Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holiday Greetings....

from the University of Maryland. Not that I actually go to the University of Maryland, but I saw this through a blog that I stalk and thought that it was cute that college made an e-card/movie like this. Check it out if you would like to.

Greeting Movie

I also wanted to share one of my Christmas songs, I heard this a couple of years ago and I really like this slide show of pictures that someone put together.

Mary Did You Know?


I am sorry dear blog, I have been neglecting you and have not written in over a week. I have much to write about, and as my dear sister-in-law reminded me it is not fair of me to have made you endure a countdown till Riverdance and then not post anything about it. But unfortunately if I thought that I was already busy it has been nothing compared to this week, I am down to 4 days before I leave Taiwan and I have enough stuff to do to probably fill another month. Our Christmas program is this Saturday and there is still much to be done with costumes and practice and making CD's, plus Yuling wants all of our pictures that we have taken while we have been here; I also have had much packing to do and still more cleaning (and maybe a little more shopping ;D...never can get enough of that). But I think that I have finished most of my packing tonight (and guess what I still have a kg or two in each bag... YES!!), so hopefully tomorrow night when I have finished tutoring I will be able to start my long catch up of what has been going on for the past week.
I apologize again for this dreadful neglect, I pledge to TRY and do better.


P.S. Please be careful with all the extreme weather that is happening throughout the US (as for me, today I got burnt while out practicing the Christmas program!)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Breathe Easy

I almost didn't have a ticket for this Saturday to Taipei, Yuling had ordered me tickets last week but I didn't realize that there was a cut-off date of when you could pick up the tickets and so was going to pick them up today (which was too late), luckily I have an angel in my life (in the form of Amy) and this afternoon during my lunch break she drove over and helped me order new tickets and then went with me to pick them up. So now I have tickets for this weekend (I would have been super sad if I didn't have tickets for this weekend...Riverdance for those that don't remember) and Natalie and I have our final tickets to Taipei (it was really sad to order tickets that only went one way) thanks to Christina, Amy, and Yuling. I am so blessed to have so many people that will help us.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Elder Mao

If anyone has 6 minutes of time to give to watching a movie, this is a cool film of Elder Mao (the Elder that just got transferred out of the Hualien branch) playing the Chinese violin (I think that, that is what it is called). It's pretty cool!

Elder Mao


Sunday Adventures

Last Sunday I was way more than just tired and so slept through my alarm, I woke up about 20 minutes after church had started, I got up and quickly got dressed and headed over to church. I got there just as they were getting out of relief society.
In Sunday school we had a new teacher, it was kind of funny as she spent half of the class time having everyone introduce themselves (I personally think that she was just stalling for time). When it was my turn to introduce myself I stood up, said my name and then quickly sat back down, then she wanted to know where I was from, why I am in Taiwan, and what year I am in, in college (kind of strange question in my opinion). There was a lot of time spent on talking about the people, I don't really remember much of a lesson.
In Sacrament meeting it was the primary program and when we walked in all the children were already sitting down up on the stand. The opening song was "I am a Child of God," it was so fun having that song be the opening song and having the kids up on the stand because they all sang really loud and were actually participating in church. I really like how they did parts of the program here, they made the whole sacrament meeting about the kids, even the opening and closing prayers were offered by primary children. That is one part that I miss a little bit when being in a singles ward, you don't have primary programs. It was really neat to see all of these primary children singing their hearts out in Chinese to songs that just a couple of years ago I was singing my heart out in English. Towards the end of Sacrament meeting the kids were going a little insane (they didn't have any teachers up their with them- they do not divide into the traditional classes for primary I believe as their is only 30 kids max.).
After church was over there was a baptism for 4 kids. I know two of them: Jackie (Ariel's older brother) and Angel (Jimmy's older sister), I have seen the other two around church but do not really know them. It was kind of neat to see these kids get baptized, I don't think that I have really watched others get baptized since I was little, it is a cool experience to watch. Both Jackie and Angel had their dad's baptize them, one of the little girls I think had her dad or grandpa or someone baptize her and then Jackie's dad baptized the other little girl. It was funny when Jackie was baptized, his dad finished the prayer and then practically slammed down into the water, everyone thought it was funny, but I was a little concerned at what was going to happen when he baptized the little girl- but no worries he did it a lot gentler. Their baptizmal font is kind of cool, it has an entrance from both sides (from each bathroom), so when they entered the dad would enter the water first and then walk to other side and hold the hand of the little girl to help them into the water, I thought that it was very sweet and cool.
Once the baptizms were done there was lunch! It was super funny though because when I walked up to the table President Chen hadned me a bowl with sooo much rice and I was like ok I will just add a little bit of stuff on the top but when I walked up to that Jackie/Ariel's dad took my bowl and ladled some soup stuff onto my rice, but rather than be a small ladle it was like the size of bowl! and so my rice was swimming in this stuff (and I didn't like it very much). Lucky for me Sister Wood was there, so she, Natalie, and Sister Gong helped me finish it up.
Here are some pictures from the baptizm that Natalie took last week. Enjoy!


12 Days of Christmas

I am not going to share everything for our Christmas program yet, but I am super excited about this part and so wanted to share. Natalie I made up words to the 12 Days of Christmas, each day has to do with another song that is being sung (the only one that we couldn't make up another part to was the 1st day but that is ok because that is when we are singing the 12 Days of Christmas so it works! :D).
Rather than sing/write you the whole song I will just go from the 12th day of Christmas.

On the 12th day of Christmas, my teacher gave to me..
12 boughs of holly,
11 shepherds watching,
10 snowflakes falling,
9 secret wishes,
8 angels singing,
7 happy children,
6 laughing reindeer,
5 silent nights,
4 balls of snow,
3 toy bags,
2 jingle bells,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

You should try singing it, it is quite cute and very catchy- especially if you add the dance moves which I am more than willing to show you ;D


Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Day at the Circus

Earlier this week I did a fill-in-the-blank story with the kids, I thought that some of them turned out kind of funny/silly and wanted to share them with you. The story was called A Day at the Circus.

3 years old (I took the lists from the 4 and 5 year olds classes and just had them pick one from each thing rather than try and have them come up with actual words).

The circus was in town again, and my family and I were excited. It was a windy winter day for a happy family outing, as we piled into the airplane and headed for the Big Top. When we arrived, I went straight for the funny mirrors-- they made my eyes look wildly skinny! How crazy is that? After that, my brother and I swam on the ferris wheel. But the highlight was the animal show. We met a talking monkey and a flying elephant who were playing duck, duck, goose. The winning animal had to participate in a pizza-eating contest with a member of the audience, and out of the crowd of googooplex, I got picked! You'll never guess who won-- but lets just say I won't be eating pizza anytime real soon.

4 year olds:

The circus was in town again, and my family and I were excited. It was a sunny summer day for a exciting family outing, as we piled into the airplane and headed for the Big Top. When we arrived, I went straight for the funny mirrors-- they made my eyes look wildly skinny! How crazy is that? After that, my brother and I skipped on the ferris wheel. But the highligh was the animal show. We met a talking monkey and a flying elephant who were playing duck, duck, goose. The winning animal had to participate in a stinky-tofu eating contest with a member of the audience, and out of the crowd of 100, I got picked! You'll never guess who won-- but lets just say I won't be eating stinky tofu anytime real soon.

5 year olds:

The circus was in town again, and my family and I were excited. It was a windy winter day for a happy family outing, as we piled into the airplane and headed for the Big Top. When we arrived, I went straight for the funny mirrors-- they made my hands look wildly skinny! How crazy is that? After that, my brother and I swam on the ferris wheel. But the highligh was the animal show. We met a talking horse and a flying cat who were playing dodgeball. The winning animal had to participate in a pizza eating contest with a member of the audience, and out of the crowd of googooplex, I got picked! You'll never guess who won--but lets just say I won't be eating pizza anytime real soon.


Sad Day

Transfers are tomorrow :(
I had already planned on Sister Wood leaving (as she has finished her mission and will be returning home), I am happy for her but will miss her dearly.
Yesterday Natalie got a phone call from Sister Wood telling her that not only would Sister Wood be leaving on Monday but so would Sister Gong, I guess there are not enough Sisters and so they taking Sister missionaries out of the Hualien area. (I send out my apologies to the new interns who wont really have anyone to translate for them unless Stephanie does it). I am happy that I was able to know both Sister Wood and Sister Gong but will be sad to see them leave also.
Then this morning I walk into church and saw a new Elder, just newly arrived from America. I asked about it and found out that not only will we be losing Sister Wood and Sister Gong but we will also be losing a bunch of our Elders also... Elder Pendleton from our branch (he is training the new Elder and they will be going together), Elder Mao and the other Taiwanese Elder from the Hualien branch. It will be a very interesting last few weeks with all of these missionaries gone. I am happy that I was able to meet them all.


Taiwan Material Girl

Last Friday night I headed off to tutor the Chou family, I knew though that I had an early start for the next day so when Angelo asked if I could stay and play I explained that I could not. I went straight home and checked my e-mail really fast, showered, set out all of my clothes and had my bags packed and went to bed at about 11pm.
Early Saturday morning (at about 5am to be exact) I woke up, I was pretty sure that I wouldn't wake up but was pretty proud (and surprised) of waking up right when my alarm went off. I got dressed (with 3 pairs of socks, two pairs of shorts, two shirts, one sweatshirt, one jacket, and one pair of gloves on...oh yeah and I was wearing my Taiwanese mask (can't forget that :D)) and cut up a couple of oranges and headed off at 5:20. I hadn't really thought about it much before I left but it was still dark when I got up and dark when I left and just a little cold. I left with a prayer, hoping that I would have any difficulties with my bike (for the last week or so my bike hasn't been working, when I am pedaling it doesn't do anything- if I were going to be here longer I would actually consider buying a new bike it has been so annoying but I will just have to bear it for 2 more weeks). I actually got there with extra time (which I was concerned about and that is why I left so early), so I stopped at McDonalds to grab some breakfast. I then went to the train station adn ate my breakfast while I waited for Stephanie and Eliza to arrive. I didn't have very long to wait, we quickly got in line and found our seats. Because we had ordered our tickets at different times our seats were not together, but I went with Stephanie and sat down behind them, we had barely sat down when the guy came that the seat actually belonged to, Stephanie asked if he would be willing to switch, he was willing and so I got to sit with Stephanie and Eliza rather than in another car. Stephanie went to sleep very quickly and Eliza was listening to music, it took me awhile to get everything adjusted and for me to get comfortable but when I finally was comfortable and looked up I realized that the sun was rising! I quickly searched for my camera and batteries and took a couple of pictures, the pictures don't even begin to show how beautiful looked... I'm not a morning person but sometimes seeing things like that make it totally worth having gotten up at 5am, biked for 30 minutes and it being freezing cold. Soon after that I fell asleep and did not wake up until we were pulling up to the Main Station in Taipei.
We walked outside and found that rather than it being cold (which many people had warned us that it would be and that we should wear lots of layers) the sun was shining high overhead and it was hotter than hot chocolate (:D) and we started pulling off layers, Stephanie walked forward and grabbed us a taxi and we were off to the temple. We were a little early for Stephanie's session and she still needed to change so we went to the stake center and were in the bathroom for awhile while Stephanie changed and then we picked the relief society room for our headquarters for the day. Eliza played the piano for awhile and I ate some oranges, then they left to go next door and get some breakfast while I played the piano. I enjoyed playing the piano but for some reason I was losing my voice so every time I would try and start singing a little bit higher my voice would squeak and not get any higher.
Stephanie left to go to the temple and asked if I would be willing to keep an eye on Eliza until her sister came and picked her up, I was ok with that and pretty much just kept on playing the piano for awhile. At one point Eliza came in and started playing it while I was so I just moved so that she could play instead. I was kind of bored so I started looking through the cupboards (the few that were open), in one of them there was a bucket of animal crackers, Eliza really wanted one but I told her that we couldn't have any, so instead I told her we could go to the 7-Eleven that was just down the street from the temple and stake center. We had just began walking when we met up with a boy from our branch and he decided to join us (I guess because he continued all the way down there with us and stayed with us), he couldn't speak any English so I didn't really talk with him much. When we got to the 7 I told them to go pick out a snack (even though I hadn't really invited him I thought that it would have been rude to not get him anything so they both got to pick snacks), they asked if they could get a drink and then share something and I told them that yes they could, I quickly picked what I wanted and then we left.
As soon as we got back to the stake center Eliza and the boy went off somewhere else to eat their snack, it wasn't very long though until Eliza came back and was just sitting with me, I asked her if she she had gotten any of the chips, she told me that she had, had one and then he finished the rest really fast. I was a little disappointed as I had mostly bought the stuff for Eliza and just because he was tagging along did I buy it for him also.
Eliza started playing the piano again and so I told her that I was going to go downstairs to distribution and that I would be right back. While I was down there I saw President Chen buying somethings. Everywhere you go in Taiwan, if it is an LDS home, car, book or anything you will see these little stickers that say "No Success can Compensate for Failure in the Home," now I guess that mom said a Prophet said that, I wasn't aware of it but it is very popular in Taiwan, I am glad that they find that a high priority. Anyway they have these stickers and we found out that we could get them for free from distribution, so I went to get some of those, I also got a couple of more Liahona's and the Conference issue of the Ensign. As I was flipping through the Ensign I was looking at the pictures (I always love the photography from Conference), when there was a picture of MTC men's choir, and right on the right side was a guy from my ward last year, I got so excited and happy when I saw that.
After I had been reading for awhile I thought that I would run across the street and look inside Bountiful Living, the first thing that I noticed when I walked in the door was that there were probably 20-30 nativty sets (which is kind of funny because whenever I had been asking people about them they had no clue what I was talking about), I looked around a little more but thought that I would have a chance to come back with Stephanie so didn't really stress about getting anything at that moment. I went back to the stake center and we hadn't been waiting for much longer when Stephanie came out of the temple, her sister was there and President Chen was ready to go but I asked if we could go quickly back to Bountiful Living, so Stephanie went with me while the others went to grab the car. I bought a nativity set for mom (don't worry, I am terrible at keeping secrets especially from mom so she already knows that I bought it :D), a pair of the most adorable baby girl shoes (I couldn't resist so Joel and Becky I guess they are the first thing for your baby!), a case for my scriptures and a miniture Taiwan flag pin. *When Natalie went there she bought a t-shirt, that we later found out was designed by Elder Pendleton, I will be going back this Saturday if anyone is interested in a Chinese LDS shirt (I bought one ealier that says CTR in Chinese).
Then we were off to the material market, Stephanie's sister dropped Stephanie, President Chen and I off and then she and Eliza went somewhere else. Sadly when we got out of the car quickly I forgot to grab my camera so I didn't get any pictures of all the material. And when I say lots, I mean LOTS! There were tons of "outside" stores but we didn't go to any of those as Stephanie said that the stuff inside would be cheaper and better material. We first bought the material for the branch (they are making Angel costumes for everyone when they go caroling) so that President Chen could pay for it and take it with him (he wanted to get home). Then we went and looked for my material, we just stayed to the front couple of stores as Stephanie said that it is really easy to get lost in there (at one point I went to one wall and looked down the aisle, it probably went back as far as a Wal Mart store and had tons of off aisles). There was so many different kinds of material, Stephanie started handing me these sample books and I was like how do I even begin to deside, but when I was into my 4th or 5th book one material jumped out at me, it was beautiful, the pattern was extremly loud but it was enough to show Chinese design. I knew immediately that it was the one that I wanted. While they were cutting the material for that I started looking for the material for the other two dresses (Erin and Jamie had asked if I would get them a dress made also), I found out that real silk was only like $30NT dollars more per a yard and found two that I thought were equally beautiful so ended up getting them real silk while mine was fake (:D), all in all though I thought that it was an amazing purchase, I bought material for 3 dresses for less than $45US and a big chunk of it was real silk.
When we were done we went outside and Stephanie's sister and Eliza pulled up and picked us up, they asked if we were hungry and by this time I was really starting to get hungry so we decided to go and get lunch. They picked subway (which I wasn't going to complain), as we were walking up to the doors the smell of fresh baked bread was so powering, it smelled wonderful. I decided to try something new so ordered terriyaki chicken, I guess while we were ordering Stephanie's sister paid for all of our food, I was so grateful, a person that I don't even knew had just paid for my food (I guess like sister, like sister- that is just something that Stephanie would do). Though I couldn't understand what they were saying it was fun to watch Stephanie and her sister interact, because her sister lives in Taipei and she lives in Hualien they do not get to see each other all the time and so they were talking really fast and happily to see each other.
When we were done with lunch Stephanie's sister had a meeting that she had to be at, so they dropped me off at a MRT stop, I had a little time and so decided to take the MRT out to Danshue (I think that I have talked a little bit about it before, it is where the Danshue river pours into the ocean- Christina had told Natalie and I that we should go there but we never had), it was gorgeous, I tried to get some pictures of the sun going down (interesting how I got to see both parts of that), but my camera was being stuburn. They had a dunkin donuts and so I got a couple and some juice and just sat down to watch people. There was a girl that had her headphones on
and was drawing, I wish that I had the talent to just be able to draw what I see.
If you don't know me very well I stress about time and so decided that I should probably head back towards the train station (even though I had close to 2 hours still before I was leaving :D), it worked out ok though, at the Taipei Main Station there is like 3 different malls underground and so I just went to one of those- I found these cute Chinese coin purses that were only like $15NT (the only other place that I had seen them was at Bountiful Living and they were like $40NT or $50NT), I was also able to buy some dinner and then had a few minutes before I had to catch my train- I prefer not to feel completely stressed if I can manage it.
I slept almost the whole train ride back to Hualien, and was a little surprised how quickly it seemed to come. When we got to Hualien I looked around for Natalie (we were supposed to be coming back on the same train), but could not seem to find her anywhere so I decided to just head home (I passed her bike locked up still on my way out). Because my bike has been having major issues lately and because I was more than a little tired I walked my bike part of the time home. I was very happy to get home, I took a shower, talked to Natalie a little bit when she got home, watched like 20 minutes of Anne of Avonlea and then headed to bed.

Unfortunately I didn't take as many pictures as I normally like to because my camera was being stupid but here are the few that I did take. Enjoy!

Thanksgiving Taipei Trip


P.S. Ahh I can't believe that I almost forgot the best part when I was biking to the train station at like 5:45 in the morning I passed the library and there was a group of people doing Tai Chi or something like that, I kind of wish that I had stopped to take a picture but it was really cold and I just wanted to keep moving until I got to the train station.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Turkeys, Indians, and Children, Oh My!

Last week for Thanksgiving Natalie made this real awesome turkey and then the kids got to decorate the feathers, the turkey came out looking awesome. On Friday she Indian "face painted" the kids and then took pictures of the kids with the turkey. These are the pictures, I think that they are adorable! (and of course as normal I need no excuse to share pictures of my kidlets!) Enjoy!


Thanksgiving Celebration

As most of you are aware last week was Thanksgiving, though I didn't have a traditional celebration I did get to have a celebration. Wednesday evening Natalie came and asked me if I was interested in going to the Chu's house the next day for Thanksgiving lunch, of course I wasn't going to turn down free lunch (though I guess that I get it everyday). We weren't really sure what to expect but were excited to go and see how others might celebrate Thanksgiving. The Chu's live in a dorm owned by Tzu Chi, when our afternoon classes were done Natalie and I biked over there, when we pulled into the parking garage we thought that there were quite a few bikes but didn't really think much about it. We got on the elevator and made our way up to the 11th floor. We walked into their apartment and found not only the sister missionaries, but also 3 sets of elders (yep 3 sets!), Christina is amazing, she had invited all of us (even those elders that don't serve in her branch) to lunch and wasn't letting anyone do anything.
We walked in to find everyone with a glove on their hand pulling apart a chicken and a turkey. It was an interesting sight, we sat down and Christina kept on bringing in more and more food. At one point someone found the brain of the duck and I am pretty sure that Elder Pendleton considered eating it but in the end he didn't.
Once lunch was over we took a couple of group photos and then because they had just received their mail before coming to lunch all the missionaries sat down and opened up their mail, Natalie took quite a few pictures of them opening their mail (as you will see if you go through the pictures). Sister Wood let me read some of the letters from her little brothers and sister, they were quite hilarious and I couldn't stop laughing (though of course I can't really remember anything now to put down). Once we were done we had to leave and bike back quickly to prepare for class that started like 30 minutes after we got home, luckily I had an easy lesson.
Here are the pictures of my Thanksgiving lunch. Enjoy!


P.S. What did you do for Thanksgiving this year or what has been your most interesting Thanksgiving?


This morning at the beginning of my 5 year old class I was doing calendar, we were talking about how it was a new month "December," when I was just about to go on Ariel spoke up. She said "Teacher, in December you go to Taipei and you don't come back" in a real sad voice. I have kind of realized that it was coming soon but I guess having one of my kids voice it made it more of a reality. I think that just like when I came here it won't really it me until I am actually gone. People have asked me if I am ready to go home, I think that on one hand I am ready to come home- just because I am ready to see family and friends but on the other hand I am really going to miss my kids.
Wendy was gone last week for two days and I was just so happy to see her this morning when I walked into class, I know that it is going to be worse when I leave here. I begin to wonder, how do these kids do it every 6 months? I mean they have two new teachers come every 6 months that they get close to and really like and then they just leave and don't come back, I don't know if I would really like that.
I guess that I just wanted to say "Darn you" to the calendar as it tore my heart to see the faces of those kids as they too realized this morning that I will be leaving soon.


I can't believe how many posts I still have to make, I was making a list yesterday and I am pretty sure that the list was up to like 10 different things that I need to catch up on, so I guess I had just better start and work my way through it. As many of you know two Friday's ago we took the preschool on a picnic to a park that was like 10 or blocks away from the preschool (which when you are doing it with 40+ 3-5 year olds it is a big job, even if there is no one driving on the streets).
We started the day off by having the normal 20 minute classes (the first hour) in hopes of giving those that normally come to school late a chance to get there before we left, I think though that everyone made sure that they were there on time. When we were done with classes everyone made sure to hit the potty and then we started lining up, the 5 year olds were the first out the gate and they lined up waiting for a 3 year old to join them. Then the 4 year olds were partnered up with each other. I was quite impressed with how well the 5 year olds did, they walked on the outside with the 3 year old on the inside and they were pointing out things to them all along the way and talking to them, they looked so cute.
When we began there was an adult like every 4-5 feet walking between the kids and the road, for some reason there was a lot in the back where I was so I moved forward towards the 5 and 3 year olds, I hadn't been up there very long when Yuling asked me/told me (more of the told me) that I would help block traffic when we came to crossroads, she assured me that she would be on one side and that I would be on the other. I am pretty sure that not once did I see Yuling on the other side as we blocked traffic. I was pretty tired by the time we got to the park though, as I would be at the front of the line and I would stop the traffic while the whole group crossed and as soon as they were all passed I would have to run forward to be at the front for when they crossed another road.
Besides the traffic stopping the day was very pleasant, I was able to relax and the parents and Chinese teachers mostly took care of everything else. Of course the kids didn't stay away from me, they wanted to share everything with me. It made me laugh at how many of the kids had just bags of candy and chips for their lunch, they hadn't brought anything healthy (I don't think that most of the parents are used to providing lunch as normally it is prepared by the school and they don't have to worry about it). Beforehand Yuling had told me that I wouldn't really need to bring a lunch as the kids would be more than willing to share theirs with me, she wasn't joking, everytime I turned there was someone new handing me something, some that I found that I liked and many others that I found that I didn't like. Some of the things that were brought to share with me were duck (Kristy's Grandma), chicken leg (Fiona's Mom), Robitusen (Jimmy- yeah I was a little confused, isn't this a medicine?), and tea (Joy's Mom)... there is a story behind Joy's mom bringing tea to share. I am not sure if she realized that we couldn't have tea but she brought like 8 cups to share with all the teachers, when she got there Michelle asked me if I could have tea and I told her no that I couldn't, she was like ahhh, you, Yuling, and Stephanie cannot have tea that leaves just Jane and me...that is a lot of tea.
I mentioned in my pictures that I should tell you the story of Wendy and my bag of chips... I had a bag of chips that I was munching on when Wendy came up to me, I figured that since everyone else was sharing with me I might as well share with her too so I offered her a chip, she took one and sat down eating it. When she was done she walked away, it wasn't very long though before Wendy was back and she just reached into my bag and grabbed another chip, someone came up and she offered them a chip. I was pretty much done and so I wasn't really holding the bag anymore, it was kind of sitting on the bench in front of me, so Wendy picked it up and was just kind of holding it. I was just sitting there when Wendy got up and walked away... WITH MY BAG OF CHIPS!!! I was like what the heck, she just stole my bag of chips, she wandered around for a little bit and then came back and gave it to me. I just thought that it was hilarious that she totally stole my bag of chips.
When we had been there for a couple of hours they started to gather all of the kids together and sent them home in cars (I think that it probably took like 3 loads with 2-3 cars, but we did eventually get everyone back to the school). I could tell that it was time to go home as some kids were getting a little sad and crying when their moms/dads/grandmas left.
After nap time we just had a short movie all together and then the day was over. All in all it was a very relaxing day and I enjoyed myself.
I didn't do very well at taking pictures but here are the few that I did take (I can't wait until I get the CD of pictures from Yuling that she has been taking while I have been here--though of course I am pretty sure that I have taken more then her).



Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thankgiving Treat

I know, I know, Thanksgiving has already past but I found this super adorable Thanksgiving treat and wanted to share it with everyone, it is sure to be something that I am going to make next Thanksgiving...those around me look forward to receiving these next year.

Thanksgiving Tee Pee's


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! I hope that you have a wonderful day and enjoy your black Friday shopping double time for me. I had an interesting Thanksgiving day and I will write about it as soon as I can get some pictures from Natalie. Love you lots and enjoy your turkey day!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Ahhhh I am going to see this in two weeks!!!! I can't believe it, I am so excited.. I got my ticket tonight. To see a little preview of what I will be seeing on the wonderful day of December 13th go here or here or here or here or here. I'm sorry, you don't really have to watch these all but I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am, this is a show that I have watched for years on VHS and have always wanted to see it live. They came last February to Salt Lake but unfortunately I didn't have the money and no one really wanted to go with me. So when I saw that they were having a Taiwan Tour I just had to jump on it. I am sure that I will somehow fit in a countdown until the day, but until then I will just have to make due with youtube videos.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Skillet Dinner

Tonight when Natalie finished her 9pm tutoring we were both hungry as we hadn't had any dinner, we decided to head to the night market. When we got there we were kind of wanting to try something new, the old stuff is getting just that, old. We saw these skillet places (I don't really know what they are called but that is what I have tried to call them) where they heat these black skillet plates and make them really hot before putting your food on them. I think that they also then reheat them with the food on because when they bring the food out it is sizzling. Natalie and I thought that they looked interesting and had stopped to watch a guy finish making a plate for someone when a guy walked up and asked if we would like some help, we said yes and thanked him. He was looking at the menu and so we thought that he was reading off the menu to us, we explained what we wanted and he repeated it as if double checking. Once he was for sure what we wanted he said "this way please," and pointed to the skillet stand on the other side of the row. It took me a moment to figure out what was happening but then I realized that we had totally be tricked, though it was kind of funny. We did go with him and ordered food there (as he spoke English and we find it's always a little bit easier if someone knows English beside us). We found it pretty funny how smooth the guy had been in getting us over there, we thought the food was really good (though mine was a little spicy-- it had a black pepper sauce on top), but we don't think that we will go again, we felt really awkward as they kept on watching us and every few seconds two or three people would walk up to our table and just stand over us watching, randomly spitting out something in Chinese. Then the guy would come over and translate telling us that we were doing one thing or other wrong or that we should do it this way. We were glad that we tried it but probably wont go again.
P.S. Oops I forgot to tell you what the food was...I had noodles, with a egg and then chicken and sauce on top (for some reason they really like the sauce here). Natalie had noodles with a egg and then some spaghetti sauce.


Thanksgiving, Day 2

Today we talked about pies (yum yum). It made me a little sad that I will not be having a traditional thanksgiving (seriously considering going to McDonalds and buying a couple of their apple pies and then coming home and having them with vanilla ice cream..sound like a good idea?). We talked about different types of pies you can have and then watched a movie of a lady making Pumpkin Pie. Last we used play dough and pretended that it was crust, we made lots of different color and sized pie crusts.

Ok, so we were going to learn this song today, but we ended not having anytime, but I figured others might have the time.

Pumpkin, Pumpkin Pie Yummy (Sung To Peanut, Peanut Butter and Jelly)
First you take the pumpkin and you pick it,
You pick it, you pick it, pick it, pick it.
Pumpkin, Pumpkin Pie Yummy! Pumpkin, Pumpkin Pie Yummy!

Then you take the pumpkin and you carve it,
You carve it, you carve it, carve it, carve it.
Pumpkin, Pumpkin Pie Yummy! Pumpkin, Pumpkin Pie Yummy!

Next you take the spices and you mix it,
You mix it, you mix it, mix it, mix it.
Pumpkin, Pumpkin Pie Yummy! Pumpkin, Pumpkin Pie Yummy!

You put it in the oven and you wait,
You wait, you wait, you wait, you wait.
Pumpkin, Pumpkin Pie Yummy! Pumpkin, Pumpkin Pie Yummy!

You take it out the oven and you bite it,
You bite it, you bite it, bite it, bite it
And you chew it, you chew it, chew it, chew it, chew it. (Sing like your mouth is full)
Pumpkin, Pumpkin Pie Yummy! Pumpkin, Pumpkin Pie Yummy!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Looking For a Smile?

Tonight Natalie and I had a youtube marathon with Mormon movies, we found some pretty funny ones. Here are a few of my favorites that left me smiling.

You Raise Me Up: Missionary Style
This first movie starts out a little slow, but it give it a minute and it picks up and the missionaries are hilarious.

Missionary Haka

I am pretty sure that I might have shared this one before, but it still makes me laugh every time I watch it again.

Mormon Dating the DTR
This one was pretty funny, I guess it was made by Divine Comedy and there is a whole other part too, but this was the part that we liked the most.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thanksgiving, Day 1

One thing that I like about working in a preschool in this environment is that we get to pick our own weekly themes, and since it's a weekly theme that means that we get to celebrate any holiday for almost a week. This week is no different, for all of you norms in the grand ol' USA celebrating Thanksgiving this week you will get one day and us we will get in a way to celebrate it every day. Now I know the celebration is not the same, but it puts in a different perspective and makes you appreciate the holidays even more for when you are home (or make you realize really how unimportant they are). I can't wait until Christmas time (not that i want it to race to then), as we will be doing the Christmas theme for two weeks! and then I get to come home and celebrate it for another week with my family (now that is the life!).
Anyway today was the first day of our Thanksgiving theme, in my afternoon class we did a couple of different games and songs. (sorry to be adding all of these songs and such that I used, but it makes it easier to find them for the future for me and since I post things before the actual holiday others might be able to use them too)

The first one is called The Turkey:

The turkey is a funny bird.

(Hook thumbs together and spread fingers to create turkey tail.)
Its head goes wobble, wobble.
(Wobble head back and forth.)
And all it knows is just one word:
(Hold up one finger.)
"Gobble, gobble, gobble."
(Make mouth shape with hand, opening and closing it while sounding like a turkey.)

The next one is called Turkey Dance:

Oh, you turkey to the left (two steps to the left)
Turkey to the right (two steps to the right)
Then you heel and toe (do motion with foot)
and scratch with all your might (scratch with foot--we did scratching with our hands and feet)
Now flap your turkey wings (put hands in armpits and flap)
While your head goes wobble, wobble. (wobble head)
Then turn around and then you say (turn around)
"Gobble, Gobble, Gobble!"

And the last one that we learned was called The Turkey Hop:

Do the turkey hop,
do the turkey run.
Do the turkey gobble
it's a lot of fun.

Now flap your wings,
like the turkeys do.
Then run from the farmers,
before they catch you.

Students line up on one wall (they are the turkeys) and one student and I (we are the farmers) stand in the middle. We say the poem and do the actions. When we get to the end of the poem the "turkeys" run to the other side. If one of the farmers touches them then they turn into farmers. We play until there are only one or two turkeys left.
The kids really like this game, we played it for almost half the class time. In the first afternoon class on our last game I was actually the last turkey (can you believe that?) and I got through the kids one time when it was only me against the whole class, I was quite impressed with myself but then class time was over so I didn't get to see how long I could go.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Prince/Princess Crowns

This week we were talking about Fairy Tales. One day I did the story "The Emperors New Clothes" I first told the story and then we made some "new clothes" for the Emperor. Basically we decorated Burger King crowns that Nathan and Sallee had been kind enough to bring for me. Some of them came out really cute, and others I am not quite sure what happened to them. Some of the kids didn't want to show their decorations and so they have the Burger King crown part showing. Enjoy!


Leslee's Birthday Cake

This past week was Leslee's birthday, I have sort of gotten used to kids having pretty big cakes but when her mom walked in with the cake it was HUGE!! It was so funny having Leslee sit in front of the cake though, she was ready to dig into it, every time someone would stop talking to her, her hand would start stretching towards the cake and we would have to say her name a couple of times to get her attention again. As soon as she blew out the candles she dipped her fingers into the cake, it was pretty funny. See that white thing in the middle with Hello Kitty on it? That is all white chocolate, Yuling scooped it up with a couple of spoons and put it in a big bowl for Leslee, she was slowly making her way through it. When I posted the last pictures of a birthday cake Ben had asked me if I could bring home a couple of them, I wish that I could, they are amazing. Enjoy!

Leslee's Birthday Cake

Halloween Town Party

Here are the pictures of the Halloween town party that we went to downtown, plus pictures of the kids dancing. Enjoy!

Halloween Town Party

Halloween Adventures

I can't believe that Halloween is almost a month ago, it seems like it was just yesterday and sadly I haven't gotten to writing about it. I will just highlight some of the parts. Natalie and I had decided to do every class about Halloween stuff. One of my favorite things that we did that week was I taught the kids "If You're a Ghost and You Know It," it's to the If You're Happy and You Know It. It was so cute, I had found it online, it goes as follows:

If you're a ghost and you know it, then say boo. BOO!
If you're a ghost and you know it, then say boo. BOO!
If you're a ghost and you know it, then you really ought to show it, if you're a ghost and you know it, then say boo. BOO!

If you're a cat and you know it, then say meow. MEOW!
If you're a cat and you know it, then say meow. MEOW!
If you're a cat and you know it, then you really ought to show it, if you're a cat and you know it, then say meow. MEOW!

If you're a bat and you know it, flap your wings. FLAP, FLAP!
If you're a bat and you know it, flap your wings. FLAP, FLAP!
If you're a bat and you know it, then you really ought to show it, if you're a bat and you know it, then flap your wings. FLAP, FLAP!

If you're a skeleton and you know it, jingle your bones. JINGLE, JINGLE!
If you're a skeleton and you know it, jingle your bones. JINGLE, JINGLE!
If you're a skeleton and you know it, then you really ought to show it, if you're a skeleton and you know it, then jingle your bones. JINGLE, JINGLE!

The cutest part was that the kids would start off behind their chairs, hiding, and when I would say "then say boo" they would all jump up and yell "BOO" and then go back behind their chairs, when we got to the cat part they would come crawling from behind their chairs and say meow. Then they would get up on their knees to flap their wings and stand up to jiggle like jello for the skeleton. I wasn't sure how it would go but the kids still really like it and they ask to do it sometimes still.

I also taught them five little pumpkins:
5 little pumpkins, sitting on a fence.
The 1st one said, my it's getting late.
The 2nd one said, there are witches in the air.
The 3rd one said, but I don't care.
The 4th one said, lets have some fun.
The 5th one said, lets run and run and run.
Oooh went the wind, and out went the lights!
And the 5 little pumpkins rolled out of sight.

Again the kids thought that it was really cute and they still like to ask to do it, they especially like the actions that we do with it.

Another thing that I found that I really liked was a version of Brown Bear, instead it was Brown Owl.... Brown Owl Brown Owl, Who do you see? I see a White Ghost looking at me...Purple Bat....Green Witch.... Black Cat and finally Pumpkin pumpkin what do you see? I see a Jack O Lantern looking at me.
I love the all the fun and cute things that you can find on the internet that people have created or made up. Strangely my favorite things that I did in my classes that week were all the things that I did in the morning classes.

Ok now to really talk about what you are interested in (if anything), Halloween day. A couple of weeks before Halloween each student was measured for what size costume they should get and then one at a time the teachers took a kid and had them go through the costume catalog.The catalog had probably close to 300 costumes for kids and 100 for adults, but because the kids were allowed to pick their own costumes we saw a repeat of many costumes. First of all when you are this young it is still cool to be in the same thing as your friends, but there were also other factors. Ben had wondered if their were only 4 costumes in Taiwan to be had, I would say that the one that you saw the most of was the Snow White costume, I am not 100% sure on this but I am guessing that Snow White showed up a lot was because all little girls want to be princesses and Snow White is the princess that looks the most like them, she has black hair and the same kind of hair cut as a lot of Taiwanese people.

Friday morning (Halloween) most of the kids showed up in their costumes (several parents had sent their kids in normal clothes in hopes of keeping the costumes nice and clean), they were all so excited and were almost literally jumping off the walls. I couldn't believe how cute they all were. It was interesting trying to keep class in order and to get things done, but somehow we did it. By lunch time most of the kids had changed back out of their costumes into normal clothes for nap time. For some reason Natalie and I decided to wait until only like 15 minutes before we had to head downstairs to get into our costumes (not the smartest idea), so we were rushing a little bit in getting ready, but we were able to get ready. We rushed downstairs with all of our stuff (and sadly with all of my rushing I forgot to grab my camera card out of my computer- luckily Natalie had hers), we started class and the kids decorated their candy bags with stickers and stuff. When we were finished everyone met outside and Yuling did a lot of talking (for which I understood zero of :D). I kept on getting told to go to the office, but everytime I went no one followed and so I was really confused, but finally the other teachers came too and we were given candy. Each of us was given an assignment of where to go, Natalie got placed inside the toy house because she was the smallest and I got put in the green classroom with Teacher Michelle.

The 3 year olds were each teamed up with a 5 year old and off they all went, running around in circles eventually going to each of the trick or treating places and getting a piece of candy from each place (we had the teachers and a couple of parents there to help also), they didn't get very much (which I guess in the long run was better anyway) but they were all happy and were even willing to share. When we were done with class Yuling informed me that my tutor group had been canceled for the day and was wondering if i wanted her to cancel the Chou family, there was a Halloween activity that was going on downtown that I thought would be fun to go to but wasn't planning on going because of tutoring, but because Yuling suggested it I said sure. I tutored Kristy and then had a couple of hours to just relax (which was a really strange feeling for a Friday) and then Allie came upstairs to get us because we were leaving. Yuling and Allie drove on their scooter while Natalie and I rode our bikes.

When we got there we saw a group of kids from Owl Preschool going trick or treating to different businesses, we quickly joined up with them and watched as they finished their trick or treating. When that was done they had a program of teaching the kids to dance, then for some reason they had decided that our school should get up on stage and sing some songs, so the kids went up and we had to lead them in like 4 English songs (they were awesome if I do say so myself-- of course I'm not biased or anything :D), once they were done with that they had some other random singing and dancing, basically just the kids having fun.

We stayed there until the end and then Natalie and I decided that we were hungry, we had seen a place on the way that we thought would be good but because it was later at night the place was closed, so we headed over to our old trusty friend McDonalds. We decided to eat on the 3rd floor, we were part way through our meal when Natalie had to go downstairs for some reason, she passed Allie on the way down, she was by herself eating, she kept on popping back upstairs to say hi but that was it. When Natalie and I were done eating we went downstairs (which had been like 20 minutes since we had originally seen Allie) and she was still by herself, we were not comfortable leaving her by herself so we sat down with her and started talking to her. We had been sitting there for maybe like 5 minutes when her mom came back, I was still a little concerned but because her mom was there we were able to leave.

We stopped off at a bakery and then headed home. I would say all in all it was a good Halloween, I loved seeing the kids in their costumes and how excited they were. It was particularly cool to see how many of the kids showed up at the downtown Halloween event (it was put on by Leslee's grandma). Now that I have caught up on my Halloween I will wish you a belated Happy Halloween! Love you all and have a great day!


P.S. Sorry that this post was so long.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Branch Potluck

Last weekend we had a branch activity, first learning about food storage and then having a potluck.. part of the thing was they had bought a big turkey and cooked it up. Unfortunately I was already full by the time the turkey was done so didn't try any. It was funny though as at the beginning one male tried cutting the turkey, but not very long after he had started his wife and other females pushed him out of the way. I was talking to Teacher Stephanie and told her that it was funny because in America it's generally the male that cuts the turkey, she said it's because the females were excited and wanted to try it, plus they were faster than the guys :D
So here are some of the pictures from the turkey part. Enjoy!

Ward Potluck

Wedding Reception Pictures

Here are the pictures that I took from the wedding reception that I talked about earlier. Enjoy!

Wedding Reception

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hair Salon

Last Saturday morning Christina invited Natalie and I to go with her to a hair salon, not to get our hair cut or anything but to have our hair washed and styled. They started out by massaging our shoulders and then added soap to our hair and started massaging our felt a little good but was hurting a little too. They scrubbed the soap in my hair for the longest time and then pulled out the suds and added more soap. Finally they went and rinsed out my hair and then some lady came and dried and styled my hair. Christina said that some people don't like to do their own hair and they go there nearly everyday and just have the people do their hair for them... interesting. Here are a few pictures from the experience. Enjoy!

Hair Salon

Family BBQ

Last weekend Natalie and I were invited to dinner on Saturday night with one of our students (Buzz). Buzz and his mom picked us up at 5 and we drove to a friend of theirs where they were having a BBQ, most of the time Natalie and I were inside with the rest of the kids (who spoke English), playing Wii while the parents were outside doing the "BBQing" (they didn't speak much English). Here are the few pictures that were taken from the evening. Enjoy!

Buzz Family BBQ

Wedding Reception

I suppose that since I have already posted part of the pictures from Halloween that I should start by writing about the actual event and then finish posting the pictures, but before I do that I feel that I should write about stuff that happened before Halloween so that I won’t forget about it. A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a wedding reception, the wife was from my branch and the groom was from Hualien branch.

As I pulled up to the church on my bike the entrance had posts made of balloons, lots of them everywhere, I continued in and found that there was even more balloons and streamers leading up the stairs to the 3rd floor. At the top of the stairs there was a table with a picture album that was probably 18-20 inches by 12-14 inches with pictures almost the same size, behind it on the wall hung an even bigger picture of them. The pictures were amazing, you could tell that the quality was very high and the paper that they were printed on beautiful and it was just so clear. Stephanie told me that when I get married I should come to Taiwan for my honeymoon and that I could get some pictures taken (isn’t that a great reason to come to Taiwan, for pictures?...sorry Nathan and Sallee we should have gotten you some while you were here).

I walked into the gym and there were rows of people sitting (yeah we were late) listening to some guy talk at the front, we were lucky to find a couple of seats and sat down and watched what was happening, we only really understood half of what was being said. It started with this guy talking and then I am pretty sure that both of the parents talked at one point and even the sister of the bride said some stuff. Once they were done with all the talking we were invited to go to the back and eat food.

I got up and walked through the balloon arch (yes there was a balloon arch that was probably 10 feet high and 15 feet wide..there were probably a 1000 plus balloons in the arch) and walked up to the food tables. As I was walking towards the table I saw an old lady standing by a tray with some packaged cookies, she had her purse out and was putting them in her purse, it made me laugh so hard to see. The food was pretty yummy and interesting.

While we were eating the food they had the bride and groom doing stuff, first the groom had to put a blindfold on, then they got five people from the crowd and had to guess which one the bride (of course none of them were), he first shook each hand and they asked him to guess. He stood there for a moment and then he asked if he could smell each hand, after he had smelled each hand he said that none of them were (which he was right). They then did another set with the bride, her sister and a couple of other people, he again smelled them and got it right (kind of cute but a little weird at the same time if you ask me). They then for some reason had the groom do push-ups, next he had to do push-ups with the bride sitting on his back, the first one he tried doing he fell down and the bride fell over, then they had to do it again.

I didn’t really know the couple but I am glad that I was able to go and see how a Taiwan reception goes, it was certainly a interesting night.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"Family" Photo Shoot

This week in our afternoon class we are learning about different activities that families like to do together, yesterday in Natalie's class they talked about family photos... these are her pictures that they took, they are priceless and I love every single one of them. Enjoy!

Family Photo Shoot

Halloween School Party Pictures

I know that I haven't even written about Halloween yet, but I got the pictures from Natalie last night and they are just so darn cute I had to post them up. Before you go, prepare yourself for some major cuteness and a lot of pictures, have you prepared yourself? Ok, good, now GO!

Halloween School Party

P.S. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Chuckle For The Day

So as I was doing my normal blogstalking I stumbled across this post, it has become my official chuckle for the day. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Sunday Dinner

When I first got here our Sunday dinners were only 3 people (Natalie, Amy, and I) but slowly it has been increasing (we added the Sister Missionaries) and it has even been getting bigger.. I think that today for dinner we will be having about 10-12 people. I just wanted to show the fun that we have during our Sunday dinners. Enjoy!

Sunday Dinner (Oct. 26, 2008)

Hong Kong Pictures

As I have said before the batteries in my camera died on like the 2nd day of our trip and so I wasn't really able to take as many as I would have liked. Sallee was nice enough to let me take some with their camera, so I will go through hers next and post them so that you can see them. These are what I did get of our Hong Kong trip. Enjoy!

Hong Kong Trip

Changing of the Guard

On Sunday when we were in Taipei Christina took us to this place where they did the changing of the guard. There wasn't anything that they were guarding, which is kind of weird in my opinion, but oh well. Here are the pictures and a few movies from it. Enjoy!

Changing of the Guard

Museum of World Religions

I think that the title pretty much explains it all, while in Taipei we went to the Museum of World Religions-- I was really quite impressed with all the detail and information that they had there. Here are the pictures that I took. Enjoy!

Museum of World Religions

Concert Hall and National Theater Pictures

While in Taipei we went to the Concert Hall and National Theater...these are the pictures from it. Enjoy!

Concert Hall and National Theater

Taipei 101 Pictures

Last one today and then I'm going to bed (with Ben's strong suggestion after telling him that I didn't go to bed until 4:30 last :D). These are from our adventures to Taipei 101 in Taipei at the beginning of October and a few from Shillin Night Market. Enjoy!

Lunch and Taipei 101

Friday, November 7, 2008

Preschool Birthday

Pictures from a "traditional" preschool birthday party. Enjoy!

Rebecca's Birthday