My apparent nemesis ...

I recall facing this spot two years ago and not being tall enough for the reach or brave enough for the leap. I opted to be lowered and remained a bit disappointed that I couldn't make the move to join the rest of my fellow climbers on the top of what is known as "Whale Head".

Out of nowhere, it appeared before me again last weekend. I was just shy in my stretch but found the courage to spring off the wall only to find that the hold was much thicker than anticipated and my fingers scrambled before sliding off.

Studying this photo allows me to see my next attempt.

Soon ...

Road Trip ...

I first learned about 朱銘美術館 Juming Museum last summer while at home nursing my broken leg. It was reintroduced to me during a History of Western Art class that I took at the university. Over one year later, I finally found the opportunity to take the trip; and what a trip it was!

Two of us drove scooters, taking our time on the way. The trip was exactly 1.5 hours. Signs were clearly marked in English along the main road and luckily my eyes caught the tiny sign written in Chinese only which required us to make a u-turn back to the small mountain road that leads up to the museum. Not sure why the signs are in English up until the most important part; the turn off. 外國人, 加油!

The museum was most impressive and that's putting it mildly. It sits over a huge land mass in the mountains and it took us a few hours of strolling in the hot sun to complete. Part of it was under construction which made the walk a bit longer as we couldn't loop, we needed to backtrack. Although scorching, it was an absolute pleasure. I most definitely need to go back a bit closer to evening time for some shots.

Next stop was the historic street of Jinshan for some food and cold beer. Time allowed us to stop for a jump in the ocean as well. We found ourselves at a beach resort but were turned down at the door as the beach is reserved for the guests until 6:30pm. The gate we found ajar with no cameras told us otherwise. The water was wonderful!

There's a new album on the right. Click the pic ...

A taste of her own medicine ...

Girl Cat, aka Levi, has developed a nasty habit this week of meowing incessantly between 5am and 6am. The sun is already up by then and I guess she believes I should be too.

After carrying on for ten minutes or so, I finally get up to make sure she isn't dying; and I am very aware that she's not. As I do, she skips with joy (literally has a jump in her step) down the hallway all the while purring with delight. What's going through my mind is, 'you'd better run cat because I am about to pound you'.

It's going on noon and pictured here is how I find her. I don't think so, cat! It's time for your rude awakening although it's a real shame it won't quite have the same effect.

Semester 2: PRO 6 - CON 2

Friday went quick at the university only having Sociology in the morning and my afternoons off. And by off I mean having a Chinese class and then teaching two private students taking me to 9pm each night.

We spent our first class understanding a sheet of classrooms rules, then making our own and taking a vote on the ones that seemed most important. Were any of them followed throughout the semester, you ask? No, of course not.

We spent another class on how to read a textbook and the lesson came with handouts and everything. Awesome. That same day, we were given a revised list of the classroom rules as if they were of importance.

The professor was from Taiwan and although she had lived in the states for ten years one wouldn't be able to tell so much. I would imagine her and I to be very similar in age give or take a few years.  It was interesting to be taught Sociology from a different mindset.

Her lectures were kind of boring but made sense. Her PPTs were taken directly from the textbook. She pretty much gave us the answers to memorize for both of the exams. I scored 100% on the mid-term. Who does that in university?

All that being said, I give this class a PRO. The above only reflects the awesomeness in the Taiwanese education system. Note sarcasm. It's affordable but questionable.

I did learn a lot in this class mostly via self-reading. I have the same professor next semester for Environmental Studies or something to that degree. My fingers are crossed for more perfect exams.

I am a genius.

Year 1: done.

Semester 1: PRO 6 - CON 2.   GPA - 92% - 5th in my class.
Semester 2: PRO 6 - CON 2.   GPA - 94.67% - possibly 1st?!

Continue on? ✔

Semester 2: PRO 5 - CON 2

Thursday afternoon was reserved for Psychology. The professor was from the Philippines and demanded full attention from the class, no messing around. She'd randomly call on people, and everyone got their turn, keeping the class on their toes.

I wasn't sure what to think after the first two weeks of classes had been canceled. When we finally came to meet the instructor, she was late and seemed unprepared. Throughout the course, her notes were hard to follow and sometimes her words didn't match the PowerPoint but all in all she taught some great things. A lot of it was familiar and what wasn't made absolute sense.

We covered a lot of material over the 18-week course. Being a field professional, she had many stories that ranged from great to disturbing to questionable. Although her tests were multiple-choice, they were brutal. I could narrow the questions down to two answers but then found myself debating over which one to pencil in as both seemed to fit depending on how one looks at the situation.

I did better than expected on the mid-term and remain unaware of the score on my final. The grade showing on my transcript is high so I must have done well!  I'd almost be interested in Psychology II if the university offered it.

Shakin' things up ...

9am and already 4 earthquakes marked for this morning ... these following the 14 earthquakes that Taiwan experienced yesterday.

Semester 2: PRO 4 - CON 2

Thursday morning, I opted out of a Modern China (elective) course and into a third year program called Introduction to Film Analysis which caused quite a kerfuffle with the university admin staff. Apparently not following MCU's four-year mapped out plan to an exact tee is considered unacceptable as this implies free thinking which isn't commonly practiced here in Taiwan.

The university urged us to change back to Modern China and most students did but I've always believed in pushing the limits so I decided to take my chances and opt for the course that interests me; this is university after all. Intro to Film was instructed by one of my favorite professors and I knew it would be a great course and that I would actually learn something.

I'm not much of a movie watcher so picking apart films was a new process for me and it was one that I quite enjoyed. We were introduced to many genres of films from Film Noir to Westerns along with Foreign Films and Anime cartoons. Most things he showed weren't of great interest but the class wasn't about how good the viewings were, it was more about understanding the meaning behind the director's ideas.

Although I still don't have much interest in film, I learned a lot over the 18-week course and managed to do very well on the tests which resulted in a near perfect grade on my transcript.  I will be studying with the same professor next semester for two different courses and am quite excited about that.  I like spending my time and money on things that are 100% worthy.  Life is short and learning is grand!

Semester 2: PRO 3 - CON 2

I didn't have any classes on Wednesdays and this allowed me to spend my afternoons at the climbing gym. It was a great way to spend my days off. A most definite PRO.

Semester 2: PRO 2 - CON 2

Tuesday afternoon was exactly the same as last semester for part two of English Reading and Composition Writing although we were given some tough assignments this time around. I wrote about the origin of my name, followed by a piece identifying myself along with an ID card I made using Photoshop.

Other assignments included a 16-sentence narrative to describe a life experience and analyzing a problem and offering advice from the perspective of a psychotherapist. We read pieces from Plato and were asked to write about morality using the Ring of Gyges as an example. The last paper was based on Life's Lessons according to Zen.

Each piece allowed me to try new writing styles though I was not fully pleased with most of my completed works. The teacher gave a lot of critique and helped me become aware of areas that could stand improvement.

I always looked forward to this class, curious as to what would be discussed each week.  It's a great feeling knowing that you don't want to miss a second of class.  Time well spent = PRO.  Entertaining professor = PRO.  Life knowledge = PRO.   Thank you, Dr. O!