Saturday, September 23, 2006

Taiwanese Construction

Danielle got her new cell phone. These are the first pictures (taken by me, of course) to be posted to the blog. Really, these are for dad. This is how it's done in Taiwan!!

And here's a few more of us wandering about...

Saturday, September 16, 2006

More Teacher Appreciation

And without further ado, it is high time that we introduce our beloved student, Pover. We have not yet taken a photo of him (but I guarantee that we will, as soon as we can), however, you will find an image below of the notebook, gift box and cell phone ornament that he made for me completely by hand as belated birthday gifts (well, he made the notebook and box, but only 'assembled' the cell phone ornament).

Pover is an incredibly keen student who struggles with English but makes every effort to communicate with us as much as he can. He seems to be a very spiritual person who has experienced incredible things in his life -- such as being run over and dragged by a truck. Perhaps as his English improves, we will eventually be able to communicate more effectively with him and get to know and understand him a little better.

The next two pictures that you will see below are of a beautiful creation by Patty, the cellist (who is also a student of ours, as noted in an earlier blog). It is essentially a thank you card (or should I say, poster?) to James and myself, the captains of her Sports-Day team, the Gazelles. (By the way, if you want to see more photos of Sports Day, go to Ling's Sports-Day Photos
. Ling, as you know, is yet another one of our students).

I cannot conceive of the energy and time that both Patty and Pover put into our gifts. I can say, however, that teaching can be a highly fulfilling profession when your students communicate their appreciation in such meaningful ways. Thank you, Patty and Pover!

In other news, James and I had a lovely visit with our former Columbia student, Rita, who will be leaving this week to Taipei to begin a university degree. She brought us to the Taiwan Banana New Paradise Restaurant, where we enjoyed a Dim Sum lunch in a Traditional Taiwanese atmosphere. This restaurant is, in fact, also a museum that contains many displays of Taiwanese memorabilia and antiques/artifacts. Below, you will find a couple of links that will bring you to an image of an old-style Taiwanese ticket booth, displaying Japanese movie advertisements, and to a picture of a traditional roadside shop/vendor display -- both of which can be found in the restaurant that we visited. If you want to find out more about this restaurant/mini-museum, you can also visit:

If any of you back at home, in Canada, come to visit us in Taiwan, remind us to bring you to the Taiwan Banana New Paradise Restaurant. It is a truly a historical Taiwanese experience. The restaurant focuses on a time period in Taiwan, when 'white terror' (when the government would take care of you if you were dissident) was rampant and warnings of Chinese/mainland spies were posted everywhere in the city.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Power of Scooter!

At long last, we now have a scooter. We purchased it from a departing colleague, Justin. It is a 125 cc black Yamaha Fuzzy and gets us where we need to go with little hassle. The most difficult part of owning a scooter is remembering where you parked it, since it tends to blend in with all of the other scooters. Therefore, it is important to have a defining marker that makes your scooter stand out from the others. Our scooter can be easily identified by the sticker on the front which reads, "Folly" (refer to scooter images below and at the bottom of the posting and note, the speedometer has both Arabic and Roman numerals!!). We also purchased helmets at the 24 hour store, which stocks virtually everything you can think of... and more. James' helmet is black and mine is pink with Pepsi knock-off logos on each side.

When Ben and his wife, Joo (the owners of our favourite tea shop), found out that we bought a scooter, they invited us out to the infamous 'Fungja' market. So, after they closed up their shop, at about 12 a.m. one night, we all drove on down to the market. They led, as we had never been there before, and kept their speed down to about 40 - 50 kph, since it was virtually the first time James had ever driven a scooter.

the Fungja market, Ben and Joo kindly treated us to the popular 'stinky tofu' (it kind of tastes like sweaty hockey gear if it is steamed or boiled, but we had the fried kind -- chow dofu -- which had a yummy crunchy crust and only a mild stinky tofu flavour on the inside) and foot-tall ice cream cones.

While at the Fungja market, James and I purchased scooter masks. James', of course, is plain black. My mask, however, reads, "Happy Cookies". Many of the captions on posters, signs, t-shirts, pollution masks, and the like, often make no sense whatsoever, or contain grammatical or spelling errors. I have therefore made it my goal to only purchase casual
clothing that bears these traits of Taiwan, so as to carry the memories of our stay here to Canada when we return in the distant future. Note the image of me wearing my, "I'm happy I of you" t-shirt below.

In other news, on September third, Columbia held its first annual 'Sports Day'. Consultants were assigned to either referee or team captain positions. James and I were the captains of the "Gazelles" -- though you'd never know it, given that our team flag bears only Captain James' name. For our team, James and I created 'Gazelles' name tags and activity schedules. Everyone received (and wore, during sports day) free Columbia t-shirts for their participation. Team captains were given black Columbia t-shirts. We got to keep our flag as well.

Our team was eaten alive by the other animals (as Gazelles usually are, in the wild), but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. In spite of the mid-afternoon thunderstorm (which seems to occur everyday at approximately 3 p.m. this month), the barbecue also seemed to go over well.

And last, but not least, today marked our first visit to 'Jimmy's House' (a place where musicians go to practice and jam). Shaun, from work, showed us where it was and joined us in a quasi jam session. James bought a practice pad and some drum sticks while we were there.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Gained in Translation!

Because we live in Taiwan, so much of what I search for is in Chinese, so I have to translate.

Take a look at the phone we're considering. Be sure to read the title closely...

Oh, I LOVE translators!!

We've decided to get a video phone. Now that you've regained your composure, let me explain. There are SO MANY things here that we're so blown away by, and we constantly say "Oh, we HAVE to take a picture of that!" but we never have a camera with us, so we're buying a camera with a built-in phone.

And wait for the pictures to pour in on the blog....