Well, we made it through the first week of school. That was probably the hardest and most stressful because of the number of unknowns. So as we start the second week, I'll give you a quick update on how we're doing and some of the interesting things we've noticed living here.
Isaac and Makena are both happy with their classes and new school. I think school here will be harder and a fair bit more work, but it will be good in the end. Both are happy with their friends. Isaac is already very involved with youth, many of whom go to his school. This weekend he was at a youth conference both Friday and Saturday nights and had an awesome time. He even managed to play electric guitar for the first chapel of the year (some of our goods arrived just in time for that).
We now have all our stuff, including the coveted Barista machine and I'm so glad. Taiwanese people do a lot of things right, from tea stands, to dumplings, to noodle shops to cheap aquarium fish (about 1/10 the price of home.....why would tropical fish be cheaper here???) but they aren't great with coffee, but I am :) One thing we really hope for is to be able to have some of our friends and family come here so we can show you around.
Oh and btw, we have water back. It's amazing what you take for granted.
Well, here are a few things we've noticed:
1. There are a lot of "things" out and about at night in the tropics. When I walk to school at night to go back to work (lotta 15 hour days so far), there's this thing I call the gauntlet. As you walk down this covered path toward the door, the motion sensor lights pop on for about 5 seconds and then go off (kinda like Get Smart walking down the hall to Control). Whenever a light pops on, you quickly scan for the icky night creatures before the light goes off and you can't see them to avoid them. So far I've encountered geckos, anoles and other lizards, frogs, toads, bats, wild dogs and the ubiquitous cockroach. As I walk home beside the school fence, in the dark, my peripheral vision catches all sorts of motion. I have a flashlight on my keychain but rarely use it....sometimes it's best not to know.
2. Taiwanese people here are amazingly friendly. Perhaps it's the novelty of white people but, for instance, Janice and I went for a walk down our road in the evening. There is a small village where a dozen or so families live. Everyone we passed seemed very excited to see us and say hi, especially when we tried our Chinese on them. This morning, on the way to church, as we pulled out of our complex, there were a bunch of workers by the side of the road. I waved to them and you should have seen the excitement as they waved back. People in shops are very patient and helpful even as we struggle with the language (can we really call it struggling when we don't know enough to struggle with :))
3. You can acclimatize to extreme heat and humidity: we're starting to back off on the air conditioning as we get more used to the heat and humidity.
4. Rules are not necessarily rules: especially when it comes to traffic rules, people tend to do their own thing on the road and you just need to go with it. People don't ever get mad but you always have to expect the unexpected. Scooters always have the right away, no matter what side of the road they're on or what colour the light is. Pedestrians, on the other hand, don't so don't stop to let them cross because they'll just stand there and wait for you to go. It's quite fun to drive but not as crazy as China.
5. Cockroaches are hard to kill: I think I'll start a show called Cockroach hunter. I've killed about 6 at school and we had one in the apartment last night. Hit 'em hard and keep hitting till they stop moving. Pretty tough.
6. Lost in translation: check out the food menu at school ( http://kaohsiung.mca.org.tw/lunch-menu-august.html ), especially August 21 and 28. The Creamy Bacon Italy Counter was quite yummy :) ??? I think they use a translator and sometimes pick the wrong synomym. We've done that too. Our friend wanted beef soup, thought he was saying beef but was asking for girl meat.....got lots of laughs.
That's the latest. Need to get back to work. Lots of late nights but I think things will level off in a few months. Staff retreat coming up in a month. We ALL (families included) get to go to Kenting (pronounced Kunding) which is the resort, good beach spot of Taiwan and stay in a nice hotel. Looking forward to that. We've been forgetting the camera lots but hopefully won't.