Thursday, December 30, 2010

Last Day at Wuxing Elementary School

I have been in Taiwan for a month now and today is my last day teaching at Wuxing Elementary School. I basically taught two classes, one which involved animals and another which introduced the various sports played by Australians. I also did a general introduction of Australia in the music auditorium and that comprised of animals from Australia, famous landmarks, Australian Cuisine and famous Australians. The introduction was the favourite part of my assignment as I got to interact with a great number of students in the school. It has been a truly rewarding time in my life and I really applaud teachers in general for their unwavering patience when teaching small children.

My teaching material in Taiwan. Pictures of my last couple of classes at the school. More pictures of the school.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Wufenpu and Party World

I went to Wufenpu to do some shopping with the other EPs on Sunday. It had really cheap clothes and we had a blast at the place. We met up at about 12pm and had lunch just outside Houshanpi Mrt Station. We all ate ru ruo fan at this restaurant just outside the MRT station. It tasted pretty good. We then walked around Wufenpu to do some shopping. I bought a polo shirt that costs me 100 NT which translates to like 5 singapore dollars. Everything at that place was really cheap and although it was really crowded, there were a lot of clothes and interesting stuff to eat along the way.

After a couple of hours of walking, we decided to go for Karaoke and went to Partyworld near Zhongxiao Fuxing Mrt Station. Karaoke seems to be really popular with Taiwanese and the setting was really formal and luxurious. We spend like four hours at Partyworld and sang both English and Chinese songs. I thought it was fun at the beginning but four hours of singing was just too long. We then had dinner at the Sogo complex besides the MRT station. It was overall a really fun day.

Taipei Flora Expo on Saturday

I went to the Taipei Flora Expo on Saturday with Jen, Shirley, Mark and Cira. It was sooooo crowded when we got to Yuanshan Mrt Station as there were so many people lining up to visit the expo. We first went to get something to eat first and then proceeded to buy tickets for the flora expo. The flora expo was really big to say the least and we walked around for close to 5 hours starting at 11pm. We didnt actually go into any of the convention halls as the queue was massive and we could not be bothered to wait. We just wandered around the place and also visited the Taipei Fine Arts Museum. I think I saw more paintings then flowers to be honest as all the different flowers were inside the convention halls. Some pictures from the flora expo.

We left around 5 pm and proceeeded to the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. I have previously been there 4 years ago with Army but as my friend have never been, I thought why not. It was as how I remembered it but for some reason it felt a lot smaller this time round. Took some pictures of the memorial hall in the sunset.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Taroko National Park and Liyu Lake

I went to Taroko National Park on the weekend with one of my colleagues from school, Joy. We met up with her friends, an exchange student from china, her fellow research friend when she did her masters, her boyfriend and her brother. We met up at Taipei Main Station at around 7.30 am on Saturday morning and took a train to Hualien. The train ride took about 2.5 hours. When we got to Hualien, we proceeded to rent scooters to facilitate our journey over the weekend.

At the scooter rental place
First time on the scooter for yours truly, it was an interesting experience to be honest. After renting the scooters, we went to have lunch at a local hot pot place. The hot pot was really spicy and much more so than the ones I had in Taipei. The food was good though and I think I overate as usual. We then went to eat Cong you bing after lunch at this apparently really famous place in Hualien. It was really really good and had a runny egg in the middle. 

Famous Cong you bing store in Hualien

We then finally proceeded to Taroko National Park on scooters, it took about 40 minutes by scooter but the views along the way and at the park were awesome to say the least. We reached the park at around 330 pm but could only stay for an hour and a half as it gets dark at around 5 pm. We had to leave at 5 as it was dangerous to descend the mountain at night. As can be seen in the pictures, the park was beautiful.

 Temple set against the cliff

We then went to have dinner at the night markets and I tried various Taiwanese snacks. We stayed at a temple for the night. It was really good accomodation as it was really cheap at like 250 NT per night per person and each room has a bathroom. The bed was really comfy as well.
View of the temple in the day

We woke up at 8am the next morning and went to have xiao long bao for breakfast before going to Liyu Lake. We basically walked around the lake and it took about an hour. It was really beautiful and the views were spectacular. We then went to the train station to catch the 1230 train to Luodong. I opted to return back to Taipei as I wanted to meet my EP manager Tammy before she left for Hongkong on Monday. We thus parted ways on the train and they headed of to Yilan. I had MOS burger for the first time at Taipei Main Station after reaching Taipei. It still tastes awesome and some how slightly better than MOS burger in Singapore although it is basically the same stuff.

I then went home and had a bit of a rest at home before heading out to Gongguan to have hot pot with the rest of the EPs. We went to this buffet style place and it was free flow food, alcohol and ice cream for 469 NT. It was awesome and we all ate so much. Even a day after the meal, I still feel full just thinking about it. Tammy also got to meet the rest of the EPs during the buffet dinner. It was overall an awesome dinner.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Introduction to Australia

I just did an introduction to Australia today for school kids of primary 3 and 4. They seemed really interested in what I was talking about and a few of them tried vegemite and Tim Tams. Everyone liked Tim Tams and some liked vegemite which was a bit of a surprise. I am really excited for the weekend as I will be going to Taroko National Park. The views from the website look amazing and I am really excited to spend two days there. It has been raining and the temperature has really dropped over the last two days which has made me really lazy. I wanted to go out at night today but it does not look like it is going to happen.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Weekend in Hsinchu

I went to Hsinchu over the weekend for an AIESEC conference. It was really fun and met a lot of other exchange participants from all around the world. There were exchange participants from Australia, Malaysia, Philippines, Greece, Columbia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Poland, Netherlands and Singapore. It was just a real cultural experience as there was a global village on Sunday and we got to know more about the various cultures. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and I hope to meet the people I have met during the conference again. I took so many pictures but my camera for some reason decided to disappear and now I am left with no pictures. I think I will just get it from Mark later. On the bus back to the train station, it was just interesting to the different languages that were spoken and we took turns singing our national anthems which was very interesting.

I am still thinking what I would like to do next weekend, I might go to Danshui or maybe yangmingshan.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ken Robinson on Education

I think this video illustrates the advantages of a different approach towards education.