Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last year with the 85

Friday 1 January 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Apple crate

Thursday 31 December 2009

We went to the annual Kaohsiung Container Arts festival today, where local artists are given a shipping container and decorate it however they like. There were some interesting ones this year, and some cheesy ones. I rather liked this one full of (fake) apples.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Wednesday 30 December 2009

A friend of ours is pet-sitting a parrot.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Chimp feet

Tuesday 29 December 2009

We went to the zoo today – an actually appropriate field trip! These are a chimpanzee's feet, hanging out at the top of his enclosure.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Winter clothes

Monday 28 December 2009

The temperature right now is in the low 20s during the day, and maybe down to just below 20 at night. (so, in the 70's during the day, and high 60's at night, in Fahrenheit.) So, Taiwanese parents think that it is freezing cold outside, and unless they bundle their children in three or four layers of thick clothing, they will immediately die. Now, I know my blood has thinned, but being from Michigan I still don't quite understand this.

J, my little Norwegian student, of course still comes to school in T-shirts and shorts, a matter of some concern for the Taiwanese staff of the school. I've tried explaining that this is as warm as it gets in summer in Norway, but they still worry.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Sunday 27 December 2009

A round red decoration hanging from a tree.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas reflection

Saturday 26 December 2009

Ryan and I reflected in a Christmas ornament.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Cookiemas!

Friday 25 December 2009

One of my completed cookie trays. This year's features, going clockwise: sugar cookies, chewy ginger cookies, spicy chocolate shortbread, mint marbled refrigerator cookies, pumpkin cookies, almond snowballs, and coconut peanut candies. Not bad, huh?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Santa Lao Gong Gong!

Thursday 24 December 2009

All the Taiwanese incarnations of Santa. You might want to click on this one to get a better view. My personal favorite, in the upper left, is Santa as a foreigner in a fake beard.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas party

Wednesday 23 December 2009

Today was our Christmas party at school, so of course it's the day to come to school dressed as a robot. But it was only one kid – my first year teaching kindergarten, in 2003, half the class came to the Christmas party in Halloween costumes. I had several jolly Batmans that year.

The boy on the right is my little Norwegian. His parents later told me that drawing freckles on your face is what everyone does in Norway when they attend a Christmas party - kids and adults alike. Isn't he adorable?

Monday, December 21, 2009


Tuesday 22 December 2009

A common sight here in Taiwan – a guy welding with absolutely no protective gear whatsoever.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Heavy load

Monday 21 December 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

2010 Cookies

Sunday 20 December 2009

Here are all of the cookies I baked this year, finished at last. 663 cookies in a week – phew, I'm tired!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cookie party!

Saturday 19 December 2009

We had our annual cookie decorating party today! Here is the set-up – cookies, frosting, sprinkles – just awaiting our creative hands.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dried pomelos

Friday 18 December 2009

Do you remember that pomelo hat I had on back in October? Well, here a dozens of those hats, probably from last Chinese New Year, all hung out to dry.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Director's flowers

Thursday 17 December 2009

I got some flowers on the last night of the performance, so I thought I'd post a photo of them here. Not because they were nice flowers, although they were, but mostly to how just elaborately wrapped flowers come here. This set-up is for about 10 roses – a big ribbon, three outer layers of pretty paper, a sea of gauzy stuff, and each rose individually wrapped. It was sooooooo much trash when I took it apart.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Paper money burner

Wednesday 16 December 2009

A paper money burner, used on auspicious days to contain the flames as everyone heads to the streets and burns money for their ancestors.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Republic of Comedy

Tuesday 15 December 2009

Ryan performed in a little improv show tonight. Here is the game “Puppets.”

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cast shot

Monday 14 December 2009

I just couldn't resist putting in one more show photo – here is the whole cast. I still can't believe I somehow got all these people together often enough and long enough to actually put together a show!

(Photo by Ryan Bird)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Fairy line-up

Sunday 13 December 2009

The night of our last show. Here are my four speaking fairies.

(Photo by Ryan Bird)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Titania and Bottom

Saturday 12 December 2009

Our second weekend! Here is my Titania and Bottom. . . . “and my eye is much enthralled to thy shape.”

(Photo by Ryan Bird)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Yumi's studies

Friday 11 December 2009

These books belong to Yumi, my old student and the older sister of my other current private student, Emily. (Who has FINALLY changed her name from Wonderful, thank goodness.) She is 12 years old, and none of these books are for school, they are ALL for extra lessons and after-school classes. This is completely normal for a Taiwanese child. Parents here are not happy unless their children are either in class or doing homework, honestly, every moment of the day except meals. (All three of which are often eaten at school.)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

San jia yi

Thursday 10 December 2009

This is my friend Bekah's medicine, that she got from the doctor. But look closely – where it tells her how long she has to take it for, the doctor has written in 3+1 days. Yes, that's right, the belief that 4 is an unlucky number is so strong here that even doctors would rather write 3+1.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Wednesday 9 December 2009

Monday, December 07, 2009

Hairwashing train

Tuesday 8 December 2009

This is just about the cutest thing ever. This year, one of my students' favorite games is “Hairwash,” where they pretend to wash each others' hair. They love doing mine. And sometimes they make a long hairwashing train, like in this photo.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Saturday, December 05, 2009


Sunday 6 December 2009

Putting some make-up onto Laura, one of my little fairies.

(Photo by Ryan Bird)

Friday, December 04, 2009

Opening night

Saturday 5 December 2009

Opening night! Here we all are, warming and pysching up for the show!

Oh, it's so much harder to watch other people put on the show, to be so nervous but to be unable to do anything, to just have to watch and cue and listen and hope that everything goes well.

(Photo by Ryan Bird)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Fruit stand

Friday 4 December 2009

So much of the fruit here is sold off the back of little trucks like this.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

City garden

Thursday 3 December 2009

I love looking at this little vegetable garden every time I drive past this corner. It is outside of a 7-11, and is very well-tended. What good use of that tiny scrape of dirt!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Wednesday 2 December 2009