Assorted Thoughts at the End of the Semester
Grade 6 Graduation Ceremonies
I have a hard time with these. I know some of the kids and their parents love this tradition, but as an American I have a difficult time understanding it. Back when I finished elementary school, my teacher shook my hand and said, "Have a good summer." That was it.
In the Taiwanese elementary school where I work however, we suffer through a two-hour long graduation extravaganza, complete with awards, solemn speeches by local dignitaries, and tear-jerking Powerpoint presentations. It's all so ridiculously overblown, and by the end of it I always feel slightly nauseous.
Speaking of graduation ceremonies, tomorrow afternoon we also have a retirement ceremony for both the school principal and one of the first grade teachers. This is where I get to see coworkers cry, and I dislike it even more than the graduation ceremony. People say the fakest things during these events, and by the end of it I always wonder how anyone can possibly cry over someone they've barely spoken to in the last several decades. I like the two coworkers who are retiring, but these manufactured displays of emotion really bother me.
The World Cup
I know the odds are against me, but I'm rooting for Mexico. I always root for Mexico. I didn't see the Spain-Portugal game - which I heard was awesome - but I truly enjoyed the Mexico-Germany match. Mexico's win also negated the money already owed to a friend from another game, so I haven't lost any money on the World Cup yet. Mexico will likely beat South Korea this Friday, and that win should put them in the next round of games.
English Summer Camps
We're doing one in Hot Spring Elementary this year. The schedule's a done deal - basically a repeat of what we did last winter - and the whole thing should go fairly smoothly. The only hitch will be the weather. If it's hot we'll need to worry about the outside portions of the camp. If it's rainy we'll have to improvise other activities. Whatever happens, it's likely to be a sweaty three days.
My wife, my younger daughter and I are going to Bali for two weeks at the end of July. I've never been to Bali (or anywhere else in Indonesia) before, but I'm expecting a fairly tourist-friendly environment. I really don't want to plan for this trip. I'd like to keep what we do there as open and relaxed as possible.
I'd really like to get to the Matsu Islands sometime this summer. I want to go there even more than Indonesia. It seems like an odd destination, and I don't know anyone who's been there. I'm not 100% sure I can make it over, but I'm sure going to try.
Next School Year
Did you know that the next school year will be my ELEVENTH in this school? Yes, I've been teaching here for a solid decade without interruption. That's life I guess. Ten years seems like a long time when you're viewing it from the other side of 2008, but in 2018 I can't believe how fast it all went by.
Speeches in Taipei
After I get back from Bali I'll be giving a presentation to the incoming Foreign English Teachers (FETs) in Taipei. The topic I was given is "Classroom Management and Co-Teaching Strategies." The money's nice, but left to my own devices I probably would've chosen a different topic. I already have the schedule for the FET Orientation, and it is unrelentingly serious. I'm sure the people in Taipei would disagree with me, but I think an almost solid day of lesson plans and associated academic exercises would fry anyone's brain.
Two of my friends almost go into a fight last weekend. What is it about tequila? Someone drinks it, hears a mostly harmless comment, and the next thing you know a fight is about to happen.
Finally ate at the Gaya Hotel last weekend, and man did we get FANCY. With the aid of meal tickets, all four of us ordered the steak meal, priced at 1080 NT a person. I even ordered a glass of wine. Was it worth the money? Well, I'm not a big eater of steak in the best of times, and we weren't always able to identify what we were eating. I'd like to tell you it was awesome, but I'm still not sure?
I have this friend whose wife hails from a country other than Taiwan. Often we'll get beers, and he'll start in on how women here "have no asses." I think such talk is unfair to the women of Taiwan, and overlooks an important social reality. Plenty of women in Taiwan have what Western men would think of as a "great ass," but 9 out of 10 aren't putting their backsides on public display.
Why? Because it's not part of the local idea of beauty. Check out any fashion magazine or TV show. Peruse one of the men's magazines on local newsstands - very few big bums. Taiwanese women with that particular feature aren't usually the ones wearing tight pants and short skirts; more often than not they're concealing it rather than showing it off.
People Who Can't Hold Their Liquor
Have you met one of these people that switch personalities after the third or fourth beer? That gets weird. I don't know about you, but I tend to get mellower the more I drink, and the reverse has almost never happened. If you're the kind of person who turns into the Hulk after three beers, you might consider the fact that you have some emotional shit you need to work out, and that drinking is not a good way of approaching that problem.
Speaking of Liquor...
Whatever happened to that TTL leechee wine they used to sell everywhere? I loved that stuff.
I've been using Reddit a lot more lately. I've been using it for years off and on, but I'm only now begining to understand the advantages of Reddit over other online platforms. I still use Messenger quite a bit, but I (still) have the feeling that Facebook proper is dying a slow death. If you're looking for another online community about Taiwan, you might check out r/Taiwan.
Still no cheese sticks at Sam's Burger. I heard (somewhere) that the root cause was Costco not selling them anymore. Apparently most of the restaurants in Taiwan selling cheese sticks were buying them there. The foreign community has been struck particularly hard by this dearth of cheese sticks, and hopefully this cheese stick shortage crisis can be resolved in the near future.
What I'd Do If I Wasn't at Work
I'd take another nap, because the one I tried to have in the back room behind the Curriculum Office just wasn't happening. After that I'd probably watch a movie. I have a movie at home, In Bruges, which I've heard is pretty good.
What's Going in Taitung City and County Townships/Municipalities 台東市,鄉,鎮最近動向 4
My Lesson Plan for Next Year
Stuff That I Like 我喜歡的一些東西
"Lamay Island" 小琉球 / 琉球與