Monthly Archives: June 2013

Under the Sea!

Well, we did it!  We crossed one thing off our 2013 bucket list!  That’s right, you guessed it, scuba diving! (That title’s kinda a dead give away, huh)?    At the beginning of June, Nick and I took some time off work to go to the tiny island of Jiang-Jin to take scuba diving lessons.  We had a great time and saw some absolutely beautiful coral and fish.  Once piece of coral was as big as a car!  In addition to a beautiful bright blue coral, we saw angel fish, some colorful reef fish, groupers, and a sting ray!

Let me break it down for you technical people.  ;P  We arrived in Jiang-Jin on Friday morning, and started the first class of scuba diving after lunch.  We had to start off by taking a swim test which was really easy because we were allowed to use flippers and a snorkel and mask.  While taking this swim test, we got to look at all the beautiful under water life close to the shore.  Next we had to float for ten minutes.  Neither Nick or I can float on our own, but with wet suits, floating was a piece of cake!  Once we passed our tests, we had to watch some informational videos and learn how to assemble our equipment.

The next morning we woke up bright and early to start our official training.  The first few times you go into the water, you are just learning some basic skills and emergency procedures in case something ever goes wrong (losing your regulator for instance).  After you practice the basic skills like replacing a mask, swimming with a buddy, and a myriad of other skills, you are ready to actually start scuba diving!  Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning were spent in the ocean exploring the under water world!  It is so beautiful, and Nick and I couldn’t help but think how awesome it is that we were spending extended amounts of time under water.  Every time I thought about this, I smiled, which is really hard to do with an air regulator in your mouth.  It really is amazing how much life there is under the sea and I felt like I got to see just a little more into how creative God is, which in its self is awe-inspiring!

By the time Sunday afternoon rolled around, we were ready to take our certification tests.  Yes, it was that quick!  We studied all the information we were given (well, I studied and Nick laughed at me for studying), then we took our tests and passed!!!  We have now joined the ranks of PADI certified open water scuba divers!  The possibilities are endless, and we are already planning our next underwater adventure!

It's official- see those certificates?  Our instructor was great, and we really did have a wonderful time!

It’s official- see those certificates? Our instructor was great, and we really did have a wonderful time!

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Categories: Education, Taiwan, The Beach, Travel | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

Just a week in Paradise!

Hidey ho there neighbors!

Last week was AMAZING!  Once again, teaching in Penghu trumps any other teaching job ever.  I was sent to the small island of Wang-An to teach the students there.  As with any other new school I was nervous.  You never know how you will be received by students and teachers alike.  This time my fears were unnecessary, everyone was so welcoming and helpful, and the students were very excited to meet me!

I taught elementary and junior high school while I was there.  There were about 40 students at the elementary school and 17 at the junior high school.  The elementary school students were shy at first, but once they warmed up to me they didn’t want me to go (one class literally locked me in their classroom when I tried to leave).  Being in a small outlying island, the students don’t have many opportunities to speak English to foreigners, or even see English-speaking foreigners for that matter, they also don’t have the opportunities to attend English cram schools to further enhance their English-speaking skills.   Because of these disadvantages, their English skills were much lower than the students I teach on a regular basis at Wenao, but their energy was just as high!  For the first few minutes of class, the students would look to their teacher for translations every time I said something, but then she got smart and left, so they had to really start tying to listen to me.  We played games and read books and had some basic conversations, it was a great time!

While I had a blast teaching at the elementary school, my favorite part of teaching in Wang-An was the junior high school.  Because these students have been studying English for a long time (since 3rd grade), their English was much  more advanced.  I could hold a conversation with many of them, and if not, there was always another student around to help translate (can you believe that?! Students were translating without the help of the teacher!)  The students were a lot of fun and in our classes we could hold more conversations and really learn about each other and discuss some of the more intricate matters of English.  We also had time for some fun.  Fun?!  In a classroom?  That’s right, singing, dancing, ukulele playing (aren’t you jealous?) We had a grand ole time!

Unfortunately Friday came around and I had to say my farewells to the students.  They made me sweet cards and yummy pizza (what a way to go out)!  But Friday also brought another round of fun, Nick and Anly!  Stay tuned for details on our Wang An wanderings!

Categories: Education, Friendship, Taiwan, The Beach, Travel | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

BBQ Fun!

Ahoy ladies and gents!

Today our topic is Bar-b-que.  Bar-b-que is a well known word in Texas which inspires visions of massive smokers, grills, tubs of potato salad, sweet tea, baked beans, and a sunny Texas afternoon.  Nick and I love bbq!  When we came to Taiwan, we thought we’d have to say goodbye to bbq for a year, but we were surprised to find that bbq is a popular thing here although it is done on a much smaller scale.  Massive smokers are replaced with tiny grills, brisket and baby back ribs are replaced with chicken, fish, squid, and other Taiwanese favorites, like sweet potatoes.  But the thing that the two have in common are friends and fun!

A few weeks ago, we were invited to a BBQ at Anly’s grandparents’ house; they live right on the water, so we had some fantastic views and some great friends to BBQ with.  Anly’s uncle fishes for oysters (I’m not sure fishes is the right term, but you know what I’m saying), so we had some delicious oysters, sweet potatoes, chicken, sausage, and fish.  The whole night was full of fun, laughter, and good food!

Categories: Cooking, Friendship, Taiwan, Travel | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

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