Chinese Dancing Yoga.

Traveling Friends…

Saturday October 26th, 2013
these scents Clorox. Lemon. Vanilla. smell like home.

Fall weather has come to the island. I am thoroughly enjoying the cooler air though the breezes are becoming stronger, I’m ok with the dropping temperatures and wearing hoodies and yoga pants. This morning my friend took me to a local, almost hidden, brunch cafe called: 洛印複合式早餐館餐廳. It was so cozy and cute inside! And the brunch was delicious. Hot black coffee, bacon, eggs, and a croissant with chicken, lettuce, and apples. Perfect for a fall morning after a good workout!

A clean apartment on a Saturday afternoon feels like an accomplishment. I think I wiped away a couple layers of dirt that had blown in throughout the week. Gross. Dirt off the windows…the floors…Combine Clorox bathroom cleaning solution, lemon pledge, and vanilla scented candles and add in freshly laundered sheets and towels and the place feels like my home once again.

Saturday evening I ended up meeting back up with my friend. We went into Hsinchu City and market shopped for cute cheap dresses and ate Taiwanese street food and rice dumpling soup for dinner.

raw food…soon to be BBQ’d right before us

Monday October 28th

Happy Birthday to my dear friend, Brittany!

yay for Birthday Skype and wine!

And these are my students in my first class for the week…don’t they put a smile to your face?

Tuesday October 29th

Do you ever google one thing and it leads to a dozen more things and then you realize an hour has passed and you still haven’t found the original answer to the topic you originally googled? yeah. That was me this morning. It started with trying to figure out a running route in my neighborhood and not being able to translate the Chinese words to English. Seriously…and I thought translating the Korean was hard! It’s like one big pictionary matching game…and I’m losing. badly. Got distracted and started googling yoga retreats in India, realized I had received my friend’s Turkish address so I wrote her a postcard, went back to googling- teaching in Ethiopia, coconut oil conditioning treatments for hair, Teach for America in South Dakota, and now I’ve decided to blog because my mind needs to focus. Focus. My mom told this really funny focus joke once…you should ask her about it. So yes. Back to focusing. P.S. You know you visit the post office a lot when the lady at the counter says, Hello! How are you today? Then closes with…See you soon! Love sending love from Taiwan.

Today is the Reading Competition at my school. I am super excited about this because for the past few weeks I have been prepping my students in reading fluency and pronunciation and intonation. And… a whole lesson on the exclamation point and how commas are there for a reason…to breathe. I am looking forward to being a judge…I’m so proud of how hard these kids have worked. So impressed. (Note: the competition went very well!)

Yesterday, my level 7 students (ages 9-10) handed in their weekly journals. They usually just copy the example given in their book. Last week I taught them where to input their own words and we went over examples and brainstormed words that I wrote on the board. I assigned the journal and crossed my fingers. When I read their journals they all have used their own information!!! Ahhh!!! I am one proud teacher.

Last week in my Level 2 class, we were going over “I have, You have, She has, He has…” We were supposed to use classroom items like pens, pencils, books etc. I was calling on students and this is what the first one says…I have an elephant. (WHAT??!) The second catches on and says… You have a monkey…and the third…He has a turtle…and She has a jaguar. The next thing I know half the class is on the floor acting like animals, and I’m just standing there like this is happening…and I’m just going to let them do this. Then my Chinese teacher comes in the room and is like what’s going on? and I’m like umm I’m not sure…but everything’s fine…I promise. 🙂

At a Deeper Story…
“….Heaven is not a state of mind. Heaven is reality itself. All that is fully real is Heavenly. For all that can be shaken will be shaken and only the unshakable remains.”

What is real? (my version)
You know that shimmer of sunlight through rain drenched clouds?
… That is real.
You know how the waves crash the unspoiled sand of the early morning?
… That is real.
You know the way the ocean’s crystal teal waters glitter?
… That is real.
You know crisp air taste that only fall brings or the freshness of spring?
… That is real.
You know how feeling of loneliness disappears when someone hugs you?
… That is real.
You know the tears that fall when you see someone you love whether they be friends or family after a long time? 
…That is real.
You know the ecstasy of an anticipated event happening?
… That is real.
You know the overflowing amount of joy when laughing uncontrollably with friends? 
…That is real.
You know the stillness and calmness overtaking a noisy, busy, stressful, or irritating situation when you pray?
… That is real.
You know the looks on people’s faces when you surprise them with kindness? 
…That is real.

Wednesday October 30th
I put on some Inspirational music this morning…refreshing and inspiring indeed.

Finally. An outside run this morning. Ahhh! I must admit my cardio has been slacking because I was dr..a..g..g..i.n…g. But I ran for 20 minutes straight. It’s been a tough half year with keeping up my mileage and motivation. After the marathon last January, I was able to run consistently, but from about April until now I must admit I have hardly ran. And now that I’ve been doing a workout program that involves a lot of toning and weight lifting, cardio activity will help my energy level.

After my run, I FaceTimed my grandma. Now I know technology is one of those “necessary” evils…but this is why. Without Facetime, without skype…it would be a year before even seeing the faces I love again. And that would be tough. I am so blessed to be able to talk to my grandma AND see her! It was a wonderful morning of coffee and chatter.

Instead of going to morning yoga, I went to Starbucks for a salted caramel mocha and no wifi…to think. It was such a sunny morning so I sat outside on their patio area. And did my devotions. It was exactly what I needed to read this morning. The readings came mostly from the book of Job…the topic? God’s silence to our prayers. His silence. Sometimes when we think we need an answer right away He is silent. Sometimes when we ask for a million things that we think we need, He is silent. Job 42:1-6 Begins with this: “I know you can do all things, no plan of yours can be thwarted…” So even in our doubts, our suffering, God is still there. We cannot understand God, but His ways are good…too wonderful for us to comprehend…Oswald Chambers goes on to say…It will be a wonderful moment when we stand before God and find that the prayers we clamored for in early days and imagined were never answered, have been answered in the most amazing way, and that God’s silence has been the sign of the answer. If we always want to be able to point to something and say, “This is the way God answered my prayer,” God cannot trust us yet with his silence. I am learning to be silent. To trust Him in His silence. Having faith that His silence will lead me down His path. Knowing He is always there despite by unbelief at times. I need to learn to quiet my mind, my heart, my soul…I am always on the go and I need to learn to listen to His silence. Even though my desire to know “the next step,” “the next direction,” I desire to follow Him more and if that means not knowing, and waiting in His silence this time, then that’s what I will do. And it’s challenging…it’s frustrating…when all I want is a clear answer, Silence drives my planning mind crazy. I have to know what’s going on. And This.Time.I.Don’t. And yet, as the days go on, I feel more at peace not knowing. I feel a calmness settling in, even though I have made options for myself, I begin to give those to Him. Giving up my hold on what I want and giving these desires to Him. Even when He is Silent. Some days are a harder struggle than others, but I continue to pray for strength and a deeper Faith.

sunrise during my morning run

Sunny Day!
And these are my Wednesday-Friday USA kids!


Every class, a million times a class, I tell this boy to sit his chair on all four legs. I tell him NOT to tip his chair because he could fall. Yep. He fell today. I about died. I really couldn’t help it. I clasped my hand over my mouth to stifle my not so contained laughter. So help me. Literally 2 minutes later he was tipping his chair again. Really child? Clearly you did not learn your lesson…

In my conversation class with three middle schoolers it was a quotable night. The topic? When was the last time you…?

Question: When was the last time you told a joke?
Student A: Now.
Student B: I don’t remember.
(more laughter…what?!)
Student C: TOMORROW.
(even more laughter)

Question: When was the last time you had a hair cut?
Student A: two weeks ago
Student B: maybe I will go next week, so I had a hair cut a few months ago
Student C: today in class I cut my hair. (What?!) yeah I just cut a piece of it.

Tonight…Chinese Dancing Yoga. Chinese Dancing Yoga in the dark. Except for the fluorescent street lamps and signs beaming through the windows. Chinese Dancing Yoga with a verrryyy muscular male instructor. Oh wow. Chinese Dancing Yoga to Aladdin-esq music followed by melodic oceanic tunes, rap, contemporary adult tunes, and ending with chillout-lounge music. What a class. I can’t wait for next week. Though then I found out that the Sheraton Hotel across the street has Wednesday Wine Nights! (for real! it’s like they know that Wednesday is THE night to drink wine…) Wines from around the World…3 glasses for 300NT or about $10…plus wine usually attracts businessmen…and intellectual conversation, which would be really great. So Yoga then Wine? Yes, please. 😉 (Note: I did not go to the Wine Event this week…)

Saturday November 2nd
When dear friends from Korea come to Taipei… I reflect on how marvelous life as a traveler can be… Like hey, you live in Taiwan…we should hang out…oh you’re in (XYZ), I’ll be there next month…

We ate a huge br…lunch…of probably the most Canadian meal I’ve ever had. (My friend is from Ottawa and her friend has been here 9 years and owns a restaurant called Whalen’s)
Yes, we split a club sandwich, a pulled pork sandwich, a Cesar salad, and…a plate of the classic…Poutine. and black coffee. Simply savory.
After our debatable brunch turned full on lunch…we were off to the National Palace Museum via subway then bus. Rain started to drip from the heavy sky as we arrived…so the museum proved to be the perfect option for this afternoon.
Discovered ancient artifacts including: ornate pottery, exquisite snuff bottles, and intricate calligraphy…that left me pondering…

How do people who write other languages, see English writing? Especially in symbolic languages, such as Chinese. Thought-provoking, isn’t it? When reading the calligraphic poem’s description it detailed that the fluency of the stroke, the boldness of the stroke, the spacing of the lines, the size of the characters, and the slant of the writing could determine the writer’s emotion…his tone…his character…the urgency. The writing. Not just the words or characters used, but the physical writing part. HOW it was written. Something a keyboard can produce only through the italics or bold fonts. This is handwriting…an art. A true art, to create a voice in the way you want the words read… by the stroke of a brush. Is it fluently written or is it pinpointed in exact spacing? Are the brush strokes wispy or bold? Are the characters slanted or straight? What is the emotion portrayed? Incredible.

Met my friend’s friends who live in Taipei, we played this game “Cards Against Humanity,” then had Hot Pot for dinner. Taiwanese food is making its way to the top of food paradise…

What a great day in the city with fun people!

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