Monday, September 29, 2008

typhoon ho!

So there's been a serious Typhoon here the past few days, for some reason the last typhoons to come were all on the weekends. It sucks. This one apparently was the strongest of the year, they said in the newspaper that it was equal to a class 5 hurricane. It felt like it too! All day today and Sunday, we were just stuck inside. I ventured out a few times to pick up food and go to Blockbuster, but almost got blown away in the process. Good news though was that all of my classes for today got canceled! It's far there's been about 4 days when I've gotten off from work because of Typhoons. The problem is that I can't really do much (me and my roommate were planning a nice long hike yesterday but that got canceled quick), except sit inside and watch DVDs. ....its a little boring. But it beats roughing it in the streets of Taipei, my roommate showed me this video from the's the storm in all it's glory. Enjoy!

Friday, September 26, 2008

No news is good news

My posts have been sporadic, for that I apologize...been pretty busy lately. Work is going great...I've got a good report with all my classes. There's this one Adult English class that has great energy and is a lot of fun. There are twenty students in the class and maybe 17 of them are girls between the ages of 20-25, but these girls are sooo painfully shy. I've noticed in Taiwan that people don't like to talk in front of a big group. Only the most outgoing students will begin to talk. I try breaking the ice by telling embarrassing stories about myself. For example last week we were talking about relationships, and parents and I brought in an embarassing picture of me as a 3 year old wearing a red bow tie and black and white shoes, and blue shorts. I brought questions for tehm to answer and one was "Would you raise your children like your parents raised you?" So I said I would NEVER dress my kid like that. They all laughed and enjoyed it but still wouldn't talk by themselves in the large class.
I try to infuse all of my lessons with humor, I think teaching is great because you have the freedom to bring your own personality into your workplace everyday, and for me using humor just comes naturally, I find in my adult conversation classes a bit of self deprication helps the students feel more comfortable..........sometimes though its still hard to get them to speak. But when we have a good funny class going on it's great. I don't follow the book the school gives me but I think they still learn and as long as they have a good time....that's all that really matters..

I'm always happy, and hope my students can be as well!

As I said went stream racing last weekend so much fun. That's what life should be about...nature, challenges, the company of good friends; I plan on doing things like that more often here.
I'm getting close to the Marathon, November 1st, my training hasn't been as intense as it should be. I'm actually a little nervous about finishing it. I gotta up my mileage before the big race. I know once I get out on the course, no matter how tough it is I'll finish it....but still gotta put in some solid 15 milers before then...this next week will be training training training....

Watching the economic downturn is a bit unnerving, I think I left just in time.
Gonna go hiking this weekend with my roommate and maybe some other friends.....probably all day Sunday, it sucks that I really only have one day of free time to chill and hang out on Sunday. I talk to other teachers who have been here a few years and their weekends are so boring. I can't imagine not making the most of every minute of free time...cliche as it is life is too short, I've learned it can be gone in an instant.....that's why I always think I have a great out look and tons of energy.....I plan on taking what I've learned here and translating it to my life whenever I get back to NYC.
My parents and sister and brother were talking about coming here over Christmas, I hope they can make it out, it'll be my first Christmas away from family so it'd be good to have some semblance of my old life here!


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

stream racing

Been a while since the last post...just been super busy as of late. But everything's goign well, getting into a groove teaching wise, meeting and hanging out with some new and cool people....

Sunday I went on this crazy stream racing trip in Wu Lai, not too far from Taipei, we basically climbed UP the rapids in this river and then did some crazy jumps off 4 story bridges into the river...anyway will write more about it later but for those interested or very bored at work I updated my picasaweb photos:


Friday, September 5, 2008

A wee bit Nostalgic...

I don't care how old you are, getting a letter from you're grandfather when you are halfway around world, will always make you feel warm. Plus I also got a care package from my parents....
it included A new Pair of Asics running shoes, Some running socks, a letter from Stuyvesant Alumni association and some newspapers from NY
Even though it wasn't much it still made me think a little about home...
I miss my family and friends a bit. They say that when you move abroad the third month is usually the toughest, things aren't new anymore, the first two months maybe u get to try all these new things, explore a whole new city, meet tons of new people, there's an excitment, an electricity to's enthralling, and thrilling....
BUT after about that time, you do all the touristy things, you've tried all the food, maybe u have been to all the cool places...the things that were once exciting and fresh slowly begin to morph into normal, even mundane events. For instance I thought that getting milk tea at the local stand on my corner every morning was great. Now it's just what I do in the morning- I get some milk tea. I have a rhythm, I take the same bus to class everyday...teach the same lessons to the kids and adults.... maybe the lack of food or language is starting to get under my skin....

I agree with this assessment about the third month being a bit more slow and not as exciting. And it just so happens that the third month also corresponds with September, it's a tough time for my family and pretty much all of my friends back in NY; so this only compounds the situation..
There's no need to get into details on this blog, but sufficient to say, this time of the year is always very difficult for most of the people I'm close with....for varying reasons, but it's especially tough for my family...
I have been thinking more about people back home recently. Being so far away from them all makes me feel as though I've been terribly selfish, coming here like this; on a whim almost. Especially because we're all so close. Luckily I've been busy with work as of late so my mind has been kept occupied. Anyway it's not all karoke bars, crazy adventures, and night markets...moving abroad all by myself, with no language abilities and no family near by is a daunting task for sure. The good has been outweighing the bad as of late, but there are occasional bouts of homesickness....and interestingly enough I usually find that they follow really incredible, fun, adventurous, or exciting times.... Not sure if that's a normal reaction or if it says something about my psychological make-up, but I do find that I feel little bouts of homesickness after usually having an awesome night/day or whatever....not sure why. I'll look into the research about it. Try to figure that out...

I know I paint a pretty rosy picture of this adventure, but sometimes its soooo challenging I really don't know how to deal with it..... Just have to tough it out. There are worse things than homesickness.
I do enjoy getting letters so if anyone is bored and wants to spend 70 cents...write me a letter:
Brian Viani
South Fuxing Road, Section 2, Lane 148,
Apartment # 37 4th Floor,
Taipei Taiwan (Republic of China)

Also... since I've been here a while I think I use less that strange? I think just talking people who don't speak English pretty much 24/7, I have to slow down how I speak so that people will understand way I do this is by not using contractions...but then I sound ridiculous...
I love contractions...gotta get them back in my life...I'm gonna get eaten alive back in NY without contractions. I'll never get anything done.