Blog Check-In 2006.09.15

This gives an update on my first week of teaching in Taiwan. We arrived here on the 8th of September and are slowly settling in.

I have almost a full week’s of teaching under my belt. I teach Kindergarten kids in the morning, grades K1 and K2. They are between 4 and 6 years old. It’s so surprising that some of the kids already know how to read English. One of the cutest things I’ve seen this week is the Kindergarten kids dancing to this funny tune. Something to do with right leg and left leg and at the end they scream. They do a little dance. Very cute.

I also teach grade 3 and 4 English. I’ve gotten into a rhythm and since the lessons follow different books from the same collection, the lesson plans are easy to do. The class is diverse, from the studious shy girls to the boisterous boys.

* * * * *

We live in Hsinchu City, it’s about an hour’s drive from Taipei. 1 out of 10 people in Taiwan live in Taipei. We have discovered a few things that make Hsinchu City special.

No sidewalks. There isn’t a lot of pedestrian traffic in Hsinchu. Even if there are around 400000 people living here, the roads are built for cars, trucks and scooters. A lot of scooters. No sidwalks. This can get a bit intimidating when we walk to work from our place. It takes about 10 minutes, but we will get a scooter soon enough for the commute.

No taxis. Well, there are taxis, but not a lot of them. Also, it’s important to take a metered taxi, not a private one. It took us a few days to find out how to call them. Once we had a taxi driver, we took his card and will use him for our drives.

The heat and humidity. It is very humid here. The city is known as the windy city. It still is humid. My wife and I say let’s go to work to sweat together! There is air con at school, thankfully. I wouldn’t want to teach without it.

English. Even if there are quite a few people who speak English, it is hard to find people who are fluent enough to help us out. However, this has not been a problem. With help from our colleagues and helpful Taiwanese, we have been able to overcome this. I have started listening to Chinese Pod, a very helpful podcast on how to learn Mandarin. It was featured on CNN Asia this week.

Convenience stores. They have almost everything. From fresh food to drinks and cookies, the convenience stores are way better than in America. They are small yet efficient.

Water. You can’t drink the tap water in Taiwan. You have to buy bottled water. It’s a whole industry. The taps are like fuel pumps where you can fill up your bottles. Thankfully, we have one right next to our appartment, so getting water isn’t a problem for us.

Toilets. I am not sure, but I think that this is something that happens in some Asian countries. The only thing that can go down a toilet is body waste. That’s it. The pipes can’t handle anything else.

* * * * *

That’s it for now. Suffice it to say that there are a lot of Canadians here; We have met 3 other teachers who are Canadians. 3 others are South African and one is from Australia. I have also just finished rereading American Gods and Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. I found all the slipjackets before I left, so I read them both again. Over the weekend, I’ll publish my review.

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Featured Photographer

Irena S

Author: range

I'm mathematician/IT strategist/blogger from Canada living in Taipei.

6 thoughts on “Blog Check-In 2006.09.15”

  1. Range you sound like you are settling in just fine. Congratulations on a move well done. Kids are so cute when they dance to a song. I can remember doing that with my girlfriends from years gone past.

    No sidewalks? Is there a smidgeon of room for pedestrians to walk or is it very dangerous to walk?

    Your post made me smile. Glad you and your wife are getting along good. 🙂

    cheers from Canada!

  2. wow …you get to own a scooter. they are a blast to drive.
    congratulations on your success.

    i found your site from sandra ( now that i’m older). do you take the pictures that are on your site?


  3. Sandra: I thought of the hokey pokey too 🙂

    Range: sound like you’re surviving culture shock quite well. Traffic in asian countries can be insane, so don’t let your guard down!

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