Okay, so it's bi-weekly. Sue me.
We're heading into the last week before Easter Break. For me it's a 3 day week (although I have to plan 5) because I'm heading to the Philipines with a bunch of other teachers, to take in a teaching conference. When I return, we're heading straight down to Kenting (beach) for a couple days at the Howard and our favorite, beach, and they we're heading up the east coast (probably the most beautiful part of Taiwan, to go Yurting with a bunch of other families. Then it's 9 long weeks till the end of the year, at which point, we'll be home for 6 weeks!!!! Yay!!!
The day after the last weekly post, I had the chance to head off to sea for the day on an ocean research vessel. I kind of invited myself aboard and they said okay. I had high hopes that we'd spend the day tagging whale sharks but instead we spend 15 hours sailing around collecting water and mud samples. While that was maybe not the most exciting thing to do on a ship, being out on the water on a beautiful day was awesome and I had a great time. There was lots of "sailing" time (which did not involve sailing as it was a motorized vessel) during which I listened to 7 sermons and read a very long magazine. Nobody spoke much English, but we managed to communicate a few things, including thanking the cook for 2 excellent meals (which were a little scary, when I saw all the tentacles). I would definitely take another opportunity to spend another day at sea.
Report cards have just come home and both kids continue to do well, which isn't always the case for teacher/missionary/white kids over here. Janice and I are pretty proud of the positive comments we receive about both of them. We're in the process of making some tough decisions regarding Isaac's schooling for next year so please pray for wisdom on that.
We've recently found that the harbour is a cool place to hang out. There's a cool artsy community down there where events often take place (like the Chinese character festival). We've gone down a couple of times and rented bikes (3 bucks a day) and ridden along the awesome bike path that follows the harbour. On our first excursion, with the kids, we ventured up the 85 building, which is the tallest in Kaohsiung, used to be the tallest in Taiwan until a few years ago, and is currently the 16th tallest in the world. Amazing view and one which I wish I'd seen when we first moved here because it really gives you a good overview of the city. We found a mini amusement park along the way and took in a few rides. We also rode past Pingu, a winter wonderland, complete with skating, sledding and snow (really fake looking and not inspiring at 35 degrees).
The second time we went, just Janice and I, we got to the 85 building again, hoping to explore further, when Janice got a flat tire. With the help of a very friendly Taiwanese business man, we phoned the bike company and he brought us a new one (pedaled it over himself, 40 min later) but that was all the time we had. Another day I guess.
One more event. A few weeks back, our school had Games Day, which is like sports day but all students, K-8 are on country teams and participate in real winner-loser events (yes, competition). My kids were on the Canada team, of course, but somehow I ended up captaining Team Malaysia (???) The kids made us all proud by winning the "Best Cheer" award, and Makena got a bronze medal in the distance run (who knew). Isaac didn't get to compete because the grade 9s were on helping duty.
The next month or so will prove pretty hectic for us. The day after the Easter break, I am leading worship for an all campus pro-d day (always stressful to organize), and then the following Monday, I head off with my grade 9s (Isaac included) to Kenting for snorkeling and a night spend at the aquarium sleeping with the whale sharks. 3 days later, Janice and I are leading a 30 hour famine for about 80 students. 30 hours without food or sleep. Sounds like a whole lot of fun:) I'll try to post from Manila. Later.