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

¡Bienvenidos a mi aventura!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Celebrating Columbus Day (a Terrible historical figure that I do not approve off) with a blog post

I am finally sitting down to write an finish a blog post- I have today off becuase it is Colmbus day- yes I know that it is weird to be in Asia and get Columbus Day off and that we are still celbrating Columbus Day considering what he did- but becuase of my job we get some American Holidays off which is GREAT. I really needed a chunck of time to catch up on life stuff and communicate with everyone that I have been missing. 

I have gotten worse and worse about taking pictures as I have been getting older but luckily for you all- I am living in a country where people are obsessed with taking photos- so this means I actually have some thanks to friends here to share with you. 

So I have been here for about 2 and a half months now. Which is kind crazy to think about. 

Work has been interesting and has been keeping me busy. I am giving workshops, doing observations confrences and reports, readiing and responding to teacher reports, problem soloving....

I have to admit I hate the question that I keep geting lately- How is chinese going? Not so well, my retention is pretty nonexistent- despite my tutoring sessions. I am so exhuasted with work stuff and living in a nother country and culture stuff that my brain hurts by the end of the day when I have chinese tutoring. I started a langauge exchange with a friend from work- so I'm hoping that will help too. 

I had a house warming party 2 weeks ago, and all of my favorite people came which was really special. My place is starting to feel much more homey post the party. They brought me some fabulous housewarming gifts which was so unexpected and so sweet. I made quesadillas, chismol, guac, brownies, cupcakes- and they seemed to go over well. 

Other news- I have taken some really great trips with friends- Which also included crashing a wedding with a famous Buddist Master. (see pictures below). On friday I went to the presidents mansion for a national day party. It is probably the fanciest part I have ever been too (pictures below). See pictures below for some of the highlights. 

Wedding crashers. After attending a very special memorial ceremony in a temple for people who suffered in natural disasters- we were invited to a very fancy- very loely wedding 14 course vegan wedding banquet. 

Stinky tofu- a tiwanese favorite. It really really does smell bad- and kinda tastes like a dirty sock in my opinion. 
Tofu with green bean noodles 

My neighborhood shuttle bus picture

Mango monster ice- so yummy!

Natural hot spring- BETO

View during night time bike ride

Temple near work

Waterfall outside of temple in the middle of the city. 

Puppet theater in a park for moon festival 

Elephant mountain view of Taipei, waiting for the moon on moon festival day. 

The moon in its full glory 

Sun moon lake trip (below)
Getting weird looks from small children- I guess this happens in Asia too. You think I would be used to getting stared at. I had some students pet my arms and touch my dimple when I was doing an observation the other day. Arm hair gasp- Im a freak here 
Look who I found !!!! 

Bambo forest & bike trip Nanto (below)

 10/10 party the Prez Mansion 

 Chinese characters for 10/10- national day

Trip to waterfall & wish lanterns Pingxe

 the tiny things in the sky are the wish lanterns
 some people getting ready to send off their lantern

I hope you are all well. Take care. Keep in touch. 


PS Please ignore any and all spelling and gramatical errors 

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 :)