March 29, 2009

Taiwan Folk Village

Today I went on a home visit with Sarah, Ivy and her family. All I knew was that we were going to have to get up early and we were going to some type of an amusement park. So I'm just going to go over some of the highlights of the day. At one point in the day it started to rain and the Taiwanese do not like the rain they immediately run for cover. We stood under a canopy thing and waited. Sarah and I noticed that everyone was staring at us as usual. We then told Ivy about how we get stared at and usually there is a lot of pointing. She then would stop and say they are staring at us and then she would point at them. She said why are they looking at us. I wanted to tell her well Ivy I guess you didn't know that you have freaks for teachers(Im just kidding) Sarah of coarse said well we are american and we look different. The funny thing is I get a lot of questions from my students. One student asked me teacher why does your toe go the other way. I immediately said well when I was a little girl I was in school and I was not listening to the teacher and the teacher threw the book at my foot and ever since then it decided to grow the other way(this never happened I was just doing a little scare tactic). The girl was eating up the story and said teacher oh so bad. I then said I know now I know that it is always a good idea to listen to your teacher. She said yes it is. The show consisted of Asian acrobats with mullets that were jump roping and in between would do subtle movements that I am just going to consider dancing. It took everything in me to not laugh out loud. The show had a lot of variety one guy came out and juggled things he also juggled with ping pong balls he would spit them up into the air and pop another in his mouth while continuing to juggle. I was so amazed. There were also two Asian twins I really am not sure if they are twins but I couldn't distinguish which was which. It was a little on the disturbing side how flexible they were. There were also the Asian males that were showing how flexible and how strong they were. One was balancing the other on top of his head. I of coarse asked Ivy so which one is teacher Sarah's boyfriend she said the one on the bottom. She then said the one on the top was my boyfriend. Did I mention that the one on the top has a mullet the picture really doesn't give it justice. I mean who doesn't like a good mullet it is pretty universal. Business in front and a party in the back. Of coarse they do not allow flash photography but I have noticed that most Asians do not follow the rules. By the end of the show I didn't want to break Ivy's little heart and say I don't think they are interested in women but I just went along with it. I said so should we go say hello to our new boyfriends? She said no I then said that's probably a good idea. After a long day of being disturbed I thought maybe I should take up a juggling at least I could entertain some of my students.

March 27, 2009


So on Tuesdays it is my early day. I get off of work around 2. So this is the day that I do all my errands. I helped my friend molly move some desks to storage and then we headed to costco for some shopping. We were pretty hungry so we headed straight for the samples. In costco they have the longest lines for some free food. The thing about molly is she has quite the appetite. She said to me Hanna I will get samples from this line and you go there. So I of coarse did what I was told. I had a list of things that I needed to purchase and Molly checked out my list which contained mascera, mousse, face wash, skin care products. She said I know where you can find this and good stuff too. All the sudden I am in the Amway store trying all of these products from Brenda. In Asia Amway is a pretty big deal. The other day I was getting some food on food street and a bubbly little Asian named Shawn did some magic tricks making the products appear in mid air. I would have bought some products off of him but I didn't have much money on me. I thought it was a brilliant way to showcase Amway's latest products. Brenda of coarse gave me a tour of the place. This included learning the history of Amway and how great their products are. I looked at charts and pictures of all the whiteys back in America. I also thought she was going to ask me if I might be related to some of the founders. The funny thing is all the sudden Brenda says "you try" she puts these claps on my wrists and I keep thinking is she going to shock me. Molly then asks how much do you weigh. I tell her and she says hold still. A paper prints out and Molly looks at it and says you just a little overweight. The funny thing is is that I have lost around 15 pounds since living in Taiwan. After I got the results of knowing that I am a little overweight of coarse I say is this on Asia's standards? They say no. I said well how can Amway help me out with this one. I then gave Brenda a list of items that I need to buy. She shows me the products and tests them on me and then would say I'll take it! I would occasionally ask how much the product would cost. Brenda I could tell loved my attitude about the products she probably thought that this was the easiest sell of the day. She then commented to Molly about my skin and decides that it is okay to thoroughly examine me. That is the thing with Asians they don't have a bubble but I didn't put up a fight because we were on Asian Amway turf. The thing about my skin is is that it has been freaking out and I'm willing to give anything a try. I have developed red bumps on my skin and the bugs are eating me alive. I am constantly itchy. My student Ella(6) said teacher I know why bugs like us it is because we are so sweet. Ella and Minnie also asked the other day teacher does your mom and dad have red bumps on their skin like you? I replied no they don't. The Amway crew decided that the best product they could offer me was their brand of olive oil. They recommended bathing in it and drinking 1 tablespoon a day. The thought of me applying olive oil on my skin instantly made me feel oily. I told them that I already have a bottle at home and that I would try it. However I have not but I did pick up some cetaphil from costco I hope that works. I also think that I might be allergic to pineapple which would be very tragic because that is mostly what my diet has consisted of lately the pineapple here is so good I think that I might have to sacrifice dry itchy skin once in awhile for the sweet goodness.

March 24, 2009

Party Like Its Your Birthday

Well you only turn 25 once and what do you do for an occasion like this? A little KTV action also known as karaoke(as you can see by the picture below). My friends just kept saying don't plan on anything because we are doing something. I was a little curious what they had up their sleeve. So I of coarse started to guess what we were going to be doing. I kept guessing like are you going to surprise me with a cake and have a little Asian pop out of it. I also asked will there be Asian strippers? I mean I felt like these were very valid questions. I was then told to just be ready. Karaoke is really not on my top ten things to do list. I feel that Asians seems so shy and reserved. I am so astounded that these tiny little Asians can sing their heart out with little to no alcohol. It amazes me. With KTV you get your own private room and they have a buffet. I was very nervous because lets face it I am not a good singer. I fear for the day that my mother passes away and me and Halie have to sing on the wings of a snow white dove. I only know how to do the sarcastic singing. So I just told myself to pretend that I am drunk and this might help. I got used to just singing and it was a lot of fun. I received a Happy Birthday package from my family which I loved and appreciated a lot. My roommates bought me a lot of fruit tea and chocolate covered almonds and I had two birthday cakes. What else could a girl need.

March 16, 2009


On Sunday Sarah and I went on a home visit with Minnie and Ella. My favorite students they are 5 going on 20. They are the funniest little girls. Every morning we sing whats the weather song. We then decide is it rainy is it sunny is it stormy. The girls decided that every morning they would rate my hair based on the craziness. Some days are better than others. Ella will always say how do you get your hair so crazy? I then explain to her in detail how I ride my bike in traffic and this is how my hair gets so curly/crazy. She is always amazed. She also said that her brother would not like me because I am too crazy. I simply replied to her man your brother is a fun hater. She said yeah I know. The thing about teaching small children English you have to play dumb like you don't know how to do anything. Like for example the picture to the right is me pretending that I have no clue how to pump water. I knew this was going to be the only way Minnie would be in the picture. Minnie who is five, and her mom and cousin picked us up and we headed to Lukang. Minnie's mom does not speak any English and so Minnie was the interpreter. It is a very old town. We went to the Lukang Folk Art Museum which had some pretty cool stuff. Like Chinese clothing, old ancient writings and old opium smoking pipes. I couldn't help but look at this display it also had an old photo of an Asian man passed out on a couch with the words in English saying Addict. I was so surprised how Minnie was doing going through a museum and being so patient. We then met up with Ella at the Lukang Long-Shan Temple which she kept saying teacher Hanna So good so good. The girls were so excited that we just kept spinning around and around. I introduced myself to Ella's family and her mom said we know all about you. I kind of got worried because who knows what she says. She said you are so fun! Ella's mom kept saying that she has been so excited and that she even couldn't sleep last night because she was so happy. I noticed that her brother was there I was on strict instructions from a 6 year old to not scare her brother. So I made sure to not make any sudden movements around the boy. Ella immediately said Teacher Hanna your hair looks so good today. I said thank you Ella. We checked out the 300 year old temple which the girls sad it really old teacher. Ella and Minnie were so excited we just held hands and walked down narrow alley's packed with people and they also requested that we sing jingle bells and she'll be coming round the mountain when she comes. We had a lot of looks and smiles. We went to some Asian toy stores and we also blew bubbles. It was a very eventful day. The next day they kept talking about it and how they wanted to go back to yesterday. With the girls it is never a dull moment. I talk to them like they are grown ups and they love it. They say teacher you so crazy and I like it!

March 14, 2009

Happy Cows Also Live in Taiwan

Saturday I went to a dairy farm. We were greeted by the Asian farmer and he even gave us a complimentary bottle of milk to feed the baby cows. We bottle fed the cows watched them eat and do their thing. Then the farmer taught us about the cows and how many he owns, how to take care of them and how to milk them. I kept thinking to myself I hope we don't have to milk the cow. Of coarse the next thing he said was you need to try. I tried milking a cow and I am not going to become a dairy farmer anytime soon and I am glad that we pay people to do such services as this. He also insisted that we taste the milk. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. He then came and talked to us more about the farm and he said I make yogurt myself. We then had mango ice cream on a overcast and cold day. I really felt like we were breaking some Asian rules. Mainly because My six year old students have told me that you cannot eat anything cold in the winter because you will get sick and you will die. This is why we get along so well. They tell it like it is. Did I mention at the farm that we also ate milk bread and other goodies with the milk. Lets just say I had more milk that day than I have had the whole time in Taiwan. We also saw a deformed cow that was off to the side. Apparently the Taiwanese do not believe in freak shows. It looked like this cow ran into the wall. After the farm we went to Ivy's house and played Wii for a long time then watched a movie and ate pizza. I guess the family really liked us because the home visit was suppose to be four hours and ended up being 11 1/2 hours. They invited us to come over and play Wii anytime we want. Did I also mention that I might be lactose?

March 13, 2009


Well I just have to tell about how I went to Taichung to costco. The Taiwanese love "costcos". When listening to the Chinese I immediately know they are talking about costco because it sticks right out except it is in a slightly higher pitch and they add a s to the end of the word. One of my students brought tree house fruit snacks for everyone. I immediately asked were did you get that? He said costcos. I kept wanting to go to costco and had some intense cravings for a churro. My class and I even talked about costco and about the things that you can buy which is pretty much the same stuff as in America. I also taught them about what a churro is. Molly, Sarah and I went and did some shopping. It was like a entering a maze riding an escalator around the building until you enter and costco is definitely the place to be. Everyone is in a hurry and they have samples. The only different about costco in Asia is apparently the Asians like their samples. They have ropes guiding you in lines which can get pretty long. But the longest line was at the food court to get me some churros. While in the line I kept passing a mother and a little girl. The girl refused to even look at me. I could tell this was your typical situation. Pushy Asian mother trying to get her little girl to say hello to the Megorn(American). I would just glance and say hi and wave not to fully traumatize the child. I mean if I was a little Asian child I probably would hate Americans just on the basis of my parents making me speak to every American that you see. I felt that the mother was doing enough. But by the end of the line the girl kept talking to me and would not shut up. There is nothing more enjoyable than a fattening churro. After costco we went to some Asians house where Janae and Colin cooked us dinner which was delicious. We then had our palms read. Which Molly translated. The woman told me that I have two Confucius eyes symbolizing that I am very smart. My friend Molly then asked her when will she marry. The woman said I cannot even see a marriage line yet. She will have a very good life and she will have a happy family. The woman said that I was her first forgein that she has read. She also commented on how white my palms are. After our readings Colin said you want bowling. I said sure why not. While bowling I noticed a few differences between cultures. One is Asians take bowling very seriously they stretch and are very in to it. They also are not loud like Americans. I mean when someone got a strike I was cheering giving high fives I even told Colin he had to do a victory dance if he got a strike and as you can see willingly conformed. All in all its never a dull day in Asia.

March 4, 2009

Fairy Mountain

Well things have been busy so I haven't been able to keep on top of blogging. Over the last weekend I went on two hikes or what Asians refer to as "climb mountain". The first hike was very short and manageable. It was steep at first and then we went through pineapple and tea fields. It was quite enjoyable after the hike we then went to dinner and watched the high speed rail train go by.

The next day I was picked up at 7:30 at my apartment by my students and their parents. I had a hard time not laughing as I entered the car. The three boys and father all had matching plaid shirts on. I wanted to lean over the seat and ask the mom if she felt left out and maybe next time we could arrange some matchy matching going on. But I refrained from doing so. I was very nervous about going hiking with this family because the children are very quiet and I don't know what they classify as hiking. Some of the Taiwanese think that I short walk down a path is hiking. However the family that I went with does hard core Asian hiking. By the way it was not just me and the family this also included the grandparents aunts uncles. When we arrived at the trail head I was introduced to all of the family including the bubbly Asian grandmother that just kept hugging me. The mother introduces her "handsome single brother" she then gave me a big smile. The Asians try to be quite the match makers. Too bad he only speaks about three words in English which I taught him. When we get all our stuff out of the car I notice that most of the people that are hiking with us are all geared up for some serious trekking. I kept thinking is this going to be an overnight trip? We start climbing the mountain as the Taiwanese say it. The first part of the hike was fine. I just kept thinking I am sweating so much am I that out of shape. Then I remember it is so humid here. By the time we stop for lunch I look like I just jumped out of the shower with my clothes on. I was so disgusted. I kept thinking that we had been hiking for some time and that we were almost to the top. I then noticed that it said 5 km to the top. I kept thinking am I going to make it. I do have to mention that I was not the only one struggling. I kept right at the front one of my students was with me who is 7(Vincent) and his brothers who are 10 (Trevor) and 11(Edward)were at the last. The seven year old is a very interesting child. I cannot tell if he loves me or hates me. He is what I like to refer as a little stone faced Asian. Mainly because I cannot see his eyes. While hiking I would occasionally pull out my camera and say Vincent you need to smile. He would give the I'm so pissed off right now look and flash an Asian peace sign. I find this quite conflicting. Anyways while I'm sweating to death I keep thinking when is this going to end? I mean this hike was pretty much straight up wooden stairs. Throughout the hike I would stop catch my breath and check to see if my heart was still pumping. I kept thinking I can do this one step at a time. I mean Vincent the seven year old kid can do than I can. Long story short this hike was not my cup of tea. It kept going and going and it was mostly stairs going at about at least a 45 degree angle. I kept thinking I have got to make it to the top. There were a lot of thoughts going on. Like if I do make it to the top there better be a frozen hot chocolate from dairy queen. If this would have been the case I would have probably moved faster. Another thought was if I broke my leg how would I get down? I figured this was a realistic question. One observation that I noticed was when the climbers were coming down they would say jaio jaio jaio. Meaning go go go. The Asians really are very motivational. I mean at my apartment every time I empty the trash the guard cheers me on. As if I have just ran a marathon. He also grunts and points to his arms I think he is saying how can you carry all of that trash. Apparently this man doesn't know that I usually can pull my own weight. Another difference with cultures is even if you are a hard core hiker. You still stop frequently to take a tea break. Another side note is that the mountain that we climbed is full of history. A long time ago when the Japanese ran Taiwan they would cut down all the trees and send them back to japan. There was a elementary school way high in the mountains. When I was checking out the ruins. I kept thinking if I would have been one of the those Japanese kids I probably wouldn't have made it up this mountain to attend school. But one thing I have learned is Asians take schooling a whole lot serious than I have ever. After the short break we continued onward. I thought to myself I think I officially hate hiking before I really enjoyed hiking this better be one hell of a view. We finally make it to the top of the mountain. I had to say that there wasn't much of a view. Vincent, his father, Joe Joe(uncle) and me were the first ones to make it to the top. Later Trevor, Emma, and Edward finally made it. Trevor immediately ran to his dad and started crying. The funny thing is, that I wanted to do the same thing when I made it to the top but I found it inappropriate. I kept thinking that this hike is way to painful. I then wanted to ask if we could just camp on the top. I realized that we wouldn't have enough tea to last us through the night. Which by the way most of the hikers on this trail will stop every two kilometers to boil some water for their tea. So we ate some fish snacks took a breather and headed back down which was just as painful. During the hike I just kept thinking that at the bottom was a hot spring. By the way this hike was about all together 17 km long. We didn't have time to go to the hot springs so we went straight to Gongshin and had shrimp dumplings and noodles. I really held my own on this one. I ate 6 dumplings and a whole bowl of noodles. Grandma kept putting more and more on my plate so I kept eating. I was not going to turn down a perfectly good shrimp dumpling I mean these Asians work hard for this food. I was exhausted and now full to the brim. Living in Taiwan I feel like it is a marathon of eating but the great news is that I have lost 14 pounds. I love Taiwan. The family also asked before they dropped me off so what are your plans for march I said that I would have to look at my schedule. I mean next time I might not want to go on a 17 km hike. Overall with all my complaining which was going on in my head it was beautiful and Ill probably do a lot more hiking.


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