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Friday, October 15, 2010

Ok, let's try this blogging thing again...

October 15, 2010 from Busan, South Korea

I decided to try and start updating my blog again, hopefully this time it will last. Currently I am in Busan, South Korea visiting an old friend, Jenna Slesinski. Like me, she is an English teacher, so I decided it would be great to come here and see how the English classes are taught and how they differ from those in Taiwan. So far I LOVE it here, kinda makes me want to switch countries... but for now I think I should stay in Taiwan and see how the whole grad school thing goes. Right now I am on the last couple days of my 3 week long vacation, two weeks spent in the USA and about 5 days here in South Korea (I'll probably write more about South Korea once I get back to Taiwan).

I was VERY excited to get out of Asialand for a while and visit all my friend at home. It was nice to see my friends and hang out, but unfortunately a lot of my plans fell through. I just spent a lot of time at home and seeing my friends at home after they were done with work. I did have a nice fun weekend staying at my sister's place in Chicago though. Laura and James came up too and we went out and had a good time shopping and drinking. It was nice to visit but I don't think I will be moving back anytime soon, I'm actually quite excited to get back to Taiwan. I will leave South Korea Sunday afternoon to head back where I will start Chinese class and work again on Monday... back to the real world I guess.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I have a job and a new apartment

July 26, 2009

I have a job and a new apartment... I stayed at my friends apartment for a week or so, but unfortunately it was pretty far away and I was having to take the bus and metro for an hour each way to get anywhere and the cost of them were adding up. Me and Cala have been looking at a few places since we got here and we finally found one and we moved in the same day I started my new job.

First about the job~~ I am the newest teacher of the Shilin branch of Kojen Language Schools. I am currently in training... which means I sit in on 4 hours worth of class every day and just watch... which is kind of boring. But on Tuesday I have orientation and on Saturday August 1 I officially start teaching (and making money). I don't know exactly how much I will be teaching... I just know as of now I teach 2 one hour classes and 1 two hour class on Saturdays. I will be teaching Monday - Saturday, but one day off wont be terrible since on those other days I may work as little as 2 hours, but we will see soon my full schedule. I think that I will really like it though. The little kids seem to be a lot more fun to teach than the older ones. The younger ones are really excited to play games and learn but the older ones don't want to be there and they don't want to talk or pay attention. I met one class that I will start teaching and they seem like they will be a good class. Hopefully I will have internet by Saturday so I can write about how my first day of teaching was. The school itself is kind of small, so that is good since I can make friends with the teachers, and surprisingly I ran into one right outside of my new apt today. It turns out she lives right by me so we can be friends. I am kind of nervous to start teaching, and since I am the only new teacher there in a while it is kind of awkward to be thrown in it. Hopefully soon I'll fit right in though and be ready to teach. It is in a good spot too... it takes about 20 ~ 30 minutes to get there from my apt which is just a short walk to the metro, then a ride on the metro 3 stops away, and then another short walk.

Now for the apartment~~

Its kind of a fixer-upper though... its a good price for the place considering its location. Its right off one of the main streets in Taipei, very close to the metro, very close to downtown, and right near a super market and 7 eleven. Its on the 4th floor though (the Chinese don't like that very much) so that may be part of the reason. It looks like no one lived there for quite sometime though, and it looks as if they were smokers. It has black and white checkered floor but white is more of a yellow... and same with the wall paper. Which is why we decided to paint. We have almost all of the wallpaper stripped off but we are both in training so we haven't had time to run out and find some paint. But it will look nice and there will be pictures. I also had to get a lot of other stuff such as lights, a mattress, sheets, blankets, pillows, dishes... basically everything you need if you move into an empty apartment and have nothing. Hopefully I will start getting paid soon though since I had to charge all of that stuff at Ikea... I might also get a couple of kittens. One of my friends here has a bunch of them and will give me and Cala a couple for free, so why not?

Since we just moved it the place is still a mess and disgusting and we are without internet so the next time I post will probably be when I have internet installed because right now I am at starbucks using theirs. So if you would like to help with the furnishing of my new apartment I am taking donations!!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

First post from Taiwan~~

Friday July 17, 2009

I made it to Taipei alright. Emily and Laura were kind enough to drop me off at O'Hare and I arrived to Los Angeles with no problem. When I got there I found my friends Cala and Vicki who were going on the same flight as me to Taipei. We had a few hours so we just sat around until our plane left at 140 AM. The flight went very well, but it was a bit crowded. We arrived about 13 hours later in Taipei and I got a taxi to my new apartment.

Now when I first came into my new (temporary) place, I thought it was kinda small and dirty... but thats Asia for you I guess (TIA). My room is the size of a closet and my bed is a roll out mat... but at least there is AC!! Which I really am happy about since it feels like 117 every day with the humidity. Basically I sweat through my clothes within minutes of exiting my room (the rest of the apartment doesn't have AC... just the bedrooms)... the asians dont seem to sweat though, I don't know how they do it. Even when they are wearing jeans and three shirts and a sweater they don't sweat but I am soaked when I wear a tshirt and shorts... Well anyways it is now Friday and we arrived Monday... so what have we been doing since then? We have been walking A LOT. We walked just about all over Taipei and had a short day trip to visit Jiufen (<--- you can click on that to read more about it Mom and Dad) and thats about it. We are planning on a daytrip to Taizhong (<---- another link... see the color?) so I'll write about that later...

As for the job... I had an offer for another job at Uncle Sam's school to teach but it didn't work out in the end. But with the original company I was going to work for, I now have a meeting this Tuesday to discuss things... I'm not sure exactly what, but I'll write about it after.

The food is great and I'm glad to be back! Hopefully I'll start working soon though, but for now its nice to be able to spend the day seeing the sights that I didn't get to see last time I was here. .. I'll get some pictures up soooooooonish

Oh yeah... and there was an earthquake my first night here.. here is a link with info about it

It happened about 83 miles from Taipei where I am so it wasn't super strong but it did wake me up because all the doors to my wardrobe were banging. I was also kinda out of it with the jet lag but I did get up and run to the door because I thought it was worse than it was, but the next morning I saw it wasn't too bad... just the first of many I guess

Thursday, April 9, 2009

WOWWWWW its been a while

April 9, 2009~~
HELLOOO! I doubt anyone will actually read this, but it has been QUITE a while since my last post... mostly because I am just finishing out my last year at Indiana University. Just 4 weeks left and I will be a college graduate. What will I do with my degrees in French, Chinese, Arabic, and Linguistics?? Well I am going to move to Taipei, Taiwan to teach English. The goal is to stay here for several years both to gain teaching experience and to get a lot better at Mandarin... I don't know when I am moving there yet, hopefully within 2 months or so. I don't have an actual job yet but I have been accepted by Reach to Teach which is basically an agency that will find me a job in Taipei. My friend Cala who was there with me last Spring will also go there so we will probably be roomies.

More later :o)

Friday, August 15, 2008

My last DAYS in Egypt! (July 16-24)

Last week in Egypt wasn't very eventful... mostly because I had to finish up all my work and get ready for tests and projects and blah blah blah. One of the only things I did was take a day trip to Ein el Sukhna which is just a nice beach on the Red Sea in Egypt with the people I teach English for... that class is another story. I finished up class and I now know how teachers feel... very few of the students did all of their homework and it was all pretty bad, and I even caught some cheaters and had to turn them in. But everything turned out alright... I'm not sure exactly what my grades are yet but I think I did ok. And HOPEFULLY severy of these classes will transfer back and facilitate the completion of 4 majors in 4 years. Ummm I can't think much of what else went on in the last few days in Egypt.. it just wasnt that much. Oh! I did actually go visit the pyramids and the SPHINX because I never made it there before because I was TOOOOO busy. Pictures on facebook!! soon hopefully...

Aswan, Luxor, Abu Simbel and LOTS of old Egyptian stuff

So this trip took place July 10 to July 15 and most of it was in the form of a Nile River cruise aboard the Oberio Philae which was probably one of the nicest places I have ever stayed in. There were 3 floors and then the roof and a a pool. One of my favorite things about the boat though was that once when a bunch of us were standing on the top floor about 30 small canoes SWARMED our boat and they each had about 2 people in it and they were just throwing things they were selling at the boat. All kinds of things, from robes to papyrus to model pyramids, and some they threw in peoples rooms haha. And of course most of us didn't want to buy anything so another problem was getting all the stuff back to the little boats 3 levels down when there is wind haha... needless to say many things just ended up in the water. Also one girl on my boat bought something and I guess someone accidently threw it back, so she paid and didn't get anything... oops!

Ok to start from the start of the trip...
After class was over on the 10th we all ran back to our dorms to pack to be ready for the bus that was comping to pick us up to take us to the train station. Of course the train was about an hour late... but we ended up leaving by about 9 pm and the next morning we arrived at about 7 am to Luxor, Egypt (Wikipedia and Wikitravel).

In Luxor we visited the west bank which included The Valley of the Kings (Wikitravel and Wikipedia ) and Hatshepsut's Temple and then the east bank which included Luxor Temple and Karnak Temple. I took LOTS of pictures but you'll have to check those out on facebook or ask me in person because of computer problems I can't but them up on here...

After Luxor we sailed to Edfu to see the Horus temple and to Kom Ombo to see the Temple of Kom Ombo.

After Kom Ombo we sailed to Aswan to see the Philae temple and then the Aswan High Dam
and it was about 115 degrees out... so I didn't see it for very long haha.

And then after all that we took a 2 am bus to Abu Simbel which is less than 10 miles from Sudan!

And then after alllllll of this was over we took a plane from Luxor to Cairo via Aswan and got back pretty late, but not late enough that we didn't have class the next day :(

The whole trip was really fun. I got to see almost all of the most important ancient Egyptian monuments and temples. Some of them though were actually moved to new locations... I'm not exactly sure how they moved giant temples the size of skyscarpers though.... because when they created the Aswan dam in the 60s it flooded a large area to create a man made lake... which in turn would flood many of the ancient temples, so they just moved them to new areas.

And that was my final trip within Egypt... any questions?

Last posts?!?!?!?!?

Hmm.... today is August 14 and I haven't written in this for a while.... lots to cover... my last trip in Egypt to Aswan, Luxor, and Abu Simbel, my last weeks in Egypt, my desert adventure to LEBANON, SYRIA, JORDAN, and ISRAEL (and a little more in Egypt)... all up until now in Madrid, Spain awaiting for August 20 to arrive so I am finally come back home after my year abroad... Instead of making one big long post, I'm gonna break it up into smaller ones... So enjoy because now that I am coming home, this blog may be finished (at least for a while) because I have to finish my studies! Maybe I'll talk more about that later...