Saturday, 26 September 2009

Sally gets a word in

I hope to chronicle our first two to three weeks in Taipei as well as Ben would, but he doesn't think this is likely.

Arriving at the airport I was a little wary we'd be sent back. The internet is so full of rubbish and I actually read we had to sort our tourist visas in our home countries, but not really believing this we just went and booked the tickets anyway. I was greeted at the arrivals desk with a friendly high pitched, 'Wow! Are you a natural blonde?' Relief! And our first impression of Taiwan was positive.

Other first impressions - this city is full of cute things. Hello Kitty and other cute characters I've never heard of are on every notepad, pencil, poster and lamppost. This may be a bit of an exaggeration but this pink bank might give the idea

The shops play music with dogs and cats singing christmas songs, and people stop you in the street to ask if you know how to get to where you want to go. They love to keep things clean, and stuff is efficient. The Metro is wonderful. In England people generally sit on the priority seats until someone who might need them gets on, but in Taiwan people are just too polite to be the one to occupy the special blue seats meant for old people or women with babies. I just want to sit down.

There is such a wide variety of food, and to my delight, lots of Sushi. There are Sushi take outs, sushi restaurants and sushi food stalls. Yum. I am actually a bit sick of it now though so I've given it a break over the past week.

Looking for jobs has been a different kettle of fish. Parents here send their children to Buxibans which are special language schools aside from regular school. From what we have seen they are owned by Taiwanese people who want to make money and often demand you teach in a way that the kids memorise a lot of English but don't really comprehend or take it in. My first interview was with the biggest cram school, Hess, who called me while I was in Morocco to interview me. This phone call I received cost me £79 and they offered me a job, but not a contract I wanted. My second experience was at a school called 'Zest of Education' where I was required to teach a demo lesson to a kindergarten class with zero preperation time, no materials and no help, for a whole hour. I was shown the words to a nursery rhyme which I was to teach and was sent straight in. It was naturally a disaster. While one child had a tantrum stamping her feet on the floor, another sat by the corner scared. Another had special needs, and the other little girl was bright and a bit older. I was offered the job but my questions as to holidays, pay and whether I could speak to other English teachers were pretty much ignored and I was told I was to find my materials on the internet and print them at 711. It was the most unorganised of any business I've ever seen. Another interviewer reassured me several times that it was a full time job and after arriving at the school I was told it was in fact only a 6 hour per week job. By this time I was getting a bit discouraged. Ben however had a different experience. Uncle Jason wanted him, Isobel wanted him, and Dalton wanted him. He has the ability to walk into a classroom, teach for 15 minutes, and get the job. I am so jealous he had no fear, and I'm proud he's my husband. The Dalton Institute where he took the job seems like the best we've encountered. It seems organised and a nice environment, and he has enjoyed it so far so we have definitely landed on our feet.

We have been blessed since we left England, but this was the beginning of some even more major blessings. Cody and Nicole, a lovely couple in our ward, invited us to stay with them. The first night was amazing. We felt so comfortable after having spent two long weeks on hard bunk beds with no covers. Nicole made us a delicious meal. Chui-yi and Josh, another young couple in the ward invited us to eat at theirs on Sunday and Chui-yi who is Taiwanese helped us look for apartments. I've had a really nice week spending time with Nicole and her little girl, Jadyn, while Ben's been at work. I managed to get two new people to tutor, a 5 year old called James and his dad both want to learn English. We'll see how that goes next week. We should move into our apartment on Monday and we're really looking forward to it.

1 comment:

  1. We loved having you stay with us too. We're glad you are here!