Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The past few weeks..

...have been expensive but nothing major has happened. Booked accommodation and train tickets (my hugest mission so far in Taiwan but more on that later) for Cam's visit and been seriously nesting into my new apartment (the expensive part).
We've taken 2 mammoth trips to IKEA and some other home decor shops so I now have all I need, or can afford! But it feels like home and I'm very content here. The bus trips home can be a bit tedious - very crowded and crazy drivers taking my life in their hands!
We've had some great meals too - with Kim's mum and aunt on their way back to Canada and Doug off to New York for 5 weeks - we ate lobster, octopus, shrimp and fish broth at a local spot - mighty marvellous meal!

Kim & I and her family also went to see a Spanish Flamenco version of Carmen last week which was very enjoyable and so out of the ordinary Keelung life - we'll try and keep our ears open for other shows. We went to the beach that same day before school so it was a very full, tiring day which ended at Burger King by my choice (I ate a fish burger!) because I was so starving and exhausted!

The train ticket saga - in my super organised way - sorry Cam! - tried to get everything sorted for our vacation to Green Island way ahead of time.
So - I live near a train station -yay - just book and hop on - NOPE! Can't get a train to Tatung (our ferry departure point) direct from Keelung so have to leave from Taipei or Badu - first irritation.
Figure out the complicated English Railway website - choose a route and time and train (there are slow ones, fast ones, air-conned ones etc=not easy); try to book. NOPE! So ask Sherry to go with me to train station to book at counter. NOPE! Can only book at the train station 1 week prior to departure but as it is a long weekend, trains will be full. How, if you can only book one week in advance? So today was first day we can book on-line (2 weeks in advance) Great, but can't book return ticket because that is 2 weeks and 2 days away! Select all necessary info, press enter..NOPE! My choice is full already. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE WHEN BOOKING ONLY OPENED TODAY! So now we have to take a bus to Taipei and leave from there and on Thursday, try and book the return ticket at 6a.m. What would I do without Sherry???!!!

I'm supposed to be starting Spanish lessons with Richard soon and I'll will try to keep up my Chinese lessons but it seems the lesson always ends up as a social occassion - just chatting and discussing and planning - all in English :)

I have a new 1-on-1 student - an English teacher called Brooke. She is tryng to write an IELTS test to study in England - she's great - quite advanced and easy to talk to and guide so; so far, so good! But it is 2 x 2 hours a week from 7-9pm so I'm a little more tired! I now teach for a solid 6 hours on Wednesday and Saturday! But someone has to pay for the plants, table, chairs and candles that now share my space!

I have to share this writing assignment that one of my KA1 students wrote. He is a really sweet, diligent young boy but his Mum helped him and I'm not sure how to grade this paper without offending anyone - so I took the coward's way out and told the whole class (23 students) that their assignments all sucked & they have to redo them! Apologies to Jonas and his Mum:-)

"Dear younger male cousins
Are you good? I now Japan am spending the vacation. here climate is extremely cold also under the heavy snow. This is the first time saw the snow. in the heart is extremely excited. The Japanese is extremely friendly also obeys the law. I like eating the sushi and eating a fixed amount. likes soaking the hot spring some opportunities hoped with swims this with you."

Great. Should I just resign now? Maybe this teaching English is not my forte!

Trust you are all well and missing me madly ;P

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