Friday, April 24, 2009

A glimpse into my daily life

It's a beautiful day in Taiwan, warm, sunny cheerful. I thought I'd share my day to give an idea of what my daily routine is like. Despite what most people think it's not all booze and parties. You can definitely go that route as an English teacher we make enough money have few responsibilities that would make that life very possible. But I tend to value free time and relaxation. A big reason why I came out here was because I felt the hectic 9-5 working life (for no real purpose other than doing busy work) wasn't for me. Over the past few months however I've found myself getting sucked into the Taiwanese equivalent by working a ton of hours, at a few different schools. But recently I've dropped half my classes and now I finally have the free time I envisioned when I got on the plane back in June of 2008. Granted now I won't be making as much money, but money hasn't really ever been important to me. A friend of mine once astutely commented that all the money I make I spend right away. It's true. And the only reason I would want a lot of money is to travel...but back to the main daily routine....

Today typifies my daily routine and is a good example of why I came here in the first place.
7 am wake up. Shower, run (if I'm not feeling too lazy) put on clothes and the like. Then I walk over to my Chinese classes, about a ten minute walk, where I pretend I'm a good student from 8 to 10 and continually embarrass myself with my shitty Chinese pronunciations.

After class today I went to the park, relaxed, read a book enjoyed the amazing weather while to my right, about a dozen of some of Taiwan's cutest kids played while they were on a school trip. While equally as endearing, on my left, a dozen of Taiwan's cutest old folks practiced square dancing in the shade of Daan Park to the tunes of Billy Ray Cyress' Achy Breaky Heart. (they set up a little stereo and were following the lead of the teacher, the old folks not the kids). Really was a funny sight to see....a dozen elderly Taiwanese people (men and women) line dancing in the middle of the park. This is nothing unique though because for some reason elderly Taiwanese folks love going to the park here and practicing all kinds of random dances: the Tango, waltzes, square dances, ballroom dancing etc. I once even saw the Macaraha(sp?) Their dancing really is adorable.

After the park I went to my favorite vegetarian buffet (don't worry I'm still a serious carnivore, but this place has some damn good food) near my house. I sat down among more old people (it was 11 am ) and next to two monks. As an aside, monks here are EVERYWHERE. I mean everywhere....on the bus, in my Chinese school, in the MRT stations, in the park, in 7-11....the library. They're much more of a presence than priests of minsters back home. You don't really see priests walking around all that often in NYC although if you're in the right neighborhood, rabbis can be pretty prevelant on the streets.... They all (the monks that is) wear long gray robes, have shaved heads, prayer beads on their wrists and neck, sandals, a little pouch to carry their books and most of the time glasses. I don't care how long I've been here but seeing a monk anywhere still amazes me. I think it's so cool to jsut be sitting down and eating lunch next to two bespectacled devout monks.

After lunch I came back here a prepared for my kid's class. Since today is Friday we always do writing and then just play games. Gettign them to write is a chore but lately I've taken more time to prepare things for them to write about. Today for instance since we had been learning about deserts, I'm going to ask them to write about what they would do if they were stuck in the desert....then I'll play pictionary or Jeopardy with them...

After class I'll come back and just relax...
It's not a very glamorous life here, but I'm very happy, relaxed, calm, and making sure to enjoy every minute and appreciate the little things that are always happening around me. It's going to be hard adjusting to the hectic world of NYC when I head back (whenever that might be)


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