Today was a pretty hectic day.
6:00 am: woke up and went for a walk with mama and papa to World Games Stadium, which is 5 min scooter ride away. In the morning is where you'd see a lot of elderly people doing tai chi and today was no exception. It's serene and soothing for practitioners as well as for viewers such as myself. The stadium was built for the World Games that took place last year. The dragon-shaped stadium contains 8000+ solar panels that almost look like the scales o
f this auspicious creature. It's a beautiful structure and the landscaping around it makes it a popular place for locals to spend their early mornings and cool evenings.
7:15 am: Mama, papa and I were going to Mei & Mei after our walk to buy breakfast (nobody really eats at home here...), but I told them that Ryan enjoys going out to breakfasts with us. So we went home first to get Ryan and off we go again. mama and papa on one scooter; Ryan and I on another.
9:00 am: The water pipe from our hot water tank had burst 2 days ago and we had about 6 people working on our roof this morning. My house is 3 storeys high and the only way to get to the roof is from my brother's room on the 3rd floor. I kept running up and down the stairs trying to make sense of the situation.
The source of our water comes from underground. It gets pumped up to the roof and is stored in a water tank. The cold water gets heated by the two huge solar panels that are positioned diagonally by the hot water tank. The system is quite simple but there are about a billion useless pipes sticking out from random places on the roof.
We had to relocate our cold water tank about 1 meter higher in order to provide sufficient pressure head. Our neighbor's roof shade (made of sheet aluminum) was in the way so the workers decided to remove a chunk of it out. They then got anxious because there was a girder in the way but they managed to do it anyway. The missing rectangular piece made the entire roof hideous. After placing the water tank onto the new rack, the workers chuckled because they realized then that they really didn't need to remove any of it. I almost died from their lack of precision, organization, and preparation. Despite of this, these good-humored people possessed the most defining characteristics of Kaohsiung locals.
It was a hot day and dad bought drinks for everybody. Mama and I were watching the men work while Ryan snapped a couple of photos. They didn't mind our curiosity even though our actions may be considered weird to other local Taiwanese.
It took forever to finish reinstalling everything though it is, without a doubt, considered rocket speed compared to Canadian standards. It was a long but educational morning. The maths and physics I learned at UBC had come to visit from half way across the world.
12:30 pm: I had an appointment at a computer drafting school and during out scooter ride to Nan-Tzu, it started pouring. The raindrops were unlike anything in Vancouver. You can get completely drenched within minutes and the raindrops can be ridiculously painful.
4:00 pm: There is a local English kindergarden/bushiban just around the corner of my house. Ryan and I paid a visit the day before and was offered the opportunity to teach for an hour each today. Ryan was so nervous and I could tell. I think this will be a very challenging job for him (maybe the first he has ever encountered) but overall a very rewarding experience. Knowing how the educational systems works here in Asia, understanding how difficult it is for a kid to learn a new language, and having experience in communicating with non-english speakers, I was able to "cheat" a little bit. I am the nervous type. My legs wouldn't stop shaking..
Julia, an exceptionally nice lady whose family owns the bushiban, immediately offered me a permanent part-time job. I didn't even ask for the details because 1. I wasn't even expecting to get a job here 2. I had thought this opportunity was mostly for Ryan 3. I didn't think I did a decent enough job 4. I live so close to the school and I start teaching on Monday. I figure she will tell me more about it. ETC..
In the mean time, Julia is giving Ryan the opportunity to teach at the school to gain experience. I thought this was so nice of her. I believe with some practice and adjustments, Ryan will be a very brilliant, engaging teacher.
8:00 pm: The walk home from the bushiban took all of 3 minutes. We were starving. Life here is very structured, especially with my family: 7:15 am breakfast, 12:00 pm lunch, 5:30 pm dinner. Ryan and I wandered around and found a cheap family restaurant. Like everything else we've had already since we've been here, the food was delicious. To celebrate/de-stress, we shared a bottle of Taiwan Beer (Gold Metal) with dinner.
I had trouble trying to remember it all because so much happened in one day. So far, I am enjoying every minute of everyday. I look forward to new adventures and discoveries.