TaiwanTara's Blog

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Tainan Day 1 May 17, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — taiwantara @ 2:15 pm

You can find it here =)


I’m moving! May 16, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — taiwantara @ 9:44 pm

Blogs that is =)

I’ve fallen in love with Blogspot (as I do all Google functions) and am moving to taiwantara.blogspot.com .  Somehow I actually managed to figure out how to export my blog here and then import it on Blogspot so all my old posts and comments are there.  I know a few people have blogs there as well so maybe I’ll have some “followers” hint hint =)


It’s Wednesday! May 11, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — taiwantara @ 11:03 am

Which means it’s time to push aside my school work and update my blog =)  (It’s not Wednesday anymore,  I found this in my drafts and had never posted it because I was trying to figure out the picture conflict I’m having)

Sooo, 2 weekends ago we went paragliding!  Actually, 3 weekends ago we attempted to go paragliding but got rained out.  Another FET Adora was planning on visiting us so we asked her if that was something she’d be interested in and scheduled a retry.  We ended up having 3 more FET’s from Taipei come along for the excitement!  We drove about an hour south of Hualien City into the East Rift Valley, met up with our coach at his house, and then rode in their 20 yr old van up a frighteningly steep mountain road.  The drive up was enough to already get my “nervous bladder” going.  When you finally get to the top, it’s this incredible view to take in… until you realize that you’re about to jump/run off of it! We decided while Jacque tried to sneak off to take care of the nervous bladder problem that we would volunteer her to go first.  So here’s the process of the coach getting the parachute ready, getting fastened in, and then 1, 2, 3, RUN!

(I really wanted to put in a few pictures at a time and then explain them but I can’t figure out how to get wordpress to let me do that so I’ll just give all the explanations and you can figure out what picture shows what)

I decided to go third, wanted to get it over with before my fear built up too much.  I took a few pics and a video from my trip down, just hanging out in the sky haha.

As we were nearing the ground, the coach was trying to tell me something about “wind” and some Chinese.  I was like, “uh huh, ya it’s great!”  Then he pointed to the landing spot over to our left and tried to tell me something else… “ooh, yes, I see Jacque and Monica down there”  THEN, he point to the field on our right and repeated “no wind”  That’s when it finally clicked.  We did have enough wind to get to the landing spot and he was landing us in a field.  I looked on in horror as we rapidly approached a cement road, a rock wall, etc wondering if he was going to be able to land us someplace safe.  Well, he did…a rice field.  (visual of a rice field included below….it’s pure mud)  You’re supposed to keep running on the touchdown so that you don’t fall over but as soon as my feet hit the field I just fell face first with the coach on top of me.  As you can see, I was drenched in mud from the knees down with lots of other fun splatters here and there….but hey, I didn’t get hurt, and that’s really something for me =)


Taiwan Mobster’s Funeral Draws the Great and Good – AOL News April 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — taiwantara @ 2:20 pm

Taiwan Mobster’s Funeral Draws the Great and Good – AOL News.

I am shocked.  Hahaha, I get that crime happens everywhere, but in all honest it happens very very seldomly in Taiwan, from what I’ve understood.  I even saw a special on TV about a serial killer they had in Taipei in the 90’s who held a family hostage and the police handled the situation HORRIBLY because they didn’t have any experience with it.  Little did I know that Taiwan had “Mobsters,” “gangsters,” “gangbangers,” and “wiseguys” LOL…I didn’t even know people really used those terms outside of referencing “Guys and Dolls”



procrastinating from my procrastinating April 21, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — taiwantara @ 11:07 am

I’m supposed to be doing school work, of course.  Wednesday is my day completely free of teaching classes and should be the day I get a week’s worth of work done, but no, I never do.  I usually use Wednesday to catch up with everyone on facebook and g-chat (something I also do throughout the rest of the week haha) and search school websites for open English positions- which isn’t such a horrible use of my time.  But today, my procrastination from school work turned into a job search, which then turned into a “what do I want with my future” search which has now led me to procrastinating from that by writing a blog post.  I would.

It is completely overwhelming me to try and figure out what I want.  I’m 25, almost 4 years out of college, and 3 years into my “profession” yet I have no clue what I want to be doing in 10 years.  Today, I found one job that showed extra money if you have a National Board Certification.  So I started looking into that.  Turns out National Board Certification, waaay expensive (like 3 grand!) and do I want to be nationally certified in Secondary Language Arts Education?  I believe the answer is No.  I like to read, I like middle school students, I like to teach grammar, but do you know what I LOVE to do?  Schedule, plan, organize, map out, problem solve…etc.  So with that in mind, I’ve come up with two options: guidance counselor at a M.S. or H.S. or some sort of student affairs/admin assistant position at a University.  Either one of these are going to require a Master’s degree.  So, I need to decide if this is really what I want for the next 30 years and which one.  There are pros and cons to both, naturally.

UUGGGHH… I wish I just knew, without a doubt, exactly what I wanted to do and how to do it.  Is that really so much to ask?


winning the war April 14, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — taiwantara @ 12:19 pm

There are many things I’ve learned about education in my few years of teaching experience.  Picking and choosing my battles, not one of them.  Haha, I refuse to let a student win in the battle of wills.  I often see one of my co-teachers seemingly give-up, or let things go and I can’t stand it.  Every time that happens that student has won power over the teacher and they know it.  Believe it or not students actually like to be under the teacher’s power (as long as it’s power with the students’ best interest in mind) and will test to see if it’s going to happen that way.  I speak from experience not as a teacher, as a student.  I MUCH preferred my strict teachers to the easy-going ones (there’s a fine line between strict yet fair, and mean).  This probably speaks negatively of my character, but I would walk all over a teacher if they let me (talking in class, late homework, attendance, etc).  But the teachers who made it clear they had strict expectations, I would jump on board and follow right along.

So, this brings me back to winning all the small battles, lol.  Last week, while I was teaching, I could see a situation arising out of the corner of my eye between my co-teacher and a 5th grader.  She had pulled his desk up about 2 feet in front of him (he was in the front row) and was trying to get him to move himself and the chair up to the desk…he shook his head no.  She pulled the desk about halfway back towards him (what?!  he says no to you, the teacher, and you decide to try a compromise?  Is it just me or is that already the wrong step?!) and tried again.  He moved his chair about 3 inches up and then pulled the desk back to him.  She seemed to be satisfied with this, and he, had smugly proven complete control.  Well, I just couldn’t take it, I had to interfere.  I walked over pulled the desk all the way to the front of the room as far as it could go and commanded “MOVE!”  He didn’t shake his head at me (I think they know by now I won’t tolerate as much even though we have the language barrier) but he tried to same stunt with moving halfway and then pulling the desk back to him.  I said no, moved it again and this time he did shake his head.  I could tell how badly he did not want to give up all of the control he had gained in this situation.  So I pointed to the door and said “get out.”  I do not have time to waste on getting this one kid to move his desk when all of the other students are patiently waiting to learn English.  However, unlike my co-teacher, not having the time does not mean I give in to the student, it means they just need to get out if they can’t cooperate.

Am I completely ridiculous?


April showers bring May flowers April 6, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — taiwantara @ 4:19 pm

Let’s hope so

I haven’t posted in a while for various reasons.  First I was focused on packing and getting ready for my trip to America (as Deb pointed out I’m definitely residing in a foreign country when I say “America”).  Then, I was in “America” and insanely busy as I knew I would be.  And then my return to Taiwan brought some unexpected events with it, and I’ve been a little down and out.  However, after a fun weekend at Spring Scream Festival in Kenting with the girls, I’m starting to feel a little better and felt it’s probably time for an update.  The point of this blog is my time in Taiwan so I want to stay focused on that and not ramble about what’s really taking over all my spare thoughts right now.  My solution was to start a new secret blog just for me  and complete strangers where I can get out all of the crap going through my mind without having to bore the people who know me on this blog (props to Sara for the idea 😉 )

Therefore, I will share a great moment I had at school.  Like I said, last week was a hard one.  Probably my most difficult one yet this year.  It took a lot of focus and energy to not tear up while at school and concentrate on doing my job.  (I wasn’t always successful.)  On Friday, I was at my second favorite school out of the two =) and just not feeling well.  I could not get rid of that “punched in the stomach” feeling all morning while dealing with my fourth graders.  In the afternoon I had my sixth graders and they quite literally turned my mood completely around.  You hear teachers say all the time that a bad class ruined their day but how often do you hear about a class completely lifting your spirits?  I ❤ those two classes and am so grateful for their positive attitudes and fun personalities!

Spring Scream Festival was a blast and full of new experiences.  Aside from my sunburn, it was a perfect weekend.  I won’t go into all the details of my new experiences but I will say that one was hitchhiking!  I know, I know, sounds super dangerous right?  But, first, Taiwan is waaay safer in general than just about anywhere in the United States.  Second, this was a huge hippie music weekend in a really chill surfer town.  Third, there were 4 of us and who is really going to pick up 4 people and try to kill them all??  Anyway, it was exciting and fun and better than walking the whole way in the sweltering heat =)

I left my camera battery in the States so I’ll post some pics when the other girls put theirs up.