December 26th 2004

So this was my first Christmas away from home. Somehow I’m glad it’s over and I don’t have to ask myself anymore how Christmas in Taiwan will be. On Friday Dec. 24th, my girlfriend, I, and some friends went out for dinner to Pizza Hut (…yeah Pizza, that’s what I call tradition!) all-you-can-eat for 299NT (about 7 Euro) and we were really eating as much as we could 😉

Afterwards we went to the Taipei 101 area and of course the tower itself. The area was very crowded, people and party everywhere, also 6 to 8 meters high Christmas trees sponsored by various companies…for example Volkswagen in front of Taipei 101…so at least one sign of Germany and a Christmas tree (…Tannenbaum) in Taiwan 😉

Maybe I am a bit too ironic right now….well I can’t help, it’s just not the way I’m used to celebrate Christmas. No regrets coz I know that there will be also a lot of years I will spent Christmas with my girlfriend in Germany 😉

I have to take an exam in two days, 4-unit-exam, so not the usual 10-minute-dictation. Therefore I didn’t make it to post other pictures or videos yet, hope to get some more time after Tuesday. And then there are only a few days left until the year is over. At least in theory. I’m looking forward to see how „intense“ the western New Year will be celebrated in Taiwan, however, no comparison to the Chinese New Year I already know, but I don’t complain about it. The time will also come 😉

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December 20th 2004

I had a quite busy weekend. On Friday I went to my school’s Christmas party. It was very interesting to come together with more than a hundred people from about twenty different countries, the most international event I went so far. There have been singing performances by Indonesian, Russian and Mexican singers and a multi-language version of „Silent Night, Holy Night“ in English, Chinese, Indonesian, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Polish and even Swahili, ah and last but not least the St. Kitts and Nevis dialect version (…eh?).

You miss the German part? Me too. It seems that is has been forgotten to ask any German to join the performance, anyway, if it only had been me singing German on stage…no way guys!! However, the most exciting part I saw this night was African dancing. Just reflect the situation: So I’m sitting there in Taiwan far away from my home in Germany enjoying African dancing! I never saw it live before and I’m quite impressed by this really nice way of body language and expressing feelings 😉  Thus, it was a really eventful evening together with an international community sharing the idea of Christmas, well done!

On Saturday, most of us met again for our „Tug-of-War“ – Final match and of course we won!! Pretty tough though, finally we scored a clear 2-0 victory against the senior fitness club I guess. They even had cheerleaders. We had the power. So what? 😉  My girlfriend also recorded the action on video, if I make it to a reasonable resolution and size maybe I will upload it. So what did we win? It was a (..small) glass trophy, a certificate and 5000 NT (155 US, 115 Euro). And….I was the one who received the trophy at the podium…you know, like having won the Soccer World Cup 😉

Sunday was just relaxing and of course studying. Sunday is my usual study day since we got used to write dictations on Monday. I have a mixed feeling about going to school next week, especially Thursday and Friday. I never went to school at Dec. 23rd and 24th, coz that time there are always holidays in Germany….but, as I already mentioned some other time, I guess Taiwan is not Germany 😉 Somehow it will be strange to pass Christmas without any much input, on the other hand you also don’t have Chinese New Year in Germany…..and this means one whole week of holiday !!! 🙂

December 15th 2004

I’m still very very unsatisfied with the teaching thing, but I also didn’t expect a change within a few days. Today I extended my visa for another 60 days, which makes it the maximum of 180 days of that kind of visitor visa. Thus, to stay longer in the country I also have to make up my mind to get a Residence Visa + ARC (Alien Residence Certificate). There are quite a few possibilities, however, all of them require at least one of the two following things: A good job or money, of course it would be always useful to have both. Right now I have none of it, but about 10 weeks to change it from now on. Can’t do it today, coz the day is already over, 12.40am, but I will go on studying and writing chinese later.

If I can’t teach, at least I can learn!

December 11th 2004

It seems the struggle gets harder. The last two or three weeks didn’t pass the way I could be satisfied with. The main problem is to build up a stable basis of income I can count on … six weeks ago the start of the teaching thing made me really think positive, I had (…and still have) a lot of fun in teaching my own language and I got a comparatively high payment the hour.

However, I think it’s not worth the money. Finding a German teacher is still a lot more difficult than an English teacher and their average price the hour starts at 600NT. My average price is even lower. So either I’m too stupid to run my own business on a lower price than others do with even higher ones or I mainly find people whose general interest is not about improving their language skills, but increasing their account of foreign friends or whatever. I know I’m very stubborn in things like that, but very probably you would also think like if it’s the way to finance yourself. Right now I would say that the teaching thing will never bring enough money, enough regular money, to afford living, rent and tuition here in Taiwan. So, have to look for a regular job.

It’s not about I didn’t expect things to become like this …. how many people do you know, who can live only by do some private teaching? The surprising thing for me is that I cannot count on the agreements I make here in Taiwan, if I make five appointments for teaching and four of them get cancelled … whatever the reasons are … then I cannot count on future appointments anymore. Especially not if it happens not only in one but in three weeks in a row. And I don’t want to find twenty students to be glad to teach maybe five of them in a week.

Anyway, before you get too much pity on me right now, there are still many possibilities to take. I just write about the situation as it is at the moment, but regarding some important decisions about staying in Taiwan, this is a very important fact to consider. It would be the same for me in Germany or any other place in the world. Have to put both eyes on that now, but no need to panic.

December 3rd 2004

Two days ago Miss Taiwanoca celebrated her birthday!! It was the first time I was able to spent it together with her, so for sure it was a really special day for her and me. We celebrated together with some friends in a T.G.I. Fridays (www.tgifridays.com) and it was a lot of fun.

And today I have my own little anniversary…today I passed exactly 100 days of staying in Taiwan 🙂 Nothing really special, but unbelievable how fast time is running. However, another typhoon is on the way, which will probably affect the island’s weather the whole weekend, so maybe there won’t be much more to do than studying and using the computer.

It’s Christmas time, but as I already guessed there is no real Christmas feeling for me here in Taiwan. It’s already destroyed by the weather….of course it’s also seldom for my home in Germany to have snow during Christmas time, however, there is somehow a chance for it….but it’s hard to believe it’s December (for Germans) when you go out and don’t need to wear a coat, but sometimes only a shirt. However, last week at Oma Ursel’s restaurant I bought some original German Christmas cookies…..I didn’t dare to open the package yet, coz it seems to be too special…and maybe I will wait until Christmas Eve 🙂

So far, so good bye now, going to have dinner and then study (…not really), using computer (…more probable) or watching movie (…right now the most probable) and wait what typhoon „Nanmadol“ (….sounds like „Smeagol“ aka „Gollum“ from The Lord of the Rings) will bring overnight, tomorrow and the rest of the weekend.