Flying High ...

I woke up very calm on Tuesday morning. The days prior had left me with feelings of anticipation, nervousness and excitement, to name a few. Ready or not, it was time!

I was up and out early. The flight to Bangkok was with China Airlines. Many people complain about their services but I found the flight to be quite pleasant. I scored three seats to myself and was able to stretch out for the three hour trip. My only complaint would be the Christmas songs they played upon our arrival. It was thirty-one degrees and I had to listen to 'Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow' ... no, thanks!

I had to make an international transfer and it quickly seemed that I was leaving the Asia I know and love for an Asia that is so very different. I switched to Jet Airways and the experience was unpleasant. The airplane was tiny and old. It was packed as packed could be.

The plane consisted mostly of Indian men. There were three or four other foreigners besides myself. I thought the plane ride was a quick introduction as to what I was about to get myself into for the next three months. It wasn't overly impressive.

The plane had thirty aisles, the first ten being business class. I was in row twenty-three. The flight attendant started serving row ten and over one hour later he still hadn't reached my row.

All international flights offer free alcohol. The men were ordering vodka straight up. The flight attendant would serve about three or four rows and just as he moved the cart, the few rows ahead would all turn on their lights requesting more drinks. He would move further down and then those he just served would all turn on their lights. It was unlike anything I've ever seen and it continued on for an hour. To the point where people from the back of the plane got up and went to the cart to ask for drinks. The flight attendants seemed more like bartenders.

The man that sat directly across from me must have rang the service bell fifty times. The light above his seat was on more than it was off. I kind of wanted to break every one of his fingers to help the flight attendant out. They eventually ignored him and this caused him to become more of a ... you know what!

Besides everyone continually ringing the service bell, they also threw their garbage in the aisles. And then what blew my mind even more is that the flight attendants ... all of them ... walked over it or kicked it out of the way instead of picking it up. My chair was continually bumped and I was feeling rather annoyed at the end of hour number four.

I was more than happy to get off that plane! The airport was not what I expected it to be which was good. It was late for me and it had been a long day. There was a boy waiting with my name and he whisked me away to the hotel.

Three boys picked me up, actually, in a van that seemed about five times smaller than it should've been. I'm sure it doesn't have the ability of going over forty. Nevertheless, we were on the highway. Cars screaming past us, honking horns. I must admit we did pass a car or two so I guess we weren't the worst ones on the road!

The hotel room is nothing like the rooms pictured on the internet. It's pretty crumy and gross. (Mom, you'd probably refuse to stay in it!) It's only for another two nights and then I plan to make a move, so no worries.

All that being said, Delhi has been a great experience so far! I was out today and I loved every moment! I have so many stories after day one.

My computer time is almost up and my mind needs its rest. Nighty night ...

Three more sleeps ....

From: Justin, Neptune Class

I had a smile from ear to ear for most of the day yesterday. The excitement has really set in!

My students gave me various notes throughout the week. The one above is probably my favorite. It's from my smartest grade one student, who is also the most misbehaved!

Gotta love kids!

What to pack?

I've started a small pile of things I don't want to forget. Packing for three months of life is not easy. I've done it before, but it's been some time. It's hard not to think of things I'm going to miss.

The photo above shows the pack I'll be living out of while in India. Not a whole heck of a lot is going to fit inside. I sort of recall that not much is needed while on the road. Anything of dire need can be purchased.

I am still without a new ARC. I've been told my work permit will be reach me by Friday. My passport won't be back in my hands until Tuesday. My travel agent is applying for a visa to India. I'm a bit nervous as to everything working out smoothly. Talk about leaving things to the last minute.

Life has been hectic. Things have been a little stressful. I suppose this is what happens when one decides to take off to another country for three months.

Seven more days of work. Thirteen more sleeps.

Am I ready?

I'm not sure I am.

Am I going?

Absolutely ...

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

I thought it best to take the opportunity to sit in front of my computer while I can. It seems that time escapes me these days. I have a little over two weeks before I hop a plane to India. I've had this trip in my mind for so long, it's hard to believe it's almost time to go.

At the moment, I'm working on Friday's Chinese lesson. It seems I'm a little sidetracked! The dialogue is one page and my teacher assures me it's not an easy one. I've been asked to prepare the first two paragraphs. In doing this, I came across a great site ... nckiu.

This site allows one to draw Chinese characters using their mouse. None of my teachers have really taken the time to teach me about radicals nor have they taught me how to look things up in a proper Chinese dictionary. This website keeps it simple with only needing the ability to draw the character.

The first paragraph in my dialogue introduces the idiom 民以食為天. The meaning: the masses regard food as their heaven (as their prime want). The second is a proverb which I can't quite figure out as of yet. It says 吃飯皇帝大. The direct translation would be eat/meal/emperor/big. This leads me to believe that the meaning has something to do with people that have the luxuries of food are perhaps considered superior? Just a guess, of course.

The sentence following says that these two sayings are very important. They are more important than sleeping and sitting on the toilet. I'm wondering if this page will finally give me some insight into the fascination that people in Taiwan have with toilets and bathroom activity.

I've been teaching at the same school for four years. On a daily basis I get asked the question, "May I go poo poo?" I always remind my students that it's not my business what goes on behind the door. A simple, "May I go to the bathroom?" will do. My students thinks it's great to talk about toilets and pu pu, which is how they spell it.

In doing a quick search for the word, Merriam Webster offers this definition:

pu pu (noun): an Asian dish served as an appetizer or main course and consisting of a variety of foods (as egg rolls, spareribs, and fried shrimp) (a pupu platter)

That just made this blog a bit more comical. If only my students could understand the humor here.

The above pictures were taken at the Taipei Zoo. These are only two of many to be seen. I'm quite intrigued as to where this dialogue will go. Perhaps I can finally ask an adult as to why 上廁所 is such an openly talked about thing.

Thursday January 1st, 2009

It's kind of funny to think that I've celebrated the New Year, slept, been cured of my hangover and my friends on the West coast of Canada have yet to bring it in.

I have a feeling 2009 is going to prove interesting. A few chapters will close which means new ones will open. With three weeks left of work, things are busier than ever. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed at the thought of a three month holiday now that it's almost here.

It's hard to know what to bring in my 30L pack. Less is more. Keep it simple.

2009! Happy New Year!