Saturday, June 21, 2008


It's all over... we survived.... Saturday was graduation for the basic reading and 6th grade classes. All of these pictures are courtesy of Steve or Mary since I don't have a camera anymore.

The kids performed both Chinese and English musical numbers for graduation. This dragon dance was awesome.

These are our youngest kindergartners Oscar, Dream, Yvonne, and Sky. They are so cute- we can't get enough of them. Yvonne can't stop giggling whenever she sees Joseph and's hilarious.

We love our kindergartners...

Here's Stanley as the cutest bunny rabbit I've ever seen. He still likes to tell me, "I don't want sit by you!"

These are Joseph and Laura's cute kindergarten basic readers. The amazing Mr. Joseph actually choreographed most of the song and the kids love it. It's fun to watch how much they get into the song.

We took this picture of my basic reading class just before we realized they were performing next and no one had their dwarf costumes on. Somehow we got everyone dressed and made it just in time!

They sang and danced to Whistle While You Work with brooms and mops. This is Sunny in her dwarf costume.

Here's my class waiting to get their diplomas.

The last number was put on by all of the teachers...but we don't have any pictures of it. We acted out the song, The Lion Sleeps Tonight and Steve was the Lion. The kids loved it.

I don't think I've ever seen Chris (a student in my Basic Reading class) display very much emotion... but after graduation he was really crying. The thought crossed my mind that maybe he got in trouble and was actually crying over some corporal punishment inflicted on him- but his parents said he was really sad and asked me to take a picture with him. It just amazed me that he was this distraught over school knew?

This is Peggy- another one of my students who graduated on Saturday.

There is a wall at Berhan that has the pictures of each group of teachers that have come here. This is the picture that will be posted on that wall at Berhan to be viewed for years to come by future Berhan teachers.

After graduation, we all went out to eat a huge Taiwanese meal courtesy of Frances and Gerald (the owners of the school).

This is Fennie- one of the new secretaries this semester. We loved getting to know her and hate saying goodbye. She's a lot of fun.

Gloria and Peggy are two more secretaries who work at our school. The amazing Gloria took time out of her busy schedule to show us how to make dumplings...they were sooooo good! She is amazing!!!

We've had a fun weekend reminiscing, packing, having a huge potluck with whatever was left of the food in the kitchen, and playing murder in the dark on the top floors of our building. Tomorrow we're off on our ten day trip around Taiwan and then it's another ten days in Thailand. I'll be home July 15th. This six months went by so fast...I just hope I survive the separation from this awesome family we've become. We've had way too much fun here... the next 3 weeks are going to be long as we don't get rained out...typhoon season is here...

Monday, June 16, 2008

My 33rd Birthday!!!

So I went to the beach last weekend and somehow didn't make it home with my camera... I don't know what's wrong with me but I can't stop losing things...first my Ipod, now this... I have no pictures of the beach or our trip to the water park last week. Luckily, Steve took a ton of pictures of my birthday and I managed to drag the celebration out for three days.

I'll start with Friday: the day before my birthday. This is a typical scene where we're sitting and talking around the table at lunch just before class (we're all matching because we gotta' wear our Berhan shirts every Friday).

I made these "swimming pool" cupcakes to give to my classes to celebrate my birthday.

For some reason, people here don't like a lot of sugar in their desserts but it seems like they put sugar in everything else that you wouldn't normally want sweetened like beans and soup and mayonnaise. After eating these cupcakes, my kids asked me why Americans always use so much sugar. Wow...really? Kids that don't like sugar...

Friday night, I waited 'till midnight to open my birthday package from my family:

My awesome mom sent all kinds of fun party favors... princess party hats, rings, a pin the tail on the donkey game, balloons, and these awesome rhinestone and gold grills:

Saturday: My Birthday!

We met our students at the movie theater and went to see Prince Caspian. We all wished we had our cameras but no one no picture.

It rained all day so instead of going out to eat that night, we decided to order pizza and blend up some fruity mocktail drinks...


Joseph (president of the birthday committee) designed an amazing card for my birthday...even though the idea for the card came from his need to ridicule these camouflaged shorts I own.

I even received this camouflaged shirt and a camouflaged sewing kit so that if I ever want to disappear in the jungle...I'm completely equipped...

We were all too full of pizza, mocktails, and s'mores to eat birthday cake so we saved it for Sunday after church:

Jessica (the culinary artist) made THE MOST amazing almond, coconut, and mango cake! It was fabulous!!!

The celebration culminated in a rousing game of pin the tail on the donkey.

Every body keeps telling me 33 is going to be a great year...but I don't know how it could possibly beat 32...

We're winding down now and getting ready to leave. This is our last week of teaching and next Monday we're headed off on a ten day trip around Taiwan. Then it's another ten day trip to Thailand before we fly home. I'm sad because Jessica has decided to stay another six months and I'm feeling a little jealous that she is staying and I'm not...but on the other hand, I'm excited to get back to America where everything is familiar and I can read signs and labels and actually communicate with people.

Case in point: How in the world do you find fabric dye in a place where you can't read or speak the language? In America, this would be no problem, but here, finding just about anything can be a struggle.

I wanted to do tie-dye shirts with my class to wear for the Olympic events we're having this week. I actually got my kids to bring in t-shirts...but when I looked for dye in the stores, I couldn't find it...I have no idea if they even sell it here and I don't even know where to look. Some stores have a craft section but I haven't been able to find any kind of fabric dye. So, I resorted to dying the shirts with food coloring...unfortunately, the food coloring will probably bleed and turn all my sweaty little students into Smurf' much for that idea...I tried...

Sunday, June 1, 2008


Okay- I lied...I might still make time to post a few more blogs...I lost my hair gel in Taipei last week and have spent the week trying to cope with frizzy Taiwan hair resulting from the really wet weather here- it's typhoon season. Yesterday we went to Lukang. It was raining and my hair frizzed out of was so bad, Steve pointed out that my hair looked like the crazy girl on the billboard above me...that's nice.

I had never been to Lukang before so Steve and Joseph played tour guide. This video is long but it shows the level of quality they put into the tours they give...

We each bought one of these lanterns from this famous lantern painter.

This wooden shoe place is awesome: You pick out the color you want, they fit it to your feet and then they make your shoes for you right there.

I bought two pair.

The boys waited patiently while my shoes were being made. At one point, I looked over and they were staring at something with a look of shock and bewilderment on their faces...turns out they were looking at a little old lady and trying to figure out if she was a man or that really necessary?

Taiwan fashion at its finest...

I caught Steve red-handed with one of my fries hanging out of his mouth.

Sorry- this is gross but Steve said it needed to be documented and insisted on taking the picture. Last week I was running down the beautiful little bike trail that I love...enjoying the gorgeous trees and sunny weather...when I tripped and completely biffed it into the ground. After sliding face down on the pavement, I got up and thought...'wow- that was embarrassing- I'm surprised I'm not bleeding anywhere'...until I looked at my thumb. It was dripping with blood. I think the side of my thumb caught most of the weight of my fall because the skin was ripped off the whole side of my thumbnail- gross, I know...sorry. And my mom says scooters are dangerous...
I'm the one who's dangerous.