Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Birthday Wishes

Yep, it's another one of those...today is one of my best friends birthdays! Jamie, my roommate from last year turns the grand ol' age of 20 today on the 28th of October. I love you Jamie and hope that you have an amazing day!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Week of: Nathan and Sallee

Tuesday night when they got here they came a lot later than I had been planning on, plus Yuling was late picking them up, and then it took us awhile to find the place where they would be staying; so when we finally got back to the preschool it was already after 9. The plan was we were going to find something to eat, but after Nathan tried doing something and it got to be pretty late we decided not to go out Tuesday night- after I had, had something to eat I showed them where their bikes were and then showed them how to get back to where they were staying.

Wednesday night after I was done with my tutoring group we headed out into the slight rain towards the local night market. I was pretty excited to show them some of the normal foods that I get to eat every night.. I took them first to try the fruit juice stand, Donald was kind enough to give some suggestions of what his top two favorites were- Nathan and Sallee went with those. Once we had gotten our fruit juices we walked over to the coffin bread place- as usual AMAZING! As I have explained before coffin bread is a little greasy- but oh so yummy! Nathan was still a little hungry so we were going to go and try the crepe place but it was closed, next we walked over to try the sweet potato dish that Natalie and I really liked but it was closed too! I was a little disappointed, but decided to take them to some other place over by where they were staying and by the bakery. I considered stopping at the buffet/cafeteria place but they were also closed, so we went down the street to the noodle and dumpling place. Nathan got some noodles and I got some dumplings to share. When we were finished there we rode over to the bakery and I had them try different yummys- I think they discovered why it is a bad thing to have bakeries close by. We went to the grocery store so that I could buy food for Sunday- I wasn’t really sure when I would be back up that way, and some more ponchos for them and they went home as they had to be at the train station at like 7 the next morning as they were going on water rapids.

Thursday when they came back from the water rapids they were really tired and wet, originally the plan was we would meet at my apartment but because Nathan and Sallee were a little tired and they wanted to take showers they asked if we could meet at their place instead. When I got to their place they were just laying in bed- we talked for a little bit and then decided that we should get going- we were thinking about going downtown to get curry but because they were both really tired they asked if maybe we could take a taxi down or something- so we walked out to the street to try and catch a taxi, but for some strange reason there were no taxis that were available- normally they are pulling over all the time asking if we needed a taxi. Since no one was coming we decided to look just around their place and to see what they had- I suggested the cafeteria/buffet place- we went down and it was open, so we had our dinner there- it was kind of nice as it gave them the opportunity to try a lot of different kinds of things…though I am not sure that it was exactly their favorite meal.

Friday I was supposed to have my tutor right after school and then go tutor the Chou family until 9- so Nathan/Sallee and I had arranged that we would meet at 9 outside the Chou’s house and then we would head downtown. It was raining really hard when I was finished with my tutor group and as I was rushing upstairs to change and grab my stuff Yuling stopped me to tell me that Mrs. Chou had called and that she had cancelled the tutoring because of the rain (which I thought was very nice of her, but kind of pointless as I was still going to have to bike over there anyway), I still changed and grabbed my stuff and headed over. Instead of going to the Chou’s though I went to where Nathan/Sallee were staying in hopes of meeting up with them earlier, they weren’t home- I didn’t really want to have to go home and come back in an hour so I decided to just head over to the stuff store and shop there for the next hour or so. I found a bunch of really neat stuff while I was there- stuff for a Halloween costume, some cool paper, and other stuff- it was funny though, as I was shopping Natalie walked past me. We shopped together for a while but then it was time for me to leave to go and meet Nathan and Sallee. I headed down to the Chou’s place, sure enough there was Nathan across the street- I found out that they had come home maybe 10 minutes after I had been there- which I figured would happen if I left.

Again they were tired and wet and didn’t really want to go downtown but they had grabbed some food, we went back to the house where Sallee was waiting..it just so happens though that the food that they had grabbed was exactly where I was going to take them. The Famous Dumplings- and they were so YUMMY! I was happy that they had decided to stop there and get dinner from there. When we were done with dinner we played some mean rounds of Uno ;D…I love playing games and I have kind of missed that since I have been here as Natalie is not the biggest fan of games. Nathan and Sallee asked if I just wanted to spend the night and we would go over to the apartment in the morning but I had some stuff that I needed to do so I headed home.

*before I went to bed Friday night I checked my e-mail (yes I know, surprise, surprise) and found the most amazing news….my brother Joel and my sister-in-law Becky are having a baby!!! I couldn’t believe it, when I saw the title of the file that was opening I began to wonder but decided that no, that couldn’t be it, but then I saw the picture and go super excited. I couldn’t wait until the next morning to tell Nathan and Sallee about it (yeah don’t expect me to be someone to keep secrets for you :D). I am even more excited as I just found out today that it is going to be a girl!!!

Saturday morning came very quickly, I was already ready to go when Nathan and Sallee arrived- unfortunately Natalie was just getting up. While Natalie was getting ready Sallee made a bunch of sandwiches for us to take for lunch. She had just barely finished when the taxi driver pulled up. We hurried down as quickly as we could, though it took us a little while- I quickly discovered that it would be an interesting day as the taxi driver knew absolutely no English. Once we were all in the car we headed off, it was a beautiful day!

Our taxi driver was great, he had a phone number that was an English/Chinese hotline where they would translate for us and if ever there was something that he wanted to tell about where we were he would call and have them tell us- it was especially nice when we first got to Taroko and were at the entrance, we realized where we were but he wanted to be sure that we knew and so he called and had them tell us- I thought that it was very thoughtful. He took us to a lot of amazing spots and gave us plenty of time to look around and take pictures- he would even pull over at random spots and just ask if we wanted to take a picture of it.

I can’t even begin to explain how beautiful Taroko was, we hiked (oops, make that walked) a ton (and I even did really good and was at the front most of the time) and saw amazing sights. I think that I will let the pictures do most of the explaining of Taroko.

When we were done with Taroko our taxi driver met us with popsicles, once we were done with those he headed back to Hualien. First he took us to the beach and I took some beautiful pictures- the rocks there were amazing and it was really cool to watch how quickly the water would sink into them. After the beach he took us to a winery- yep we were a little worried too when we pulled in, but he was taking us to feed fish. It was really cool getting to feed the Koi, watching how they would attack for the food and how fast they could move towards the food. I wish that I had taken some pictures but I didn’t think to because I didn’t really know what we were doing there. After feeding the koi fish he took us home. We got a really amazing deal, only having to pay $2000NT when I know that he had the meter on and it was way past $2500 by the time we got home. I feel that we were really blessed in who we had for our taxi driver and that it was an amazing day.

By the time we got back from Taroko we were a little hungry but we didn’t really feel like biking out to somewhere downtown as it was already dark so we decided to go to the local night market. In the night market that I normally go to there is two different aisles, I normally only stick to one side and have only tried a select few there even so when we went on Saturday night we decided to try some of the other places that I have never tried before.

The 1st thing that we got were these little balls that I always see them making but never knew what they were- we found out that they were seafood, they weren’t bad but they weren’t good either. We then also tried this yummy place that had this chicken and vegetable with rice bowl things…good stuff. After dinner we headed home, decided the time that we would meet in the morning for church and then went our separate ways.

Sunday was my birthday and there wasn’t anything really spectacular about it..I went to church, and then had a big birthday dinner with Amy, Natalie, Nathan, Sallee, the elders, and the sister missionaries—yummy too, it was waffles, scrambled eggs, fruit salad, and cake!

Yeah I can’t believe that I am actually getting caught up with the last three weeks or so, all I have left now to write about is my trip to Hong Kong! I will post the pictures soon..I need to get pictures from Natalie first but she loaned her camera to Grace and should be getting it back later today, and then you will get overloaded with pictures.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Sunday/ Sabbath! Love you all!


Birthday Reflections

i just had to point out that this is my 100th post...who would ever have thought i would make it to 100 posts in a blog? not me!

For those of you who missed it this past Sunday I turned 20. I can’t believe that I have reached this milestone, where has the time gone? It seems on one hand that in my short life I haven’t accomplished much but at the same time I have reached, accomplished, and past a whole lot of different things.
My dad was an elementary school teacher; I remember watching him as I was growing up- admiring what I saw him do. I remember how my dad would always be the teacher that wanted to do more for his kids, he would search and work to bring his students opportunities that they might otherwise not have in their situations. One thing that always made me so proud of my dad was how every year when the teachers would divide up who would be in their class, my dad was always willing to take those students that the other teachers didn’t particularly want, the ones that came from the harder life situations or the ones that didn’t try very hard in school- my dad took them all and he loved every single one of them too. I think that my wanting to be a teacher started in the very beginning from watching my dad, I loved how when I went to school with him the students would be excited to see him and how I could tell that these kids genuinely wanted to be in his classroom.
I think that I realized from a very early age that, that was what I wanted to do, I wanted to be like my dad and work with little kids. My mom likes to tell me that she knew from even before I started school that I would work with kids- she likes to tell me of how when I was in nursery (18 months-2 years old class at church) parents would come in and I would tell them how their child did that day in class or of how when I was in kindergarten if a parent came and was looking for their child I could tell them exactly where they were.
You always hear from people that we are young and that of course we aren’t going to know what we want to do, that most people change their major 2-3 times while they were in college. Going through high school many of my friends didn’t know what they wanted to major in yet, it made me question if this was really what I wanted to do. I started trying different things- taking the opportunities that were given to me. When my ward did a play I volunteered to do all the daycare during the practices and during the actual performances, after my freshman year of high school I started working at a private school just doing the afternoon parts, my senior year of high school I took a class where basically I was a TA for two kindergarten classes, and then finally I am here, in Taiwan teaching preschool aged children. Where I was questioning once if this is really what I want to do I no longer question, I know that this if for sure what I want- I may have other passions, things that interest me, but this is where I am meant to be. I am happy for the many different experiences that I have had, to help me mold my teaching abilities and working with people, each experience molded and shaped me a little more.
My junior year my dad had an accident and suffered brain injury. It was a really hard time for me and still is at some times. At this point in time my mom and I did not have a very good relationship, there had been times in the past where I had even told my mom that I hated her, my dad had been one of my best friends, my rock and my support. Losing my best friend was really hard; I knew that it would never be the same again. Slowly I gained a new friend, my mom, there was no other family at home during this time and so we turned to each other to be the support that we had both lost in my dad. My friends at school continued to be my friends, but they didn’t understand what I was going through, only my mom really did and she is what helped me get through those hard times.
For the next year or so after my dad’s accident he was in and out of the hospital in Portland, which was 3 hours away- so my mom spent a lot of time there. That left me with balancing work, school, dealing with the stress and emotional issues of my dad’s accident, and being President of the junior class. Something was bound to slip, and in my case it was more than just one something. My grades began to go down and somehow I kind of lost control of them, then in February the stress of everything and having no sleep caught up with me, I was driving home from seminary one morning when I blacked out and had a car accident. Many people were surprised that I was alive after seeing my car; I think that I forget sometimes how lucky I am to be alive and that obviously Heavenly Father still has plans for me.
My senior year I had the blessing and trial of being ASB (Associated Student Body) President. I sometimes questioned why I had made the decision to take on that role, it was so much stress and sometimes I felt like pulling my hair out. But then something would happen and I would be so glad that I was a part of it. I think that my senior year was a little bit easier; I was beginning to accept more of what had happened in my life and was able to start accepting a little more that nothing would ever be the same as before.
This past April I finished my 1st year of college, I came from a high school where there was no homework because we didn’t have enough books for every student in the class and so expected college to be a breeze. But it wasn’t, it was really hard, many nights I would I would walk to work talking on the phone to my mom crying about how things were going. I am not always the most open person and so very few realized how badly I was doing, I had gotten into a ditch and was too late when I finally realized how bad I was doing and couldn’t get myself out.
About part way through the school year I was lucky to find information about this wonderful program called Owl Preschool, it seemed to be a huge blessing, an answer to a prayer that I wasn’t even aware that I was saying. I got very excited about the program and began to realize that I had probably gotten my hopes up way too high and that I wouldn’t be accepted, but through some other things happening I was accepted. I began to make plans and it became a reality. This has been such a huge adventure, I have learned and seen so much and been so blessed to be here.
I sometimes forget how blessed I am or all the wonderful things that I have in my life and I think that sometimes it is good to reflect and look back at what you have fought and won or even what you have fought and lost but then got back up again. As I reflect I see many things that I have fought and won, probably even more that I have fought and lost, with a few where I got back up again quickly, but even a few where it took me a little bit longer to get back up. These past 20 years have been glorious, I am not always happy about every experience as I am experiencing it but am glad all the same that I had them.

The Fun In Taipei

This was started two Monday’s ago and then I finished the rest today, sorry that it has taken me so long to finish.
Man, after this weekend I feel so much older than my actual age- I am so tired and sore and keep on wondering why I do certain things to myself. I know, I know you are probably wondering what the heck I am talking about, I guess that I should just start from the beginning of my weekend.
Thursday afterschool I had two tutoring jobs and then the plan was that we would be leaving very soon after them, the plan was also that Natalie was going to pack while I did my tutoring and then we would be able to leave- though instead of Natalie doing that she played with the kids for the whole time and wasn’t ready when I finished. I packed quickly and Natalie took longer to pack- it wasn’t that we were late or anything but I guess that I just function that if we are going to leave at a certain time I try to be ready at that time and if I am ready and the other person is not I get a little annoyed.
Anyway we finally got on our way, me riding like I was a little drunk as I had my bag in my basket and it was a little heavy, so it made it a little weird to ride. We had never ridden to the train station before so we wanted to leave a little early to be on the safe side, we found the train station and decided that we were hungry and that we would go look for some food close by, we wandered for a little bit and didn’t really see any place that was serving food food, so sadly we went into 7-11. I got something that Natalie had said that she tried before and that she liked it, what both of us got we ended up not liking- I am pretty sure that mine had mushrooms or something else that is not really to my liking, I didn’t finish mine but Natalie did. There was another 7-11 across the street from the train station so we went in there to see if there was something else that I could try, not really though I did get a drink and a little something to snack on. When we were finished we quickly found somewhere to lock our bikes (it was kind of hard to find a pole to lock it to- normally we don’t worry about that but because we were going to be gone for several days we wanted to lock it to something) and then ran inside.
We ran upstairs and where we thought that we had several minutes until we had to leave the train was already there (we forgot that the train starts in Hualien), we kind of freaked out that it was going to be a short stop like it normally is at other places, so we quickly got on the train. I at first started trying to do some stuff on my laptop but quickly realized that it was not going to happen so I closed up my laptop and went to sleep and slept most of the way to Taipei. I have realized that I can quickly fall asleep on the train and sleep most of the way. Finally we arrived in Taipei, it took us a little bit to find Christina- last time that we had come Grace was with us and knew exactly where to go, but this time they were doing some construction so I didn’t really recognize where to go. We went straight home and went straight to bed (for which I was very grateful).
Friday morning I was able to sleep in until like 9, which felt very nice- except for the fact that I was sleeping on a very, very, very, very hard (did I mention that it was hard?) mat, so my back was hurting a little bit. When I was awake enough to comprehend I jumped into the shower (though I guess it is not technically called jumping when there is no separation between the rest of the bathroom and the shower :D), I showered pretty fast so that Natalie could shower also and then we could head out and have a day of adventures. Once we both had showered and had some breakfast Christina took us to the zoo where we caught the train (yep it was a little hard to catch, but we succeeded :D) and took it to the city hall, we got off and had some yummy lunch- spaghetti and garlic bread (oh how I miss my pasta) and then did a little bit of shopping. We found some really really cute shoes that I absolutely loved, but sadly my size of shoe is not very common here and if they have them they are generally tennis shoes or the like. Natalie ended up getting the shoes but I was really sad that I couldn’t get them. When we had finished our lunch and shopping we went and caught the train again to where we met Max and his friend. *Max is a friend of Grace’s, because she was not there and because Christina had other stuff to do he had volunteered (well I think they asked and he said that he would) to be our tour guide for the day.
Once we found them we quickly jumped on a bus that took us right to the front door of Taipei 101. It is an amazing thing to stand outside at the bottom of 101 and look up. When I stand there at the bottom it makes me feel so small, I like to stand there and just think about how I am just a little part of this world. We walked into 101 and looked at all of the different stores as we took the escalators up to the 5th floor, just as we passed those places and I looked at the stuff they were selling it amazed me that people would go to these type of places and spend so much money on things.
On the 5th floor we got into one line and waited for a little bit and then paid for our tickets ($400NT!) and then were lucky enough to get into another line (yes catch the sarcasm there ;D) and had to wait for like 30 minutes, it was incredible how many people were there waiting to just go up the elevator and look out into Taipei. The elevator was insane, we walked in and in 39 seconds we had gone up 82 flights (that would be 373 meters per minute for those who can’t figure that out—it’s ok I wouldn’t be able to figure it out either). It felt like we were going really fast but it is crazy that we were going that fast. When we stepped out of the elevator it amazed me how many people there were walking around looking out the windows at the beautiful view. We walked over to this line where we could get headphones that would give us information about the area and the things that we were seeing. It was really funny, this lady came up to us and took our tickets and told us to walk this way, we walked like 3 feet and then she told us to stop and handed back our tickets to us and grabbed the headphones. She then asked us to walk with her a little ways, where she put the headphones on our ears for us (:D) and explained to us how the headphones worked.
I couldn’t wait to walk away and to look out the enormous windows and to see the view. The view was amazing; I can’t even begin to explain how wonderful it was. We were so lucky while we were up there, just as we got up there an amazing rainbow came out. It started at one end of the valley and slowly worked its way across until you could see it from anywhere in the building. I got some cool pictures, but again it can’t even begin to do it justice. One cool thing that we got to do while we were up there was send a postcard from the highest mailbox in the world. I sent a postcard and took a picture of it, it was kind of funny though because they had 3 different mailboxes, one for family, one for friends, and one for lovers…I understand the family and friends but was not too excited about the lover one.
I thought that the view from 101 was amazing, but am not quite sure that it was worth $400NT- and it blows my mind how many people pay that price every day. I am glad that I did it, but can see why a lot of locals have never gone.
When we were done with 101 we caught the train and then the MRT to the Shillin (when they first told us the name of this market Natalie thought that they said the Silly market- and she was like if it’s silly why would we want to go there…so now it is our inside thing that we call it the silly market) Market, our first stop at the Shillin Market was the food part, we were lucky and found a table (the market was insane and full of people), Natalie and I sat down and waited while they left and grabbed different types of food and then brought them all back for us to try. They brought back coffin bread- a little different than the ones that we have here in Hualien, it was good I definitely liked the stuff from here better; a noodle soup- by the time we got to that I was way too full; stinky tofu- it wasn’t as bad as I thought that it was going to be, of course I don’t think that it was as bad as it could be; we also got some fruit juice mixed with ice- I got watermelon, it wasn’t my favorite.
Max’s friend was pretty tired and so when we were done with dinner they pointed the way towards shopping and then left. Before we started shopping we stopped to try a dessert, it was yummy strawberries on a stick with some kind of red glaze- DELICIOUS! They also had tomatoes but as you can imagine that didn’t exactly jump at me ;D. When we had finished our dessert we started shopping! The first place we went to had all of these cute necklaces and bracelets and different hair clips for only $49NT, both Natalie and I stocked up with tons of stuff. The food and the shopping areas are about a block apart from each other, so Natalie and I headed over to the shopping part. There were SO MANY people, I could barely move. We were probably there for 2-3 hours and we didn’t even begin to see a portion of all the different places there were- I got a cute purse, some name stickers, and some cool Christmas presents—sorry can’t go into too much detail :D. Probably one of the funniest parts of that night was while we were waiting for our name tags to be finished we were walking around and I saw a place that sold what I thought was lemonade. I went over and ordered some, when I got it I took the largest drink ever, BIG MISTAKE! It wasn’t lemonade- it was limeade and I am pretty sure that they put hardly any sugar in it because it was the sourest thing that I have ever tasted. Natalie looked at my face and it was kind of funny- I always wish that someone could be there to take pictures of moments like that so that I could see truly how my face looks. It was getting pretty late and so we decided that we were done shopping for the night and that we would head home. When we got home we both showered and then fell into our beds again exhausted. Though I was going to bed exhausted it was a good kind of exhausted.
Saturday morning Natalie and I both woke up again later and we found that we were the only ones in the apartment. We knew that Christina wouldn’t be there as she was going to head up north to visit the hot springs and her mom, but we were surprised that Tony wasn’t there. We got ready and decided that we would head out on our adventures, we walked down to the bus stop and sat down to wait until the bus came. Finally after waiting for about 20 minutes the bus showed up. We got on and sat down, our plan was to go to the zoo and Christina told us that the bus would take us there, but when it went in the completely opposite direction of the zoo we began to wonder. We weren’t too worried as we knew that eventually it would come back to at least the apartment and we would be fine. When we had been on the bus for like 30 minutes and we came back to the apartment we decided that we would still stay on the bus and see what would happen next…instead of turning of turning left like the bus did the 1st time it turned right, we were definitely intrigued and glad that we had decided to stay on the bus rather then getting off. Our waiting paid off, nearly 50 minutes after we had gotten on the bus we showed up at the zoo. By this time Natalie and I were really hungry (we hadn’t had breakfast yet) and so we headed over to McDonalds to get some lunch.
Lunch was yummy…though I am getting a little tired of McDonald’s food; I hope that I won’t eat there as much as I have been for the past few weeks for the rest of the time. We had read a little bit about a museum, Museum of World Religions; we were kind of excited about going there and interested to see what they would have. It took us a little bit of searching to be able to find the museum, luckily there was a nice lady that stopped on the street and helped us find the place—Natalie and I have decided that if you look lost enough on the sidewalk people will just stop and try and help you, even if they don’t know enough English to be able to really communicate with you.
The museum was pretty cool; they covered a lot of different religions and had different stuff that was a important part of that religion. We easily were at the museum for 2 hours and we could have spent even more time there. I was really impressed with everything that they had in the museum. As we were getting ready to finish the museum Christina called and said that she was going to come pick us up at the museum. We somehow went out the back door but we found her eventually. She took us to this cool house that used to belong to a rich family, it had so many rooms and it was really easy to get lost in- sadly both Natalie’s and my batteries died on our cameras so we didn’t get any pictures of the place. When we were done there we tried going to this other place where they have the changing of the guards but it had closed like 5 minutes before we got there.
By this time Natalie and I were pretty hungry and so we asked Christina if she could maybe take us somewhere to eat food, she suggested taking us to an Italian restaurant, she said that she wouldn’t be eating though as she had just finished a 7 course meal with her family and she was still full. We got into the end of the line of about 50 people; Christina started talking with these sisters that were in front of us. Pretty soon it was decided that we would be eating with the sisters and the rest of their family who showed up soon and Christina would explore around the stores in the block. The family was really nice that we were eating with, one of the daughters and the son speak English so it was a fun dinner. We were about half way through our meal when Nana (the girl that spoke English) told us that her parents wanted to pay for our dinner. We tried insisting that they didn’t even know us and that we should pay for our own food, but they kept on insisting that they were Taiwanese, they are kind people and that we were their guests. They ended up paying for us, even after we insisted a dozen or more times that they shouldn’t. My food was delicious, it was pasta with some kind of cream sauce and bacon and spinach, YUMMY!
When we were done with dinner we called Christina came and found us and we headed off to a library. I found a cute fun book that I bought and when we were done with that we went and did some shopping downtown. Christina was crazy; she was everywhere grabbing stuff and throwing other things away. I am pretty sure that she bought more than Natalie and I put together. We were getting pretty tired when we realized that we should probably get some food for Sunday, Tony doesn’t like bread and so Christina likes to eat it when she is not with him, so she asked if we could just get a ton of bread- of course we love bread and so we agreed with her. We went to this bakery that was absolutely amazing, they had these really yummy muffins and these rolls that were blueberry and cheese flavor (I know sounds kind of weird but they were delicious flavors together). Again we went home and went to sleep.
Sunday morning I knew that Nathan and Sallee would be landing and so when Christina got a call early in the morning I sat right up hoping that it would be them. After that I wasn’t able to really go to sleep because I was too excited, of course because I was waiting for their phone call it seemed that Christina was getting tons of phone calls that weren’t Nathan and Sallee. Finally they did call and I was told that they would soon come!!!! I decided that I would stay and wait for them to get to the apartment and that Christina and Natalie would go and watch Conference. Probably barely 10 minutes after they had left Nathan and Sallee showed up. We hung around for a little while, let them stretch out and relax and then we decided to head out. We walked down the hill and caught the bus to the zoo. We were hungry, and so we found something to eat. There is a gondola that is supposed to be really cool to ride to the top of this hill but it is closed right now, we were sad but we waited for a bus and went to the top. We walked around for awhile, looking at different temples-a lot of steps!
We were supposed to be meeting Christina and Natalie at the apartment and so we headed back towards the apartment, we caught a bus that went part way down and then we walked the rest of the way. They were already there waiting for us, as soon as we walked in the door they were ready to go, we took time to use the bathroom and then we headed out again- but this time by car. We went to this place where there was the changing of the guard- it was pretty cool, how in sync they were. It was kind of funny to see some of the guards where were not on duty- they had these major tan lines of where they have the straps of their hats normally. When we got home we had a little while to putter around but then Natalie and I needed to pack up to head home.
We were hoping that Natalie and I would be able to get an earlier train, we did get one that was supposed to leave earlier but then it kept getting on delayed. We didn’t end up leaving until after 10pm! When we got home we were both very tired, which is good considering that it was nearly 2am in the morning. We figured that we were lucky to still have gotten the earlier train because all of them were most likely delayed because of it being National Holiday weekend and so we were glad that we got earlier because it probably would have been closer to 3 otherwise.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Under Construction

...not really, I wish that I could say that, that is why I haven't blogged in almost two weeks! But it's not, things have just been crazy and hectic and I haven't had much time to sit down and write everything up. And it will again be another week until you hear anything from me. Tomorrow morning I leave for Hong Kong with my brother and sister-in-law and will not be back until Friday. I hope to get everything caught up next weekend. Look forward to several picture posts (Taipei trip, Taroko trip, and Hong Kong trip) and either several journal posts or a really, really long post (probably the several one). Don't worry though I will not lose details- I am taking my paper journal (gasp, I really have one of those?) and will be writing the whole week long. I know that I have not been very diligent the past couple of weeks but hope to get back on track when I return- because for those of you who aren't counting, I only have 9 weeks left!
I think that I look forward to coming home, but at the same time it will be very different- I will miss these kids with a passion that I think is indescribable, they have been my family, everything that I have known for the past several months. I think that I will do better to not think about coming home yet, as I am getting a little teary eyed just thinking about it. I love you all lots and look forward to being connected to you again when I return from Hong Kong.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Birthday Wishes

Because I was in Taipei for the weekend I am actually a couple of days behind, Erin's birthday was Saturday. But I still want to wish her a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!! (belated though it may be), I love you Erin and am sad that I missed the big birthday bash- I hope that you had an awesome one.

(hehe, Erin might kill me for this!) Here are two of my best friends, Erin and Jamie- obviously having fun at the BYU-Utah basketball game last year.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Birthday Wishes

Yep, there are going to be quite a few of these this week. Today is one of my best buddies from homes birthday, Ami. I want to wish you a HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY! and know that I absolutely LOVE YOU!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Leila Texts

I have discovered that not only am I a facebook stalker I seem to also be a blog stalker, I will go to a friends blog and see what blogs they read and then just go from there. Today I found one that probably has made my day, maybe even my week. It is called The Leila Texts, here is her description:
When you send a text message on the Verizon network, you can address your text by choosing a name out of your contact list, or you can address it by typing in a phone number. You can also type in a name. And if you type in L-E-I-L-A, then-- bizarrely-- your text will come to me.
This is a blog about the texts I have received. All of them are from strangers, intended for other Leilas, but obviously they missed their marks.
I have spent a lot of my free time today reading the different things that she gets, some of them are not the best but I just skip over those and go to the funny ones, enjoy!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Puzzle Mania

So if you haven't figured out yet when I do a art project in class I am lucky and get to do many different versions of it, as mentioned in the previous post we did our own puzzles in the middle class today, here are my awesome puzzles that I made. :D

Rainbow delicious!

"Sunflower" from 3 year old class (they had a much simpler piece pattern)

I think that this one was my worst puzzle, it just looks ugly to me- even though the kids were all like it's beautiful.

I think that this one is just cute.

I want candy!


Today in class we talked about friends and I made a power point presentation about who my closest friends are, here they are (in no particular order)

Monique and Lindsey


I love Fernanda, but this is mostly about Erin (in blue and brown jacket)

Katie and Shalynn

Kelsi and I

Brea and Sami


Elise and I




Katie Darling Nay

Hong Kong or Bust!

It’s for sure; I’m heading to Hong Kong on the 20th of October and will be there until the 24th!!! I can’t believe how much has happened today and all of the things that have fallen into place. I will start at the beginning, from yesterday (sorry I didn’t really mention it yesterday but I didn’t want to get too excited and not have it happened- been there, done that, and didn’t like it (nope didn’t buy the t-shirt either)). At one point I had talked about going with Nathan and Sallee to Hong Kong when they came, but when I realized that they would be going in the middle of the week I figured that there would be no possibility of me going with them, I also had talked with Natalie and she didn’t really want to go with me. Time is running short and even though I wouldn’t be going with others I really wanted to go to Hong Kong so I decided yesterday that I should probably start talking to Yuling about possibilities of when I could go and making the plans. Yesterday during lunch I went downstairs and first brought it up to Yuling by asking her if it is scary to travel to Hong Kong by yourself, I had previously talked to her about the whole idea of going with Nathan and Sallee, and she was like “why, what happened- aren’t you going with your brother?” I explained to her the situation of Nathan, Sallee, and Natalie and then said that because of that I figure when I go it will be by myself (mind you I was not even thinking about asking to go with Nathan and Sallee, in my mind it was during the week and so it was not a possibility). She started asking me about what days they were going and started saying something about how that is almost a week (I was a little confused at first, I didn’t really get why she would care how long Nathan and Sallee would be in Hong Kong), she kept talking for awhile and then I started to think “is she really saying what I think she is saying”, then I started to think “she is saying what I think she is saying” and then I started to get really excited. I told her that I would talk to Sallee last night and then get back to her today.

So at lunch I went downstairs loaded with paper to take notes and a copy of Nathan and Sallee’s travel plans. I handed it over to Yuling and she got on the internet and started searching. It wasn’t long until she told me my options, for only $5000NT I could leave around 1:30 on the Monday that Nathan and Sallee would be leaving, I didn’t know if I would be able to get the same as the them so figured that an hour off would be better than nothing so I said that I would like to go with that. While she was searching she said something about that as long as I was staying till Thursday I might as well stay until Friday ( I had been thinking that I would go on Monday and then come back on Wednesday so I am not really sure where the Thursday and Friday came from- but I’m not really complaining :D). Yuling then also found for $600NT more I could be on the exact same flights as Nathan and Sallee. I was like heck yes! It ended up being $8300NT or about $260 round trip, and I get to go for the whole week and be with Nathan and Sallee the whole time! I am so super excited!

Next really big news, when Yuling and I were done getting my ticket it was time for my afternoon class and so I headed to that, I was in the middle of my 2nd class when Yuling walked in and said excuse me- I walked over to the door to talk to her. The first thing that she told me was of this awesome deal that she had gotten for Nathan and Sallee while they are staying in Hualien and then the next part that she told me was that Green Island was closed and that we wouldn’t be able to go there next weekend, yeah I was a little disappointed. But then she made it better by saying that instead she had somehow gotten train tickets to Taipei for the weekend (I don’t know how she did it, but I figure that it is better not to ask questions). We will be leaving Thursday night at about 8:10pm, the bad part is how late this whole trip is going to be, we will stay in Taipei until Sunday night- we leave at like 9 and so won’t get back until nearly 1am. Natalie and I have been looking at our calendars and the Chu families calendars lately and were having trouble finding a time when we could all go together, so I am extremely grateful to Yuling to finding us these tickets. Natalie and I have just decided that we will have our lesson plans and evaluations done before we leave.

Oh I almost forgot to mention, I had told Yuling that I would be willing to have my lesson plans completely written up for the Chinese teachers for when I go, but she said that would be a bad idea as they wouldn’t understand what I had planned and so they will write their own plans. I feel kind of bad about all of this but at the same time I think that the excitement is far outweighing the guilt—especially because that means that now I am even further ahead in my lesson plans :D.

Now for one of the last exciting news of the day, I guess that Yuling had asked Stephanie yesterday about some membership she has where they can get big discounts off of hotels and about the possibility of me using it. Stephanie was talking to me about Yuling having asked her about it, I didn’t really push it because I wasn’t sure if she was actually offering it, but later on Bob stopped by and Stephanie told me that Bob was going to go home and find their membership code and that Stephanie would bring me the code tomorrow so that I could look for a place to stay for Nathan, Sallee and I in Hong Kong. I really wish that there was a way that I could thank Stephanie/Bob and Yuling/Joseph for all that they do for Natalie and I.

Ok now that I have semi-covered my exciting news of the day (when all of this was happening I felt like I was going in a million different directions because of everything) I can tell you about the rest of the day.

In my morning class we played a game called peanut butter, I so wish that I had brought my camera to class with me, it was hilarious. I would say something like “hand to hand” and then the kids had to find a partner to stand with hand to hand, I would keep on saying other things and they had to keep on “sticking” to each other until I would yell out “peanut butter” when they would separate and search for a new partner for the next thing that I would yell out. The one that would make me laugh the most was when I would say “nose to nose,” I would look around and it would just be so cute/funny that I would start laughing, I love that the kids will do whatever I say and they don’t even question it.

For my middle class we made our own puzzles, I had drawn out the pieces on paper in black marker and copied it, I then gave each kid a “puzzle,” they drew their own picture across it and then could cut it out and have their own puzzle. Most of the kids didn’t really get the idea and so would just color each piece a different color but some of them did get it, they had fun though- I am pretty impressed with mine (see pictures in post Puzzle Mania).

You know what happened during my lunch time, so I will move onto my afternoon class. If you recall this week our theme is “All About Me” and so today in my class I talked about friends and in Natalie’s class they talked about family. It was kind of funny because this afternoon we were talking about what our plans were for our lesson and I told her that I was pretty excited because I was going to just make a power point of pictures of all my friends and she started to laugh because she had been planning on doing the same thing but with pictures of her family. We figured that it was a pretty good idea because the kids love seeing pictures of things from home, I thought that mine was pretty good because I placed a picture of the kids every other picture (between pictures of home friends) - the kids loved that and would get really loud and excited every time a picture would come up of them. When we had finished looking at the pictures the kids got to draw a picture of their friends, it was interesting to see who they chose to draw as their friends.

Today is my crazy day of tutoring, I feel like I am going, going for 5 hours straight after school (which I am basically), I will be glad when I get more used to my Wednesdays and Fridays. Now tutoring is done and I am finished with this post and I have two more picture posts to put up. I love you all and hope that you are having an amazing Wednesday. ~Betherd~

P.S. I AM GOING TO HONG KONG!!!! (if you didn’t catch it from the beginning of this post :D)


Official Countdown

9 Days Until They Leave

11 Days Until They Land In Taipei

13 Days Until I See Them In Hualien (Yeah, still 3 days later it is the best one :D).

Loves Again!!

Ahh, How Cute!

I know that I have posted pictures of them before, but don't these just make you want to say "ahh, how cute?" Well they do me, and just so you know this probably wont be the last time that I post pictures of the kids either! These were taken for the All About Me mobiles that we are making on Friday, they are going to hang in the middle back-to-back with a self portrait that the kids drew.

Iris, age 3

Una, age 4

Ray, age 5

Charlie, age 5

Mark, age 5

Meggy, age 3

Little Annie, age 3

Little Little Alice, age 4

Rennie, age 3

Brian, age 5

Ruby, age 3

Wendy, age 4 (Wendy and Ruby are sisters)

Rose, age 5

Kristy, age 5

Jimmy, age 4

Rebecca, age 5

Jonathan, age 5

Rain, age 4

Jeff, age 3

Missy, age 5

Jared, age 3

Ariel, age 5

Lucy, age 4

Zoey, age 4

Joy, age 5

Sam, age 3 (he is Rose's brother)

Amy, age 5

Little Erik, age 3

Annie, age 3

Yukai, age 4

Alice, age 5

Vivian, age 5

Buzz, age 5

Fiona, age 4

Eric, age 4

Shawn, age 3