Monthly Archives: August 2012

Home Sweet Home!

We finally have pictures of our house!  We really love it, and it fits our needs perfectly 🙂

I’ll try and take you through a virtual tour.

This is the front of our house.

This is the porch. We want to get some plants to put out there.

The other side of the living room.

Our kitchen 🙂 This is the one thing we really wanted.

And, this is the kitchen table. You can barely see the fridge, but it’s there 🙂

I bet you know what this is 🙂

It was a little strange at first not to have a traditional shower, but we are getting used to it.  We just have to make sure not to bump our heads on the bottom of the stairs.

On to the second floor!

This is the door to the first bedroom. It’s on the first landing.

This is the inside of bedroom #1

More stairs!

This is the second bedroom.

This is our bedroom! 🙂

The last flight of stairs.

This is the top floor. It opens onto the roof.

This is the roof. We dry our clothes on it. It’s also really cool up here at night, so sometimes we’ll come sit out here.

So that’s it!  It’s not much, but it’s home for us! 🙂  We really enjoy living here.  It’s about five minutes from our work (three if we hit all green lights).  We can also walk to the grocery store, 7-11 and a delicious bakery.  The first few days we lived here we were at the stores so much getting supplies that they started to recognize us.  Of course I’m sure that isn’t hard considering we kinda stand out.  Our next door neighbor is Canadian (we share a rooftop) and has been very helpful to us.  She told us where some good stores and beaches are.  We haven’t been everywhere yet, but she gave us many good ideas!

One fun thing we want to share about the culture here in Taiwan is that the garbage truck comes around every night.  They play a song like the ice cream truck does back home, and everyone brings their trash out.  It seems to be sort of like a social event on our street. 🙂 Every other night, a recycling truck follows the garbage truck.  It’s fun to watch everyone throw their garbage in the truck.  We like to call it the garbage Olympics.

I hope you enjoyed the tour and hearing about our neighborhood.  We are loving it here!

See ya,
Liv

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Categories: Taiwan, Travel | Tags: , , , | 18 Comments

It’s been a busy weekend

I know it’s Tuesday and we haven’t updated in a while, but it’s been a busy (long) weekend.  On Thursday we moved into our house (pictures will follow tomorrow?), got a scooter, and learned the route to school and home.  Friday was when the typhoon was supposed to hit, but we only caught the edge of the storm and had some wind and 4 hours of rain (it was nothing compared to some storms we’ve been through).  The same typhoon has circled back around and will hit the east coast of Taiwan some time today, but we will only get some showers and a breeze from it.

Imagine us driving around town on this!

VROOM VROOM!

Everyone at our school has been very helpful with reviewing our lease, showing us around, and familiarizing us with the area.  Yesterday, Sophie, the teacher who shares an office with us, took us to get our bank accounts and a cell phone (no, you probably don’t want to call us from the states- it would cost a lot :P).  We did some exploring on Sunday, drove around, went to a market, and visited the Rainbow Bridge at night.

So far we have had a blast with our scooter!  Not only are we able to get around quickly and easily, but it is a lot of fun to drive 🙂  I do most of the driving, but Olivia has started trying her hand at it and has done alright (after a bit of practice on a deserted road).  The people here drive pretty crazy, but don’t worry, everyone wears helmets.  Actually, when we bought our scooter the mechanic said he would throw in some new helmets if we taught him ten English phrases, so we traded our knowledge for headgear.

Kinda glad we’re not wind surfing today!

I guess these were the remnant waves from the typhoon.

Here’s the rainbow bridge during the day at high tide.

It’s gorgeous lit up at night!

We’ve heard they do a fireworks show here at the beginning of the summer 😀

Our first real dinner at the house- stir-fry chicken and rice with garlic, ginger, and carrots!

Now that we have a kitchen, we have finally been able to make some food for ourselves, but that hasn’t kept us from eating out, either.  One of the great things about living here is that it’s nearly just as cheap eating out as it is eating at home!  Our favorite has been Sao-Ro-Fan (Salty pork) from a little stand across the street from the school- It’s a lot of food (pork, rice, greens, and a fried egg) for a little money (Olivia and I both get one for a total of $4 US).  Of course, we can’t turn down the occasional pizza, either 🙂

Shrimp and pineapple pizza! (Though not as good as the Seafood pizza- squid, shrimp, crab, and more!)

One of the teachers brought us some dragonfruit. They taste so sweet!

I know that a lot of people are still a bit unsure of where we are, exactly, so I have posted a few maps below for your enjoyment.  If you’re truly computer savvy, here’s a location you can plug into Google Earth to zoom out from our school and get an idea through the magic of interactive maps! (23.56383,119.583336)

Taiwan is SW of Japan, SE of China, and E of Hong Kong.

This shows most of Penghu County (except for some of the further outlying islands). Magong City is circled 🙂

This might give you an idea of where some things are in our city.

Students start school this Thursday, so we are working hard making lesson plans and preparing our first lessons (Olivia’s made two while I have been typing this).  I guess I should lend a hand.  More to come soon, including pictures of our house!!

Here are some of the interesting things we’ve seen around town:

Some fresh eels- they don’t get fresher than that!

I can see people playing croquet across the street from my desk.

Here’s another view from our office. The green-sided building is one place where we eat sometimes.

I hope you’ve enjoyed!

-Nick

Categories: Cooking, Friendship, Taiwan, Travel | Tags: , , , | 9 Comments

You think you’re good with chopsticks? Try eating fried chicken with them :)

Hello everyone!

Nick and I have been having a wonderful time exploring our new home.  We arrived safely in Magong (our island) on Friday and received a very warm welcome from everyone here at our school.  We went house hunting on Saturday and found a great 3 bedroom house!  It was still under renovation, so they told us it would be about a week before we could move in, but last night we received the news that it is ready for us! YAY!!!! 😀  Today we will be rushing to get everything moved in before it starts raining (a typhoon is supposed to hit us today).  But before moving in, we decided to go to the traditional market across the street from our school.  We were both excited and a little nervous, but everything turned out alright.  We bought some fruit, and looked around the rest of the market to see what we could see.  They have pretty much everything we could need.  Fruit, vegetables, meat (beef, pork, chicken), eggs, and so much more!  We’re very excited about this discovery and think we will be stopping by on a regular basis.

Before our plane left for Magong on Friday, our school representatives took us to get famous dumplings.  I can’t remember the name of the restaurant, but it’s famous here.  We were able to watch the cooks make the dumplings, and it is definitely an art.  The kind that we had have soup and meat in them.  They were delicious!

Our table and dumplings

A huge Praying Mantis we saw at the airport

Anyways, I’m sure you’re dying to hear about the rest of our week here, so don’t worry, I’ll tell you.  On Saturday, after our morning of house hunting, we went to the beach to learn how to windsurf!  It was so much fun!  Our school has two military guys serving their one year of mandatory military service, and one of them took us with him.  It took us a few tumbles and splashes, but sooner than  thought, we were windsurfing. 😀 It’s ok if you’re jealous, but if you come see us we will try and teach you if you’re interested.  Unfortunately we don’t have pictures of this landmark event because we didn’t want our camera to get wet, so you’ll just have to take our word for it.

The last two days we have been in training with some of our coworkers.  We went to sessions about teaching English in a fun and entertaining way.  We learned some games we could play, and all sorts of activities to do with different story books.  For lunch each day, we recieved a lunch box filled with tons of good traditional food, and chopsticks.  We thought we were good with chopsticks until we tried to eat fried chicken with them.  It proved to be much more challenging than we thought, and we ended up having to use our fingers, so if you feel up to a challenge, try it.  🙂 All the teachers we met there were very nice, especially the two teachers we went with from our school.  They have been such a great help to us these first few days by taking us house hunting, helping us get our resident id cards, buying us food, and helping us move today!  We are so blessed by them!

Nick participating in an activity

A learning game we were taught

One more funny story, then I’m done.  We have gone to dinner a couple times at a traditional restaurant, but we found out that the menu is only in Chinese, and as you know, we don’t know Chinese.  The only thing we could say was the word for chicken.  The owner laughed at us and then brought us something with chicken in it.  It was good, but we think he thinks we are ridiculous 🙂  He told other people about us and they laughed to.  I guess we’ll have to get used to that.

If you would like to pray for us, here are a few ways.  First, please pray that we can find the contact people for a church here.  We have some names, but our lack of transportation and telephones has made it difficult to get in touch with them. Also please pray for us as school starts.  Pray that we will get over the learning curve quickly and be great English teachers to the students here, and that we can figure out a good way to be a light to our students and coworkers. 🙂

We love y’all,
Liv

Categories: Education, Taiwan, Travel | Tags: , , | 16 Comments

Some Long Awaited Updates

Hello all!

I’m so sorry we have kept you all on the edges of your seats, but we are back with lots of fun stuff to share with you. 😀  Put on your seat belts, cuz this is going to be a long ride.

So, Nick told you about our flight and the first day (look back at the post, there are some pictures now), but A LOT has happened since then.  Remember that culture shock we talked about earlier, well we’ve been experiencing that, but it has been GREAT, so thanks for your prayers!!  First of all, we have to tell you that the people here in Taiwan are so kind and friendly.  We have been having such a great time at training with the native Taiwanese people who have been our counselors.  They have taken us all over the city, which by the way, is amazing.  Here’s a glimpse of what we see while walking around (which is the main mode of transportation we have used while here, so our feet are being put to the test).

The street the NAER is on

The same street at night. Don’t you love all the lights?

Scooters Scooters EVERYWHERE!!!!!

On the second day of training, we went to a Ceramic museum then a place where we were able to do some indigo dying.  The museum gave us the history of ceramics, and had some creative and beautiful works of art.  We were also stared at by little kids on field trips, and our shining moment was when some girls asked to take a picture with us.  We were overjoyed at this request and quickly said yes.  So for all you back home you can now tell your friends that you know some celebrities. 😀  Indigo dying was a wonderful experience as well.  It’s basically like doing tye dye, but in Taiwan, so it’s so much cooler already.  Nick and I made some wonderful works of art, and Nick got lots of compliments on his.

Did YOU know toilets were museum worthy?

Nick and I thought this was a cute work of art, made entirely out of ceramic. Now that’s some talent!

Every night after training, we usually walk around the city and take in the local culture and food.  There are some very interesting things here.  One of the things that has surprised me the most is seeing a whole family on a scooter.  Yes, I said whole family, including a dad, mom, two kids, and some times a dog.  In addition to this, we love seeing street vendors selling an array of Taiwanese delicacies like roast corn and stinky tofu.  Everything here is so open, most store fronts open right onto the streets and don’t have doors.  One night when we were walking around, it was our fellow teacher and friend Van’s birthday, so we stopped at a bakery.  We sang her happy birthday in Chinese and enjoyed some milk tea and cake (complete with candles).

Van blowing out her candles

Our most recent adventure was shopping on and old street nearby that had different food vendors and shops.  We passed a temple where some monks were singing songs to scare away ghosts.  In the Chinese calendar this is the month of ghosts, so we have seen several different things celebrating this.  Along our walk, our counselor got a pig’s blood rice cake for us to try.  We were hesitant at first, but she said it was very good and a traditional food here…so we tried it!  I am still in shock that I ate something made with blood, but it actually was kinda good.  It was sweet and had peanut powder sprinkled on top.  We suggest that if you are ever in Taiwan, you should take the plunge and try some.  In addition to this, we had some ice cream that is in a croissant instead of a cone, it was very tasty. 🙂 The last stop on our tour was a local restaurant where they brought us tons of food complete with a whole fish!  It was all very tasty and we were so full by the time we left!

Monks playing to scare the ghosts away.

Pig’s blood rice cake.

Ice cream!!!

SO much food and this is just the half of it!

Today we head out to our island Penghu.  Please pray that we get acquainted with the people in our school and the area where we will be living.  Good news!  We found out from some friends here at training that there is a church on our island that we can attend!  Please pray that we can get involved there very quickly and start doing God’s work in our community.  We still don’t have a place to live, so pray that we find somewhere quickly.  We are really looking forward to this week and the rest of this year.  We will miss our counselors and fellow teachers, but we know we’ll be able to see them again soon! 🙂

Love you all!
Liv

Categories: FYI, Taiwan, Travel | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

We made it!

It seems like a long time since we left Texas.  Saturday morning we left the house around 7:30 to catch the flight that made the first leg of our journey to Los Angeles.  After 3.5 hours in the air, we landed in California at noon only to find out that our connecting flight had been delayed, turning a 6-hour layover into about 8 hours of restless sitting.  One 13.5 hour flight, 13 time zones, and the international date line brought us to Taipei around midnight Sunday.

Thankfully, we made it through customs, exchanged currency, and picked up our luggage without any issues.  Olivia and I got on a van and rode 30 minutes out of the city to NAER, the National Academy for Educational Research, where we are staying until Friday during our training.  When we finally called home (around 12:30 or 1PM in Texas), the clock in our room read 3AM Monday.

Breakfast this morning (after a short 4 hours of sleep) consisted of spongy bread, toast, some sort of meat, and almond tea.  We thankfully had time for a quick nap before our training and lunch began.

This is what our breakfast looked like. Yummy!

Today’s training mostly involved an orientation with where we are staying, tips about how to enjoy our time here and what to expect, and a group photo, which apparently is the most frequent way to end any meeting.  We also had our first course in “Survival Chinese,” where we learned about 20 words and phrases.

For our first dinner, the NAER held a welcoming party complete with Coca-Cola, fried chicken, and pizza!  My favorite tonight was the slice with bacon, peas, shrimp, and squid, but Olivia was not a fan of the pizza with wasabi peas.  After eating, we played a short ice-breaker, learned to sing and dance (poorly) to a Taiwanese pop song, and got to know one another a little better.  I headed back to our room but Olivia decided to stay a little while longer to watch (and probably sing) karaoke.  It’s only about 9PM here, but with the jet-lag and a busy day, it feels like it is long past time for bed.

On the screen is a popular Taiwanese Pop song that is sung at every karaoke party. We got to learn the words (sort of).

We have had a great, although exhausting, first day—everyone has been so kind and helpful.  We definitely know this is where God wants us, but for now, I want some sleep.  Tomorrow holds more Chinese lessons and other training, but I think they also have fun, culture-related adventures planned.

–Nick

Categories: FYI, Taiwan, Travel | Tags: , , , | 13 Comments

Down to the wire!!!!

So, remember how we said we’re leaving on Saturday?  If you’re not sure which Saturday, it’s the one that’s a day from now.  And even though we’ve been working like crazy trying to get things ready, we’re still not completely packed! We do have the essentials, like clothes and underwear etc. but it’s all about the little things.  These little things are so pesky!  They keep cropping up in our minds like weeds.  Deodorant, toothbrushes, measuring cups, socks, and the list goes on!  If you’re packing for a long trip, or a big move, I suggest making a list and actually using it (the using it part was our downfall). 🙂  Google docs is a great way to do this because multiple people can see and add to it.

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This is the beginning of our packing process.  Yes, that is a 12 pack of Mac-n-cheese 😀

But anyways… it’s been a great, albeit crazy week!  We celebrated Nick’s birthday almost everyday this week, sold my car (tear), packed lots, and Nick and his dad built a Purple Martin house (those are birds in case you were wondering).

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Nick and his dad with the self designed and built Purple Martin house.

Well, I have to finish packing, so it’s ta ta for now 🙂  Hopefully our next post will come all the way from Taipei, Taiwan!! Please pray for our trip and our culture shock.  But more importantly, please pray that God will prepare the place that we are going and the people that we will be meeting.  Please pray for His Divine appointments and for us to have Godly courage, and the words to say to share the Good News!

Thanks for reading!
N&L

Categories: Taiwan, Travel | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Are We There Yet?

Can you believe we will be leaving in less than 2 weeks?!  As our departure is quickly approaching, we are realizing how much preparation goes into moving to another country. Everyday for the past 5 days we have had a long list of errands to run and supplies to procure, I don’t know if we’ll ever get it all done! Thankfully, Nick has a mathematical mind and can keep everything straight, I don’t think I would remember half of it if not for him. 🙂

Here is just a list of some things that we have gotten.
-international driving permits
-suitcases (and can I just say, mine are adorable)
-Pepto Bismol, because you never know
-Doctor’s Appointments (to make sure we are at the top of our game)
-sell our cars
-get residential visas
-and the list goes on

No on to less boring things. 😀 Last Friday we went to a meeting with a bunch of people from Taiwan, including the Ambassador!  That’s right, I said Ambassador, we got to share an elevator with him and he told us that living in Penghu would be like a second year long honeymoon.  We also met a man who lived in Penghu last year, and will be returning to teach this year.  He had the patience to listen to some of our questions and answer them the best he could.  We feel a lot better now. 🙂  We asked him what one thing he thinks we should bring, and he said…American snacks!  Because of this advice, we bought a 12 pack of mac-n-cheese, and a few boxes of cereal to pack in our suitcase. 🙂 He also told us that we can fly to mainland Taiwan whenever we want because it’s just a 40 minute flight.  He also told us we should learn to surf or snorkel, which made me very excited as it’s always been a secret dream of mine.

So, in honor of the title of this post, are you ready for some information about our flight?  We leave Bush Intercontinental on August 11th at 10:30 AM, which, by the way is my parents’ 28th Anniversary (a sad Anniversary gift if you ask me).  From there, we fly to LAX for a 6 hour layover!!!!!  Then we board the plane for Taiwan, and get to relax for the 13 1/2 hour flight to Taipei, Taiwan.  So, with that said, does anyone have any suggestions for what to do on a looooooooong flight?

Categories: Education, FYI, Taiwan, Travel | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

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