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Quick Update: Work and Play

January 13, 2010

A view atop Taipei 101, the world's second tallest building (after the very recent completion of the tallest building in Dubai). Jon and I climbed up to the 91st, when it was STILL the tallest!

I am very much overdue for an update on this blog and I am sorry to say this one will be rather brief.  I just wanted to let you know about a few of the activities that have been keeping me away from my blog.  I have been busy indeed!

As many of you know by now, I decided to continue living in Taipei, past my scholarship period of three months.  I wanted to keep learning Chinese, as I felt I had come so far along in my learning.  I was not quite ready to stop.  I found work as an English teacher in order to fund my costs of living and my Chinese classes.  I had trouble imagining myself as a teacher, but now I have become quite accustomed to leading a classroom full of students.  I teach at a language center, so my students include high school students, parents and retirees.  My students are all very kind and attentive, in fact, some have taken to feeding me special treats.  A nice perk to the job!

I haven’t been all work lately; I’ve also had a lot of playtime around Taiwan and even outside of Taiwan.  My brother visited me for ten days during the Christmas holidays, so we went attended concerts, visited scenic spots and ate at a host of restaurants around Taipei.  On Christmas day, we took the train to the center of Taiwan, to visit the geological wonder of Taroko Gorge, near the central city of Hualien.

Jon and I opening Christmas gifts and feasting on our favorite Taipei fast food, Mos Burger (delicious rice burgers)

A view atop a pavilion at Taroko gorge. Breathtaking scenery the entire day-trip!

Indulging in Dim Sum, a cantonese brunch specialty. Sooo good!

We had time to attend a traditional Chinese Opera and how could we resist posing with the actors. I think we have potential.

Enjoying the famous Xiao Long Bao (dumplings filled with savory meat) of the world renown Din Tai Feng Restaurant.

Promptly after my brother left, I set off for Bangkok with two Taiwanese friends to celebrate the New Year.  Bangkok was the perfect getaway vacation.  We indulged in two-hour long traditional Thai massages, shopped in labyrinth-like bazaars, and refreshed ourselves with fresh coconut juice drunk straight from the shell broken before our eyes.  All of this was enjoyed in sunny, summer weather (I think temperatures ran in the 30 degrees Celsius).  I also feasted on native Pad Thai and fresh seafood, like the renowned Curry Crab.

We used taxis and these traffic-defying accident prone tuk-tuks to get around Taipei. You immediately feel like an dventurer aboard one of these engines.

At the floating market, where you can row along miles of canals and shop, while never even leaving the boat. You can also buy food. I am enjoying my favorite Thai desert in this picture: Mango Sticky Rice!

Enjoying Thai seafood, including the traditional Curry Crab. We conquered most of it, although my belly was extremely full during the Thai massage, which was immediately after!

We also did the good tourist thing and visited important temples and palaces! Of course!

I couldn't resist to go into a McDonald and see what was different on the menu board. Worth it! If you wondered how Ovaltine stayed in business, it is all the craze in Thailand, where you can buy it not only at McDonalds, but a large number of street stands and tea shops.

An example of a typical Thai food stand. There are millions lining every street in Bangkok. You can buy fresh fruit, drinks, sausage, fish balls, Pad Thai and these whole grilled fish. I devoured one to myself, so delicious! And so inexpensive!

Now I am back in Taipei and I have returned to my work routine.  I am also applying to graduate schools and until I am done with this endeavor, I will likely be too busy for anything else.  However, I can never be just work, so I have been attending a class on traditional tea ceremony.  I am also looking into applying to the Mandarin Training Center (at National Taiwan Normal University) and am researching cooking and yoga classes.  I want to be able to reproduce traditional Taiwanese dishes for family and friends (and I hope to have you at my dinner table!) to enjoy the true tastes of this wonderful island.

On a final note, I will sporadically keep this block updated, so I welcome you to keep checking it out!  I hope you had a HAPPY NEW YEAR! And best wishes to all for this upcoming year of 2010!!!

A picture of me surrounded by the Bangkok skyline. We visited the tallest buildings in Bangkok, each of which has a glamorous sky bar, where you can lounge around, while sipping on a cocktail and enjoying the scenery/perfect weather (notice the summer JANUARY!)

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 28, 2010 1:05 pm

    post more!!!

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