Monday December 31st, 2012

The past year soared by quickly making it hard to believe that tonight is the celebration of 2013.

Things I will strive to maintain or improve over this coming year are as follows:

1.  Eat even less meat than 2012 (full vegetarian) and a lot more raw foods.

2.  More exercise, no matter how tired I may be at the end of my eleven to thirteen-hour days.

3.  Get more rest.

4.  Find a way to add four extra hours to the 24-hour time clock.

5.  Be selfless.

6.  Volunteer my time to those in need.

7.  Speak and read as much Mandarin as I can.

8.  Hike new mountain ranges.

9.  Explore more of this beautiful island that is Taiwan.

10.  Live, love, laugh and, of course, learn.

Thursday December 27th, 2012

On Thursdays, my first class is held at a campus not too far from my university.  After class, some classmates and I decided to go for a delicious lunch at Huge Burger.  While walking back to the university with one of my classmates for a Mandarin class, we heard tiny meows coming from somewhere.

The kitten pictured here was found trembling in an open corner and seemed unaware of where to go or what to do.  He wasn't too far from a busy road and was also in a small lane that belongs to one of the biggest night markets in Taipei.

A young girl that works at the Yoshinoya next to this small lane said the little guy had been meowing since morning.  They had a box prepared but seemed scared to touch it.  She had put out some milk in a paper cup that was approximately the same size as the kitten.  I asked if she had seen the mom or any other kittens around but got no for an answer.

I was ten minutes away from writing a test and time was ticking so I had to make a quick decision.  After a bit of hissing from this feisty guy , I scooped him up and plopped him in the box at the tiny restaurant and promised to be back after my test.

I returned less than an hour later with a smaller box and a lid so I could run this lucky little guy over to Animals Taiwan.  He should be in good hands now, I hope.

Wednesday December 26th, 2012

A week and a half since my last post without a moment's rest in between.

Glancing to the right, an appropriate album title for this month would be "December Deluge" but instead the nonsense continues on leaving a very dusty camera.

The homework icons on my desktop are quickly — and thankfully — disappearing one by one as 2012 nears the end.

So ready for 2013.

Bring it.

Friday December 14th, 2012

View from my balcony

7:15am — wake up.  7:30am  — drag myself into the shower.  7:50am — eat breakfast while checking email and Facebook.  Take the image shown here with my iPad.  8:20am — leave the house.  8:55am — arrive at school.  9:05am — short of breath after walking up hundreds of steps to reach my classroom.  9:10am — sit through a three-hour 'techniques of video shooting' class without actual cameras, lights or computers but a classroom where a professor draws various boxes on a whiteboard with a marker that lacks ink.  12:20pm — Chinese proficiency exam.  Totally aced it.  Note: basic level.  1:30pm — head back to my neck of the woods.  2:30pm — An hour and a half Chinese class at Dante's coffee shop where I finally grab lunch and a coffee.  Sweet, sweet coffee.  4:30pm — teach a grade three class for two hours.  7:00pm — start a new private class with two young students who speak near perfect English and really want to learn.  Nice.  9:15pm — decide that now is a good time to get some errands done.  Stop at the "everything store" for three items and walk out with seven.  9:30pm — stop at the "bag store" as the strap on my bag is sadly being held together with a butterfly clip, and admittedly has been for months.  The lady remembers me and, as always, compliments me on my Chinese.  I like that.  After quickly replacing a broken piece on my year-old backpack, she refuses to take any money.  I love Taiwan.  9:45pm — finally home and exhausted and still have yet to eat dinner.  My desktop contains dozens of icons that stare back at me, reminding me of pressing homework that should be done, however, here I am typing this blog.  Three more weeks of classes, one week of exams and then Hawaii.  Bring it.

34 more sleeps ...

Taken with my iPad
All of the bills pictured here were traded today for a plane ticket.  My trip can't come soon enough!

Sunday December 9th, 2012

Yuck.  That is all I have to say about this weekend's weather.  It poured rain ALL day yesterday and has yet to let up today.  On top of the sheets of rain, there's been lots of cold wind.  Brrrrr. 

I don't see a balcony image of my plants happening today!

Friday December 7th, 2012

My balcony in December 2011
I promised myself that the month of December would involve taking one image each day and posting it here with a small paragraph as to its relevance.  Have a quick scroll down to see how that is working out.

With a bit of time off this evening and no new photographs, I decided to look at the images from this time last year and was shocked to come across the above image.  All the plants here look so tiny compared to today.

My goal this weekend around all the school work and private classes will be to get an image of how much they have grown over the one-year period.  It's fascinating!

Saturday December 1st, 2012

Today's menu:

Breakfast:  Homemade cinnamon/nutmeg French toast with syrup and a sliced banana on top.

Lunch:  Oops.

Where did the time go?

Afternoon:  Bailey's and hot chocolate.

Dinner:  Homemade vegetable pasta with garlic, red onion, tomatoes, peppers and mushrooms in a balsamic sauce.