Monday, October 3, 2011

A Taiwanese BBQ!

This weekend, Boje and I went to our first ever Taiwanese barbeque! It was a staff party at my branch and I loved it. My branch has a “back yard” of sorts that leads to a small outbuilding occasionally used as a classroom. We arrived late due to some taxi problems (if you’re any good at hailing a cab in the dark on a busy road in Taichung, please tell me your secret) but were greeted immediately by happy people and the smoky smell of our dinner. We munched on pizza while we waited for my colleagues to expertly grill meat, wraps, and veggies on small portable units set up on the deck. We had a vegetarian grill as well as a pork-and-chicken grill going at the same time, and I must say both were very appealing! (Though after some night market scares I’ve learned my lesson about saying haphazard things like “I’ll eat anything if it’s slathered in BBQ sauce!”)

After we’d eaten our fill, they set up a table for Mahjong. Boje and I watched a few rounds and I’m really interested in learning to play! Before I do that, however, I’ve got to learn to read numbers in Mandarin. And learn how to keep a poker face. As it turns out, Mahjong is a lot like poker but with domino-like tiles instead. So interesting! I was tired from the cold that had been bugging me all week so we went home early, but I really enjoyed the whole experience!

The next day we went to Carrefour to find some sheets for our king size bed (which is smaller than a Western king size, but larger than a Western queen). If you’ve been following our blog, you’ll know all about the headache we’ve had trying to find sheets. Our first trip to Carrefour was a bust as we’d forgotten our notes about the mattress dimensions at home. The second trip was made solo by Brett so I could nurse my cold and migraine. He came home with a set of bedding but upon taking it out of the package we discovered the sheets inside were a size smaller than advertised! This time I went back with him and we triple-checked the bedding we exchanged before bringing it home! Success! And just in time for our first house guests! I think we’ll be pretty busy this week putting together an itinerary for our visit from Brett’s parents next weekend, but we’re both getting really excited to see loved ones from back home!

Today I was pretty sick and grouchy when I got to work but things really improved as the day went on! I made a pretty major breakthrough with the class who used to make fun of the way I talk. “Zach” and his posse have now learned that I will never understand what I’m doing wrong with his name and they just smirk instead of actually screaming and laughing. I even got a very sincere and sweet verbal apology from one particularly unruly student! On the flip side, another student smacked me right in the self-esteem with this little gem:

S: Teacher Amanda, today you look so terrible and so tired.
A: …
S: And why you breathe like that? Do you have asthma? Or are you tired from the stairs?
A: … I’m sick!

The kicker is that she's one of the kids who spent last week's class coughing and sneezing right in my face!

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