A surprisingly large number of people check this blog. Since the new year began, sixty people saw the same thing that has been here far too long. I guess large, and surprising, is relative. But it surprised me.
Also cool people, like Ryan, are apparently checking it, so I should update.
First, bloggy stuff:
Jake's visit rocked hard. Jake came, and we had a great time. First with Rie's Japanese friend Yuka, and then with her Taiwanese friend Erica, we rocked out Taiwan. Jake miraculously crashed his bike within a minute of getting it, and again within a day of returning it. I find this impressive as I have had a larger bike, with once faulty brakes (which have since been fixed, so you can breath Mom, but there is funny story about my breaks completely not working), and I have only been in only one real bump of note.
Jake's first crash was humorous and best be left to him to tell. But his second was actually sort of beautiful. He was in the middle of the road and bailed his bike to avoid me, who was breaking hard to not hit another guy, who was breaking hard because he was trying to not another guy. Bailing, through my rear view mirror and me then turning (having stopped Mom, breath again), entailed Jake basically throwing his bike into the air.
Although I am not sure it really happened this way, I have this very music video image of Jake tossing his bike in the air like a doll and it crashing to the ground, while the traffic split apart around him.
His visit came with many more stories, but I don't have that kind of time right now.
Christmas day was very good, Jake made us wonderfully heart warming/clogging American food. Presents were abound, and lavish. I now have a calligraphy set up of a truly professional level. I am actually saving it for the next year, because you are supposed to do calligraphy for the new year.
New Year's day was great too. Eve was fine, we went to City Hall and watched a concert by a rather famous singer (Tainan did good as far as it goes). New Year's day, Rie and I made each other dinner. I made American food (read: Mexican) and she made Japanese food (read: Japanese). Both were really great and it was all very fun.
I might add a full analysis of 2 0 0 5 if I get a chance. Being that it may go down as one of the most influential of my life, I figure that might be for the best.
Teaching English is fine, but a touch frustrating. I don't like that I have a big swatch of my day devoted to English, which I feel I pretty safely have down. Mind you, there was no doubt a typo in that sentence, that just goes to show you that my English even includes advanced irony.
My class is great, I have a couple of problem kids, but nothing worth bitching about.
One thing about teaching English is this is a great start for both law and politics. In both cases, you have to create rules, somewhat arbitrarily. The fact is that the class could technically have no rules, but nothing would really be learnt. In society, we could have not rules, but, I feel, nothing would really get done.
So you make rules, but how far do you go. I had an anarchy my first couple of days teaching, where my punishments were random and smelt oddly of vigilantism. After that, I become dictatorial to a T. I had a constant system of checks and balances, everyone was either a good citizen or a bad one.
The next system was sort of a Marxist ideal Communism. I was subbing for a great teacher. The class ran so well I basically just pushed them around and watched.
The next system, which I did during summer school was anarchy again. I had no idea what I was doing.
My current system is a Democratic-Theocracy. We have occasional votes, far more than I picture other classes having (I like teaching them words like "abstain," I love that I get to build their vocabulary in any number of odd directions). That said, I often tell them to do things, and they listen (sometimes with pushing sometimes without). I say Theocracy because my punishments are rare if ever. I just don't punish well, but I threaten a good threaten. So I rain bluffs upon them.
Much like any good religion, the kids sort of fall in line because of some abstract notion of what will happen to them if they are bad. They fall into line really well actually. Most of my threats I will carry though if push really came to shove, but no kid has really dared to take it to that point.
Perhaps that is a failing as a teacher, but I don't think so. Really a teacher should punish only for their own comfort level. At least, that has been my sentiment. If you can handle an anarchy, and the kids still learn, do it. I can't stand it when they are excessively loud, so I occasionally crack down on that. However, me being far too loud does create some hypocrisy.
Chinese is still going great. My accent, as is my way, blows. Hating my accent in English probably does not help the situation. Tones are of course a huge problem of mine. I can say them individually, but in context they fall apart. I will deal eventually. My written Chinese is not bad, and my reading is pretty good considering. I love my new class and we are cranking away.
I enjoy the language a lot, and it has made English seem dirty and wrong to me. Its just too easy. It causes a distinct lack of blogging and coming online.
One weird thing about my job is that I don't have one for three weeks for Chinese New Year. I got a weird end of a circular stick, and will not be teaching for three weeks. This hopefully will have the biggest impact on my Chinese, as I plan on going twenty days without English (sans three hours a week of private classes I teach). This would then beat my previous record in Mexico. The problem is you can cheat in Spanish (Ummm "Yo...necesito...una.....umm....¿cell phono?" Its not so easy in Chinese "我。。。需要。。。一個。。。um。。。f。。k."
As you might imagine, this will have weird financial impact as well. Especially given most of my money goes to classes. But I am saving now, and I am picking up more hours after New Years. I am happy because these hours will be teaching advanced English (finally!). Which I enjoy WAY more.
Rie and I are doing great. Putting down here is not saying that she is of lesser significance, but rather of less intellectual fodder. Whereas my rocking Christmas comes with a story of Jake flipping motorcycles, Rie and I's relationship is just good. We have our fights, we deal. We have a weird situation here, and its panning out might be interesting, but it might be a touch not public enough to be put up here.
Taiwan is great, however it just feels like home. I have always believed that wherever I am is my home, and this is no exception. Outside of one wretchedly ill month in Mexico, I never feel like I am abroad, rather, all of my friends and family are abroad and I am chilling where I belong. Its why I like to travel so much.
The magic has worn off, especially now that I am not seeing it through Jake's eyes. But this place does not need magic to be good, its just a decent place. The food is fantastic and cheap, the traffic is bearable and at least interesting, the differences remain provocative. Its just a fine place. If I could lose my sore throat, we would be set.
Law school and New York has me really excited. I am definitely going to New York, the only question is what side of Central Park. I hope to hear from Columbia soon. Assuming good news, I will be on the North side of Central Park. Assuming bad news, the South side. Either way, not so bad. That said, I am still debating if anyone has any interesting insights in Columbia versus NYU for law school.
Either way, I should be in New York, which will make it the third time I have moved somewhere without having ever been there in four years.
Like everyone else weddings make me feel old but having and old elementary school friend's younger sister getting married has me feeling like I need to rust. Yeah I know I should get another three more of what I gots years wise, it is still weird.
That is enough off of the top of my head. I miss everyone, and will try to write more. This might become a Chinese blog for the bilingual readers out there.
Sorry this blog has become so, well, bloggy. I guess when I gave up being a writer, I gave it up real real hard. I think I will write something serious on here, I have a few ideas, if I get real high off life sometime soon. Also for the family, sorry about any grammar errors, I don't have the time to correct (I should be studying now as is).