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Yesterday, Kris and I ventured out to breakfast.  We stopped at a place right on the corner that I usually walk right by, assuming I won’t understand anything and not wanting to be embarassed with a bunch of my students there.  Well we found several photos of food items there and while we were looking, a local lady, Kitty, who speaks English quite well decided to help us!!  She was very kind and quite helpful!  She’s a tour guide and takes groups to some of the surrounding countries.

Today, we went back out for breakfast and then went for a walk.  We began on a familiar path and soon found ourselves in one of the many local parks.


We found a new grocery store, a new pasta restaurant (name:  New Pasta), a fire department and another park.


This one had a library on edge.

The first floor will soon hold a museum of travel literature, the basement had a newspaper and magazine (everything is in Mandarin) and the top floor has a study area.  One of the plants growing outside the building reminded me so much of something my grandmother used to grow!  The park next to the library was quite large!  And for a while, we really had no idea where we were.  We heard karaoke, saw a pond with fish, was a stadium, monkeys and small shops.  As we reached the edge of the park, we saw a familiar building and couldn’t believe that we were actually looking at the Sogo Department store.   Yes, we walked all the way downtown!  We window shopped for hats, shoes, books, fragrances, skin care products and food at wonderful new restaurants we’ve not seen before!  It was interesting to see items from Scottish, Asian, French and other Europeans that I’ve not see before in the US.  We saw the Curry Dictionary restaurant,again, as well as steak restaurants, an Asian fusion place, Japanese, Italian and American (McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken).  We actually saw a couple of bars (we don’t see many of them at all!)


We also saw a huge temple downtown as well as a ‘multi ethnic performance hall’.

We started out the day sending photos to folks on the phone, but quickly got caught up in the smells (some good, most not), the bizarre sights (someone on a scooter hooked up to an IV and scootering on down the street!!!) that we took what photos we could and I’m posting mine here.

We left about 11 am and returned around 6pm.  I’m surprised I hung in there all day!  I’m congested and not feeling too well.  However, it was a sunny day and I was just enjoying being with Kristen.

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Life here has gotten a bit quiet.  I’m getting used to a daily routine:  go to work, come home, clean, go find something for dinner.  Weekends can be time for just about anything.  It’s so monotonous, that there really doesn’t seem to be much to say on here.  It’s weird, though.  I feel like I’m on permanent vacation, but I have this responsibility of work and teaching and getting up early five days a week!  There’s no routine of nightly television that I’m used to, so not a lot to distinguish one day from another.  There is a difference in my class schedule, with four classes on some days and six on others.  But since I don’t know my student’s names (not unusual here) there’s no class that stands out, no class I look forward to or that I dread having to face.  For the most part, I plan and prepare for a lesson, do this fantastic tag team act with my co-teachers and class is over.  Then, the entire class bows and says “Thank you Teacher Campbell” and I get this mushy, guilty feeling wondering if I really did my best for them.  That bowing thing is really humbling!

I taught the 6th graders “Deck the Halls” for the music teacher.  I prepared a Powerpoint for them so they could see images to help them understand the old English phrases.  My first time using technology in class and as things work with technology, it was also the week the tech guys decided to come get my hard drive and give me some English software! (I was having a great time faking the students into thinking I was reading Chinese on the Powerpoint.  They don’t realize that I’ve pretty  much memorized where things are on Microsoft programs, and there are English initials behind the Mandarin script!)  So they took the drive and silly me, forgetting how this always works, actually thought my drive would be back the next morning.  HA HA

I was also projecting a little MySpace video to the 4th graders to teach them “5 Little Monkeys”.  Yes, I taught this song to 5th graders.  Hand gestures, video, singing…. the whole bit!  Ya shoulda been there!!

5th grade?  A lesson on asking questions.  I probably learned more than the fifth graders.  They eventually learned how to frame their own answers to questions, but I learned about framing what you want from students, particularly foreign language learners in a country where drill and repetition is the dominant teaching method.  Relax, go with the flow!

So, I wasn’t going to blog at all again today.  Then, I found this great library blog and read an old entry  that inspired me to see what I might be able to come up with.  I was going to write about our breakfast adventure this morning but instead, I was able to muster an interesting reflection on my week to share with anyone who takes the time to read this.  So, I’m wondering what was your day like?  What have you learned?

Global Exploration for Educators Organization (GEEO)

Global Exploration for Educators Organization is a new 501c3 non-profit organization that facilitates low-cost international travel for American teachers and encourages the integration of global awareness into classroom learning.  In the summer of 2008 GEEO will be running trips to Peru , Tanzania , Nepal and India .

Take a look at our web site to learn more, www.geeo.org, and please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
 
Please forward this email to any educators you might know (or to people who know educators) who would be interested in expanding their worldview through these amazing travel opportunities.

Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Awards

Sponsored by the United States-Japan Foundation

Nomination & Application Procedures 2008

Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Awards

The Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Awards recognize exceptional teachers who further mutual understanding between Americans and Japanese.  The awards are presented annually to two pre-college teachers in two categories, humanities and Japanese language, and consist of a certificate of recognition, a $2,500 monetary award, and $5,000 in project funds. The awards are named in honor of Elgin Heinz for his commitment to educating students about Asia as well as for the inspiration he has provided to the field of pre-college education.

Elgin Heinz  (1913-2005)

A pioneer in educating American students about Asia , Elgin Heinz served throughout his life as a consultant on the development of materials and methods for teaching about this region of the world.  Born in China in 1913, Heinz attended the University of California at Berkeley , graduating with degrees in philosophy and public speaking and eventually earning a graduate degree in history from San Francisco State University .  He spent forty years teaching in San Francisco ’s Public Schools, at first teaching literature, and later, geography and history.  During his tenure as a teacher, Heinz became nationally known for his efforts in assisting students and teachers to learn more about Japan and Asia broadly.

In addition to classroom teaching, Heinz was active in a number of organizations, including the Association for Asian Studies, the Asia Society, the International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations, and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.  He served as the Japan Society’s Education Director in 1960. Heinz authored and edited numerous publications on teaching about Asia , including two widely used curriculum guides, Opening Doors and Stepping Stones

Heinz was the recipient of many awards including the National Council for Geographic Education’s California Teacher of the Year and, in 1997, the World Affairs Council of Northern California’s Castile Award.  Perhaps the award that most epitomizes his groundbreaking work in K-12 Asian Studies was the Association for Asian Studies Committee on Teaching About Asia’s 1987 recognition of Elgin Heinz for “Fifty Years of Innovative Teaching About Asia.”*

(*Biographical information regarding Elgin Heinz was taken from the Fall 2000 issue of Education About Asia and was reprinted with permission from the Association for Asian Studies.)

Eligibility

The awards are open to current full-time K-12 classroom teachers of any subject in the United States who have been teaching for at least five years and are presented annually to two pre-college teachers in two categories, humanities and Japanese language. 

Previous award recipients often have over 20 years of teaching experience and have been engaged in teaching their students about Japan for a substantial period of time.  Candidates must demonstrate sustained commitment to improving mutual understanding between Americans and Japanese, and must have made a significant contribution to enhancing students’ knowledge of Japan .

Applicants for the Japanese language category must have excellent command of the Japanese language and may be contacted by members of the selection committee to verify this.

Nomination Procedures

Applicants for the Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Awards need not be nominated to apply.  However, in an effort to encourage the nation’s top educators to apply for the awards, the Foundation welcomes Letters of nomination.  Letters should be sent directly to the Foundation and must briefly highlight the candidate’s qualifications and include the candidate’s name and contact information.

The Foundation will accept letters of nomination at any time and will inform candidates of their nomination.  All candidates must complete a full application to be considered for the award and therefore nominations should be made as early as possible.

Review and Selection

An independent selection committee will review applications received and recipients will be announced in May. 

Application Procedures

Applicants must electronically submit the following by February 1, 2008 to be considered for the 2008 award:

1.   Cover Sheet that includes the following information:

A)   Full name and home address

B)   School name and address

C)   E-mail and telephone contact information

D)   The award category for which you are applying:  Japanese Language or Humanities

E)   The subjects and grades you currently teach

F)   A list of Japan-related programs in which you have participated

G)   Names and contact information for those

        submitting letters of support

2.   A narrative (not to exceed three (3) pages typed, double spaced) describing your efforts to further mutual understanding between Americans and

Japanese through your classroom teaching.  Please highlight leadership positions held and how you have impacted other educators locally and/or nationally.

3.   A two-page project proposal describing how you would use the award’s $5,000 project funds to enhance understanding of Japan at your school or in your school district. 

4.   Three letters of support from individuals or

organizations familiar with you and your teaching on Japan .  A letter from a student explaining how your efforts affected his/her perceptions and understanding of Japan is permissible as a letter of support.  One letter must come from the school’s principal or vice principal and must express support for your project proposal in addition to supporting your candidacy for the award.

5.   A professional resume.

The application and all supporting documents must be submitted electronically in a standard format to djanes@us-jf.org with the subject line:  Elgin Heinz Application.  Please also check the Foundation’s website at http://www.us-jf.org for updated information regarding application procedures.

Marilyn is my first friend.  I’ve know her probably since I was born.  We don’t keep in touch like we used to, but she has been so excited about me being here.  In fact, she has a co-worker ( Frances) who is from Taiwan and she put us in touch with each other.  Frances contacted me immediately, giving me email addresses and phone numbers of people I should contact here and offering to help me as much as she can.  She’s been in Toledo for 3 years and is still having trouble adjusting, so she can imagine my plight.  Now, she speaks English quite well and has a great job so don’t you wonder why she would still be having a problem adjusting?  Yeah, she may from time to time miss the food and the daily nuances of life.  But there is so much more of Taiwanese culture that I’m sure she’s missing!  People here are so tremendously hospitable!  If I ask someone for help, they will go overboard to do whatever it is that I need.  If we ask how to get to a store, we will be taken there.  If we need to buy something, it might be given to us.  We have to be careful what we wonder aloud about because it will be seen as a request and I dare not complain!!!  If I did, a community of people will work together to solve the problem.  There are no secrets and folks do not act independently.  It quickly became obvious to us that what we were just mentioning to one person was quickly shared with everyone.  While we value privacy, others value community.

You can really tell what a country values by what they put on their currency.  You know what’s on one of the bills here?   A image of a group of children looking at the globe, learning about the world.

How deeply a foreigner is accepted into this community depends entirely on the individual, how much of Taiwan they’re willing to accept and how much they’re willing to open up and offer. I don’t know if we really realize how much we do on our own in America.  How independent we are.  We have such a strong sense of individualism!   I don’t know that we realize how gracious people are to us in other countries.  They do so much to help strangers!  I don’t speak Mandarin, but the people here go out of their way to communicate with us!  Shouldn’t I be the one making the effort to communicate?!  People in other countries will invite Americans into their homes, help them on the street and do whatever they can to help.  If the teachers at my school cannot reach us by phone, they come to our apartment and wait for us!  They’ve supplied my kitchen with cooking utensils and keep asking about what we like to do to keep us entertained.  They’re amazing.

So, are you beginning to see what Frances is missing?  In three years in Toledo, she hasn’t managed to find any sense of home.  It sounds like adjusting to life in the US is far more difficult than adjusting to life overseas.

I accidentally posted this to my other blog!  I think it’s worth putting it where it belongs!

Life’s Adventure

October 12th, 2007 · No Comments

Two weekends ago, Kristen and I met Mary.  She is widowed, with three adult children.  Mary used to teach jr. high Engligh, now she helps out in her daugther’s bushiban (cram school) which is very near the school where I teach.  We visited with Mary for a little over an hour last night, then left to find dinner.  It wasn’t  really late, but it was dark.  Because of our nearness to the equator, we get 12 of dark, 12 hours of light and it gets dark early.  Have I mentioned that people drive crazy here?  There are no sidewalks, so we walk in the street, sharing the lane with bicycles and scooters.  Though it may be naive on my part, I consider this somewhat safer in daylight hours.

So, I just wasn’t up to the walk to Carrefour that we had planned–we still haven’t made it to Carrefour!! (The thing is, there’s  a McDonalds in Carrefour.)  So, we began walking along the exercise trail to our usual evening destination.  I noticed a very interesting little place; Kris says we’d seen it before.  I suggested walking closer to see if there were pictures of food, or any English on the menu, but Kris misunderstood me and went inside!  Next thing I know, we’re sitting at a table and a waitress is attempting to take an order.  We gave our over-used-to-the point-of-perfection ^SHRUG^ letting her know that we don’t know any Chinese.  She disappeared to the back of the restaurant while her colleagues stood there, helpless and hopeless.  She comes back to our table with a two sided English menu! which helped Kristen order the most delicious chicken and cheese dish and me a nice vegetarian noodle dish.  My meal ended with a delcious iced hazelnut latte and Kristens with a Sprite, topped with a scoop of ice cream.  During the dinner, we had a carafe of water, flavored with a hint of mango and the drinks we ordered were served after the meal.  Kristen considered sending her Sprite back–an ice cream scoop in a sprite???  Good thing she didn’t because the whipped cream was fresh and wonderful and the vanilla ice cream!  OMG!!!  It was yummy!!

So, sometimes, you have to go blindly on faith.  Accept the path on which you’re adventuring.  Let the wind fill your sails and accept the blessings that come your way!

 

unknown fruit

fried bird eggs

pedicab ride

fruit and cereal!!!

inside the dream mall


ferry ride across the harbor

After a 20 minute train ride, Kris and I met Carolyn (Kansas) and Rosezina (Michigan) at McDonalds at the train station in Kaoishoung.  We all work in different cities in the southern part of Taiwan and had originally planned this outing for the previous weekend. Carolyn and her dad graciously provided rooms for this celebration weekend and since I was the birthday girl, I got to decide what we were going to do!  After checking into the hotel, Kris and Rose mapped out our routes and we caught a taxicab to the Kaohsiung Museum of History where we explored how Kaohsiung got its name and its role during the Japanese occupation.  Two of us got to be “Mayor for the Day of Kaohsiung City”.  We received a personal guided tour from one employee who had a lot of civic pride, history, and information about Kaohsiung City as well as a wonderful grasp of English spoken with a Japanese accent. Next, we took a short bus ride to the seaport area where we took a ferry boat from the Hsitzuwan Bay to Cijin Seaside Park and beach. We walked along the shops and street vendors where we saw more seafood, vegetables and fruits than we could recognize.  Without a doubt, the selection of seafood was the most amazing we’d seen!

Next, Kris and Rose selected a path that led us to the  Star Tunnel located at the foothills of the Cihou Fort and its lighthouse. After walking through the tunnel, we had a wonderful view of the harbor and the Taiwan Strait. The entire time we were at the beach area, dive boats and helicopters circled the area.  We don’t know if it was a practice drill or if someone was indeed missing. 

Close to sunset, we returned by ferry to the Love River area. We didn’t stay to see the sunset because we would have to walk though the tunnel in the dark if we had done so.  We really regretted a rare opportunity to see a Taiwanese sunset!  

We took a taxi to the Dream Mall, where we ate dinner at TGI Fridays!!!!  Oh so good….We decided to see a movie Ang Lee’s new movie.  It was a deep movie, very moving, and thought provoking, and it was quite interesting to see this movie with an Asian audience.

Our Sunday was spent at a HUGE department store in the downtown area.  It was still early in the and many stores had not yet opened. 

 Kristen had watched a show on the travel network about this city and share with us that it is the largest port and second largest city in Taiwan and one of the top five container ports on the world.  Chances are if you’ve bought something that traveled through this part of the globe, it went through Kaoishoung.  The population is close to that of New York City’s.  Most people who come to Taiwan stay up north and they never make it to any of the attractions down here in the south.  They say Kaoishoung is an ugly, industrial city.  It reminds me a lot of Tokyo and I really enjoy the opportunity to travel there!  We hope to make it back in a few weeks for a performance at the Culture Center. 

Rose, thanks for the details I blatantly lifted from your email to help me compose the entry!!

We went to Kaoishong this past weekend to hangout with Rose and Carolyn. This is the second largest city in the country (one of the largest seaports in the world) so there’s a lot to do there!

fireworks.jpg

This morning was yet another bleak, overcast day.  Another day we have not seen the sun.  There have been a couple of sunny days here, but I don’t think it was clear enough even on those days to see the sun or the blue sky.

As I walk to school, I am usually passed by parents and grandparents bringing their children to school in cars or on scooters.  Some older children walk to school alone or with a friend.  There are a couple of breakfast stands near the school and I often see the familiar bright yellow cap of my student’s uniform on the head of some students fueling up for a day at school. 

If I arrive before 7 am, the first sight I see is a group of mainly women doing their aerobics! If I am after seven, a couple of the ever faithful participants will be having a lingering conversation.  While I have no idea what they talk about, they remind me of friends I’ve exercised with who I see everyday, yet everyday we talk on and on about so many differnt things! 

Around the corner, there are older adults who have paired off to volley a birdie.  I see the same women everyday hitting that birdie back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.  There is no net.  There are lines on the ground, so they typically stand about the same distance apart each day.  Their aim is incredible as they keep hitting back and forth back and forth to their partner. One will eventually miss and they will begin again.  Are they keeping score?  Timing themselves?  I have no idea.  I do know they always break a sweat and I do know the strength required to hit that birdie back and forth doesn’t just come from their arms; its a total body movement.  The women make this daily activity looks so simple that it is easy to ignore the stamina and precision required of them!

I lug myself up two flights of stairs and unlock my classroom to begin another day.

In August, 2007 I will be leaving Indianapolis with my daughter, Kristen, to live and work in the Republic of China (Taiwan). This will be my fiftieth year on this planet and my first year living in another country. This blog will let you join us on the adventure!
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Taipei

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