Saturday, November 30, 2013


Thanksgiving this year was a three part affair, consisting of lots of food and good friends.

Part 1: Cornel's Thanksgiving Dinner

Each year my school hosts a Thanksgiving dinner for the staff and any families that want to attend. I was lucky enough to have seven different families come. Everyone brought food to share and there was an abundance of delicious things to eat. It was so much fun to talk to many of my families and play with my kiddos outside of school. There was even a musical number included in the night's festivities. One of the Taiwanese teachers is getting married and the rest of the staff surprised her by singing Bruno Mars's "Just the Way You Are" and presenting her with flowers. It was super cute. 

My favorite part of the night though was when I saw one of my students standing by a table eating ice cream. I squatted down next to him and started talking to him about his ice cream. He then gave me his cup to hold and I thought "alright buddy, I'm not your trashcan" but instead of running off he proceeded to get another cup off the table and scoop me some ice cream. He handed me the cup of newly scooped ice cream and said, "T.Cassie, you have". We then sat on the floor and ate our ice cream together. It was one of the sweetest moments I've had since becoming a teacher. The things children do amaze me. 

Some of the food

More food

Even more food

Singing to Patricia

Prayer before eating

Some of my kiddos who came

Part 2: Turkey Party at School

The Monday before Thanksgiving the whole kindergarten watched a Thanksgiving cartoon and ate turkey in the basement. It was so fun to watch the children eat turkey, because not many of them had had it before (or at least in the traditional Thanksgiving sense). 

Watching the movie

The Artists enjoying their turkey

Part 3: Palace Thanksgiving Dinner

The roomies and I hosted a dinner on actual Thanksgiving. The girls from the 10th floor, along with Mike and some of the Taiwanese teachers came. It was Angela and the Taiwanese teacher's first time celebrating Thanksgiving. We got turkey sandwiches from Costco and then everyone made and brought a dish. It was fun to have a big dinner, with all my new friends. 

The "Oh Canada!" sign is leftover from our Canadian tuxedo party back in September. It made for a pretty ironic picture. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

October Teaching Pictures

A big thank you to Cornel and T.Maggie for taking all of these wonderful photos!

"The Day it Rained Hearts" pictures

Weather spinners


Playing the dice game

"G" is for giraffe

"Goodnight Gorilla" story

Making our own "Goodnight Gorilla" book

They are so cute

Planting our class flower

Finger family trees

"H" is for hearts

"H" is for hearts

Making pumpkins for Halloween

Giving our pumpkins faces

Playing instruments

Making shape houses

Halloween story time

Playing games on Halloween

Making a Halloween counting book

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hiking in Sitou

This place has been on my list of places to visit since probably the second week here. Five months into my time here and it still hadn't happened. After an extremely busy week spent with my mom and a much needed lazy Saturday, the roomies and I decided to finally take a day trip to Sitou. We left the apartment early, purchased a combination bus/park entrance fee ticket and settled in for the 1.5 hour bus ride. The bus ride was extremely bumpy and full of twists and turns, which made it impossible to sleep (my preferred activity on long bus rides). Instead I was forced to stare out the window at the beautiful mountain views, shame.

Sitou Forest Recreation Area sits high up in the mountains (and it wasn't until after our visit that we realized how high up we actually were) and is an experimental forest area controlled by a nearby university. The majority of the trees were planted for research purposes, starting close to 100 years ago. The park consists of a variety of hiking trails that vary in difficulty. The trails lead visitors past many man-made and natural sites. It was an extremely beautiful and almost other worldly place. As we hiked higher and higher up the mountain, the clouds and fog overwhelmed us and created a very surreal atmosphere. It was an amazing place that once again reminded me how absolutely beautiful this country is.

These are some of my favorite pictures from the year. It's hard to have bad pictures when the scenery is so beautiful.

University pond and bamboo bride


Up in the skywalk

Giant tree

Photo credit to Michelle

Rainbow Bridge, my favorite place

The view from the bridge


This palm frond was at least 8 feet long

The trail that I severely underestimated its length and difficulty. So worth the sore legs though.


Part of a massive boulder that fell off the mountain during a large earthquake in 1999.

We taught Angela how to crab walk.