Monday, July 1, 2013

This is not real life.

So I know that I have been absolutely horrible at blogging, but I've also only been here 10 days so I think I deserve a little slack. I'll do a day by day recap of everything I've done so far, since I have been doing quite a bit lately.

From now on I plan on posting once a week, most likely on Sunday evenings (so Sunday morning in America). But I'm not going to make any promises. We'll see where this thing goes throughout the year.

Day 1/2 (June 19th-20th): Departure Day from America

The day started off with some crazyness when one of my bags was over weight and the airline tried to charge me $200 for the excess weight. I said "uh no way" and began frantically switching things around so the weight would be better distributed between both bags. After that episode, my family and I were sitting down to wait for my flight when I see Phil and Hai running through the airport. Even though I had said goodbye to them earlier that morning they wanted to say goodbye again so they drove up to the airport. Crazy kids those too. It was ridiculously sweet of them though and I really appreciated it.

After saying my goodbyes, which were hard to do, I met up with my fellow Jayhawk Michelle to board the plane to Chicago. Once in Chicago Michelle and I met up with five other girls headed to Taiwan. From Chicago we flew to Japan and the flight was pretty tolerable. It helped that the airline allowed free adult beverages and had a wide selection of movies to choose from. In Japan we had a layover and then a delay, so we were able to get a very nice long nap in on the airport seats/floor. We finally arrived in Taipei a little after midnight on technically the 21st. We were picked up by the foreign director, put on buses and were whisked to the hotel in Taichung, which was about 1.5 hours away by bus. We got to the hotel around 2am but couldn't sleep because I was so excited to finally be in Taiwan. After months and months of waiting and planning, I was finally here.

In line about to board the plane for Japan!

Food on the plane to Japan

The sign on our hotel room door

Welcome baskets full of food and information packets

Day 3 (June 21st)

Today was spent taking photographs for our ARC (Alien Resident Cards) in the mornings and then having a lunch with all of the teachers who are teaching at Cornel right now. It was really fun to meet all the people who I have talked to/stalked on Facebook these last few months. All of the teachers and staff at the school made me feel welcome from the get go. After enjoying our lunch we went to get our health checks done, which were not fun but we did get a nice picture out of it. 

Looking cute in our pink robes

Later that night all of the old teachers took us newbies out to a really good local restaurant. I got to ride on the back of a scooter in Taiwan for the first time! And my first experience was pretty crazy because we sat triple on a scooter that was meant for two people. Oh well!

Michelle and I on the scooter

Day 4 (June 22nd)
All of the new teachers were bused bright and early to the Cornel graduation ceremony. All of the students who were graduating (kdg and 6th grade) performed in the program and got to walk across the stage in a ceremony of sorts. It was super adorable. After that we went to lunch with the mentors. Later that night everyone got together at one of the old teacher's apartments for a house party. From the party we went to a night club called X-Cube. It was insane. The club was having Playboy Bunny night so there were girls walking around in bunny outfits. Everyone had a lot of fun!
One of the many decorations for graduation. The theme was "Everyday Superheroes"

All of the old teachers performing a dance

Adorable. They sang and danced to an R. Kelly song

Night club!

Day 5 (June 23)

All of the teachers were required to attend a Welcome/Farewell brunch that was being hosted by the owner of the school. The brunch lasted like five hours, but it was filled with delicious food and fun conversations with the other new teachers. After brunch I went with my mentor to explore the Jade Market.
Jade Market 

Awesome scroll that is currently hanging in my room

Day 6 (June 24)

Today the new teachers finally got to tour the campus that I will be working at. Cornel has two campuses, one in the older part of town and one in the newer part. I'm working at the one in the newer part. The school is amazing, it has an art room, recording studio, library, swimming pool, dance/play room and A BALL PIT! I mean what school has a ball pit. My school that's what. After school some of the old teachers took a few of us new girls out to this restaurant where everything is on a skewer. It was delicious. Then I had my first experience with a Taiwanese night market. It was wonderful but I know that my wallet will hate me by the end of the year. 
And because everyone doesn't stare at us enough anyway, we did a jumping picture in the middle of the crowded night market. 

Street performers at the night market

The butterfly adorning the outside of my school.

Michelle and I at the night market. I love the Asian guy rubbing his belly. 

Day 7 (June 25th)

Today we did a bunch of seminars and other orientation business at school. The one super awesome thing that happened though was we were each given business cards with our names and degrees on them for us to pass out to promote the school. It was so cool because I have never seen my degree printed on anything before. We were also given our bikes today from the school and I, along with three other girls, got super lost on the way back to the hotel. It was an interesting experience. 
Official business cards!

View of the mountains from the elevator in the mall

We found this guy at Carefore (like a Sam's Club but bigger)

Day 8 (June 26th)

Today was the day that I discovered shaved ice. I am forever changed. A few of the older teachers took a group of us during our mid day break to a local little shop to get some. It was amazing. The ice is sweetened with condensed milk and the mangoes are in season here, so they are so fresh and delicious. I am in love. At night a few other newbies and I went to a different, bigger night market and did some exploring. We found this amazing hot pot restaurant where nobody spoke English. We just pointed and gestured and ended up having an amazing meal. 
Hanging out in the ball pit at school

Working in Taiwan is hard. 

Most delicious thing ever

Hai has been replaced

Hot Pot!

Random cute monkey on the street at the market


Day 9 (June 27th)

Today we were given all of our class information. I will be teaching the youngest kindergarten class; my kiddos will be 3-4 years old. My class name is the Artists. I only start off with eight kids, so it will be a great transition from never being fully in control of a class to having a class of my own. I definitely would have not had that in the states. I also get to work with a Chinese teacher as my co-teacher. She helps out with everything and then teaches the kids Chinese lessons for an hour during the day. I've met her once and she seems super nice. After school I went and did a yoga class with some of the other new teachers and two old ones. It was in this Canadian guy's house and there were only like 10 people there. I'm not the greatest at yoga, but it was still fun!
One of my new students!

Preppin hard in the workroom

Day 10 (June 28th)

We had another prep day at school today and I was able to get a lot done for my classroom. At night I had my first experience with KTV (Karaoke TV). There were about 25 Chinese and English teachers there. It was completely crazy. We had our own private room with a bunch of couches and tables and a giant projector that played really weird music videos that did not match up to the songs. We also had access to a buffet, which included french fries and ice cream. 
Roommate love

Beatles karaoke 

Rhonda, me and Angela

Day 11 (June 29)

Today I wandered around the neighborhood around the hotel and me and a few other girls got lunch at this burger place. Then we went to this place called Goat Park where some of the old teachers were hanging out for the day. We lounged around and then wandered through the market. 
Katie eating her burger with chopsticks

Found this gem at the market

Day 12 (June 30th)

Today we finally left the hotel and moved into our big beautiful apartment on the other side of town. I'm living with Michelle (the other girl from KU) and Angela (the South African). Our apartment is on the 17th floor in a building called The Palace. We each get our own room and then there are two bathrooms that we share. I absolutely love our new place, even with the few quirks it has. 

Living Room

View from the living room

Dining room


View from my bedroom

My bedroom!

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