Tuesday, November 29, 2005

An interesting month

Looking back, I think that I will find November was a pivotal month in my experiences here. I feel less like a tourist now, although I do not feel like a local, either. I know pretty much how my day is going to be when I wake up. I'm keeping fairly busy, I'm still exercising. All told, I've dropped about 16 pounds since I got here. That, I have been pleased to find, is the opposite of what happens to most Westerners when they get here. I have not been trying to lose weight, though. It is crazy. I am not snacking as much, but not out of self control. I'm not hungry, I swear. I couldn't be happier about that.

I also have been dating a local woman, for about six weeks now. That also is going very well. She speaks excellent English, teaches English herself, and is a lovely, talented person. I am learning Chinese from her. Why she likes me is beyond me, but I am happy about that as well.

I think one thing that I am questioning about being here is how useful I am as a teacher, especially to children. Not just me, I mean foreign teachers on the whole. Taiwan places this huge value on English, but it's very hard to learn it when you're only exposed to it twice a week in the evenings. I think that most students in Taiwan are way over-worked, so that English is just one more thing that they have to worry about. The English that they are exposed to in their normal schools is taught in large classes of at least 30 students, and teachers I know from junior high and high schools just teach out of a book. The children don't speak very much. Then, they have their English classes in night schools, twice a week. Here, they get to practice English. But they don't know enough to have conversations. They have to speak out of a book. I equate this style of learning to trying to get stronger by doing 15 pushups twice a week. I am doing my best, though, and my students try in my classes, so maybe I will be surprised in a few months by their progress.

Reality has set in in a few other ways. My scooter decided to breakdown a few weeks back, at 1:30 in the morning maybe three miles from my house where there was no chance of getting a taxi. So, I walked about an hour to get to my place. Work the next morning was not too fun, seeing as I was dead-tired.

I also am living alone. After one month, I kicked my roommate out. He seemed to think that he could pay rent whenever he wanted. So, I payed the rent, changed the locks, and told him that he needed to move his shit. The lease is in my name, he has had a bad history of irresponsibility here, but blew his one chance with me. I am looking for some new roommates. Ahhh, life. It just goes on.

I am happy. No regrets so far.


Anonymous Kathee (KC) said...

You are growing little bro. I'm happy to read your thoughts. It sure seems that the move to Taiwan was the right one. Any birthday pics? Take care and write, write, write. Kathee

12:36 PM  

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