Monday the 19th May 2014
My manager decided to cut all of our hours for some reason, I now teach one class on a Monday and have lost an adorable CEO1 class that I actually enjoyed teaching. They’re a group of accelerated students, which means that rather than spending two lessons per unit, we do one unit each lesson with a review every third or fourth lesson which makes teaching them both challenging and fun. They started off with counting from one to five not so long ago and they’ve already progressed into more complicated grammar points and vocabulary. Ah well, que sera sera as they say.
On Saturday, I woke up with a headache, my neck felt stiff and my apartment was so warm that beads of sweat were dripping off my nose and resting on my lips. I turned on my AC and sat upright, I was unable to fall back to sleep and spent most of the morning wondering what time I was meant to be at school. Rather than getting changed, I just sat there, in my pyjamas, thinking no one has really given me a specific answer as to what my involvement is today. So, after an hour or so, I sent two messages, decided I wasn’t going (to school for the mother’s day show) and even reconsidered going to the leaving dinner in the evening. Two YouTube WW2 documentaries later, I had a shower, got dressed and cycled towards Changhua City or 彰化市 (Zhānghuà Shì). I was going to the dinner. I stopped off at Café Minerva’s and bought an apple juice, I was asked if I was planning a wedding. I don’t go out a lot, so when it comes to not dressing for school, I might overdo it. Although, I think I probably looked more like a 1940’s secretary than a guest at a wedding. I bought the teacher who was leaving a big box of Danish cookies, which he kindly shared with everyone.
I went to the dentist again this morning; I didn’t make it to the church yesterday for various reasons but I have made plans for next Sunday with my new friend, starting with breakfast, which should be nice. There is so much going on in my mind at the moment that not being able to function due to a lack of sleep is having a serious effect on my body. My room looks like it was hit by a bomb, I have exams to mark. I had my card details stolen last week and I was unable to buy my flights last night so I have to try again at about midnight tonight. I spent around six hours speaking to the NatWest fraud team and Emirates customer service yesterday in an attempt to leave Taiwan in August. Not being able to board a plane unless you’re able to show the card you paid for the tickets with is ridiculous. Thank goodness my brother and sister are coming next month; they’ll bring my new card with them. I also found out yesterday how heavily monitored internet usage is here in Taiwan and China, it made me feel physically sick when I traced several IP addresses to different locations in China after port scanners thought they’d attempt to access my computer again. Usually a hacker will try to access a computer ten times before moving on, an infected computer acting as a bot though, that’s a whole different story. I’ve taken to covering my webcam just incase.
My school sent me generic malware via an excel document containing my payslip and when I brought it up and told them to scan their computers, I was asked how my computer gave theirs a virus… Not scanning your computers regularly and checking your firewall, as a business in Asia, particularly as a school, is a really, really bad idea. Anyway, so I backed up my files and then appeared to break the internet in my building by removing a ton of viruses from the network… My landlady had someone come and fix it the next day but my computer was freaking out for a couple of hours due to it. It’s all back to normal now and due to the lack of internet (less than 24 hours), I found I was exceptionally productive. If you live in an apartment and you share WiFi, you should use your computer as though you’re in a coffee shop, it just makes sense, set it to public and update your anti-virus software.
Someone (or something) has just this second attempted another port scan… I’ve been reporting IP addresses all over the place recently. I am so done with the internet here, Taiwanese gangsters (and their horrendous girlfriends), traffic, wild dogs, dangerous architecture, poisonous insects, questionable education systems, pollution and sewage. Also, I have never seen as many tropical thunderstorms and flash floods in my life, it’s really hard to be a cyclist here when it rains. They actually speed up here when it rains… why do they speed up? They’re in a car, they’re not going to get wet, slow down. I’ve seen way too many crashes this month; people just beep their horns at one another expecting that to be a fine reason to run a red light etc.