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The weeks are going by so quickly! Here it is another weekend, once again time for that deep, deep cleaning necessitated by the grimy environment of polluted air and water. Its so ironic that I see such a deep need for nature expressed through the placement of potted flowers and trees in front of every home and parks everywhere, yet rivers and streams are the color of mixed cement and smell like septic tanks. Ah, the cost of developing an economy!

I took a while to process last weekend’s events, and never took a moment to mention them here. I was scheduled to give a presentation for Pingtung County at my school on international teaching and Carolyn (Kansas) and Rosezina (Michigan) were kind enough to come and provide support. I looked forward to outlining education in the US and particularly discussing the role of media centers. Here, school libraries only contain books.

No technology and no staff.

Teachers staff the library when they bring their class and there is no librarian or media specialist to promote literacy, select books or provide instruction on research, finding information or developing presentations. Computers are only in the computer lab and computer skills are taught in isolation.

So, I wrote a nice little presentation and developed a Powerpoint with some nice photos to add a few visuals to spice up my talking. (Vernon sent about 30 current photos from AHS and I was able to create a very nice Powerpoint!) I was pleasantly surprised when the Taiwanese teachers on the program mentioned the public and school libraries they visited on their tours of Australia and Singapore respectively, providing a nice opening to what I was able to report. They were quite impressed by the libraries they saw and the important services they provided to schools. I hope I am able to provide more information on this important topic and maybe, maybe influence even the slightest of changes.

After the program, we went looking for a new Caves bookstore. These are stores that exist in Taiwan mainly to provide books for English language instruction. We walked a little further than we expected (which was fine because we found a great new restaurant!) but eventually found the bookshop which couldn’t be more than a month old. Can you imagine the heaven I was in to smell the newness and the books??!!! They don’t necessarily have the newest of selections, but when you consider I’m in little Pingtung where I never expected to find a single book to purchase in English, you have to realize what a wonderful place this is! They really do have a large selection of children’s books, many of which I hope to purchase to enhance my teaching. And there are many paperbacks for adult reading as well!

All that having been said, I think my download of “Men in Trees” is about done and it’s time to scoot!! Yes, I have to find random websites all over the web to ‘watch television’. The network sites only work inside the US!! I find that one of the little things I miss (and it’s really only little stupid stuff that I really miss!) is the regimentation provided by nightly television shows.

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The sky has been overcast for days and the heavy layer of clouds has really caused it to be quite humid.  This morning when I first woke, I was able once again to see the mountains, however, clouds (pollution?) quickly gathered and hid the view once again.  The humidity is milder, due to a thinner layering of clouds.  I suppose the clouds have lingered from a nearby tropical storm system. There is another storm system that looks like it will hit the northern part of the island.  During the last typhoon that hit the north, we were affected with heavy winds.  I don’t know what to expect this time.

This is a somewhat shortened day.  It’s Wednedsay.  Students are out of uniform and only here until noon.  Then, its staff meetings until 4:30 pm.  While I am excused from most of them due to a general inability to understand anything on my part, I am expected to stay and work on lesson plans.  Not too much to expect! 

Not sure what we’ll do for dinner this evening.  We still have a lot of cleaning to do to the kitchen before we’re comfortable using it.

Which reminds me… we were in a local store (NOT a 7-11) which is somewhat like a grocery store and we were looking for something to kill crawling pests.  We found this box. 

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We didn’t know if we should buy it just in case, or if perhaps something was missing in our limited translaiton.

We have found one restaurant we particularly enjoy.  One of the people there speaks English and we’ve become familiar enough with the menu to be able to order.  They have delicious chicken rolls which are made of diced chicken, cilantro, mayannaise and lettuce rolled inside a fried wrapper.  There is also a delicious chicken dish which I cannot describe, a fried flat bread and hot pot.

Pingtung has steamed buns which can be filled with a variety of meats and or vegetables, but they’re very soggy-soft and a bit sweet.  Vendors on the street have been good for fried chicken wings, fried potatoes, grilled fish, grilled mushrooms and some other fatty type meat that is also grilled.  Kris had hoped she found a nice fried fish when I bought the wings.  She was curious about the shape, but the inside did kinda look like fish.  Well, we’re pretty sure it was octupus. She didn’t care for it because it is very chewy!

Do you notice I’m mentioning a lot of fried foods and few fruits and veggies?  I really hope Dr. Karimi isn’t reading this!!

I am going to a nearby fruit stand to get some pomelo and maybe bananas.  Pomelo is like a dry, less tart grapefruit.  We’re staying away from fruits like grapes and apples with thin skin.  Although we’d been told we can drink the water here, we cannot.  I don’t think locals who can afford not to will drink the water here. 

I got my ARC card this past week (like a yellow card) so, we’re getting Internet tonight.  This weekend, we’ll be traveling somewhere to celebrate the 5-0!!

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I’ve uploaded photos of our apartment on Flickr.  You can access them by clicking the Flickr box on this blog.  The above photo is a view from our front balcony.  Don’t get too excited:  seeing the mountains was a rare treat.  I had been here over a week before I saw them!

 We went walking last night and found a restaurant that we’ll be going back to this evening for chicken rolls.  Dinner was getting to be quite a challenge!  We actually found this restaurant on Tuesday when we wondered in and had a hot pot.  I couldn’t even tell you what we had yesterday, other than the fact that it was delicious.  One of the ladies who works there speaks English quite well.  Unfortunately, she wasn’t there either time we were trying to muddle through the menu.  The first time we went, we actually called our friend Leah on the phone to translate for us.  We were desparate!  Everything was in Mandarin and there were no photos!  The phone’s battery died in the middle of the conversation and we did the best we could do with the hot pot.  Kris enjoyed the meal so much that she thinks we should go back and just randomly point our way through the entire menu!

After dinner, we walked further down the street (a street we quite often visit) and found several other restaurants with promise.  We also found a total of three wonderful bakeries on the street.  You walk in these places and just smell the butter! We probably gained back every pound we had lost from walking, but the pastries were a nice treat.  From now on bakery visits will be limited to one day on the weekend.  Maybe Saturday this week since I’ll have to work on that 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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Chikky Soup Meets Stinky Tofu by Edi Campbell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
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Taipei

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