Sorry for the big gap between posts. I feel like I'm spending my life at school. I still haven't finished organizing the science room and am doing my planning mostly from scratch because of a new curriculum. Most weekdays I get to school at 7, come home for dinner at 6 and then go into the study or back to school till 11 or so. Weekends I've been going in too. I must admit I'm hoping things will fall into a bit more of a realistic routine so we can spend some time enjoying more of Taiwan.
But, here's what we have enjoyed. Isaac is living for youth group. Every Saturday we carpool the kids in to the city (only about 20 min away) to our church for youth. He attended a youth conference a week or so ago and just loved it.
Makena started saxophone lessons this week and is really excited. We were hoping to get her into a group lesson (cheaper) but she ended up with a private one instead. Her lesson actually takes place during the school day. Part of the role of the music teachers is to give private music lessons. We haven't actually attached the neck to the body. I think that's next week.
Last week we experienced our first morning market on scooters. About a 10 minute drive away in Dashe is a great morning market and it's the best place to get fruits and vegetables. However, the best part is this little stand that sells these amazing onion cakes. They're kind of like a pancake but eggier. You order it with egg and cheese, for 25 NT (about 80 cents) and it's the hottest, most filling amazing breakfast you could want. The market is super crowded with stalls, scooters, cars. Scooters are amazing because they're like cars on the street, zooming along, but then they'll be like pedestrians because someone will be riding their scooter right through the market or on the sidewalk. Pretty cool.
The market has every kind of fruit and veggie but also meat (cut up and portioned right in the open, dead chickens and ducks hanging everywhere, live fish flopping around. We found one fish that looked interesting and bought it for a couple bucks. Fortunately the guy beaned it for us and took out most of the guts and we took it home and cooked it. It was quite delicious.
Later in the afternoon we went for a hike with the Muirs. There's a beautiful hike only a few minutes drive away. It was quite steep and hot but beautiful. Along the way there are places to stop and do more exercise like hula hoop, chin ups, rappelling (down frayed ropes) and stretching. Apparently lots of people use it including very old but fit Chinese people. The cool thing is that you hike up and then at the end, there's a market to walk back through to get to your car. We stopped at Regan's favorite place where they serve this gelatin (made from a fruit). It's fairly tasteless, but they mix it with ice and then you pour this lemon juice and sugar stuff and then it's quite refreshing. We were pretty tired by the time we were done.
One challenging thing in our life has been my foot. It's been giving me quite a bit of trouble. Not sure what it is and have only gotten a bit of relief in the last few days. It was 8 days of pretty severe limping and constant pain. I went to a clinic one night. There was no line up and it cost me 150 NT (5 bucks), which they gave me back because he couldn't do anything for me and wanted me to go to the hospital, which I haven't had time to do. Please pray for me as it's quite frustrating. I had started a running program with a couple other guys, training for a half marathon in February. Sadly, I haven't been able to run for almost 2 weeks.
God has been very faithful to us here and provided us with many great people and opportunities. I'm really loving being a science teacher and getting to know the kids better. I blew up some sodium (on purpose) the other day and it was very cool.
Please send us an email and tell us how you are doing. You may also want to check out Makena's blog (www.asiamakena.blogspot.com). More from Janice later, about ghost month. We plan to go to the Lotus Pond after church tomorrow so you'll hear about that later too.