My meanderings as a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras y Mexico!

¡Bienvenidos a mi aventura!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

1st post from Taiwan

Hi Everyone, I made it! I’m alive . I have been so busy with work that I have not had a chance to sit down and write a post. I have been her for about 3 weeks, which is hard to believe. Time is such a funny thing- how it can feel fast and slow at the same time.

I arrived late and was put up at a nice hotel by the Fulbright office. The problem was that the next day was a typhoon day- which is kind of like a snow day for all of you Midwestern folks. It was nice from the standpoint that it gave me 24 hours to adjust to being here- but made things difficult to find housing- because I couldn't start looking right away. I have found a place and I am starting to feel settled in a bit. All of my colleagues from Fulbright have been incredibly helpful and kind. Without them I have no idea what I would have done- they have helped me with everything from finding housing, setting up a bank account, cell phone, transportation…. I am really lucky to be working with Sarah- we knew each other from graduate school- she was in this same position last year- and she has been a god send on so many levels both professionally and personally.

I have 2 Chinese tutors and I have been taking lessons a couple days a week. I can’t really say that I have been retaining much- but I am trying. I think picking up some of the language will allow me a lot more independence and confidence living here- not to mention it’s importance on a socio-cultural level.

Work has been pretty crazy. I have been doing at least 3 five hour workshops a week, traveling around the country by myself to give them. It has been really interesting seeing different parts of the country- and great to meet all of the new ETAs (English teaching assistants). It has been very exhausting though. For one day I literally was in a taxi, a bus, a high speed train, a motor bike, the metro, and walked in order to do my job. Literally my reality is planes, trains and automobiles.

 Crazy toilet in the hotel. All the buttons were in Chinese :(

 View from the hotel, a block away from my office. Welcome to urban Asia!

 Funny translation yes I know I'm a language nerd. 

Taipei has a ton of amazing parks like this one

 Peace park

 peace park

 Acupuncture foot path 
 Walk across it barefoot

 Taipei 101 worlds 2nd tallest building

My apartment lofted bed

Living room

View from the front door

Kitchen and washing machine 

Hope you are are well :) Stay in touch! 


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

THE update- yeah you might want to read this

So I have been told by various family members and friends that I should revive this blog now that I am headed out for my next big adventure! I have been told that people actually read this and care about what is going on with my life- so that is encouraging so here goes

A lot of big stuff has happened in the last year

1. Last summer I completed service as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer in Mexico

2. Moved back to Monterey CA to finish my last semester of my masters.

3. Worked my bum off at school, lived with the sweetest most generous people ever (Kathleen & Peter)

4. Graduated from MIIS with a MA in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) & Language program administration. December 2013

4. Moved to Arizona to spend time with the familia; to Teach at ASU (Arizona State University) & Cat and John's wedding

5. Worked at ASU as a full time faculty member in the American English and Culture Program January- May.

6. Went to San Diego for my cousins wedding and a memorial service for my Bubbie. Went to Utah to visit Rebekah.

7. Moved back to IL to spend time with family and friends

8. On Monday I will be flying to Taiwan as a Fulbright Scholar (TESOL Trainer )- under a year contract.

Now to answer some necessary questions:

What will I be doing in Taiwan?
Let's face it they are going to be better at describing what the gig is so here it is from the website:
I'll be sure to actually describe what I am doing once I am doing it ;)
Grant Description and Purpose
These grants provide qualified TEFL teachers or professors with the opportunity to spend one year as Academic Advisors of the Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETA) program. Advisors work with the American ETAs and their counterpart Taiwanese Local English Teachers (LETs).
The purpose is to enhance the ETAs and LETs professional expertise through visits, observations, consultations and coordination. Through supervising these outstanding American and Taiwanese English teachers, the Advisors contribute and enhance the English Teaching environment in Taiwan. In cooperation with local universities, they also have the chance to enrich their research and teaching experiences. 
Training & Research Activities
I. Primary activity – Professional Development of Teachers:
Instruct Local English Teachers (LETs) and Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETAs), with the cooperation of local staff and professors at each site. ETAs are co-teachers with LETs in elementary and a few junior high schools. The recipients are a crucial part of the team coordinated by Fulbright Taiwan. They engage in the following:
- Locations:  Yilan、Kaohsiung、Kinmen、Taichung、Taipei
- Orientation: Provide some of the teacher training instruction for ETAs and LETs in August. Teacher training is about 2 weeks, spread over the month.
- Workshops: For each 18-week semester, each recipient runs approximately 4 different Wednesday afternoon TEFL workshops focused on practical applications (rotating weekly among different locations);
- Reports: Provide written feedback on some of the ETAs weekly or bi-weekly reports.
Teaching observations: Attend and comment on some of each semester’s classroom observations;
- Consultation: Provide, on request, individual advice to ETAs and LETs regarding co-teaching and teaching methods.
Where will you be living?
What an excellent question! I will be living in Taipei, I have to figure out the housing situation aka find a place to live once I get there :( I will be sure to get you my mailing address ASAP if you feel so inclined to write me love notes or send me a post card.

How are you feeling about it? 
Honestly- I am in freak out mode. You think I would be used to this whole living in another country thing since this is country # 5. I am worried about the language I know absolutely no Mandarin (despite multiple hours using Rosetta Stone). I have never lived in a country where I didn't have a grasp on the native language- so this adds to the anxiety. I think it will be a great opportunity professionally. Lot of really new experiences which is both exciting and scary. I am feeling really blessed that I have gotten to see and spend time with so many friends and family before heading off again. Thanks to you all who took planes, trains, automobiles, and time out of your busy lives to spend time with me. Love you all- you know who you are.

By now your eyes are glazing over so a picture or two and I am through.

Graduation from MIIS

Fathers Day

 Until next time an update from Taiwan.


Disclaimer: I have been known to make grammar and spelling errors in un- proofed writing. If your reading this blog you are going to have to live with that :)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

well its about time I updated everyone so here goes...

Let me start by saying that I can't believe that I am almost done with my service here in Mexico. I am officially coming back to the USA on June 30th.  So a lot has happened since my last post. This semester is nearly coming to an end. I have been much busier this semester at UAQ because of the weekly 2 hour teaching training class that I have been giving as well as a graduate school writing course in English for 2 hours a week. Plus all of my other conversational classes that I give and classes at the local public elementary school. One of the things that has made these last months fly by is all my fabulous visitors. My mom coming down for a couple of months to visit and study Spanish, Reb, Chelsea and Aaron (I think they posted pics from that trip on FB), my brother (also see pics via FB). And I have my friend Hillary coming to visit in June as well as mi amiga Rosa and her  lil bro, which I am really looking forward too. So the life plan after PC is go home for un rato spend some time with the family; go out to CA for my LAST semester of grad school, graduate in December with a masters in TESOL with a concentration in Language Program Administration. It is going to be a really tough semester, so wish me luck. After graduation there is no set life plan- gasp- hopefully find an amazing job that I love that pays well and start paying off grad school debt. Anyway wrapping up teaching all my classes here and the pile of PC paperwork and medical exams that comes with ending service. I am going to really miss Mexico, I have completely fell in love with it, its really hard not too. 

So here are some pics from the last 6 months- better late then never right? 

San Miguel de Allende: Day trip with mom- There are A LOT of retired Americans who live here, its kind of mind boggling 
La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel

Anthropology Museum; Mexico City

With my friend Rosy our un-official tour guide

Guanajuato, Guanajuato

Famous- tiny streets where you can kiss over the balconies 

The Famous kissing balcony- with a Mexican Romeo & Juliet Tale- It doesn't end well unfortunately for them but its supposed to be good luck if you kiss under it- go figure

University of Guanajuato- really good workout- the entire city is hilly- built on top of mines- travel through old mine tunnels to get around the city

The building where the most important leaders of independence were beheaded. There heads were hung from the 4 corners of this building- the placard specifies who's head was where.  

Site of founder of independence decapitated head



market entrance

Huichapan, Hidalgo Day Trip: Pueblo magico

balcony where the 1st cry of independence was shouted 

 This is just too funny :)

Read it, and you will smile

Pachuca & Huasca, Hidalgo trip

prismas basalticos: Natural wonder of Mexico

Created from the cooling of volcanic lava, thousands of years ago

Hotel Emily

famous clock in Pachuca, same clock makers that made the Big Ben. Lots of Brits immigrated due to the large mining industry.