It's a Tuesday morning at 9:53, and I am sitting at home in my pajamas. We have Typhoon Megi to thank for that. This category two typhoon is just about to slam full on into Taiwan, so we get a typhoon day. A typhoon day is Taiwan's version of a snow day, expect we don't have to make it up at the end of the school year! So I am sitting on my couch next to an open window watching it rain every direction and trees start to bend in interesting ways.
I love typhoons!
Anyways, we have been back in Taiwan for almost 7 weeks now, and a lot has happened!
We are in our fifth week of school, which is half way through first quarter. It's gone by so fast! Our kids are good (and many are freaking great), and our classes are going well so far. We've had open house and met the parents and everything has been wonderfully smooth sailing. I think, in general, this year is going to be so much nicer than last year. Last year was Sean's first year of teaching 4th grade, and it was our first year as a double income household supported by two teachers. It took a lot of finagling to find a new normal that worked for the both of us. I'm not going to say we have definitely achieved that, but we are close and getting there-- so much more than we managed last year.
Plus, all the foreign teachers got 25% raises this year (my school's attempt to be more competitive at hiring fairs), annual free airfare home, and awesome professional development. Guys, this is nothing to turn your nose up at. This is a huge deal, and we are so incredibly fortunate-- and we know it and are grateful for it everyday. We are about to pay off Sean's $24,000 student debt, and then we are looking forward to having an absolutely absurd amount of disposable income for the rest of the time we choose to be here, which, frankly, will most likely be a while.
So, yay for work going well and finances going well-er!
like finally biting the bullet
We also did two other things that have made our lives easier and more enjoyable.
The first: we got a water machine. It has a hot water tap and a cold water tap. We get 5 huge bottles delivered at a time, and they last for 3 weeks. I know you are probably laughing that water is such a big deal to us, but until you live in a situation in which you cannot safely drink your tap water and your fridge doesn't have a water filter and dispenser, you just cannot get how annoying it is to realize at 9pm that you have no water, so you have to get on your scooter, drive 5 minutes to a refilling station, and then return home and drink lukewarm water. This has saved us so much time and late night or early morning headaches!
The second: we hired someone to clean our apartment once a week. Guys, I still feel a little weird about this. I am a capable woman who can clean her own apartment. That is absolutely true. However, just because I can doesn't mean I have to. So, I'm not anymore. I still do the dishes. I still grocery shop and cook. I still do the laundry. But now someone else comes every Thursday and washes the windows, cleans the floors, scrubs the bathrooms, and dusts. And you know what? It's awesome. Here, it's also incredibly cheap. I don't mind parting with $100 a month-- so $25 each Thursday-- to have a wonderfully clean home.
This is not even my most exciting news, but it is still so exciting! We are getting a dog! Over the summer, after spending so much time with our families and their dogs, we came to the realization that we too can have a dog. It, meaning our situation, won't be perfect, but whose is?
The day we got back to Taiwan, Sean asked me to start scouring the Internet looking for how to get a dog in Taiwan. Of course, we could just take one off the street, but we didn't think that was the best recipe for success. We also refused to purchase one from a shop.
We wanted a rescue dog that we could know some stuff about, like whether it is good with other animals, strangers, and kids. Eventually, I found the website for GAIR. This organization rescues and rehabilitates unfortunate dogs in Taiwan, and then EVA Air flies them to homes in America. We scoured GAIR's website and found the dog of our dreams, Bubu. We submitted an application and had a Skype interview. We get to meet Bubu next next weekend, and I sincerely hope that everything works out after that. We are so excited to welcome him into our home and our lives. We even have a doggie daycare picked out for when we travel overseas during winter break or summer vacation.
like vacation plans
The other day, I told Sean that I thought I was mostly over my travel bug. Then he laughed out loud in my face and said, "yeah right". Which, of course, is the truth. If you look at my Pinterest, I am clearly in the midst of planning three trips: one to Greece, one to Iceland, and one to Japan.
So, no, I'm not over my travel bug. However, things are starting to change. I can tell.
For our 26-day winter break in January & February, which is so not the right time to go to Greece or Iceland, I was seriously struggling to come up with a place I did want to visit. I am kinda over Asia. I live here, after all, and I've been most places already.
I threw out suggestions like New Zealand and Australia, but Sean vetoed them. He doesn't want to spend the money or time those destinations require. In the end, we decided on Japan in the winter time. Japan is a 2-hour flight away from Taiwan. It's beautiful, easy to navigate, and much cheaper than anywhere else I wanted to go.
In the past, I would go somewhere just to go somewhere. After a decade of travelling the world and 4+ years living as an expat, that is no longer my thing. And that's okay.
That said, I am still greatly looking forward to our adventures around Japan. We loved our time in Osaka & Kyoto last spring.
like friends & fun
One thing I love about Taiwan is the people. We have made some awesome friends here, and we miss them when we are gone for summer or winter vacations.
We have Friday night tennis followed by ice cream at Family Mart by the lake afterwards. We have our beef noodle soup, ramen, pho, or xiao long bao dinner dates. We have our girl nights with games and finger nail painting. We have our scoot adventures up into the mountains so we can soak in a cold springs (which is what these photos are from). We have our movie nights with popcorn. We have our work out sessions and gatherings to celebrate birthdays, the beginning of the school year, the end of the school year, or a random Friday night.
We have our awesome scooter hoard.
What we have is so much fun and the creation of so many precious memories!
So, that's been our life over the past 7 weeks.
Busy, but good.
And full of wonderful things, and even wonderful-er things to come!