class of three-year-olds right now. You know what three-year-olds are bad at? Complex dances.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Saturday 18 July 2009

I finally got to see some of the events today! Ryan and I went to the open-weight sumo competition, and to rhythmic gymnastics (picture to come later).

"Open-weight" means that the wrestlers were not divided into weight classes, and so there were some wee ones pitted against the bigguns. This little girl, as I remember, was picked up and placed outside the ring, instead of being pushed, which gave everyone a good laugh. But there was one little girl who actually beat a much much heavier one - an interesting match.

Today was the first time I heard of skinny sumo wrestlers, and also the first time I realized that there is female sumo wrestling. There you go.

Friday, July 17, 2009

No fingernails

Friday 17 July 2009

If you look closely at the list of items restricted at World Games event, you will notice that "fingernails" is listed. There are going to be some uncomfortable spectators once they start confiscating those . . .

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Opening ceremony

Thursday 16 July 2009

A shot from the World Games Opening Ceremony. I traded tickets with one of the other foreign volunteers at the last minute, and managed to get into this sold-out event. There were some other spectacular scenes tonight, but I decided to put up this one because it seemed so silly. You see, they chose different dance routines and aboriginal performances that reflect Taiwanese culture and history, which makes sense. And for one of these performances, they chose to highlight their traditional puppets, which doesn't make sense. You see, these are puppets about a foot in height, in a stadium that seats 44,000. Luckily, my seat was front and center, so I could just barely make them out.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Wednesday 15 July 2009

At work at the accreditation center again. Here is their little light-up model of the city, and some other volunteers.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

City Hall Countdown

Tuesday 14 July 2009

The World Games don't start for two more days (as you could read on this countdown clock if it were clearer) but I started my volunteer work today. I will be helping at the Accreditation Center, interpreting between Spanish and English (and maybe some Chinese), and helping guide athletes and other delegates through their paperwork process. It will make for some long days over the next two weeks, but it should be fun, too!

Monday, July 13, 2009

West gate

Monday 13 July 2009

Okay, one more from the weekend.

The little town where Ryan and I stayed is called HengChun, and is famous for being the only town in Taiwan to still have all four of its original city gates standing. (They were built in 1873.) We drove around and found them all. Here is the west gate, made famous by the recent Taiwanese film sensation, "Cape No.7".

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Southern Sunset

Sunday 12 July 2009

A beautiful sunset over the seas of southern Taiwan.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ryan and the fishes

Saturday 11 July 2009

It was raining today, eliminating the chances of going to the beach, so Ryan and I headed to the KenDing Aquarium, which was AWESOME!!! They have so much cool stuff there, including a whale shark, which you can just see at the top of this huge tank here. We had a great time, along with the other 56 million people and noisy children there that day!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Temple at the end of the rainbow

Friday 10 July 2009

Ryan and I decided to head to the southern tip of the island this weekend for some relaxation. On the drive down it was raining on and off, and we saw this amazing rainbow that must have lasted about an hour. We stopped and photographed it in a few different places, but this was my favorite shot.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Sunny City

Thursday 9 July 2009

Okay, Kaohsiung has never been known as the sunny city, and where did they find this orange foreigner, and why on earth is he holding a football?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Wednesday 8 July 2009

More World Games preparation - these flags are going up everywhere, all over the city. Almost every block has them hanging along the shops and doors.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Tuesday 7 July 2009

Despite being a tropical country that experiences a rainy season every single year that really ought to surprise no one, Taiwan has some major drainage issues. Meaning, they don't often build in good drainage systems. Here is our elevator, protected from the rain of the last few days by sandbags.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Getting ready

Monday 6 July 2009

The World Games are coming up, and Kaohsiung is lucky enough to be hosting them. In preparation, the city has been paving roads, sand-blasting buildings, repainting walls, finishing projects it started years and years ago (the subway is finally up!), and washing everything it can. These big glass MRT stations have been filthy since we arrived, but they got scrubbed down today - we have guests coming!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Sushi Express

Sunday 5 July 2009

We checked out a really cool restaurant today - the Sushi Express. It's a tiny bit more expense than our regular sushi place, but it has a distinct advantage. You see, the guys in the middle prepare all different kinds of stuff, and then set it on a big conveyor belt that goes all around the restaurant. You sit down at the counter, and pull off only the dishes that you want to eat. Everything is the same price, so they just count up your plates at the end. At our normal place we get a mixed plate, but here we get just the best of the best - lobster rolls and salmon and all our favorites. It's fantastic!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Improv voting

Saturday 4 July 2009

Today is Ryan's birthday, and he had a great one! It was also the final show of his Improv League, and man his team kicked butt! They really put on a great show, made everyone in the place fall over laughing, and had a fantastic time doing it.

Here are people holding up colored cards, voting for their favorite team.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Feng Shui mirrors

Friday 3 July 2009

It is not unusual for people to hang small feng shui mirrors with special markings above the entranceway to their shop or house. This, however, seems to be getting out of hand . . . .

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Window from my window

Thursday 2 July 2009

This is the view from one of my least favorite after-school cram classes. The light was so pretty on it today. I love all the casual greenery of Kaoshiung.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Crossing Counter

Wednesday 1 July 2009

These little counters are so cute - the little man actually moves, riding his bike, and when it gets below 10 seconds, he starts riding faster.