Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fun Fair and Birthday

It's been relatively quiet for Erin and I recently.  Last weekend Kaohsiung American School (KAS) had their annual Fun Fair.  This is put on the school PTA to raise money for school and community projects and includes numerous booths for food and games.  The goal of this year's Fun Fair was to raise money for a gym.  While the theme was "Beat the Heat" it turned out that wouldn't be a problem since it rained for most of the day.  Fortunately Erin and I were able to stay relatively dry working in the entrance-way helping to sell books.  What's more, though it was wet there looked to be a large turnout and everyone seemed to be having a good time.

On Friday it was my birthday and I'm so happy for all my friends and family that expressed their well wishes.  Even though we're so far away it's nice to know that people are thinking about me.  Friday night Erin took me out to see the latest Harry Potter movie.  The movie was kind of dark and depressing, but it was an also exciting and seeing it in recliners while eating dinner and sipping cocktails made the experience very fun.  In addition to going out Erin had ordered an apple pie that arrived Friday afternoon still warm from wherever it was cooked.  It has been delicious and I'm glad she went through the effort to track down someone to make it.

Finally on Saturday night we went out to an American place called "The Brickyard".  While none of the people we had invited were able to make it out that meant we got to know the owner of bar.  Apparently he worked at KAS as an ESL teacher recently, but was let go as the school shifted its focus away from that area.  With some experience in organizing parties he was able to get "The Brickyard" up and running with an American menu and local bands playing frequently.  Our meal was very enjoyable and the place filled up quickly, so it seemed like he was doing something right.  It was another example of how quickly things can change here.

This week is a short week for us with the Thanksgiving holiday.  We're looking forward to going out to Hong Kong for the long weekend starting on Thursday.  Before long it will be Christmas vacation.  When we look back on it the year certainly seems to be moving quickly.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Kenting and Early Birthday

Two weekends ago Erin and I finally had the opportunity to travel down to Kenting.  We had booked a room at a very expensive hotel because it was the only one we could find for the time we could go.  We hadn't worked out transportation before-hand though, just hoping to get on a bus when we went to the Kaohsiung main train station.  Amazingly enough, on our subway ride to the train station we ran into another teacher from the school and her friend from Taipei.  They happened to be traveling to Kenting as well.  We ended up getting on a shuttle together for the ride down there thanks to our new friend.

Once in our room we were overcome by the view and the peacefulness of the crashing waves.  We spent much of the rest of the afternoon just relaxing and listening to the waves.  By dinner time we walked into town to find throngs of people and a lively night market.  People were packed out into the street, but we were still able to find an Italian eatery for dinner.

The next day we rented a scooter from a paintball (and scooter-rental) place across from our hotel.  We then went up to the Kenting Recreation Park which had some very nice trails, caves, and lookouts.  We're looking at going back in December.  We then rode back into town for a delicious Thai lunch before cruising down the road a bit.  The wind had picked up though, so we stopped at a beach to look at some tide pools before heading back to our hotel to check out.  All in all it was a nice trip, but we're definitely looking to spend some more time there in the future.

Last weekend care packages arrived from both my parents and my aunt and uncle.  They were so kind to get us some non-perishable things that we haven't been able to find here.  As they were ostensibly for my birthday I hesitated to open the packages, but then went ahead feeling that there was no reason we shouldn't be enjoying them currently.  I feel very blessed to have such a caring and supportive family who would do so much to help Erin and I all the way out here. 

What got me and Erin most was the high cost of shipping and we feel bad that we didn't mention the shipping company we used to ship our stuff out here.  Shipnex ( was a bit difficult to navigate and be sure that we were using the right service (since it looks more geared towards commercial shipping), but it was also much less expensive than UPS or the US postal service.  So I want to thank everyone again for everything they've sent us and apologize for not mentioning this shipping service before.

Next week Erin and I will be celebrating my birthday by going out to see the new Harry Potter movie in the "Gold Class" theater where they have individual recliners, serve you food and alcohol, and generally treat you like a VIP.  The following week we will be in Hong Kong for the Thanksgiving break.  We're looking forward to a well-deserved break and a chance to get out of town for a couple of days.