Taiwan is riding out a strong, loud, and rather slow-moving typhoon, and I am therefore stuck in my apartment. Might as well blog. And yes, I know it’s not technically summer any longer. This typhoon is our third storm inside ten days; the first swept across the southern tip of Taiwan, the second across the north, and this current one is cutting a diagonal path right across the middle. The wind and rain have been terrible, but I still have power and water. Looking outside, the damage doesn’t seem that bad, either – just some trees and signs down, scooters blown over, and debris all over the place. We’ve just gotten notice that tomorrow will be a second typhoon day, with work and classes cancelled island-wide. We have four or five typhoon days each storm season, but this is the first time that I’ve had double days off.
Let’s see. It’s been almost two months since I came back from America. Most of the month of August was shadowed by the ghost festival. In my very traditional neighborhood, it’s impossible to walk down the road during this month without running across people burning money or possessions, or setting tables full of offerings for their ancestors. Temple parades and street rituals happen daily, and there’s a much higher amount of incense wafting around than usual.
A family from my church moved to Sanchong over the past summer, so now I actually know some other expats living in my neighborhood. One of the reasons I chose to live where I do is because there is a distinct lack of foreign people – much easier to be immersed in Taiwanese culture and language. And I can also attest to the fact that a foreign face brings fun and interesting interactions with the locals, particularly if they aren’t used to seeing laowai living amongst them. I’m glad that this family has moved to Sanchong, though. It’s nice knowing that people I know and can talk with are just a five minute scooter ride down the road. They moved to the area to do missions work, and I’ve been over a couple times to babysit for them.
Work has been taking most of my time. I have way more classroom hours than I currently want, but we should be getting a new teacher this month and I hope to have more free time before too long. I’m teaching two kindy classes again this year, as well as a fourth grade ESL and science class, plus an upper level evening class. I enjoy all the classes, but the administrative side of things is killing me – prep, grading, comm books, progress reports, etc. There have been some extra events lately, too. Last weekend we hosted a full day outing for parents and students to Taoyuan City, and then the next weekend I had to spend five hours at an awards ceremony for teachers.
At the end of August my rugby team played a Hong Kong team, winning with a comfortable margin of 67-10 over three 10s matches. It was good practice, since we were headed to Macau for beach rugby two weeks later. Macau is an easy hour and a half flight from Taipei, so we flew out Friday night for a weekend of rugby and exploring. I’m not a huge fan of Macau, but I hadn’t been there since 2013, so it was nice to have a look around again.
When I do have a free evening or weekend, I still love getting around Taiwan on my scooter or on the back of a friend’s. We had a four-day weekend in mid-September for Moon Festival. The first day of vacation blessed us with a full-on typhoon, but the second holiday gave us the most perfect weather since I’d come back. The best weather always comes right before a storm, and we knew another typhoon was right behind the first so we’d better make the most of the one nice day we had.