Friday, 26 February 2010

Another end of term...

...thank goodness! These 11/12 week, no half-way break terms are gruelling and then you only get a few days before the next one starts. The Mandarin Training Center keeps very strictly to a 13 week cycle so that each year stays even in terms of dates etc, but it can mean that, as it seems public holidays are deducted from the actual vacation time, you can end up with only a few days off between terms. We finished today and we go back on Thursday!! Having said that, we've just had over a week off for New Year. I'm glad that it was a late New Year date this year, else we'd have felt totally wiped out by the end of next term.

This has been our class this term, minus the 4 Japanese (2 guys, 2 girls) who didn't show up. Next to Martin is Aixuan, a Thai lady married to a Taiwanese chap, then our teacher, Yan Guilan, who used to go to Nanqu cong as a Bible student, but said our requirements were too strict and so picked a church that suited her better!!! Anyway, she asked us for the magazines regularly and even gave me NT$100 for them last time (about £2). Next comes Yuzhen, another Thai girl who I've been talking to a little about the truth of late, then Sayaka, a Japanese lady whose heading back home after a year here the very day we all get back to class. She's a tour guide and is ready to get back into it now. Today was chatter, snacks and DVDs, so I took in the latest release DVD on creation and we watched that one first. I thought the Chinese was nice and clear and mostly understandable for students in Level 5. What you couldn't get from the spoken word, you could follow from the pictures etc. You don't often get chance to count your service time in class, do you??=)

This term hasn't been as enjoyable as last term as we've been plain racing through the book and have been encountering new stuff, (esp vocab) way faster than we could absorb it. The teacher set a goal to finish the book, which we did half way through yesterday's lesson, but it was too fast to make any real and lasting impact. I remember the stuff from last term much better. It's a shame that we didn't get another chapter or two done back then, which we think we could have, then we could have started later on in the book this term and learned at a steady rate. we both feel we need to re-study the whole thing now!

Here are some photos from around the school. First, we have the obligatory statue of Confucious, seemingly the Chinese patron saint of teachers. He's credited with the idea of teaching the student according to his abilities, rather than all being taught exactly the same, (common sense really!), amongst other things. Anyway, the National Taiwan Normal University, (home to the MTC and basically, teaching training etc), have him as their big figurehead.

This is the entrance to the Bo'ai ('universal love') Building which houses the MTC and some other language based things, such as the translation/interpreting place, the French dept and the Chinese teaching training as well as special education. Imposingly unChinese isn't it??=)

Here is the 7th floor main hub of the MTC, with the library and some display cases of students' work in culture classes. They don't always seem to be strictly Chinese culture, as there was a patchwork one offered this term, but there's usually Chinese cookery and basic music lessons as well as art! We're interested in taking some later on, Sir calligraphy and me the Chinese painting. Hope we don't all have to give our work to the school.....

This is a street in the night market area local to the school. I thought this gave an idea of the narrowness of the streets when you get off the main roads. Not surprisingly, most of the trucks here are this kind of scale.

As I mentioned above, we had a week or so off for the New Year holiday, which is a really big thing here - much more so even than the whole of Christmas and New Year at home. Here, banks and so on close down for the whole 9 day period, there's no post and, whilst there are shops open, including supermarkets, supplies of fresh produce get low, so I was glad we'd stocked up well beforehand.

As everyone is free, lots of people invited us to their homes over the hols. Here we are at Wang and Yu Jiemeis' place, (Wang Jiemei is the mother who took back her old name after her divorce and Yu Linda keeps her dad's name), with Chen Jiemei and her boys and many of the cong collection of foreigners: the Japanese Tians and Fantians (Yidas - fleshy bro & sis, not a couple) and the Brits from Ireland, Rob & Jill Stevenson.

Naturally, as soon as school broke up, the rain started and continued almost all the time until we went back. For about 5 days is was very heavy as well and so you can see the state of Sir's trousers when he came home early from his usual long Friday on the min last week!

Had it not been for this heater, I think I wouldn't have survived this winter!!! Some of the others at school ended up not being able to get out of bed last week for the cold as they'd no heating! When decent heaters are only £10, I can't quite think why they never bought them, but I think that Barney was right when he said that was the last really cold spell. Today was 31C!

On Sunday we head to Hualien and Taroko etc with the Stevensons, so that should be good fun and I'll have plenty of nice photos to share next time.

1 comment:

  1. It looks só very interesting to me, to live a year in Taiwan. So very different from western Europe. The art, food , buildings etc. I loved to travel, but now the opportunity is very low. Age, money and location ;) We are happy where we are now. I looked at your embroidery blog too, very nice work! Thanks for your comment about the crocuses, I am glad you liked it :)