Friday January 27th, 2006

Three more sleeps until a 530am pickup to the airport. Cambodia is going to prove to be an interesting trip. I think it's time to step outside my world and see where I'm at and what I'm looking for to come. It's so easy to get lost in daily activity. I could easily get lost in the world of Taiwan, but this isn't it. There are so many other places. Cambodia will either give me that push to think about moving on, or that feeling of not being quite ready to move on. Both ideas kind of scare me. I suppose that's good though ... means I'm still alive!

I went to check out about that job today ... the kids looked quite young, like 3ish and the lady wasn't even there. I left my number, but it's a bit farther than I think I want to travel and I just don't think I'm willing to commit. I like having my mornings to myself ... I need to focus on getting back in shape this year and Chinese ... a part time job is going to interfere. Money or time? Money or time? Tough call.

Levi is sitting right in front of me, as per usual, staring at me as I type. I can't help but think about how much I'm going to miss the little guys while I'm gone. Brother J will be taking them for the two weeks ... I hope they don't drive him nuts! I have to wonder what I will do with them when (I hope) I go back to Canada for one month in August. I suppose I have a few ideas floating around. I'm not sure I can imagine ever giving them up. I've thought about travelling through India with a backpack and two cat carriers on either side of me ... oh boy! It is going to put a different light on travelling.

I can't wait to warm these bones up ... I hate winter. It's not that it's been overly cold here ... but it's been wet ... and I have to wear pants and sweaters and stuff ... even coats ... ugh. I want to wind up in a place where it's shorts and tanks year round. This cold is, just, nonsense. I searched the net for temps in Cambodia and it looks like it may rain but it's high 20's to low 30's ... I can deal with that!

Our school has hired a new head teacher ... her English is quite good. She did an observation of my class the other day and thought I was very patient with the kids and that I was easily able to control them. She said she really enjoyed my class, that I allowed the kids to speak without correcting their mistakes which seems to give them the confidence to speak out. She seemed very impressed with my work. It did make me feel good about where I am and what I'm doing. Teaching can be a very funny thing. Some days, nothing can stand in your way and others ... well ... it can be a real challenge. Every day I'm here I feel more confident about what I'm doing.

With a cat in my lap and the heater on my feet, it hardly feels so bad. Three more sleeps and then I'm off to a world that is going to blow my mind ...

Tuesday January 24th, 2006

Cambodia ... Cambodia ... Cambodia ... I must take the time to quote the guy from 'Risky Business' .... 'sometimes you just gotta say, What the f%@#!' ... I dug and dug and I found a cheaper flight ... it's still not as cheap as I'd like it to be, but Mom made me remember one of my reasons for being here ... I want to see the world ... I can't pass up the opportunity ... one always has the ability to make money ... one doesn't always have the time for vacations! So, January 30th, 745am ... I will be finding myself on a flight to Cambodia! I'm going to run to the 3C to buy a bigger memory card for the digital camera .... keep your eyes posted! Cambodia, Cambodia, Cambodia ...

Monday January 23rd, 2006

Sadly to say, I think I have given up on my Cambodia trip. My travel agent hasn't gotten back with anything promising. A friend of mine has decided to tag along for one week and it seems that he got us some flights today, but the date coming back is too early and it's about $6000+ more than what I was originally quoted. That's a few hundred bucks, I'd say. If I really want to go badly enough I suppose the money shouldn't matter ... but to be honest, it kinda does matter. I'd like to take a month off in September to get back to Canada ... I have a lot of things to take care of.

Speaking of ... I'm having a sale ... the best kind there is ... free stuff. I need to get rid of my storage locker. I know I'm not going to reside in Canada for some time and it just doesn't make sense, financially. My parents are covering the costs now as they've moved my stuff to Victoria ... (thank you, thank you ... gosh I'm gonna owe you some money ... I hope you're keeping the receipts!) ... So, the catch ... the free stuff resides in Victoria. So, friends and family ... if anyone wants a piece of me, now is the time to get it ... giggle, giggle!

Anyways ... Cambodia ... I need to get there soon as I'm not sure I can begin to comprehend the daily development. Thailand changed so much within a two year span, it was shocking. Cambodia is the up and coming hot spot and I'm kinda kicking myself for not making it there in 2003. I must admit ... it was hard not to doddle my way through Thailand ... I was trying to hurry ... five weeks just wasn't enough.

I am going tomorrow to find out about that second job. It will put me at 30 hours a week ... about 5 more than I'd like to be teaching ... but sometimes you just gotta do it. Maybe, if all goes well with my new found job, I can sneak a Cambodia trip in around June ... gotta keep your dreams big ... cause you know, some of them just come true!

Sunday January 22nd, 2006

Another lazy, rainy Sunday in Taiwan. My winter camp starts tomorrow, so the days are going to be busy and long. Still no word on my Cambodia flight ... I am trying to remain positive that something will come up last minute. I am also trying to look at the positive side of remaining in Taiwan for the Chinese New Year ... there will be lots to do and I'll save a bundle of money! Although, my hope is to be hopping a plane this time next week.

It seems that I may pick up another teaching job. It would be for 10 hours a week ... M - TH's, 2.5 hours a day. Although I don't want to give up my ams, I really need to make some money over the next while. I am thinking about enrolling in school and that's not going to come cheap. I don't think September is feasible and I've actually thought studying in another country might be an idea. Perhaps ... India? Or China? Oh, the possibilities are endless!

On another note ... Brother J is moving back to the hammer. I was and wasn't overly surprised about his decision. I am, however, going to miss him terribly! He was a big part of my being here. He is going back with his girl, Spring ... do I hear wedding bells? Giggle, giggle!

I am off to 'their' house tonight for chili dinner ... yum. I remember as a kid I never really liked chili and it's actually been years since I've had it. I eat just about everything these days now, so I'm sure it will be delicious!

I have some homework to get done before I head off for dinner. Chapter 24, done!

Tuesday January 17th, 2006

I received my work permit from the labor board yesterday ... they have accepted me for a 3 year visa extension! I was at the police station today and due to the fact that my passport expires 09-07, it seems that my ARC will expire one day before my passport. It is my understanding that once I renew my passport I am able to return to the police station to validate my ARC for the remainder of the three years ... it's pretty exciting stuff! It's kind of a nice feeling to know that I have the next three years to decide what my next move will be.

I am, unfortunately, waiting on a flight to Cambodia. My flight agent has sent me an itinerary, although it has me booked on a Friday and Saturday departure. I've told them I'd like to pay for the ticket but they aren't interested in accepting my money as their systems are down and they can't confirm my seat. This is leading me to the idea that I, perhaps, don't have a seat?? They assure me I do, but it can't be paid for at this time ... hmmmm. Fingers are crossed!

The weather has been amazing this winter ... so much warmer than last. Recently it's been in the mid-20's ... not so bad for January.

I have winter camp coming up next week so it's going to be busy, busy, busy! I will be working in the am along with my regular pm classes ... which means a 7.5 hour teaching day. I will be working for 2 mornings at our Yonghe school ... that should be interesting ... it's been awhile since I've taught anything outside of my two classes!

Teaching English is a pretty neat thing. Mom sent me my transcript not too long ago ... it seems that English wasn't one of my better subjects. I laugh sometimes when I think about where I am and what I am doing. I wouldn't change it for anything though. I learn so much every day, it's an amazing thing.

I am studying Chapter 24 of my 25 Chapter Chinese textbook. That means I've studied about 500+ pages of Chinese ... that's about 1000+ characters I can read and speak. I find more and more that signs are beginning to make sense ... that advertisements on magazines are also beginning to make sense ... it's crazy. I've been considering language school as I think I am at the point where I just need daily conversation practice. I've been looking into costs ... now it's just a matter of time and motivation.

Well ... Levi is in my lap, purrrrring away like an angel ... she is one happy cat ... it's sickening. I think another episode of Desperate Housewives is in order before I call it a night.

Sunday January 8th, 2006

Happy New Year! (新年快樂 xin1 nian2 kuai4 le4) It's been awhile since I've written, so I thought I'd best put some words down. The new year is off to a good start ... very busy! (非常忙 fei1 chang2 mang2) I am currently awaiting my ARC. The policies have changed along the way so it's making it much more difficult for schools/foreigners to obtain them. My school has applied for a one month's extension for me as my paperwork won't be completed before my ARC expiry date. My school is, however, going to try and apply for a three year ARC so that we won't have to go through this process again for a long time. Fingers are crossed that all goes well.

So, in saying that ... Cambodia, here I come. I have a flight booked and am scheduled to leave on Saturday, January 28th. I will return to Taiwan on Saturday, February 11th ... 2 weeks exactly. I'm going to my friend's house today to borrow a Cambodia guide book so I can start planning out where I want to go. I have some ideas already, but a book with costs and times and maps will give me some more solid ideas.

A cold front hit Taiwan 2 days ago ... it's been about 10 degrees ... brrrr. I don't know what I'd do if I had to go back for a winter in Canada. (加拿大的冬天 jia1 na4 da4 de dong1 tian1) I am looking forward to some heat and sunshine in Cambodia. It is the dry season, so all should be good! Hope! Hope!

Well, I think that's all for now. It's early Sunday am ... it's cold in the apartment ... Levi is squished on the small space that sits between my computer and the edge of the desk ... her favourite spot to sit while I am on the computer ... her head rests on the top of my keyboard, blocking out the some of the top keys, which makes it a bit difficult to type sometimes. I push her head off, but she meows and puts her paw on my hand as if I'm trying to play, which makes typing even more difficult ... so head on the top of the keyboard it is. We know who runs the show over here!

Datsun is ... somewhere ... probably on the fridge ... that's where he usually hangs out. So, back to bed for me as it's only 730am. I love Sundays!