Happy Halloween!

Since it’s been so long since I updated, reports of my demise have started to circulate among the net community that views this board. To counter these unfounded rumours I have decided to update this blog! (Feel free to cheer. ^_^)

So, last Saturday I attended a Halloween party thrown by a co-worker and his fellow foreigners room-mate which was quite the success. I apologize that I don’t have any pictures from it (yet, some were taken by others and lord knows if they might filter back to me.) but I can proudly report that Rob represented Ontario well by winning his first ever bobbing for apples competition in front of 25 or so people. It was great fun, and good times were had by all!

More generally, I’m more busy now than I have been since I came to Taiwan all those 10 or so months ago. I currently teach at 10 different locations, 6 days a week, and am running all over the city like a chicken with my head cut off. Just to give you a rundown, my week currently looks like this:

Monday: Teaching a mixed level Lunch class at Edom Software company (local firm) and Night class teaching the senior executives at Abbot Taiwan, a local division of one of the world’s largest medical equipment companies. Edom is very close, Abbot is on the other end of the city in an area called Yong He.

Tuesday: Lunch class at Tomen Taiwan (the Japanese branch of a Japanese chemical company I have taught at since I started at KoJen) and Evening Class is teaching another class in YongHe, at a company that makes LED components and light sensors called Edison.

Wednesday: Lunch class at Edom again, and Night Class at a local Law Firm teaching the senior partners.

Thursday: Back to Tomen at lunch and back to Edison at night.

Friday: Early afternoon class with the general manager of Geant here in Taipei, Geant is a French grocery superstore company not unlike Price Club. They’re building a new megastore near my home, and so I meet him at a Starbucks nearby my home to help him practice his English. In the evenings on Friday I teach a bunch of University and High School students writing for a couple hours at the GongGuan KoJen branch, a great bunch of kids and probably my favorite class of the week.

Saturday: Saturday mornings I get picked up at my home by the general manager (who by co-incidence is my neighbour a few buildings over) of Rotary Taiwan, a medical equipment engineering company and take to their office for a morning class to teach their crew of engineers, managers and marketers English. Their English is terrible, but their spirits are good. The opposite is my afternoon writing class of teenaged students at the NeiHu KoJen branch, they don’t want to be there and it ends up being me drilling them on writing in English for 3.5 hours on Saturday afternoon. While there’s a few good kids in the class, I can’t wait until it ends.

And Sundays are movie days with Connie, who I can only see on Sundays because of our busy schedules. Something I’m not at all happy about, I might add.

Right now the rest of the week tends to be taken up by me reading, preparing, marking and watching what little anime I can squeeze in. I’m also working my way through The Count of Monte Christo, by Alexandre Dumas. I have to say it’s one of the best books I’ve read in my life, and I’m glad I finally took the time to read it, regardless of how big it is!

Until next time! Best all!

This is the foyer of the Neihu District branch of the KoJen English Cram School chain that I was doing some substitute classes in. The man in the blue shirt is Chris, the head foreign teacher of this branch from England and a really honestly good human being. He’s soft spoken, but very determined in what he does, and just radiates goodwill towards those around him. It really reflects in the office culture of the branch, which is very laid back and relaxed and almost “West Coast” in it’s feeling and style. Not that they’re slackers, everything gets done properly and carefully, but it’s not a high pressure environment at all. I have to say I really enjoy working at this school, and still teach a writing class there on weekends.  Posted by Picasa

The NeiHu Kojen Branch, in order to encourage a spirited atmosphere, has a short party and prize draws on the nights when all the adult classes for the late summer/fall session reach their conclusion. Each teacher takes time out from their busy schedule to draw a name or two, and of course Rob got into the spirit of things! (Not managing, however, to drawn any names from his own class…) Posted by Picasa

So, here’s the lucky five students who came to the last class ane were lucky enough to have their picture taken with Rob. They are (from left to right) Scott (an engineer), James (med student), Rob (handsome teacher), Janet (University student and future resident of Germany), Betty (office worker), and Ruby (future Lawyer). Posted by Picasa

Our young Med Student takes a moment out from his busy schedule to pose for the camera and look cool while Scott can’t believe that a die can be that blue or big! Posted by Picasa

Janet examines the die carefully, while Betty considers world domination, Ruby stares at the board in a trancelike state, Scott is amused and Rob is frustrated. (Okay, not really.) They were a good bunch, I will miss them as I do all my fun classes.  Posted by Picasa

So, about 6 weeks from the posting of this picture, my class at Well-Tech, a furniture import-export company, ended. It was one of my very first classes, teaching 7 giggly and perpetually late office ladies every Saturday morning. Well, six months later we were down to three students, the others having been fired, and so the class came to an end. Although I didn’t like getting up and journeying an hour on Saturday morning to get there, I did enjoy chatting with the girls and will miss them. For our last class Joan (pronounced Joanne, pictured here) and Ivy (next pic) took me on my first motocycle ride to a riverside resort area called Bi-Tan in Southern Taipei. Posted by Picasa

Bi-Tan was pretty much dead thanks to a storm that had just rolled by, but like troopers the girls still showed me around the area and we walked along the closed boardwalk. Behind Ivy here you can see a tea house which looks like it would have a very beautiful view of the boardwalk behind the camera. (Sorry, it wasn’t my camera so no shots of the boardwalk side.) Posted by Picasa

Among other places, Ivy and Joan were kind enough to take me into the cluster of buildings you can see over my shoulder. There they showed me a temple with a gold monk, literally. It seems this man was so revered that when he died they mummified him, and then covered him in gold to literally turn him into a statue of himself! Taiwan is always full of surprises! Posted by Picasa