January 22, 2009

Today after having a long day teaching I decided to go get a massage. So I asked Sherri where would be a good place to get a massage? She said "do you like rough" I said excuse me? Do you like the kind that they barely touch and you listen to music? I thought to myself well I don't want a happy ending but I would like to feel less tense. I said I just need a good massage. She tells me where to go so me and my roommate decide to go get a real Taiwanese massage. When we arrived I started to all the sudden get nervous. First of all because this is because I am in a foreign country and I don't know how things roll like what all is entailed in a massage. My roommate and I enter the massage parlor. I notice that he has crazy eyes and he is 2 inches away from the TV. I kept thinking I can back out at any time. I then thought but I should be adventurous and the massage was only 8 American dollars. I was trying to be optimistic about the situation thinking it is all about the experience. I immediately knew that this would be my masseuse. One guy speaks very little English. He points to me and I got a little scared I lay face down on the table I was so happy that I could wear my clothes. He then started the massage. I kept thinking mid way through that I was going to die. I just made sure to keep breathing. I then thought to myself Oh my I'm paying for this which is actually really cheap. I kept thinking I wonder how many bruises will I have tomorrow? The massage was more bitter sweet. It did feel good at times and now I can actually sit up straight now. The head guy(minus crazy eye) kept saying you hard as table you hard as table meaning my back and that I am tense. He then decided to begin karate chopping me to get the knots out. The first picture is him finding a huge knot and the second one is pretty much priceless. Lets just say that there is no longer a knot in my back and that I now have better posture. And They also gave us a lot of tea and said drink lots of water and I think he showed me some neck stretches I am now suppose to be doing. He then pointed to me and said beautiful girl I see you next week. Apparently I'm a little tense so now I will continue to get a weekly massage so I might loosen up a little. Apparently we had quite the connection.

So a couple of days ago. My boss took everyone out for a Chinese New Year dinner. Functions like these makes me realize how I cannot use chop sticks under pressure and that it is awkward when you do not know how to speak Chinese. It occurred to me that I really need to learn Chinese because I love to talk and not being able to talk to the secretaries really bothers me. One of the secretaries can speak some English and I asked her if all my students tell her how mean I am. She said Yes But it is good to be feared(this is exactly why I love asking questions like this because of the language barrier she has to tell the truth). This brings up another side story. Yesterday I made my first Asian child cry. This is one of my problem students and I finally got after her. She didn't realize how she was acting. She quickly shaped up and I felt so bad for getting after her so I did what I thought was best. A hug. After this incident I went directly to the owner of the school. I told her about the situation and she said I am proud of you and she gave me a hug. She also said "I so happy because I didn't have to do it." By this story everyone is probably thinking man she is mean. I m really not I just feel like when my Asian mother came to me and gave me the worst class in the school. She also told me to be firm and she slapped her hand. I felt like Im just whipping some of those children into shape. My boss is really the sweetest woman. But the children fear her. I really would love to know what is really going on. I wonder if she is making threats to the children like "If you be no good I send you to china". The other day I walked by her office and one of the students was standing and had their hands towards the ceiling. I just kept thinking I wonder what she is going to do if I misbehave as a teacher? Watching how this school does discipline makes me think how would american schools be if you were still allowed to beat the children. I I did however feel adventurous with eating. Here I am eating a pork ear. It is not as bad as I thought it would be. I also ate little deep fried fish, chicken, more fish, meat balls, pork, and when it was all said and done. Mango custard. I forgot to mention amazingly good shrimp grilled right on the table. They kept bring out dish after dish and they have what I would like to refer to as a turn table so everyone can grab the food. One thing I have definitely learned is that Asians really eat a lot and expect you to as well. Sherry (my boss) said you must try everything. I did not hesitate at all. I also told her that I probably could eat anything as long as it was deep fried. I figure that this weekend I am going to be going on home visits to meet some of my students parents. Being Chinese New year there is probably going to be a lot of food that I am not used to.

January 10, 2009

So I have been living in Taiwan for well over a week and I am enjoying every minute of it. I love how different it is and the temples they have everywhere. Every time I leave my apartment I am approached by someone trying to talk to me. Which is very funny because everyone of my roommates want the people to just come up to them so they can speak Chinese but for some reason they go right up to me. I just kindly smile. Because lets face it I don't know Chinese and I would hate to offend anyone. I ride my bike everywhere in the madness of the morning rush hour. I am in the midst of scooters and cars at a six ways stop. They smile at me and give me a thumbs up. I also believe that the Chinese people are very concerned about my health. I had two men in a mini van flag me down and tell me I think that I need to wear a jacket and a mask. Because of the pollution. The thing about living in a foreign country and not knowing the language is that I always feel like I am playing sharades. It is quite funny because the Asians just love Americans. A man in the grocery store ran after me to say hello to me and say come back soon. It is quite funny because I have now come to that point that I really don't notice that everyone is staring at us. Until they directly point at me. I went to carefour(It is pretty much wal-mart on steroids with out the white trash) yesterday and this woman followed me and I was taste tasting all of these foods and she just kept talking to me in Chinese. I just kept saying ok. Teaching English to Chinese kids would have to be the most entertaining thing. I find myself continually repeating back the phrases to even myself. One of my kindergartners said to me Teacher Hanna you have crazy hair. I couldn't even say anything to that because my hair is really out of control. Now I have curly hair and I just don't know what to do about it. So I'm sure I look really hot on my bike with my afro and my pollution mask on. This is also the girl who looked down my shirt which II also teach a fourth grade class and I am sure that they are smarter than me. The owner of the school is always worried that I am going to catch a cold she keeps asking me if I am cold and if I need warmer cloths. Oh and as you can see I have a new sexy rain jump suit. I wore this out on the town one night because my roommates dared me and lets face it the Asian people were going to stare at me anyways I figured they would get a laugh and they might be blinded by the reflectors on the back. What do you know an Asian man followed me into the food place and kept saying hello. This must be a Asian man magnet. I mean who doesn't like a man with betel nut stained teeth. Anyways the people are so nice here I am going to have to learn some Chinese. Especially if they are going to keep coming up to me. I have yet to do any sight seeing because I am so busy getting curriculum together but I am looking forward to the Chinese New Year. Its going to be a party!


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