Finding the Rabbit
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Hello everyone –

Happy New Year, and I hope your respective holidays were safe and enjoyable. Christmas here was easy and relaxing. We did the traditional Christmas parties in the classroom, which usually turns out to be some hastily created ornaments which we’d forgotten to make until the last minute. We learned a new song in the kindergarten, called “Ten Little Angels." The other classes tried a new game this year: Pass the Ornament From Straw To Straw Until Your Straw Breaks Down And All The Ornaments Fall Off. My CEI02 class refused to play this game, but both my CE15 and CE07 classes had wild fun with it:
CE15 - Lulu and Sammy passing the ornament on, Justin laughing in the background.

Sammy and Stephanie

Jeff and Lulu

CE07 - Jeffrey and David. David was a pro at this game.


Gibby and Jordan


No matter what we're doing, Steven is always the happiest kid in class!
I did ask my junior high class whether they wanted to play games too, which was met with a resounding no! I had anticipated that, so for Christmas we read Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which we enjoyed very much. We just finished it this week. Next week we’ll move on to Jane Austen’s Emma. Both set early nineteenth-century England - but very different novels.

On Christmas Eve, I went out to dinner with my landlord’s family. They are Christian, and had invited me to see the Christmas pageant at their church, which I did want to see, but the scheduling didn’t work out, so I couldn’t go. For Christmas dinner we went to a very good restaurant called Ka Bu Li, which is the same place we’d gone for my birthday earlier this year. My landlord, Mr. Jay, also brought his camera that night, and played around with it quite a lot. Later on he brought me printed and laminated photos from that night, which turned out very nice.
L-R: Rebecca, granddaughter Angela, Eva, son Jeremiah, grandson Allen, son Vincent, Eric, daughter Fei-Lin, and the dad, Mr. Jay. His wife was in Japan for Christmas, and so unfortunately wasn't with us. They're very friendly people, and we had a wonderful time at this meal.
Just the "kids" and their spouses - Eva and son Jeremiah, son Vincent in back, Eric and daughter Fei-Lin.
My Christmas dinner, known as hot pot: you're given a pot of hot water with some vegetables already in it, and it's put on an open flame which you control under the table. I chose seafood, so that comes frozen in a side dish, plus more vegetables and noodles. You put in whatever you want whenever you want it, and it's very good! I also learned the hard way that it's good to establish a "cooling plate" where the cooked food can sit for a couple of minutes before you dive in. It is boiling water, after all.

Enjoying it
Eva and Jeremiah, my housemates, and me. Jeremiah is the oldest son in this family, and Eva is his wife. They're very friendly, very kind people, and I've thoroughly enjoyed living with them.

My landlord, Mr. Jay, and me. He brought his camera with him to dinner, and took lots of pictures of me with various backgrounds. Later he brought me printed and laminated copies of a couple of them, and they came out very good.
And for dessert - cheesecake and an iced-tea float(!)

The kids got a bit bored after a while - and the free chocolate fondue didn't help!

Everything else is going fine. A few weeks ago I lost my beloved blue rain jacket, which had been a gift from REI, and haven’t recovered it yet. I’m positive that I left it in some restaurant. My friend Nicole wrote up a slip of paper explaining in Chinese what I’m looking for, and I’ve taken it to all my haunts, but so far it hasn’t turned up. I bought a down jacket in anticipation of the weather getting colder (yes, I know, not quite that cold, but I will be flying back to Michigan in February, so at least it'll be put to good use there). And the rain and ocean winds here can be quite chilling, too, even if the air temperature is in the fifties. But so far it’s been quite mild, which makes my down jacket quite unnecessary.

All right, so I’ve finally started counting down to Chinese New Year. After Christmas it became a downhill slope for me, and time is picking up speed. Less than one month until my replacement teacher arrives, a British man named Neil. But he’ll stay in Taipei for training that first week, so I’m not sure when I’ll meet him. He’s going to move into this apartment with me. My last day at Shane will be February 15, and then we’re off for the Chinese New Year vacation. Five lovely days in the Philippines, then back to Keelung for two days, and then I’m headed for home. Part of me is really looking forward to that now, and part of me doesn’t want to think about it yet. One of my CE15 kids, Sammy, just left for a month-long vacation in the US, and I won't see him again. That was quite sad for me, because it happened too soon. I know I'm going to miss my classes a lot. And I hear jet lag and culture shock are actually worse on the return trip. But once I get back home, this chapter in my life will be closed, its experiences logged and its records balanced, and then I can start a new one.

Talk to you soon,

There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign. - Robert Louis Stevenson

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Location: Keelung, United States
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