Sunday, August 30, 2009

Taipei: Take Two

I love that I have a temple to go to that is only 3 hours away. Two months ago, I had a temple that was 3 minutes away. In some ways, it is easier to go to the temple here. You have to make a plan to go, but in Provo those plans could change too quickly. I also really love being in a different country and going to the temple. They only have 2 baptism sessions in a week...both on Saturday. So, when we got there, it was pretty crowded and they only have one changing room for girls. So, we sat in a room upstairs in the temple with other people who were waiting. One of the women played the piano and we sang hymns. The woman only could play a couple songs, so after she stopped, one woman (in broken english) asked my roommate and I to start singing songs and then they would join along. This means we do a duet, while they try to figure out where they start singing in chinese. Lucky for me I have a superstar voice (not). It is also really hard to remember the english words while everyone is singing chinese. Sometimes we would resort to singing in chinese...even though I am positive we butchered it. Either way, it was just really peaceful and beautiful. I love how music can touch peoples' souls.

There is a big office building and church on the temple grounds. When I walked into the church before going to the temple, the first person I saw was my good friend Kim Chang. She is fabulous. We stared at each other for a good 10 seconds and then started laughing. Seriously a blessing. While walking to the temple from the train station, I was talking to my friend Vivian. She is only 17 and said to me how she wanted to go inside the temple one day. I told her she should try her hardest to do just that because it is so worth it. When we were at the temple, she was going to have nothing to do, until I saw Kim. Sister Chang gave her a tour and talked to her more about the church. I also got Sis Chang's cellular digits so I can call her when I am back in Taipei. She is a temple square missionary, but is also a proselyting missionary. It is so wonderful to see people here that I have known before. It's like a little piece of home.

This is Janae, Me, Fenny, and Vivian.

We went to a huge night market afterwards in Taipei and found this little guy. He was for sale...for about 75 US dollars. Weird.

Okay, I think this is one of the weirdest things I have seen here so far. I saw one of those machines with the claw that you can grab stuff with (which are also impossible to win at...even though I have won a couple times in my day) these things in it. I regretted not taking a picture, but luckily I found another store that was selling them. It is fake bread. Don't worry though, it smells like bread. What the ?? People buy this stuff and I have NO clue what it is for. I love it though.

Here is the cute little group. Colin was also there, but he ducked when the picture was being I hit him.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

What should my fingers do in this picture??

This is the hardest class I have. I know, when you look at them you would never think it. It is mostly because of one of those twin boys. BUT, it is getting better through lots of trial and error. (The picture is missing my other little girl student, Joy).

This is Evan. Except he says his name is 'Eban.' He is THE cutest child/little elf at the school. He is pint size. It is quite cute. He is OBSESSED with the word saturday and the color blue. He will just yell out my name as loud and high pitched as he can while also screaming saturday. I have no clue why he has this obsession, but it can be pretty cute (and maybe sometimes loud and overwhelming). They sit on mats during class sometimes and I hand out these tokens...he will only take the token if it is blue and sit on a mat if it is blue.
I have no clue why they do these random poses with their fingers in a V or poking their face. It is strange. Most kids here do not know how to smile, but this little one sure does...and it melts your heart.

This is Harry. He is so funny. He always comes into class all solemn. After a few days, I started asking him if he was sad or happy. He usually says happy in a quiet little voice, except for this one time when he looked extra sad. He just looked at me and said, 'teacher, i'm sad.' Talk about breaking your heart. Now, to prevent this boy from being sad in class, the second he comes into class, I pick him up, throw him over my shoulder, and spin him around. He giggles so much and is happy the rest of the class. At the beginning of class now I make crazy faces for the kids because they, for some reason, get a huge kick out of it. They make crazy faces too, but are quite bad at it. Crazy faces means you do not look cute, but these kids still do. When I took my camera out they never wanted to stop making crazy faces into the camera.

This is Jessica. Now that she knows the words, 'I want,' she screams them at the top of her lungs. She is quite the little helper and always pulls my shirt when I am setting up class to ask (in body language) if she can help set up the board. She also has the worst teeth I have ever seen in my life. seriously. Most of them are gone or almost completely rotting away. Parents here don't really care about their childrens' baby teeth. The boys always bump into her and she gives them a dirty is so funny.

This is Lion. Yes, Lion. He is one of the twins. And boy does he know how to do the macarena. It is adorable. I also have no clue what he is doing in this pose. Kids do the most random stuff here. Also, his glasses are so cute...especially when he takes them off and cleans them on his shirt. haha.
This is Justin. The other twin (the naughty one). Again, I do not understand this hand positioning thing...fingers in the mouth, really? Either way he is still cute. Whenever he hits someone else, I take him aside with that kid and I tell him it was not nice. After the three words I speak to him, he starts crying. I have no clue why because I definitely do not act mad and he is not the one who was hit. I'm still trying to figure him out completely. I think he just needs a lot of positive attention.

Here are the little devils. Too bad they are so adorable.

Churchy church

Many of you probably thought I moved over here to escape church...but I didn't!! jk. lame joke. I love church. We go to the international branch that takes a 15 min walk, 40 min bus ride, 5 min walk. The average time from start to finish is about 6 1/2 hours for church. The branch consists of about 10 teachers, a senior missionary couple who are SO wonderful (they work in the mission office), the mission president and his wife, the ap missionaries, 5 families that have 2 kids each, and a few other people. The average attendence is probably 30. Just a little different from BYU.

When I went to church the first time, the first person I saw at the front door was my friend Kristy! Now she is back from her mission, but it was fun to see her every sunday for a little bit.

Today, two members of the stake spoke so we needed translators. One of the ap's who is a native chinese speaker translated (he does not really know guess is they thought it would help him improve). It was so funny. The woman speaking would say something and if it was too long the missionary would start making scared, nervous faces. His eyes would get big and he would make this funny smile...and you could tell he was trying so hard to figure out what to say. Basically I got out that the talk was on 'grateful.' I will try and remember to be. The woman was so cute though. She was nervous because she didn't know english. I feel bad sometimes because they feel bad that they don't speak english...which makes no sense! I should be the one who feels bad (I do, don't worry) because I invaded their country.

That's me!

This a nice little full size view of church.

This is the branch president's son. Oh my goodness is he cute. When I sing songs to him he cannot control laughing (and not because I sound bad...) and it makes me laugh even is way contagious. His mom says he just LOVES music.

Look at that face. I wish I could just have an assortment of children to play with at my every whim.

She has got attitude, personality, and a super cute face.

Here is Kristy and I...darling.

I'm a Spy

I am an official resident of Taiwan. When I got here I had to take a picture, similar to a passport picture. EXCEPT, they touch up your face so you look like a different person. It is so funny. I laughed so hard when I saw the photo. When I got my resident card, there was no mistaking that I look like a spy...especially with that hologram thingy over my face.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Typhoons are not good...

I take back the last comment. Turns out this typhoon was not so great.

It has killed people in the Phillipines, Taiwan, and now China. I stayed inside for 3 days- church and school canceled. It can be pretty claustrophobic/horrible sitting inside for 3 days, reading the news, feeling sad for the families, and celebrating your bday (do not ask how old i am)... I'm grateful that all I had to deal with was claustrophobia and super crazy wind/rain howling through the night and day, while there were so many others who were trying to save their family members. This is definitely not what I expected when I heard that a typhoon was coming and we would have no school...Please pray for the families and people over here.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

What the??!!!!

Ummm, here's the deal. One of the secretaries just came up to our place to tell us that tomorrow is TYPHOON DAY. That means no school, but we still get paid. How lovely... I've never had a free day off of school. I think this could be pretty great.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I've been....

groped. I know, not what you expected. And don't worry, it was from a child. I figured not everyone would want to know this, but I did not want to forget it.

One of my possessed twins hit his brother. So I took them aside to talk to them and he just started balling...before I even said anything! He snuggles up to me like he wanted a hug so I patted his back (I know, not super sympathetic, but he had just whacked his brother for no reason). Then he takes a step back, stares straight at my chest and grabs it...totally on purpose. I just knew he was possessed. Don't worry, ten minutes later he full on grabbed my butt. The same little angel has now pulled my hair and hit me twice. Yet, he still wants to hug me all the time. And, if you can believe it, they are finally getting a little tiny bit better in class.

Oh the joys of teaching. I just have to keep reminding myself that all those years I worked with special needs kids, I would get much worse. There is nothing like getting choked, thrown to the ground, punched, kicked, or slapped across the face so hard it makes you cry automatically. haha. It is a good thing I still LOVE kids. Most of them are fabulous :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I like Taipei.

The temple! For some reason, before I came here, I did not connect the fact that there was a temple in Taiwan. I figured the closest was in Hong Kong, meaning I couldn't go to the temple for over 6 months. But of course, I am again mistaken and there is one a mere 2 1/2 hour trip away. AND, it is beautiful. So they only have two times that you can do baptisms every week...saturday at 10 am and 1 pm. Let's just say it is a teeeeeeeeeeny tiny temple. We went with our branch and took a sweet bus up there. A few of us girls went and did baptisms while the rest either went around the city or went to the other part of the temple.

That is where the adventure started. The changing room/shower/bathroom was the size of a mouse hole. With 6 people there, it was overcrowded. We only had one place to change, so it took us awhile to get everyone in and changed. The font is 1/3 the size of a normal font and I was afraid I would hit my head because I'm too tall! haha. We sit about 3 feet from the font so everyone is nice and close...which I like. The confirmations were all in chinese and I could barely hear if they were saying my name. The faces on those getting baptized were so beautiful. For most of them, it was probably their first or second time going to the temple and they all looked so nervous. I realize more now how much I take the temple for granted. Everytime someone got out of the font, they would mop up the water with this little sponge mop. haha. If they didn't, the place would have flooded because it was so small.

We ended up not taking any pictures before because we just wanted to get into the temple, which sadly was a bad idea. We left the temple and it was raining SO hard. The kind of hard where you do not stay dry after 1 second in the rain. We ran hugging each other under umbrellas to the stake center trying to wait out the rain. We then ran across the street to this tiny tiny tiny shop that shouldn't have fit all 6 of us. The rain never stopped and so we decided to head out to find food while the rest of the people finished up at the temple.

Don't worry, the day gets better. We finally found a place to eat and one of the roommates wanted to go to 7-11 to get a poncho. I dropped her off to the 7-11 that was right next to the restaurant (which we found out later was not a 7-11). After about ten min she hadn't shown up to the restaurant. She couldn't be found in the store which I thought was 7-11 or the real 7 that was next door to that. We all figured she went to meet up with the bus. So, we headed back in the pouring rain and met up with everyone else. Except she was nowhere to be found. We all got in the bus and waited as one person ran to the restuarant to see if they could find her. He came back with nothing. So then the senior missionary and branch president left (still pouring) to try and find her. By now it had been an hour and they couldn't find her. So, all 12 or so of us split up and searched everywhere possible. We found lots of missionaries around the temple, policemen, a couple people got a taxi to search, but still nothing...over 2 hours later. I, of course, am the biggest worrier on the planet. seriously, it's horrible. I probably thought up the most horrible things that could have happened. We thought she might have just gone to our next destination, Taipei 101, but she ended up not being there either. Since it was almost 4 hours later and she had not been found, they called our apt. She had just gotten home...She couldn't find us and didn't see us in the restaurant so she took a train back. I am definitely just glad nothing that I thought up in my brain happened! Either way, it was funny (in the end), and I was still wet, 6 hours later.

Taipei 101, if you didn't know is the tallest building in the world!!!! Don't worry, I had no clue until someone told me while I was there. Kind of pathetic. There is a building in Dubai that is taller, but it is not yet finished, so it doesn't count! Let's just say, pictures were not the easiest thing to take because of the height. Because it was raining, we didn't go to the top...but, I definitely will before I go.

Here is the temple, via the internet because if you didn't read anything above, it was pouring rain.

Here is my image, much worse...but, I'm sure you get the idea.

Here is me hiding under an awning- sadly this is the only picture I have with the temple. I'm not too worried since I'll go a few more times.

This is a nice little close up of my face and a sign. We didn't have much room to work with under the little awning thing.

Here is the little store. haha. It was so tiny.

Don't I look so sweet?? haha, I take too many pictures that look like this. I'm probably the only one who thinks it is funny. Except for Jen most likely.

Here is the little restaurant we ate at, soaking wet. They probably had to mop the whole place after we left.
Here is me and 1/4 of Taipei 101. I might have gotten on the ground to take a picture of my friend and the men standing around me were laughing at me. Don't they know the value of a good picture?? C'mon.
The whole building! (It's not really sideways like that).
I took a quick stop in NYC.

Here is the whole thing again, except for it's night (in case you didn't notice).

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Asian waterpark...

I figured this would be the first picture you would want to see of me- because of my attractiveness level, but it is. Me in all my glory.

How much better looking do people look in swim caps? Tons. Actually, I didn't think I would like them, but they're great. Zero fussing about hair.

Just us girls with our cute swim caps. I seriously loved them. Especially when Lindsay would put all of her hair right on top.

No clue what these statues are for. But, they are rad.

Here is an up close shot of the asian version of Barbara Bush.
Okay, I'll be honest. My favorite part of the water park was the spandex and speedos. I probably saw 5 boys total wearing normal swim trunks. Otherwise, it was these bike short spandex looking things or speedos (and not too covering). Most of the little kids were wearing these little swim caps with ears or swimming outfits with wings. haha, it was so cute.

When we finally got to the water park, after the 30 min scooter ride, and the very long and semi- steep hill to get up to the park, we were all drenched in sweat. Fine, not a pretty picture, but an honest one. felt so incredible to actually be wet with water. The slides were great and the waves in the wave pool were huge- nothing like the wimpy water bumps at seven peaks. The lazy river was not just cement and a few lame water spraying things. It was dark by the time we went on and there were tons of plants and little waterfalls. The frogs out were really loud and there were these asian/mayan inspired sculptures and what not. It was so relaxing.

One of my favorite parts was when i was on my friends' back going over one of the tsunami style waves- I fell off onto this guy's lap and then another wave came and set me right back into him. haha. I was laughing so hard- boys here don't really touch girls so I'm sure it was awkward for him- which makes it even better.

Another favorite was how entertained the people were with our screaming. Everytime we got on a slide we would scream and the people would errupt with laughter. I guess taiwanese people just don't scream...I love how me being myself is enough entertainment for them.