Springtime in Taiwan

Life goes on here in Taiwan, and Spring has finally started to come. It’s hard to believe I am in my third month here, but it’s true and time just seems to go faster and faster now that I’ve started work. Things are going well for me and Connie, and I’d have to say that I have settled nicely into my life here in Taiwan. I was reading a magazine article as I waited for my first paycheck at the head office today (YES! Rob finally got paid! Woohoo!) where fellow foreigners were talking about their reasons for staying in Taiwan. Some of them were talking about how when they did go back home for visits, it didn’t take long before they started to miss the comforts of living in Taipei. Reading it, I already found myself nodding quietly because I knew what they were talking about. Taipei is a dynamic and thriving city yes, but the real pleasures of living here come from the small things. There are bakeries everywhere offering wide varieties of treats, restaurant culture is a high art here and the food is amazing, the public transit system is a thing to be adored and admired (well, except for the driving of the buses, but more on that later…), Coffee Shops and Cafes are plentiful and even 7-Elevens (which are everywhere) offer hot drinks that we could only hope for in Canada. If it weren’t for the pollution, noise, earthquakes, typhoons, and constant threat of Chinese invasion, this place would be one of the best places to live on the planet. (I won’t mention the killer heat yet, since I have yet to experience more than a brief humid taste of it…)

But, I digress.

I would have to say that I love my job, it’s so much fun I can’t believe sometimes I get paid for it, and my students often have to remind me that class time has ended because I would just keep teaching anyways. *^_^* Well, “teaching” is too strong a word, since with two exceptions, I’m primarily a conversation teacher/partner/facilitator who goes where they want me and helps them to practice their English. It’s a fun and interesting job, and I get to meet a lot of really nice people and learn about many different parts of life here in Taiwan. Right now I am teaching 1 company president private lessons, 1 corporate lunch class to a Chinese/Japanese trading company’s employees, 2 ESL classes at a biotech firm to groups of 13 students (the “real” teaching I mentioned, since they’re real beginners), and a Saturday morning class to a group of office ladies where we sit around and talk about current events. Next week I’ll be adding another class at a publishing company, which will take me up to about 22 hours of teaching a week. The only downside of the job is that the teaching is mostly mornings and evenings, so it pretty much kills my entire day since I often don’t have time to go home in the afternoons. I end up spending my afternoons doing reading and preparing for my upcoming classes, and I find the time passes pretty quickly. I guess I am lucky in a way that Connie has both work and school, she’s too busy to feel I have no time for her or be annoyed that our schedules don’t match. The reason I also don’t update as often as I did is that the laptop is a little heavy to cart around with me all day unless I need it, so it normally stays at home while I’m out traveling.

On an extra note, apparently my school (KoJen) is going to be offering it’s teacher’s free Chinese classes to help us survive around here. While I do already know survival level Chinese, it will still be nice to practice, and to actually meet some other teachers.

Anyways, that’s all for now.
Best from Sunny Taipei!
Rob