Posts Tagged With: Scooters

Hualien 2.0

When Nick’s dad came to visit us at the end of August, I knew we would have to take him to Hualien.  The beautiful scenery and hiking trails of Taroko Gorge would be right down his ally.  Since we had been to Taroko before, we believed we would be the perfect tour guides (going once makes you an expert, right?).

After meeting Mike [that’s Nick’s dad’s name (lots of ‘s there)] in Taipei, we all got on the plane for the short ride to Hualien where I made Nick sit next to a stinky guy. 🙂  Once we arrived, we got a taxi to our hotel, which was conveniently located near the train station where we could rent scooters!  I was really excited because last time we toured Taroko Gorge, we took a taxi the first day, and the second day Nick drove us around on our scooter, but this time, I would be driving myself!!!  After convincing the lady at the scooter shop that I did in fact know how to drive a scooter, we were off!  After taking the Hualien off the beaten path tour, which was totally planned, 😉 we found on our way onto the highway that would take us to Taroko Gorge.  I just have to tell you again how beautiful Taroko Gorge is!  It’s one of those slap-in-the-face reminders that our Creator is an artist and has created this world to be a testament to who He is and for our enjoyment.

We really enjoyed seeing the Gorge and doing some hiking through a waterfall, but my real thrill was driving through Taroko on scooter.  I felt like someone in a spy movie  with all the twists and turns and ups and downs of the Gorge.  I could just imagine that I was on a chase while trying to stop a terrorist from ending the world as we know it.  Just call me 008! I know, I’m a nerd, but it can’t be helped. 😀  Life’s more fun that way!

Join us next time for Hualien 2.0 the final chapter: white water rafting!

Categories: Family, Nature, Taiwan, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Why I love my job

I love my job.  There are many people in the world who go to work everyday and hate every minute of it, and I am thankful that I’m not one of them!  On my way to work the other day I was making a mental list of all the things I love about my job and there were a lot of things.

1. Feeling like a rock star every time I walk into a classroom.  The kids here love me!  It may be because of my charming personality or maybe because I’m a great teacher, but it’s probably because I’m white.  But whatever the reason, I love having adoring fans and I’m just like


2.  Having great co-workers.  My co-workers are wonderful.  I know not all y’all can say that, but I guess I’m one of the lucky few.  My co-workers help me out so much!  My limited knowledge of Chinese is probably part of the reason they help me out so much, but the main reason is that they’re just so awesome and caring!

3.  Getting to travel to beautiful tropical islands.  That’s right, I get paid to go to the beach (teaching there is just a side note).

4.  Getting to wear jeans to work.  Now this may seem like a minor thing, but getting stress pimples over picking out what to wear is just not something I need in my life.

aint nobody

5.  Can anyone say 5 minute commute? On a scooter no less.  I feel like this speaks for itself, but just in case you’re a tad bit slow, it’s AWESOME! I mean, what better way to air out your sweaty pits from getting ready without a/c?

6.  Getting to teach whatever I want.  While this is great, this whole freedom thing does take a little getting used to.  At first Nick and I were like


but then we were like


7.  Having great students.  My students are wonderful.  It’s not just that they treat me like a rock star (although that’s part of it).  They are sweet and funny and have names like Cake and Boots. What’s not to love?

8. Getting to leave after work and know that I don’t have any work to take home.  This may be my absolute favorite thing!  It’s gonna be hard to teach in the States again after this paperwork free job!  Because, once again,

aint nobody

9. Getting to work next to my best friend all day.  Like I’ve said before, Nick and I love spending pretty much every minute of everyday together.  We laugh, we tease, we help, we encourage, and we go home and do it all over again. What more could a girl ask for?

10. Nap time!  I don’t know why everybody doesn’t stop and take a nap in the middle of the day.  It’s great!  I’m a strong advocate of naps, because who doesn’t need a little refresher in the middle of the day.  It just makes sense!  For those of you who don’t share my love of napping, you’re missing out!

Did you see Taiwan on that info-graphic!!!! 😀

Soooooo that’s why I love my job!  Why do you love your job?

P.S. This is my first post using gifs and stuff.  I hope you like it, cuz I was really excited about it!

Categories: Education, Taiwan, Travel | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Year one in review: what we’ve learned

Wow! Can you believe we’ve already lived in Taiwan for a year? It’s been a great year full of fun, adventures, new friends, and discoveries. God has really blessed us with this opportunity and we wouldn’t trade this year for anything!

We started this adventure knowing absolutely nothing about Taiwan, but we trusted God that He had a plan for us and would provide for us. And guess what, he did! Here are a few things we learned this year.

1. Taiwanese schools are completely different than American schools. (Not just in the language area). Read about it here.
2. There are many languages that are spoken in Taiwan. The main language is Chinese, or more specifically, Mandarin, but other languages include Taiwanese, Hakka, and other various aboriginal languages.
3. Taiwanese people are very nice! We have made so many new friends this year, and everyone we meet is very helpful. They’re not just nice, they’re also very trust worthy. Theft is almost unheard of here, especially in Penghu.
4. 7-11s are everywhere!!!!!! Seriously, they’re more common than Starbucks in America.
5. Authentic Chinese food is nothing like the Chinese food served at “Chinese” restaurants in the USA. Additionally, forks are a rarity in Taiwan. We had to learn to use chopsticks very quickly; now we’re pros! Aren’t you jealous?
6. Scooters are the main form of transportation. And you better watch out, cuz they drive anywhere they want to. Nick has easily adjusted to the Taiwanese style of driving, so I’m a little nervous about his driving in the States.

2013-07-10 Taiwan Trip 937 --- 7. According to a little American boy I met who was visiting his grandparents in Penghu, “the toilets here are weird.” He’s right. I’ve proudly learned how to use a squatty potty. I’ve even made up a slogan- you haven’t pottied ’til you’ve squattied.
8. Taiwan is a cheap place to live. Eating out here is almost cheaper than cooking food at home. This is really nice because Nick and I haven’t exactly gotten the whole meal planning thing down. (We’re still young). Internet is also super cheap here! Idk what American companies are thinking, but it shouldn’t be so expensive to have Internet at your house.
9. Bakeries are everywhere, and they’re delicious! Nick and I will eat something from a bakery almost every morning for breakfast. It makes me happy.

2013-07-10 Taiwan Trip 1189 ---
10. Traditional markets sell fresh produce, fruits and meat as opposed to the grocery store.  This was really strange for us, but now we enjoy going to the traditional market on Saturday mornings.  Check out some of our market stories here, here, and here2013-07-06 Taiwan Trip 411

Basically, so many things in Taiwan just make sense and we love it!

Stay tuned and in our next post, we’ll give a brief recap of some of our adventures from this year.

Categories: Education, Taiwan, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 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!


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!


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

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

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