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The endeavor to walk in the world: Overcoming

The endeavor to walk in the world: Overcoming

HEALING

Through a variety of ways, I have healed internally much faster than anticipated.  Mostly, through determination to not stay stuck in a place of fear.  However, there have been some other wonderful helps along the way. That is not to say I am through with the process.  Hell no.   But I’m farther along than I thought I would be right now.  Much farther.

My journey through becoming a shaman is slower than I expected, but far more powerfully healing than I anticipated.  It packs a punch and then I need time to process it all.   But, I am.  AND THAT IS AWESOME.  I am reaching and stretching and seeing life in bigger and better ways.  I am definitely more confident in my own abilities to trust my journey and its processes.  I am more confident in my spiritual strength and ability to follow my own path no matter who says what about it.

I have had to stare down my childhood and many of the ways that my parents, but specifically my father at this point, primed me for abuse in my future, albeit mostly unknowingly.  And I have had to work through the fear, very real and serious fear of confronting him about it.  But I’ve done it.  And he’s listened.  And though it was incredibly scary, it has been equally freeing since.

I am sifting through the book of my life and placing bookmarks between the pages I need to work on.  I am unfolding the page corners that I had dog-eared for quick reference; the stories I keep thinking back on, that keep me from growing.  I am going back and making new notes on the memories to remind little me that we figured out that problem.  And I am holding my book with newfound love, wrapped in my arms, against my chest; whereas before I held it at arms length, always afraid it would open to the wrong page when I wasn’t looking.

I am ready to travel and teach again.  I am ready to meet new people and find more joy.  I’m ready to start being me again.  And it feels pretty damn good.

RESEARCH

My research and discovery process is and has been enlightening to both the awareness that is already out there and to the still greater amount of awareness and education that is needed.  I have discovered terms I had never heard of, yet know the details of intimately, like Gaslighting.

Unless you know the term, you can’t find it as a form of abuse.  There’s no Google lookup for the individual terms within the forms of abuse, that I’ve found anyway.  It takes looking through hundreds of other avenues to find the term, then start looking that up. I’m working on changing that.  I’m collecting terms.  In fact, if you know of any, please comment, I need the help.

Boy have I had my fair share of gaslighting!  Look it up, you’ll be amazed, enlightened, and hopefully strengthened in your understanding of abuse, how to spot it and stop it.  And I’m starting my own new term, Halfening, the victim-blaming coddling of an abuser for fear of repercussion, after those that did it to me.

FEAR

I don’t like to think that I’m afraid of the unknown.  I actually like heading off into some new adventure, not sure what to expect or how things will turn out, who I will meet along the way, but ready to find out.

However, the unknown of where and when my next adventure begins…….   I am not liking this unknown at all.  I actually pretty much hate the interim.  It causes me panic and to make decisions too fast in order to at least be headed in a certain direction.

BUT HEY, I am in learning mode.  So, even though I’ve had a couple different opportunities to just head into the crazy wild blue, I haven’t taken them.  I’ve given more thought, I’ve taken more time.  I am learning.

LEARNING

I’m still working through the fear of trusting myself.  It is frustrating because I know that I made a fast decision to head off to Mozambique, but I also know that I was guided there.  I trusted my guide and I am actually coming out of this far stronger than even I would have guessed.  But, I am keenly aware that I was guided there to find out that I don’t know how to see the signs of abusers.

I asked for understanding of what happened with Sven.  I thought I had figured out my confidence, my refusal to put up with abuse, my love of self.  And then bam, confidence shaken.  And on the heels of that, Willem Johannes Goosen, aka John Goosen, of South Africa, happened.

This lack of confidence is a layer of the thick blanket of victim blaming that we hold onto.  It is both safe and suffocating.  I need to trust my gut and the results of following my gut.  Sven went against what my gut told me, but he worked until he convinced me.  Mozambique was completely following my gut.  Bad things happen no matter what.  Great things happen no matter what.

During the time I thought Sven and I were moving forward, I was so happy. I was so in love.  I had a great time, and I don’t regret one minute of it.  People ask me if I ever think of revenge; plot for someone to beat him up or something.  I don’t.  Truthfully, the best revenge is that he lost me.  I’m pretty awesome.  Don’t abuse me, and I’m top freaking notch.  That’s his loss not mine.

Mozambicans are wonderful people.  The local people amazed me in so many ways.  The scenery was wonderful and I am so grateful to have been to Africa.  And because of what happened in Mozambique, I have learned what happened with Sven, and what happened with the ex-husband and the few other ex relationships along the way.

I need to trust my gut and press forward with the decisions I make based on my instinct, without fear.  That blanket makes it safe to say, “if only”, “why didn’t I”, “I can’t”, “I shouldn’t”.  Those things feel safe, like they will keep me safe, but bad things happen no matter what.  Hiding from my path doesn’t keep me safe.  Running into or away from, doesn’t guarantee safety.

Just like I keep telling my little step-neice, it’s ok to make mistakes, that’s how we learn.

and

GREAT THINGS HAPPEN NO MATTER WHAT

ANOTHER DREAM

I need to stop worrying about safe and put my focus on non-abusive.  I had a dream last night.  I was swimming deep in the ocean with a group of whales.  They kept coming over to me and then going up to get air.  Somehow I was not needing to go get air, yet they kept insisting I should.  After I did, they showed me where land was and so I went up.

Everywhere I walked there were snakes. They were mostly out in the open, yet all of them had only their head and part body showing, the rest curled up in their hiding places.  A few were slinked back inside their hideout.  There was a child with me, and we were walking together.

I was not afraid of the snakes, but I knew I couldn’t give them any energy/ acknowledgement/ attention or they would bite.  I had to teach the child to see without giving acknowledgement, to not be afraid, not be curious or get too close.  The scenery was varied as we walked, rocky, grassy, outside, inside, and there were snakes in a snack booth and a book case.  They were talking to us, some trying to be helpful, give advice, offer to get things for us, but we had to remember they were still snakes.  If we gave them any acknowledgement, they would bite us.

There were many blue things as well, blue was a significant color.  There were people, men, women, children all around us, some talking to the snakes, some not.  Some were holding the snakes, some were collecting them, but many just ignored them.

Snakes and whales have interesting meanings in dreams and as power animals.  I’m curious to see what comes of this.  But I woke up feeling very good.

That’s all for now follks.  I’m doing really well.  I’m looking forward to my next adventure.  I’m singing, crying, laughing, and otherwise feeling the feels of life and loving it.   Go be awesome today, I plan to.

 

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Sunday funday

First, I had a great morning. Woke up lazily, ate an apple, watched the new karate kid. Which btw, I really like and seriously, if a little kid can get that strong so can I!
Then I went to this great place for lunch with Tim and family. The best food!
Then I got together with fellow teachers and we had a Quatro De Mayo celebration.
Now home I realize, I’m going to really miss this place. Really really.

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Posted by on 05/05/2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Neiwan and the fireflies

The river

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Neiwan

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The river is a little low right now

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Shine little bug, shine

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firefly glow!

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clap off

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love this lady

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cutsey, sexi, cuxi

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KatieLove

KatieLove

Friends, nay, my Taiwan family, and fireflies. Who could ask for a better Friday night?

 

We scootered up to Neiwan to see the fireflies.  It was surreal and beautiful, though too dark to get many good pictures.  And apparently we got there a little too late.

If you’re headed out to any of the firefly locations, the best time is right as it gets dark, take note  🙂

 

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A full year in Taiwan

A full year in Taiwan

Happy New Year Everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

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I can hardly believe it’s been a full year in Taiwan!

What an amazing, wonderful roller coaster of a year it’s been.

I’ve traveled most of the country.  I scootered across Taiwan from West to East, through the mountains.  I’ve been to four theme-parks, countless beaches, beautiful mountains, and amazing cities.  I’ve gazed at gorgeous rice fields, palm tree forests, incredible sky scrapers and little huts.  I listened to the melodic sound of the rock beach in Hualien, the monkeys playing in the trees, lots of laughing children, and the wonderful stories of all my new friends.  I have tasted some of the strangest things and some of the greatest things I’ve ever eaten.

I’ve learned to live with,  without,  in spite of,  and during a lot of circumstances I had never expected.

I learned I can do a lot of things I hadn’t thought possible and that some things I just can’t do still.

I began dancing again.  I painted some cool pictures.  I discovered hidden talents, made the most of some known talents, and learned a TON about myself.     I shared travel experiences with two of my children.   I’ve learned a lot about teaching, learning, and school systems.

I’ve gotten pretty good at scootering around.  I’m learning Chinese.

2013 – you were a blast!

Last year I kicked off the New Year at the Taipei 101 bldg, braved the incredible crowds, and rang in 2013 with my Taiwan son, Tim.

That night started a fantastic year for me and I am so excited for what 2014 has to offer!

This year I kicked off the New Year in Hsinchu with so many of the wonderful people I have grown to love AND with one of my favorite people from my time in Prague, Czech Republic!!!

My New Years Resolutions

Resolution Number One

Write.  So much I haven’t written about, so much I haven’t said, so often I didn’t follow through with this blog.  So New Years resolution #1 is to stop caring if what I write has significant meaning, or is too personal, or not personal enough, or has enough pictures, rambles, isn’t funny, happy and upbeat, etc.  Worrying about all those things  kept me from writing and now some of my fantastic memories have faded enough that I’m not sure how to write about them.  I am going to just write and not let myself think about it too much.

Resolution Number Two

Be a non-smoker.  I started smoking again back in April.  So, I am quitting again.  It’s not a healthy habit.  It doesn’t fill the void I’m using it for.  I’m ready to stop.  This may not be as easy as it was last time.  Still….. Here goes.

Resolution Number Three

Get back on track with why I’m teaching abroad.  Start collecting my thoughts in writing and being more assertive with researching the methodologies of the Chinese teachers.  Put it all into a written format so that I can have these thoughts to reflect on as I study/ teach in new places.

     ¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)  EXCITING NEWS     (¨*•.¸(¨*•.¸´•.¸    

After finishing my contract with the Hsinchu Public Schools, at the end of June, I will be heading to Turkey.  

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Fingers crossed and all my hopes are for getting a full month, July, back in the states with my children before heading to Turkey.  I have been grateful to see who they are becoming and all the amazing growth they’ve done.  But dang it, I just want to hug them again.

Not everything is pinned down yet, so no solid news.  Just the fact that I’ve decided it’s time for Turkey.

I’ve heard wonderful things about it, and I’m so excited for this next chapter to start.   I want to see the beautiful sights and I can barely contain myself with historical significance.   SO EXCITED.

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 – I’m ready for a new and wonderful adventure with you.

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Taiwan fish and food

Taiwan fish and food

So, lucky me got to enjoy another weekend of amazing sight seeing and eating with Tim and fam!  We went to Longtan, Daxi, and Cihu,  in Taoyuan County.  First stop, par usual is EATING!

This cool little restaurant is a fish restaurant, and by fish restaurant I mean you have to go fish your dinner quite literally.

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We are quite lucky that Tim’s uncle is a good fisherman because he caught a fish big enough to feed 10 people in 7 different ways!062

Most of this was incredibly delicious!   But the fish head soup with pieces of jawbone was a bit much for me.060 058 056

On the other hand the yummy spicy fish chili soup was quite the treat 🙂055

Then there was the soy saucy, salty, spicy goodness of this dish.054

Some cruncy battered and fried fish with a sweet and sour sauce and some white pepper.052

Cannot forget the fish tail that had a citrusy taste with green onions and chilies.  Yep they like it spicy 051 ‘round here.  050

There’s always some kind of greens.  Always.049

Ooooo and this yummy sauce was fantastic over the steamed fish.048

Getting ready for all the dishes to start coming out!  

Just the day before I left for Taipei, I went out to eat with my friend Penny.  She took me to a local beef noodle place.   She ordered the special soup with tendons in it.  I have to admit, that in small doses, the tendon isn’t that bad. 043

The sides: Kim Chi, boiled peanuts, seaweed salad041 040

Last week I went shrimping with some friends from school.  They knew of a local place.  I had NO idea that people go to these shrimp pools to catch live shrimp.   Maybe it’s a Taiwan thing, maybe it’s an Asia thing, but either way it was a New thing for me.   

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So I get to add another merit badge to my Scooter Driving Merit Badge roll….  Following Paul.  It is a life altering experience and one that makes you question your sanity for having made the decision to keep up.  I survived intact 🙂  so I deserve the badge.

 Everyone sits around catching shrimp, then skewer them through while they’re still alive and then throw them on the barbie until they’re good and done.035

While everyone around me was enjoying their shrimp, I ate lots of delicious noodles that were shrimp free.  I did drink down a Taiwan beer while I was at it though.034 More birthday cakes!!  This one was sent to our class because one of the student’s little sister had a birthday.  It was pretty cute though.  I’m very lucky I can’t eat any of these or I would weigh a million pounds. 013 012

 

It’s been another good food month, now that I can find places to eat and know what will come to the table after I order.  haha

 

 

 

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Bangers for Breakfast

I’m wishing I had been able to get my Wicked Tinkers CS’s downloaded before I left.   Missing my bagpipes today.  Weird, but true.

I accomplished a few firsts this last week!

First week since my fall that I’ve been able to go to the gym 4 days in a week.

First time since the fall, that I did weighted squats WITH the squat bar!!!  Heck yeah!

First time I ran past my goal time without even realizing I had, until I looked down, and I had past by 5 min already and I wasn’t even really ready to stop!!

First time I drove the scooter outside of my little area here…  AND drove it all over northwestern Taiwan in search of a beach.  I may not have found a beach yet, but I can add a lot of scooter time and sight seeing onto my “ta done” list.

First time I killed a freshly satisfied mosquito that was INSIDE my mosquito net.  sigh.

First time I made plans to go to a Latin Carnival!!

First time since I’ve been here that I can share the newness of it all with someone thanks to my new friend Jennifer.  It really does make such a huge difference.

I didn’t have bangers for breakfast this morning, but, maybe I can find The Wicked Tinkers online and listen to some amazing bagpipe and didgeridoo, feel good, toe tapping, awesomeness this evening.

 

 

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Today I took life’s balls to the gorram rodeo and showed Taiwan what Cowgirl Up means.

I woke up this morning and saw the sun shining, looked at the weather report and found a 0% chance of rain. No way in hell was I gonna spend my last day of Chinese New Year vacation sitting around lesson planning.

I sent out a feeler to see if any of my Jhubei colleagues wanted to join me in taking life by the balls and just doing an unexpected last minute trip to see the National Gold Museum and Juifen. With Wendy’s help I planned out an awesome trip and put aside all the lesson planning I should have been doing.

Well, everyone was tired from their other amazing trips and so I was solo. That’s ok, I’m perfectly fine with going solo. If I waited around to do things until someone went with me I’d be doing a whole lot more sitting than I already do.

What a freaking AWESOME day! Cowgirl the f Up, I am so glad I went!

First, having Wendy help me was the best. She helped me look up all the transportation stuff and printed out the schedule for me. Then she wrote out these little cards with Chinese and English on them.

These were seriously incredibly helpful. All I had to do was try and say what I meant first and if that didn’t work, show them the card, BAM taken care of.

*Important to note – Taiwanese people are some of the friendliest if not the friendliest people I have ever met. Any time I have needed any kind of help; there has been no hesitation to help. Sometimes I don’t even have to ask, they just see me and ask me if there is anything they can help me with. Friendly, friendly, friendly.

So, I get on the MRT headed toward the bus station and right away I am greeted by this smell. I know this smell and it is good.

I look around and sure enough there is a small group of backpackers. Damn I love the smell of backpackers. Maybe it’s the backpacks more than the ‘ers themselves….. but, that smell is so fresh, like the outdoors. That smell lives outdoors and visits inside, not the other way around. Slightly musky, a little smoky, campy but still fresh; full of new experiences. That smell emits that new experience vibe like no other.

I think, “it’s gonna be a good day”.

I suppose I was given a sign on the way to the MRT.

I can’t say that I knew exactly what seeing a random chicken head just sitting in the middle of the sidewalk meant when I felt the need to snap the picture, but, apparently it meant – “Go take life by the balls girl, you got this”

So I get on the MRT, transfer from the green line to the blue line, but woops, wrong direction. No problem, next stop change … dang, I’m going to miss the 1062 bus I was planning on taking. That’s ok, there’s another one in 20 minutes. I get to the station and as I walk off the bus, random guy walking down the street sees me look at my paper and right away comes over and asks if I need help.

Yes. That friendly.

Not only does he point me in the right direction, he insists on walking me there. Just as we turn the corner, he notices the bus about to leave, waves at it and makes sure I get on the bus. The bus driver is super awesome, I show him my little cards asking him to let me know which stop is the one I’m looking for and BAM, I’m taken care of. Sit down, and do some on the bus lesson planning. (so I don’t feel like I completely forsook my duties)

Ok, I’m not totally alone, Monkey joined me on this trip J

Just as I was finishing this week’s outline, we start climbing the mountain into Juifen. I put everything away and just sit back and take in the scenery in shear awe.

It is so gorgeous.

So here I will mention that this lovely mountain road is barely big enough for two buses to go side by side on. The drivers could high five each other as they pass. On one side there is a steep mountainside wall and on the other side there is a steep drop off towards the ocean, down the mountain. The road has u-turn switchbacks the entire way. One misstep in either direction is not a good scenario.

My driver, friendly as he was, was a scary ass driver. I thought, well here’s to life and may I and it’s sac return home safely.

My first destination was the National Gold Museum/ Ecological Park.

WOW. The Gold Park was beautiful, I hiked all over the place seeing one beautiful thing after another.

There were three temples and one giant statue on the ground tour path. I just did the self tour, but there is good information in an English pamphlet. The Cyuanji Temple was really pretty tucked in the mountain.

According to the website, “Cyuanji Temple was built in 1896 and consecrated to what was the only golden-faced Guan Gong in Taiwan prior to Retrocession. The gold and bronze Guan Gong statue on the roof of the temple is the largest idol of that deity in the world, weighing more than 25 tons.”

So here are a few pictures from the park.

There are also these to see…

Monkey praying for gold.

After a couple of wonderful hours just walking around and enjoying the fact that I was on no one’s timeline but my own, I headed back to the bus stop and on to Juifen.

Out of some sort of luck I managed to catch the same bus driver on his return trip from wherever the final destination of the bus line is. He knew me and knew I was heading to Juifen, no need to show my awesome little cards.

One 10 min crazy bus ride later, I was in Juifen. Juifen was a gold mining town with a huge boom and an equal but opposite departure. A nine family town, turned boom town, turned ghost town, turned tourist location. I wrote a little history of it in this blog.

Some Juifen fashion.




Pixie’s newest fashion acquisition

I was curious as to what this was, and I think the owner said it was a hula hoop….. I don’t know though.

Mmm Lunch, Get in mah belly

Apparently this is ice cream, no cone required.

The amazing beauty of the coastline required that I take about a hundred photos of it. I won’t post all of them, but here are a few.






I have a serious dislike for the whole cultural child-like-NESS; everything from how girls act and dress to the type of drinks they have are meant to display this prepubescent, innocent but sexual nonsense. Now the group pictured here is not in the 15-30 year old range of single women, but the drinks are meant for the fake-wide-eyed, dressed up like little school girls to suck on while shamelessly flirting.

Yes, they are kumquat drinks put into cups that look like baby bottles, with an optional straw in the nipple. Ugh. Child porn sales just went up, thanks guys, we weren’t trying to protect those kids or anything.

Now on another front, this little girl was about the cutest thing I have EVER seen. Why? Because she was falling asleep as she was walking. Her mom kept waking her up after almost tripping on her because she would start walking in a sort of circle as her eyes would close and her head would dip down. Then her little feet would sort of shuffle, before her mom would shake her arm a little. Then she would take this giant puppet like step and look around before starting to fall asleep again. I watched her do that twice before needing to take a picture of her. So cute.

Heading down toward the Quan Yin tea house.

My tea was prepared in the most elaborate display I have ever witnessed. It was a 8 step process just to get some tea into that tiny little cup.

These little dried oolong leaves turned into these beautiful green leaves that produced some really strong tea.

The tea house was beautiful and peaceful. I am really glad I reated myself to this stop.


The Quan Yin statue in front of the tea house.

Cool little shop had lots of theings made out of jeans.

Who would have thought I would find a store selling African art in a little Taiwanese tourist town?

As I walked up the stairway leading to the street to catch the bus back to Taipei, there in the middle of the stairs was a lone flower. It felt déjà vu like with the chicken head, so I had to take a picture.

I am glad that I took that picture because if it was the last thing I was going to see, it was lovely.

I say that because of the ball-breaking ride home.

Taiwan tried to show me how it’s done, and I showed Taiwan how to Cowgirl UP.

I caught the bus as it was pulling out of the station. The driver hollered to hurry and get on, so I hopped on board. The doors closed behind me and the bus was on its way as I discovered that the only space available was the one where I was standing, at the top of the stairs.

Yes, folks, I got to ride down the steep, switchback, sheer drop-off or mountain face road, downhill, standing at the front of the bus.

This ride was so jaw dropping out of this world that I barely have words for it.

The craziest part is that the only thing going through my mind was, “Hell Yeah”.

The woman standing next to me was praying non-stop. I am assuming to the god of safety. At least I’m hoping so. I decided it was best to leave that up to her, because I can’t remember that god’s name and I did not want to accidently start trying to pray to the god of the water and have us all end up in the ocean, albeit surely being nicely taken care of by him.

Not only were we careening down this mountain at speeds that should not be allowed, full far beyond capacity, but the driver was apparently trying not to fall asleep the whole time. At every red light he would pull out a wet rag, put it over his eyes for about 20 seconds then wipe his face about 5 times. Then he would shake his head, fold up the rag, and watch for the green light.

Could this possibly be the best part, OH NO. Puh-lease, I do not say that I took life’s balls to the rodeo lightly. I freakin rode that ride the full 8 seconds.

On this stupidly narrow road, in the middle of a switchback, going uphill, an amazingly stupid driver decided it was a good place to make a U-turn. The safety god decided to pull through, what with the constant prayer stream still taking place, and our driver was able to stop without hitting the car.

We drove through the brake smoke with a new rumble happening (that lasted the rest of the way, that bus is going in for repair tonight). Apparently it scared the piss right out of the driver because at the nearest safe place to pull over, he, without saying a word, hopped out of the bus and took off up the side of the mountain. Everyone was at a loss until about 4 minutes later he showed back up, got on the bus, and started back down the mountain.

By the first stop into the greater Taipei area I was able to get into a seat and we made it safely back to Tim, Wendy and William’s home.

Monkey feeling glad we are safe.

Yes, this was one heck of a humdinger of a day. I am enjoying this whole living life to its fullest thing 🙂

 

 

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O Christmas Tree

I was having one of those moments when I decided I needed a Christmas tree after all.

I am not going to go buy one so what to do, what to do.

Resources, look at my resources.  How can I have a Christmas tree in this little place without buying a Christmas Tree?

So there I am looking at my blank white walls, which are quite frankly unnerving after a while, and it dawned on me.

I still have some construction paper left from making the Gingerbread house display board!

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WooHoo Christmas tree dilemma solved.

At first it felt a little weird cutting paper “branches” for a tree, but by the time I started gluing on the little colored stars I was singing Christmas carols and imagining that I was hanging the little stars on with wire hangers and that the stars were tinsel and ornaments.

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I have a little Christmas tree and thanks to a couple students and Rachel from home, I have presents under my tree too!

I haven’t decided if I want a star, or an angel, or nothing on top of the tree.  It seems bare, but I don’t know….  Something will come to me I’m sure.

It is conflicting because I am still not sure where I stand in the religion realm, but it is a ritual, a tradition that makes me feel like a little part of home is here on the little island of Taiwan.

 

 
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Posted by on 16/12/2012 in art, Holidays, Taiwan, travel, Uncategorized

 

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Random stuff just pops into my life

I am allergic to mosquitoes.  This has been discussed previously here.  I live on the 8th floor of my dorm building.  (Yes,  I still walk up 8 flights of stairs -132 stairs to be exact – every day at least once)

While talking with Wendy and discussing the mosquito situation, she just laughed at me and said,

Mosquitoes can not fly up to the 8th floor, it is too far!  They will get tired!”  I thought about that for a minute and while remembering the previous evening and the rather large number of mosquitoes I killed (I go mosquito hunting every night with my High Voltage racket), I replied,

“That must be why they find me so delicious.  They’re tired from the exertion and need a good snack”.

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While in the Sensory Room (here) I pretend I am one of two things; either a dinosaur out to eat all the children, or the Tickle Monster hell bent on tickling them until a friend comes to rescue them.  I still roar when I am the Tickle Monster…. monsters roar.  Trust me, I watched a whole movie about it.

Today while being the tickle monster/ hungry dinosaur, I was in the ball pit located at the end of the longest tube slide.  Perched ever so close to the end but not in view, I awaited the oncoming victim.  She slid, I roared, she screamed and ran up (the way all of them do *insert evil smile*) and then came sliding down, because they can’t actually climb up very far.

I took one look and saw the biggest crocodile tears I’ve ever seen on a child’s face.  I had actually authentically scared her to tears.  She came out and leaped in my lap, wrapped herself around me, buried her little face on me and sobbed for 2-3 min.  Then she just clung to me with all four limbs as I sat there as she leaked from her eyes for another 5 min.  She was completely distraught and I’m pretty sure her bottom lip may be permanently stuck out now.  But she wouldn’t budge off of my lap or from being completely wrapped around me until time was up.  I can’t tell if she didn’t realize that I was the monster and was clinging to me for safety or if she just needed to make sure I wasn’t going to become a monster again….   I completely and fully understand Sully in a way I never could before.  See what I mean here.

~

A butterfly wing found it’s way into my path this morning.  I feel a little sorry for the butterfly that lost that wing, but it was an oddly pleasant finding this morning.  I know sounds weird to have a severed body part be pleasant.  I just saw it and thought of butterflies and flowers and lovely things for a few minutes.  Random.

~

I accomplished almost every goal I set for myself today.  AND I learned the actual way to say the Kuan Yin mantra.  Now I have to reteach myself how to say it in my head.

~

Coffee is NOT good when mixed with peanut juice.

~

This is the year of the dragon according to the Chinese calendar.  I have mentioned before that I have discovered that following pregnant women is helpful when looking for necessities.  I only realized after writing that just how many pregnant women there are around here.  I finally asked about it.  Taiwan has a shortage of babies apparently.  There are more people dying of old age than are being born.  I, along with others, might argue that there are a lot of people in this very small nation already, but I, along with others are not in charge or have a full understanding of how politics, economy and population are really interrelated.

There is actually a government incentive for having children.  If a couple has 3 children they are basically taken care of for life by the government.  In this, the year of the dragon, the luckiest of all the Chinese years, there are a LOT of pregnant women in this country.  It is not at all difficult to find a pregnant lady to follow if need be.

~

One needs buy a wine key if one intends to drink the wine they buy.  I therefore have a nice decoration until payday on Wednesday.

~

TODAY THERE WAS SUNSHINE!!!   aaaahh smile.  It was like a little light bulb in the sky sending a ray of hope.   The sun exists behind all these rain clouds, it does, it really does!

~

I really like my coworkers.  I like hearing about what they do and what they want to do.  They are an interesting and enjoyable group of people.

WELL I am off to go mosquito hunting and then night night.   To all of you, I hope you look for the random things that make life interesting.  The little things that find their way into our lives are how the big things get accomplished.

 

 

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6 is the number of things I’ve learned this week – class can you say SIX?

Cover of "Spirited Away"

Cover of Spirited Away

A few things I’ve learned

  1. Always follow the pregnant lady

I’ve been here on my own now for a week and a half.  I’ve struggled a little bit with where to get food I can eat and which places are the best to go to, but I’m discovering a very interesting phenomenon.  Pregnant women are perfect for leading me to the best places to go.  They know the best places to eat and the best stores to buy little kid stuff.  Also, iIf I need to pee while out and about, find a pregnant woman.  They know the best, most convenient places to pee.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t go out pregnant lady hunting, I’ve just made an observation.

2.   A rainy day at the mountainside beach town is better than No day at the mountain side beach town.

It poured the entire time we were in Chiufen.  Walking up and down the two main streets was especially interesting with all the rain.  Apparently it was not too crowded because of the rain, I’m interested to see what crowded looks like!!  In the 3 hours we were there we ate at 7 different places and we only stopped at the ones that Tim and family already know are their favorites!!  There are so many places to eat!  I found some pretty cool stuff that I plan to go back for once I have a full paycheck or two in hand.  The movie theater was so cool.  It is an old mining town that was built into the mountain.  There is a tea house that the entrance is on one side of a hill and you have to go through the tunnel to get to the actual tea house.

Chiufen (Jiufen) History lesson from Tim:  Chiufen means 9 portions.  The original town was comprised of 9 families that mined the mountain side for gold.  Whenever anyone would go into a city to buy goods, they would buy 9 portions, ensuring each family had what they needed.  The people, and therefore the place the people came from, began to be called 9 portions or Chiufen for this reason.

Once the amount of gold coming from their mines became known, Chiufen turned into a booming gold mining town.  When the mine panned out, sometime in the early 1950’s, the town was generally deserted. A few families remained.  Since then several period movies were filmed there and along with the beautiful tea houses beside the beautiful Pacific Ocean views, the town stayed alive with a few tourists.   But the biggest return to tourism hit after Hayao Miyazaki created the movie Spirited Away in 2001.

3.   Stray dogs in Taiwan have learned to use the crosswalks and wait for the green man walking.

It’s true, I’ve watched it happen several times now.  The first stray dog I noticed this with, was a scrangy dirty tan dog.  I needed to cross the street and saw a dog on the other side.  I seriously considered not crossing the street, but couldn’t figure out where else to go and needed to cross the street.  So, I remembered a “just don’t look them in the eye” conversation from TEFL class and started crossing the street.  In a probably never to be repeated occurrence, the dog actually head bobbed me as he crossed to the side of the street I had just come from.  In utter bewilderment and sheer “HUH”?-ness, I watched the dog (nearly getting myself run over by a scooter).  He got to the other side, looked up and watched the cross walk sign.  At the moment it turned green he put his head back down and started crossing the street, using the crosswalk.  I kid you not folks, this totally happened.  And I’ve seen similar incidents to this on two other occasions now, with two other dogs.  It is unfortunate that they probably learned it from getting or almost getting hit, but damn if they don’t know how to use the crosswalks and their signals.

4.   Morning coffee makes everything better.

I have known this tidbit for a while now, but it remains strong and true.  I don’t drink more than one cup usually, but that one cup makes the rest of the day all better.

5.   The schwa is alive and well in Asian languages.

I had no idea.  I remember something in TEFL class about the schwa going out of fashion in English language and that not too many European languages use it much, but it is a whole sound in Chinese that is used all the time.  Go schwas!

6.   Asian languages are similar to each other in the way English is similar to German, not in the way Australian English is similar to American English.

Technically this should be a fairly simple concept to understand.  However, I have been astounded by how many times I’ve heard “Chinese, Japanese, Korean, whatever they’re all the same”.  Taiwanese is also different from Mandarin Chinese, which is different from Cantonese Chinese.  I’m beginning to hear the individual words in Mandarin now.  I don’t understand what the heck they mean, BUT  I can differentiate separate words and the different tones.  I keep hearing myself in the background saying, “third tone, first tone, totally fourth tone”.

And these class are the 6 things I wanted to share with you 🙂

 

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