Hey, we live here

Rachel and I by the beach!
At an awesome beach in Keelung. Keelung is port city north of our house, which is quickly becoming one of our favorites. There's beautiful beaches, unique rock formations (like below), and a fairly large city with a great night market! The Keelung Night market is not the best for shopping, but the food is really good.

Rachel with our friends Wes and Daniel- we took a scooter ride over the mountains and up into Keelung city last weekend- it was wicked. This pic is at one of the beaches we swam at.

This is Hsin Hu, the kindergarten that Rachel works at- it is brand new and just had it's grand opening two weeks ago. She really likes her school, and most of her Chinese co-workers are her age- right out of college- which is really cool for her. She has been picking up some Chinese from them at her school too, and they all speak English too.

This is the Dahu Kindegarten were I teach a class of 3-4 year olds and a class of 5-6 year olds. They are some of the smartest 3-6 year old kids I have ever met. They call me "teacher Brian," and they laugh at everthing i do- they are really cool kids.

I have been driving our scooter for about a week now. It was pretty crazy at first adapting to the wild traffic in Taipei but I've really started getting the hang of of it. There are a lot of cars on the roads, but most definitely more scooters. At a stoplight, there can be hundreds of scooters waiting, and they all pull up to the front of the cars at the lights, which is normal here. Isn't she a beauty!

Rachel and I took a Saturday drive through the mountains and to the beach on the other side
Our scooter is the bomb

This is one of the mirrors that helps us see what's coming around the windy roads in the mountains.

After driving through the mountains for about 40 minutes we arrived at the wonderful beaches of Keelung.

A really sweet temple we passed on the street in Keelung, right outside the night market

We arrived in Keelung and joined our friend Tim for some of Taiwans best night market food. We have really loved the food in Taiwan- though sometimes we have no idea what we are really eating!

me, tim and our friend katie watching the fireworks in Keelung

After we spent the day at the beach and at the night market we made a fire and drank tea on some rocks by the ocean. We all jumped into the ocean to swim, but the waves were pretty fierce and we kept being pushed up against the rocks. Since it was so dark, we got out quickly.

Rachel and some of her friends from our training group- Katie and Shoshana

Today Rachel and I took a trip to Taichung with our land lady to hold babies at an orphanage for the day. We really fell in love with those babies. We actually loved them so much we adopted 3 of them. On the way home our land lady Sophia bought us these very tasty "famous" Taiwan cookies.
Kidding about adopting Taiwan babies......but it was tempting.


What's up Taiwan?

Me and my honey in taiwan- outside of the MRT- our subway/train system that we use to get everywhere. We have a card that we can scan each time we ride, which is much easier than dealing with change each time.
A typical taiwanese street- 1 million scooters! Everyone in the city drives a scooter, practically. Sometimes we drive by a small wreck where someone has fallen off, but we haven't seen anything serious yet.

My friends- we had the most awesome girls in our training group! From the left, Vanessa (Canadian), Beth (American), Lynn (British), Katie (American), me, Ingrid (South African), and Jenna (American)
Brian stealing some of my food w/ his chopsticks- we haven't seen forks for quite while. I must say, we are really getting the hang of chopsticks. The wooden ones are best, vs plastic where the food just slips right off.
Our bathroom- and yes... there is a toilet, sink, AND shower in there. Lets just say it's a bit cramped... but still work just fine!

And this is the very best part.
The view outside of our patio door- it is so beautiful. During the typhoon this weekend, the wind blew so hard over the mountains and rattled our doors and windows like crazy. Brian went climbing in the mountains early yesterday morning and found a Buddhist temple.

Brian outside of our favorite "50" restaurant- we can each eat for $1.50- and the food is pretty good. You choose 5 things, and there's lots of fish, chicken, and vegetables to choose from.
Rach, Jenna, and Katie at our end of training banquet. They served wine and appetizers, and gave away awards for our two week training.
On our way home w/ some awesome taiwanese food.

Playing soccer after training one day- it was seriously 5,000 degrees.


Those darn squaty toilets

Me and Jenna marveling at the squaty toilets in the MRT station- they are definitely no fun. Some places in Taipei have regular toilets (regular to Americans, the ones where you sit down), but sometimes you just have to suck it up and squat!

Brian is very confused about the prizes you can win in Taiwan... bread?

Going out to the Brass Monkey! Trying to find it... we were kinda lost

Well, we have been here for well over a week! It has flew by.... we have been so busy. Training has been pretty intense- there have been some very late nights staying up and practicing for our teaching demos w/ our small groups. Today was our last big demo, and we can all relax until we move to our branches on Wednesday and begin our first days of teaching! Brian and I went apartment shopping with one of our head NST's (basically, our boss), and also got to tour our branches that we will be working at. Brian's is very small, with about 4 classrooms, while mine is enormous. They call my branch the "flagship" of all of the kindergarten buildings- it is brand new and is having it's grand opening this week! The fellow teachers and people we met at our branches were all so nice, and seemed really eager to help us. We haven't found an apartment yet, but we are going to continue looking tomorrow- cross your fingers!

Tonight, a bunch of the girls in my training and I are all going to get massages in Taipei city. Everyone says that the massages can actually be really painful because they massage so deep (but you can ask them to do it gentler!), and there are tons of different treatments that they do. My friend Lynn did a treatment in Asia where lots of little fish nibble away all of the dead skin on your feet and legs- she said it felt amazing. Who knows, i just may try it!

Brian was able to get in his soccer (or, football, as they call it everywhere else) fix today. We got out of training early, so about 20 of us went to a park and played soccer in the 100 degree temperature- it was sooo hot! We also had an audience of Taiwanese people staring at our huge group of foreigners playing soccer after a while.