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Posts Tagged ‘sick’

Franklin came all the way across the world to visit. Granted he found a NYU program in Hong Kong to legitimize the trip, but whatever he came! He came! France and now Taiwan, we’ve almost circled the globe. Meet me in Iceland? Morocco? Where next?

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We slammed straight into activities, with him getting here late Tuesday and then Wednesday being New Years eve. He couldn’t sleep so at 7am we trudged down the street to eat at LaGuardia. I usually sleep past their opening times since they’re a breakfast place. Wandered around, but most things hadn’t really opened or got in gear yet. I feel as is Taipei doesn’t really wake up till about 10, even at 9 most people are still shuffling with their breakfast food somewhere, groggily. It is not as bustling a city as you think.

We went to the Fine Arts Museum, enjoyed some art. We giggled at videos of kids wah-wahing, and talked about most everything else. A lunch at Sogo of rice and eggs, we were a bit tired after waking up so early. A pre-New Years nap and dinner at one of the Seafood/Beer joints down the street. Cheers of Taiwan beer started off the evening. We headed to Carrefour where everyone was stocking up on food and beer. The streets were already being closed off and more people walking around than before. We hung out, ran to the roof and cheered with all the people in the building. Fireworks everywhere and Moet, Frank had bought in Duty Free.  We had those confetti poppers but we didn’t use all of them. What we did use them for was to scare the bejesus out of each other for the rest of the week.

The day after New Years? We slept. The entire day. Not in one go, but every time we tried to get up, we ended up sleeping again.

We discovered the next day why.

We both had Tonsillitis. Yay.

Or rather….we wanted to die from hurty throats. I went to the doctor in the morning, and then I wound up taking Franklin again that evening. I want to applaud Taiwan’s healthcare system. Going to the doctor involved walking down the street, sitting for 5 minutes after paying 150 NT (4$) answering 3-4 questions, getting my ears and throat checked and promptly receiving antibiotics. Franklin despite not having healthcare, like I did, also only had to put his name, my phone number and pay 500$ (15$). Painless and a relief. I can only imagine the nightmare of getting sick while on vacation in America.

Backing up, the night that we slept all day we did leave the house once. And it was kind of an event. Jim’s parents took us to the Indian Beer house. Why is it called the Indian Beer house I have no idea. Me and Tina asked about it because we ride by it on the bus occasionally and its a building with GIANT dinosaur bones hanging off of it. The entire decor is prehistorically themed with random Indian stuff thrown in too. The only reason for all this stuff me and Tina could deduce was that someone had their historical time line way way way off, and thought Indians lived with dinosaurs.

Regardless, Indian Beer house was awesome. All you can eat and drink. And eat and drink we did. We showed Franklin and Jud a true Taiwanese dinner (the kind I witnessed so often my first few weeks here where I ate so much food I wanted to die every night). Dish after dish, at least 15. Exotic things as well. I wasn’t feeling too hot ( I was the first to realize I was sick) but Franklin ate fried frogs, and snails, and squid, and everything, even some pretty stinky tofu. I have to say I’m proud of him, it was definitely the non-fried fairly stinky variety. Me? Beef, and chicken, and pork, and all sorts of things. Jim’s parents were amused that I’d pick all the pineapple off all the seafood dishes as my allergic consolation prize, from then on I had a steady stream of pineapple headed my way.

On top of this, pitcher after pitcher of beer. Toast to Taiwan, toast to America, toast to the new year -Xin Nian Kuai Le!, toast to the teachers (tina and I tutor them), toast to the adults, to the girls, to the boys….toast, toast, toast…which means….you guessed it…Gambei (bottom’s up). Good thing we had all the food to weigh us down.  There was also live music, a girl singing. She wanted recommendations but then told us all our songs were too old, then that they were all boy songs, finally she sang us “Doncha” by the Pussycat Dolls. Oh man America…you sure are exporting some classy culture there.We sang happy birthday to an old man, we laughed at little kids dancing around and taking photos, me and tina laughed at the giant dinosaur heads in the bathroom sink, and me and Franklin wandered around the empty part of the building looking all at the giant scary fake decorations. It was pretty fun.

Since we had wasted the previous day we dragged our sick selves around Taipei all day seeing the sights. Sun Yat Sen –wooo, Tapei 101 wooo, Eslite wooo, Warner Villages wooo, etc etc etc. (Those were all monotone, sick woo’s mind you). Franklin did buy me gorgeous Amber earrings at Taipei 101 during all the forced tourism. We had been talking earlier in the day about interesting gemstones and how diamonds while scientifically useful, I think are over hyped (thanks DeBeers). As my mom and family have discovered I am much more a pearl/onyx/jasper girl. Give me something simple and classic. To quote my Pawpaw, “why did you ask for a woodern ring for Christmas….might as well get you napkin rings for your fingers”. Mind you these were exotic wooden rings of layers colors and materials…really nice and handcrafted. Anyways, lo and behold we’re made to walk through a whole coral/jade/amber sale/exhibit when exiting the viewing rooms at Taipei 101.

That night we went to Ximen Ding, I made Franklin eat the famous Ay-chung wheat noodles there, accidentally telling him the chewy parts were intestines, which then meant I got to eat all the rest of the chewy parts..but hey the boy ate frogs, I thought he’d be gung ho. We shopped, Franklin got more tshirts including one of this bear playing the guitar wearing glasses that looks uncannily like Franklin, himself.

We wandered over to Gonguan to Duke, which is closing soon. I guess if only your friends come to drink every night its kind of hard to make money. I really don’t understand how any business makes money since there are 5000 options for any one thing. I think its luck. Just Miller and Neal and some people we got dragged into 3 beer bets on Blowcow (the ever present drinking dice game). We kept up our side and ended up at home surprisingly. Beer and tonsillitis not being a great combo

On Saturday, feeling much better, me and Franklin went and got Mexican food. It had finally stopped raining and was looking more like regular ol’Taipei – so sunny your brain hurts. Instead of going to Danshui like planned we went to the National Palace Museum.

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This museum holds most of China’s national treasures since they were moved here for safekeeping during war time in the 50s. It was huge and gorgeous, but honestly room upon room upon room of shards of pottery and pressing Asians wasn’t super exciting, and we did a quick tour. Outside was a nice garden though with koi and cranes and all sorts of pavilions. There were even peacocks and dragon fountains. Very calming and nice.

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From the museum we went to Shilin Night Market. The biggest and hugest in Taipei. And on Saturday night I don’t know what we were thinking, needless to say it was crowded. We shuffled along, we got sausages. Jud and Franklin played almost every dart/shooting game in the whole area I think. Everytime we saw a new one they’d look at us excitedly saying, “please, please! But this ones different! You can shoot shotguns…etc..” As a result we are now the owners of 2 picture frames, one clock, 2 blowup hammers, and some crappy candy.

That night, Duke again. They were having a surprise going away party, and Miller lured us there way to early. 3 hours of Blowcow is a little much. We also played some crappy version of Jenga we had won at the dart games as well. Franklin beat Miller though over and over again at Blowcow. I was very impressed. They played 20 rounds before Miller could concede defeat. Me? I guess statistics aren’t my strong point, I always give away what I have too early.

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Sunday. Dansui. Rain. It always rains in Dansui. Lame. We wandered around. I gobbled quail eggs as fast as we could find vendors. We played claw games, but we were mostly soggy and over the whole market/food vendor thing. I dropped a corn dog on the muddy ground, no good at all. The train back home, we slept/listened to music and finally slowed down to a general Frank and Jenn pace.

Monday I worked all day then taxied home. I went and got my hairwashed, we went to Raohe which was deserted due to rain. Beef Noodle Soup and watching movies.

Tuesday I made Franklin come to school with me, since I was only teaching Baby Pre-K. They were pretty good. Wayne of course was pretty terrible, and also fell while playing redlight/greenlight and cried and cried. His mom, being my boss doesn’t help, it only makes Wayne even more mischevious. I know my parents always worked at my schools when I was little, but if anything it made me behave better because I was afraid they’d find out. Mrs. Burnet would hold things above my head threatening to tell my Dad all the time (most evil 3rd grade teacher ever). Wayne? Well first he’s too littleto be in our class, but also, he just runs to his mom anytime he decides he doesn’t want to be in the classroom. Not very helpful at all.

Anyways Franklin, hung out chatted with Elisa and Ivy and then there was a mouse. I’ve never seen a mouse or even a bug at school so I was pretty surprised, but all of us being screaming ladies he did his job and caught it and then took it outside. It brought a little excitement to a morning that was mostly me singing and reading and blowing noses and acting like a cheery kid lover which Franklin knows I’m definitely not.

We went to the airport that afternoon and he got on his flight to Hong Kong and that concludes my long and probably over descriptive rendition of Franklin’s visit. Whew.

I think I need another coffee now.

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Learning Curve

So my learning curve for classrooms I’ve decided is three days. It took 3 days to master the pre-K class and since today was the first day of teaching kindergarten as well as second grade, neither was mastered, maybe awkwardly handled, and finally completed.

Managed to pretend I wasn’t sick all day. That and talking for 5 hours are now wrecking vengence upon me and my throat as I type.

I sound like Darth Vader.

Unfortunately my hopes that the pre-K class would gain lightyears of maturity over the weekend and be prepared to be quiet, behaved little kindergarteners was not the case. Charlie still threw things, Alex still laid in the floor trying to sleep, and Thomas still sucked up to the teacher. Justin who is too smart for kindergarten but too young for first grade, got bored as usual and then started riling everyone up.

The fact that kindergarteners do not play duck duck goose as much as pre-K, and have to sit at desks, was not seen as a good thing by the class.

I did manage to read them a long story, teach the difference between “animals” and “people” and what are in those categories, sing I’m a little teapot, and get them to color their name tags and draw pictures of themselves. Elisa, who has the kindergartners complete devotion is going to help me more on Wednesday.

Second grade was not that bad. Reverse situation. Loud girls, silent boys. Connie, who is almost as tall as I am, is the bored, smart one. We read Corduroy, learned about homographs, /u/ sounds, and I attempted to learn names but since all the boys look exactly exactly the same, I continually confused Joe, Thomas, Stephen, and Robban (yes he insists that’s how I spell his name).

One of the boys George has a perpetual angry look on his face. I can’t decide if he just looks like that, or if he really is the angriest silent child on the face of the planet. Its like he smells something really disgusting for the entire class. I cannot get him to say a single word, all I get is the angry face.

However some of the students are lovely. In kindergarten there is Athena, quiet with dimples, there is Angus who always looks anxious and does his work well, Robban who has giant front teeth and gives ridiculous answers to make me laugh.

Tuesday I don’t have school, so hopefully I can recover from the cold I have and then refortify myself for wednesday. The 2nd grade class on wednesday is 3 hours instead of 2, good lord thats alot of time.

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Vacation Trip

Jennifer is Sick

Hides inside

Drinks some wine

First day of school…

I thought I was done with this crap?

Maybe that doesn’t rhyme, but then again poetry was never my thing, my thing was Victorian Literature, and all things written  by dead old white men. As Pat knows about my diatribes against Prof. Jarman, poetry and I have been battling for a long long time. So sorry for that bit of poetic sludge. Its the cold medicine I promise.

In other news:

Greetings from the new apartment. It is pretty snazzy here and only 4 blocks from the old digs. (Yes I used the word digs, yes I may be living in 1962).

This weekend, after a tiring three days of teaching a class for the one other english teacher (Keith) who is on vacation, Tina and I were whisked away for an impromptu weekend vacation…and by whisked away I mean taken begrudingly at 7am to a mountain cabin with 30 other people that Aunt and Uncle work with.

It was nice though, there was a pool where I swam around in a t-shirt because my bikini is apparently to hot to handle here, but then was later goaded into wearing just the bikini and fulfilling my Americaness. Then there was barbeque chicken and corn and Taiwan Beer…and then there was a sore throat and a raging migrane and then fever and dizziness and laying in bed wishing to be anywhere but here. There was drinking of mystery medicine and more laying around and then finally some fitful sleeping since Asians don’t beleive in soft mattresses but prefer to sleep on just the box springs/floor/bamboo pad. The next day, mildly better. Sitting around, playing cards, watching tv, coming home. The vacation was in the mountains south of Taipei in Wulai. There were apparently hot springs but the only thing I saw was a rock pool full of bathtub temp. water. The cabins were lovely and huge and there was a waterfall right right behind our porch. It was very much like going to the Smoky Mountains when I was little and staying at Cobbly Knob.

The waterfall behind the cabin.

Me, retrieving a giiiiant snake skin from the wall behind the cabin to the screams of Lulu, Tina, and Aunt. They were grossed out, I was fascinated…really, its just skin. I would be more scared that I climbed over the railing onto a giant wall overlooking rushing water.

Said snake skin. Isn’t it cool.

So this boy, whom I refer to as “Puffy hair boy” proclaimed his love for me last week at the office, while everyone laughed at him. “You are very beautiful. I can be your friend?” Since then, I’ve stayed distanced a bit and everyone has tormented him unmercifully. For a photo op I hopped on his scooter, and he completely freaked out that I was so close, hence the bashful smile from Puffy-haired boy. I think I might have made his day

Sadly there are no wedding bells in the future, as puffy-haired boy is 15, and well….has puffy hair. An unfortunate fashion trend for teenagers, where they get their hair all crimped so it stands out like a big fluffy poof. I think that they think its bad ass….

On a final note. Or two final notes.

Cheers to the new apartment. I will post indepth pictures as soon as we have curtains, couch slip covers, prints on the walls, I own a bed, and we have a tv.

I give it a week before we can amass all of these things. Right now its nice, but a bit spartan.

Also. Tomorrow is the first official day of school. Though I’ve been teaching preschoolers for the past 3 days, tomorrow I have my own classes, a kindergarten one and a second grade one.

I am terrified. But only because I know two hours is alot longer than I think it is. And because the lesson plan book is full of stupid shit that no real 5 year old would sit through. Where are you Ms. Harper when I need you. It’ll be fine, I have enough inane songs and vague questions to last me to infinity.

Lesson plan books, fie. Vinyl retro couch,fie.

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