Rising Stars

Over the two years that we’ve lived in Taiwan we’ve mentioned the perks of being some of the few white people in an Asian world, but I think being asked to be in movies tops them all.  That’s right, I said movies, plural.  In the last three weeks, we’ve been asked to be in 2 movies!  (Granted, we’ll probably be extras in the back ground, but these opportunities don’t come around everyday people.)  We of course said yes, because that’s what you say when someone asks if you want to be in their movie, right?!


Unfortunately, we quickly learned there’s a reason we’re teachers and not actors, the reason you ask?  We. Can’t. Act.  After agreeing to be in the first movie, we met up with some of the movie people for what we thought was a “we’re gonna film on this day and you need to wear this and act like you’re talking in the background” meeting turned out to be an audition.  We were as astonished as you because like I said before, we can’t act.  They wanted us to act out a short scene where we were riding our bikes and I fall off mine and Nick has to check on me, then stop a passing car to take me to the hospital.  They gave us a few minutes to think about it and practice, and then things got hilarious.

oh boy

Picture this- we have no props, we’re standing in plain view of all the passersby, and we have no idea how to make this look real, but we do it anyways, because we’re dedicated.  So they say go, or action or whatever the movie term is, and Nick and I start our pathetic attempt at acting.  I fall down off my invisible bike and do some whimpering and crying for help.  Nick rushes over and sees that I’m okay, then tries to stop cars.  At this point we think we’re done, but they say “No, keep going,” so we keep going.  Thankfully I’m supposed be the injured, so no one can see my embarrassed smile because my body is blocking my face.  Nick stops invisible cars  like a pro, and eventually I hobble over to the “car” and they rush me off to the hospital.  End of scene.  We of course apologized to the people about our horrible acting skills, and they reassure us that it’s okay, but now they have to send it to the director to see if he likes it.  We haven’t heard from them yet, so, we’re not getting our hopes up, but there’s always our second movie.  That could be our big break!

flash photography

Categories: Fun Stuff, Humor, Taiwan | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Squatty Potty Whoopsie

If you’ve ever been to Asia, you know the squatty potty is a popular thing here.  Most public places use these instead of western toilets.  Parks, train stations, stores, and public schools.  When Nick and I first arrived in Taiwan, I was scared of the squatty potty.  I mean, there’s nothing worse than the fear that you will pee on yourself in the middle of a work day and go through the rest of the day smelling like pee.  For a long time I would hold it all day and withstand the weird looks from people as I did what we fondly call “The Potty Dance,” or walk all the way to the other side of the school to use the handicapped toilet  just so I didn’t have to face my fears. (I fondly refer to this cross-school walk as the walk of shame: I just feel like everyone knows what I’m about to do).  Well, ladies and gents, I finally faced my fears, and I have to say I’m mastering this squatty potty, but it’s not without it’s occasional fiascoes, like what happened last week.


The famed Squatty Potty…

After class, I decided to use the restroom (squatty potties btw, give you no rest).  And, just fyi, I still have to psych myself up in order to work up the courage to use the feared potties.  So anyways, I go to the bathroom and do my business, and the thought crosses across my mind, “man, it would be awful if my flash drive falls into the toilet.”  And, as they say, those were my famous last words.  As I get up from my squat (cuz that’s what you have to do with a squatty potty),  my flash drive slips out of my pocket and falls into the toilet.  Yep.  It happened.  It seemed to be in slow motion and if my mind had just processed it fast enough, I would have been able to catch it, but no such luck.

So then my next dilemma: do I flush it and walk away, or do I get it out?  I finally decided that I really need it because all my lessons for the week were on there (I now back them up on my computer weekly).  I worked up the courage to fish it out.  It was gross.  I vigorously washed it and my hands multiple times, scrubbed it down with hand sanitizer, (cuz that stuff works, right?) and dried out all the nooks and crannies.  ANNNNDDD it still worked!!!  Yep, that’s right folks, my poor little flash drive fell into the toilet, and lived to tell the tale!

Moral of the story, don’t take your flash drive to the potty.  Moral #2, back up your flash drive.  Moral #3- flash drives are more hardy then we may think (this particular flash drive also took a turn in the washing machine earlier in the year).


Captain America saves the day again!

Categories: Fun Stuff, Humor, Taiwan | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

It means what?!

If you’ve ever learned a foreign language, you know that some words in other languages sound like inappropriate or funny things in your native language.  We giggle, we move on, or in the cases of us less mature people, we never move on.  It just sits there at the back of our minds waiting for the chance to make it’s reappearance when we’re bored and need a laugh (or, in some cases, at inappropriate times).

For my students, it’s always the inappropriate times.  In the middle of a lesson for example.  The giggling is always the tip-off, followed by whispers, then out-right laughter.  This is usually followed with me thinking, “I know I’m funny, but not THAT funny.”

The most recent occurrence of this inadvertent hilarity, was when I was reading a book to my class called “Squanto, the Pilgrims’ Friend.”  Since Thanksgiving is quickly approaching in the US, I decided to teach a little bit about the first Thanksgiving and the friendship between some Native Americans and the Pilgrims.  When I first read the title of the book, the tell-tale round of giggles, whispers, and laughter tipped me off to my faux pas.  After a few minutes of this laughter and my apparent confusion, my co-teacher came to my rescue and told me that Sqaunto sounds like the Chinese for “bald man.”  I thought it was pretty funny so I gave the students a couple minutes to get their giggles out, but to no avail.  The whole rest of the class, whenever I read Squanto, the whole class burst into laughter again.  It was funny, but not THAT funny!

Moral of the story: when kids think something’s funny, that’s all they’ll be thinking about for the next 40 minutes or so, so if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!

Categories: Education, Fun Stuff, Humor | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Missing the Boat

This week I was supposed to go teach on a little island called Wang-An (read about my previous teaching adventures in Wang-An here).  I was all set for my week in isolation.  I had my iPad stocked with movies, my nook loaded with the new book I’ve been wanting to read, and my bag stacked with snacks to fill the lonely nights.  This may sound a little ridiculous, but ask any foreign teacher in Penghu who’s done their week of island teaching, and you’ll find out that there isn’t much to do.  Most of the islands don’t even have a 7-11 (that’s a cry for help right there :P)!  I arrived Tuesday morning all ready to set out.  I had given the dogs and Nick hearty goodbyes, and was setting out with my co-worker to catch the boat to Wang-An.

We arrived at the port and to my excitement disappointment, we were told the boat wasn’t running today because of the weather.  Living in Penghu, everyone knows that everything depends on the wind on that particular day, and I guess Tuesday’s wind was just too strong for the boat to brave. Darn! 😛  We returned to school with the sad thought that I would be staying in Magong all week. Shucks!  Unfortunately Fortunately, there was another boat that would make the journey in the afternoon.  Yippee!

After spending the morning being very unproductive productive, we set out again for the port.  When we arrived at the port, the boat was sailing away!  Boo!  Apparently no one told us that the boat sometimes leaves early, and sometimes leaves late, but hardly ever on time.  Who knew?!  So as we waved to the people on the boat, I settled into the sad happy reality that I would be staying in Magong with Nick and the pups all week!

If I had been in Wang-An, I wouldn't have this awesome cuddle time with Bai!  Everything happens for a reason. :)

If I had been in Wang-An, I wouldn’t have this awesome cuddle time with Bai! Everything happens for a reason. 🙂

Categories: Family, Humor, Island Teaching, Taiwan | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Running is bad for my health

I hate running.  I think it was sent from Hades himself to torture me.  I know many of you are thinking, “running is great!”  “I feel wonderful afterwards!”  “It helps me relieve so much stress!”  “I do my best thinking when I run!”  “Liv, you should really give it another try.”

Well, I have, and it’s just not workin’ for me.  Running makes me feel like the kid from The Goonies who’s forced to do the truffle shuffle.  I hate it.  I get sweaty and stinky and I have to take a shower afterwards (another thing I hate is showers), not to mention I wheeze like a chronic smoker.  Yeah, it’s not a pretty sight.

truffle shuffle

And for the record, the best stress reliever for me is sitting on the couch snuggling and eating brownies while watching a movie.  Now that right there is perfection! Also I do my best thinking while sitting and thinking (it takes lots of concentration).

Despite my vaguely concealed hatred, my husband still thinks it’s a good idea to “take a jog” every once in a while. So, earlier this week, I conceded to his pleas and went for a jog run…with three dogs. (Granted, I was only holding onto one of them- the old one mind you.)  So we wake up early and begin our, didn’t know ’til later, two mile jog run.

As always, I started out thinking.  “This isn’t too bad.”  “The weather’s nice, it’s not that far, I can do this!”  What a lie.  About 5 minutes in I’m huffing and puffing and getting pulled by the (old) dog.  I keep encouraging myself until we reach the halfway mark.  By then, I’m spent.  I’m thinking, “just go get the scooter and pick me up here, then find a nice grave by the ocean for me.”  Rather than die, I decide to take a break and walk a little, which means that Nick gets soo far ahead of me.  Oh, yeah and the dog still wants to run, so I’m still getting pulled.

Thinking I’ll be clever, I decide to make a short cut through the field to catch back up with Nick.  Little did I know, but there were people playing golf in the field. (It is a driving range, but, really, people, golf at 6 am?)  So now I’m trying to catch up with Nick (which means more running), pulling a dog that now decides it’s time to find a place to poo, but I’m also watching for flying golf balls!  In the midst of my golf ball dodge, I suddenly realize I’m just pulling an empty collar on the leash.  The dog had wriggled out of it and was sniffing around, the devilish fiend!  FINALLY, I make it back to the side walk with the dog in tow and catch up with Nick who’s now waiting on me.

So there you have it folks, running is bad for my health.  Now excuse me while I go gobble up some gooey brownies and watch a Disney movie.

Categories: Fun Stuff, FYI, Humor | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

I think I’m Gonna Fall

One of the things I love about living in Penghu, Taiwan is the many opportunities Nick and I get to try things that we probably would never have tried before.  One of these experiences was windsurfing.  Another, scuba diving, and the most recent, stand up paddle board.

Being two of the twenty or so foreigners in Penghu means that we know all the other foreigners in Penghu, and lucky for us, some of the other foreigners do some cool things on the island.  One of the guys trains the best windsurfer in Taiwan (they’re currently training for the Olympics), and because of that, owns lots of water activity equipment.  On Sunday he let everyone try stand up paddle board at the beach.  It was a lot of fun even though I spent more time in the water than actually on the board (let’s blame my wonderful balancing skills).  The constant refrain in my head was, “I think I’m gonna fall. I think I’m gonna fall…” Just think little engine that could, but without as much confidence.  Nick, however, didn’t fall once!  We even brought Bai!  While he didn’t spend any time in the water (he doesn’t like it, the crazy dog!)  we had fun playing with him on the sand.  So without further rambling…PICTURES!!!

Categories: Humor, Taiwan, The Beach | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Cooking is Fun…sometimes

A couple weeks ago, we had a four-day weekend and we celebrated with some cooking adventures, and trust me, cooking is almost ALWAYS an adventure in our house.  We have decided that our cooking motto is “However long it is supposed to take, double that, times it by five and subtract three, and that is how long it will actually take us.”  (Yes, it is a bit long for a motto, we’re working on making it short and sweet then slapping that baby on a t-shirt.) 😛  Okay, so maybe it doesn’t take that long, but it always always takes us much longer than we anticipate at the get go.  I guess we just haven’t gotten cooking/baking down to a science yet.  I always feel like I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get everything put together correctly.

Anyways, we kicked off the weekend with cooking our pumpkin.  Canned pumpkin is not a commodity we can find here in Penghu, and Nick and I love pumpkin.  We just couldn’t imagine letting a year go by without some yummy pumpkin treats.  We made our first batch of pumpkin puree back in November (when everyone on Pintrest was pumpkin crazy), and it turned out really well.  We were just about to run out of the frozen pumpkin puree, which would be a tragedy,  so we decided to make more.  Making pumpkin puree is very easy, but we only have a tiny toaster oven, so it takes us a loooong time to cook a whole pumpkin.  We’re talking four hours of time.  Each batch has to bake for about 45 minutes, and then we have to peel the pumpkin, puree it, measure it, put it in a bag, zip it, label it, and finally place it in the freezer in what has become “the pumpkin spot.”

After sitting around and being lazy for the rest of the weekend, Sunday night we  decided to make some muffins and egg salad.  We’ve been craving egg salad ever since the Eggtastrophe.  Our biggest problem was not having mustard to make it (we checked every store in town, and all we found were packets for the hot dogs at 7-11), but our fellow FET was making a trip to Taipei and told us she could pick some up for us!  So, mustard in hand, we  enlisted our friend Anly for some help, and we began making our egg salad and muffins (don’t worry, these were new eggs).  While the eggs were boiling, Anly and I started making some yummy French Toast Muffins for breakfast in the morning. All was going well until Nick took over washing the dished for Anly.  He always uses the excuse that his hands are too big to fit in the glasses in order to get out of doing the dishes, and was making that exact comment, when all of a sudden he yells out, “Ouch!  That’s deep!”  I rush over and see that his hand had broken one of the glasses and had stabbed him.  The cut was deep and seemed like it would not stop bleeding.  We cleaned the wound, and were about to leave for the ER for some stitches when the bleeding stopped.  We bandaged it up the best we could (which wasn’t very well  considering we have 4 band-aids at our house), and Nick sat down to rest while Anly and I finished up the dishes.

Nick is fine now, he saw the school nurse and she cleaned and bandaged the cut thoroughly and it’s healing nicely.   I’ve made it clear to him that this does not get him out of dishes for the rest of his days, he’ll just have to leave the cups to me.  Also, we are proud to say that despite the incident, the egg salad and muffins both came out wonderfully!

The pumpkin making process

The pumpkin making process

The finished product- 8 cups of pumpkin puree!

The finished product- 8 cups of pumpkin puree!

Yummy Egg Salad Sandwich

Yummy Egg Salad Sandwich

It's always fun to have a friend around.

It’s always fun to have a friend around.

Categories: Cooking, Friendship, Humor, Taiwan | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Stuffed Peppers

Hello Friends!

We know we’re not a foodie blog, but the stuffed peppers we made last week were epic, and they had an epic (at least for food) end as well, so we decided they were blog worthy.  Just sit back, relax, grab some popcorn, and enjoy the show!

Let’s set the scene.  

Now, if you’re new here or have memory problems, we live in Taiwan.  Penghu, Taiwan to be exact.  In Taiwan, specifically Penghu, Tex-Mex is hard to come by, and if we want it, we pretty much have to make it ourselves.  We’ve been craving Tex-Mex lately, so after scouring the internet, we decided to try our hand at Tex-Mex Stuffed Peppers.

Act One.

After  many busy days and nights, we had a quiet Thursday night in which to make and enjoy our stuffed peppers.  All day long we were looking forward to these tantalizing treats, and couldn’t wait to get home to start on them.  But when we got home, we were both exhausted (an ill-planned late-night cup of coffee left us wide awake most of Wednesday night), and decided to take a quick nap.  Given our track record with “quick naps” we should have known; this nap would not be a short as we hoped.  We woke up around 7:00 and hummed and hawed about whether we should go ahead and make the peppers or get something out.  We eventually decided we would make the peppers, and I am glad we did.

Act Two.

These peppers were delicious!  They totally satisfied our Tex-Mex craving and left us raving.  We normally don’t get this excited about food, but we couldn’t stop saying how delicious these puppies were.  I’m drooling just thinking about them.  Anyways, we were watching Psych (a great show, btw) while eating our delectable peppers, and all of a sudden we hear a CRASH!  We whip our heads around and see the second pan of peppers dumped all over the floor and the dog running for cover from the wrath he knows he’s about to receive.  I almost cried over the loss of the peppers; there was no way to save them, so I just had to trash the whole thing. 😦  Nick pulled the dog out of his hiding place (under the table), and made him sit in time out.

Closing Scene.

After several minutes of time out, Nick knelt next to the dog and calmly talked to him about what he did wrong and that it made “mommy” really upset.  He knows this doesn’t have any affect on the dog, but it made him feel better. 🙂  He’s gonna be a great dad!  Our evening ended well with some family time on the couch and no bitter feelings, just longings for left over stuffed peppers.

Moral of the Story: Put the left over food in the highest place possible when curious puppies are sniffing around.

Categories: Cooking, Family, Humor, Taiwan | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Traffic Jam

Living in Penghu has spoiled us in many ways, one of these being the fact that there is no traffic, like ever.  Living in the huge metropolis that is Houston, Texas, we have spent countless hours stuck in traffic jams about ready to cry (more me than Nick).  Since moving to Penghu we have enjoyed the quick 5 minute or less commutes to anywhere and everywhere we need to go.  But this morning was different.

We were on our way to school and got to a traffic light and had to wait about 2 minutes!  The travesty!!!  We assumed there must have been some sort of accident to create this horrific back up, and sure enough as we pulled into the intersection, I saw what had happened.  To our right there was a scooter stopped in the middle of the road and fish strewn everywhere!  There was a poor little lady who was quickly trying to scoop her fish into her basket so she could continue her trip from the fish market to her house.  There was even a police officer there to direct traffic while she was putting her fish back!

We both had a good laugh about it and thought that is something we would only see in Penghu, Taiwan!

Happy Trails,

Categories: Humor, Taiwan, Travel | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Adventures in Food

So I know everyone is curious about what we eat here, and how we do it.  We haven’t exactly gotten it down to a science yet, but we thought we would share our adventures in food with everyone.  We have made some mistakes, so try not to laugh at us too hard, okay? 🙂

Okay, so first, we don’t have Walmart, or Target, or Kroger, or any one-stop-shop sort of place, so in order to get the materials together for one meal, we have to go to at least 2 places, sometimes 3, so we really have to plan our meals, which is usually a challenge for us, we’re more fly by the seats of our pants kinda people (exhibit one: we live in Taiwan).  We are slowly (like snail’s pace) getting better at it, and finding out the best way to do our shopping.  These are the things we have figured out so far.

1. The Farmer’s Market is only open from about 6 am-1pm, so we can really only go on Saturday mornings
2. The grocery store closest to our house does not have everything that we need.  There is a bigger grocery store farther from our house that has more of a selection, and it’s close to the Farmer’s Market.
3. Any type of bread has to be bought from the bakery, but it’s so delicious!
4.  If we need any special cooking utensil, we have to go to the affectionately named “everything store.”  We don’t know what it’s really called, but it pretty much has everything you could need for anything (mostly). 😉

Some of the delicious bread we get from the bakery.

They are all stuffed with some interesting, yet delicious filling. We still aren’t sure what this one is.

We had to get it!!! Unfortunately it didn’t dawn on us to take a picture until we started chowin’ down.

The Farmer’s Market. Part of it anyway.

Fish anyone?

So, one “real” meal requires going to the Farmer’s Market to get the meat and veggies, and going to the grocery store to get any other things we need, like spices or rice etc.  Oh and did I mention, that Taiwan has a very limited selection on most things?  And the things we can get are usually a little different.  The spices we can find are very limited, they mostly have different versions of pepper.  The milk tastes different.  The peanut butter is sweet.  They don’t have baking powder, or cream of tartar.  They don’t sell vanilla extract.  There are only about 6 kinds of cereals sold here (and most of them are chocolate flavored).  And there is a huge shelf devoted to rice.  This just means that we have gotten more creative!

Our first bit of creativity. If you didn’t notice in the house pictures, we don’t have an oven, so we had to make due.

All in one pan. It didn’t look very good, but it ended up tasting great. That’s the important thing, right?

Or first batch of pancakes. Remember how we said we couldn’t find baking powder here? Well we tried to substitute baking soda, but to our dismay, they are not the same at all. Needless to say, these weren’t very tasty 😦 They were beautiful though.

We decided to make our own tortillas! They were delicious!!!

We used our tortillas to make breakfast burritos. 😀

We also remember that when all else fails, there’s always McDonalds 🙂  Which by the way has happy hour during peak lunch and dinner times, so we get our meals for cheap!!!

We are really enjoying the opportunity to be creative and experience the culture here.  We are hoping to have some friends from work over for dinner soon, so please be in prayer that we will be able to continue a good friendship with them and have opportunities for deeper conversation.

Love y’all

Categories: Cooking, Humor, Taiwan, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 26 Comments

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