Saturday, September 27, 2008

Made From 100% Recycled Awesome!

I thought I'd finally get a video up of the ice cream garbage trucks. They come to pick up our trash everyday (except for Tuesdays) at 3pm. Even during typhoons, when we don't have school, you can still hear the melody of the dedicated garbage trucks. (My roommate Shannon wrote a blog about the recycling habits of our school and surrounding Taiwanese madness. It's pretty awesome. --> read here )

So my fellow Afternoon Kindergarten teacher/roommate Megan and I have decided Simon (mentioned in a previous blog) is the Taiwanese version of Calvin from the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip (the absolute epitome of all comic strips). I mean, how can the same strip, which future historians will confirm used the word "booger" for the first time in a syndicated daily comic strip, also have taught me to correctly use the word "anthropomorphize?" It's pure brilliance.

I realize I may have an abnormal obsession with that comic strip, which defined most of my childhood. I can probably find a strip that can relate to any aspect of my life. For instance, curious about the link between Calvin and Taiwan?

Simon even has the same huge round head and hair that sticks straight up as Calvin does. It's so hard to get a picture of him that's not blurry, he usually doesn't stay still long enough for me to get a clear shot.

I have to admit, Afternoon Kindergarten has the cutest kids. The boys are so eager to impress us teachers, and their favorite phrase is, "so cool!" I've found myself using that phrase a lot recently...

This is Eve, Rex and Tom (-->). The kids always find it hilarious to hide under desks, or behind doors and try to scare the teachers. It's so stinkin' cute.

The girls are incredibly affectionate and will attack you with hugs. All the kids love to draw on the white board, for them, it's like a huge treat. The boys are currently obsessed with beetles (Rex can also draw an intense dinosaur, while Tom can draw a pretty detail satellite photo of any typhoon that's approaching Taiwan, including the predicted storm path), and the girls will always draw cute bunnies or themselves, with crowns on. lol. (Suri and Vivi in the photo) On Friday, we kinda just let the kids be kids. I really don't think they get to do that too much, since by the time we get them, they've usually already put in a full day's work at their regular Chinese school. What we teach is a cram school, so sometimes I just feel they're schooled out...One green sheet and 15 kids. A beautiful mess. ^_^

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Connie + Cooking = Recipe for Disaster

The McDonald's here is open 24 hours, has three floors, and is decently cheap. It's a lifesaver for those late night, random cravings. But I decided I need to begin to eat real foods. Only, the only foods I can make are: Chicken Katsu, fried tofu, pickled veggies, musubi, and rice....Mainly because I just don't have any recipes!

If any of you guys have recipes I can cook from the food that's so plentiful here, I would greatly appreciate if you'd send it my way! I don't know yet if they have any fruit here that's similar to the breadfruit that we have in Hawaii, but I've been craving that for a while now. But a recipe for kabocha (I apologize for my spelling), I would LOVE. Oh! I would love how to make shoyuni too...along with egg fo yung (really...I know my spelling is awful ^_^), curry, oh! and the exact recipe for manju! I've lost mine somewhere (lol. I kept it in my head...6 cups flour/1 cup oil/1 cup ice water/ 2 sticks of butter/1tsp salt...but I don't remember the temp for the oven, or for how long...). SO many foods I'd love to eat ^_^

hmmm...I'm starting to get hungry just thinking about those yummy foods.....maybe we need to start a recipe blog for family-style foods ^_^

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Master of the Mediocre, once again

There are those that live their lives for the experience. The adrenaline junkies looking for their next thrill. The wonder-seekers who are searching for their next inspiration. The types of people who always feel the urge to be doing something. And then there are people who are just looking for those mundane -- yet in itself, extraordinary -- experiences that can give a person solace, contentment, and peace of mind.

I'm one of those solace-seekers.

In Alaska, I have never felt more peace than being in the middle of a blizzard, the wind and snow whipping around me, chilling me to the bone. The skies at night in Alaska were always filled with wonderment, millions of stars reaching out to infinity, or the green-blue ribbons of the Northern Lights, filling up the vastness of space. At night, the moonlight would shine on the ice encrusted snow, throwing up millions of sparkles challenging the light of the night sky.

In Hawaii, being in the sandy back yard of our house, sitting in the mango tree, feeling the soft island breeze as the salty air infused everything with the smell of the ocean, gave me a feeling of home that I have never really experienced. Being able to travel up Haleakala and seeing the ocean surround the entire island always reminded me how immense this world is, and how often, caught up in my own microworld, I forget that.

There are always these small moments in time, these small packets in the matrix of space, where I feel that all seems right in the world. When the elements are raging, or suddenly and uncharacteristically calm, I feel peace. And I love that feeling.

Here in Taiwan, there's currently a typhoon raging outside. Earlier tonight, I sat in our laundry/covered-patio room, coffee in one hand, book in the other, and enjoyed the few moments of just being.

Some days I feel guilty that I don't have the desire to experience all I can in this world, and that all I crave is the mundane life, content with just being mediocre. But for this weekend, it's enough. ^_^

(*note. These pictures are just some pictures of: pic 1 -- my pups on maui (photo by liz); pic 2 -- Antelope Island in Utah; pic 3 -- me in Taipei; pic 4 -- on the beach in maui)