Wednesday the 23rd of July 2014
It’s 14:44PM as I write this; I’ve got my Baisemain Playlist on as the wind howls outside my window. The Andrew Sisters go quite well when combined with heavy rain. I have actually been outside today, I ate crisps and cake for dinner yesterday due to it being my birthday and although I had probably eaten enough (sweets) this morning, I decided to get myself something from McDonald’s. I put on my Hunter wellies and my waterproof jacket, pulled the hood tight so only my glasses were visible and headed outside. The wind had died down (in comparison to the early hours of the morning) temporarily but the rain was still coming down as hard as ever. The woman who served me couldn’t stop staring at me; everyone else had clearly travelled by car. I’ve lived in North West England; I can handle a bit of rain (I say during a typhoon). Before getting to McDonald’s (which is at the bottom of my road), I decided to take a detour towards the rice fields to see what it looked like during a storm. I didn’t have a camera but I wasn’t disappointed. I stood for a little while and watched the wind rip through the vegetation.
I turned twenty four yesterday. I feel old. Last night, I finished work and having planned all of my lessons, I packed up my stuff to leave. I looked around the teacher’s room and on not seeing my colleague’s bags; I presumed they had gone home.
I was told that I wasn’t able to leave as the government hadn’t released the typhoon information yet. So, I helped lock windows to prepare for Typhoon Matmo. It turns out the other teachers had been hiding the whole time! I was so surprised, I was holding back tears. It was so lovely. I wore a party hat and bow my friend and fellow teacher bought me, it’s a bow with a bow on it, bowception, you can’t get more Taiwanese than that! She also got me Adventure Time chopsticks (it’s my favourite), a yellow duck iPad headphone plug, LINE friends post it notes, candy and a fabulous card signed by everyone. It was the second surprise birthday cake of the day as one of my students had brought one in for me; the same student also bought me a Jake the Dog from Adventure Time dog for me! We ate crisps, cake, candy and jelly; we drank cola and played party games whilst still making sure to use all of the target language I’d planned for that lesson (which coincidentally revolved around the theme of celebrations)! They made an absolute mess of the classroom with confetti but it was wonderful none the less.
Here’s a little more information on the typhoon, it barrelled through Taiwan and is now moving West towards mainland China. One person has died and one missing due to the storm, however this is minimal when compared to other countries (Super Typhoon Rammasun wrecked the Philippines last week killing over one hundred people). ‘Flash flooding, mudslides, damaging wind gusts and storm surge flooding expected Taiwan impacts. Eastern China will be affected Wednesday night into Thursday.’ Luckily my apartment didn’t flood and I was told to make sure I had water and supplies in my room in case of emergencies. All schools and businesses are closed with the exception of certain fast food places, such as McDonald’s which opened earlier. 67 flights to and from Taiwan airports had been cancelled and my bike was whipped up and crashed into the ground… I picked up my bike and moved it to what I felt like might be a more secure location against the wind. It’s not even 16:00PM yet and it is really quite dark outside. A number of people are without electricity on the island but luckily I’m not one of them!
Saturday the 19th of July 2014
I turn twenty four on Tuesday. I definitely feel myself getting older and I’ve been dealing with a lot of unexpected (and unfortunately serious) health issues recently which doesn’t help. My time in Taiwan is nearing an end, my brother and sister went back to the UK on Wednesday last week and I was back in school working on the Friday. I will miss my students, the other members of staff and I’ll probably miss the intensity of the work load at some point.
Here are a few status updates I posted recently; I decided they were blog worthy:
Wednesday the 16th July 2014
Don’t be a pussy. The word “pussy” is the shortened form of the word “pusillanimous”, an adjective which means “showing a lack of courage or determination; timid”.
Sunday the 13th of July 2014
The noise was deafening, I had to get out of my apartment, my eyes felt as though they were pounding in my head. I couldn’t concentrate, I shouted, slammed down my hands and decided to go to the store to buy some chocolate and a multipack of strawberry milk tea. I wish I had taken my camera.
The roads were messier than usual. I had my fingers in my ears on the hard shoulder as I watched on in disbelief. There were fireworks flying into the traffic, smoke billowing from what appeared to be a garage, cars parked all over the place, drivers were taking their eyes off the road to investigate, meanwhile scooters swerved in and out of pedestrians drifting about the road, it was absolute chaos and I needed to get to the store.
I cycled on and one firework near missed my head, covered in ash and bewildered, I brushed myself off at the next set of traffic lights. I rolled my eyes and shook my head, I swore under my breath and I parked my bicycle. My ears ringing I walked around the store, with its strange pop songs blaring and in a complete daze I heard a little voice shout “hello teacher”, I said hi and waved. By the time I cycled home it had stopped and there were dozens of people sweeping up the mess with besoms.
Life in Taiwan is surreal. Suffice it to say, it’s quiet again and I can now go back to making worksheets for the cooking class on Tuesday.
Saturday the 12th of July 2014
Tonight on STAR MOVIES (Taiwan) they’re showing Monsters University at 9PM, followed by Iron Man 3 at 11:15PM. That’s my Saturday night sorted!
Thursday the 10th of July 2014
I’m back in Hemei, Changhua, waiting for the garbage truck.
So, there it is, minus the video posts, check in posts and photos, that’s a little insight into my Facebook wall. Actually, Thursday’s garbage truck status update was followed by an entire street of neighbours watching me struggle with three huge bags (due to my trip to Taipei) towards a garbage truck which was moving… I threw in my rubbish, felt relieved that it was done and walked back to my apartment only to realise that the garbage truck goes around the block again. So, I really could’ve done as my neighbours do and stood outside my door and thrown the bags on without having to walk anywhere.