Sunday, February 24, 2008

Weekend Update

Well well well, I'm updating Franklin's blog again. That either means I have a bit of free time, there can be no other possible explanation.

Chinese New Year has come and gone. The weeklong vacation gave us a chance to spend time together and we had a blast. A blast of cold air as well.

Jeez, it must've gotten down to about 40F. Naturally, the kids worse three shirts, pajamas, quilted pants, a sweater, a vest, a jacket, and a scarf. Hey, this is Taiwan. When we get a chance to dress up like a Christmas card, we take it.

The four of us piled into the High Speed Train for a trip to Taipei. We snickered to ourselves (the adults did, anyway) as we passed over the highway and saw miles and miles of backed up cars. This does indeed feel like the only way to travel in Taiwan.
Taipei was dreary. I've always heard about the miserable weather there, but was fortunate in the years I made regular trips north for meetings that I arrived on sunny days. Our luck really ran out this time.

It was cold and rainy the day we went to the zoo. Frank & Gretchen got to see elephants, giraffes, flamingoes, koalas, as well as 140 species of turtle. It's quite a nice zoo, and I imagine on a weekend day with beautiful weather, it would be unbearably crowded. There were quite enough snotty-faced kids playing "Lookaforeigner" with the park mostly empty. At least no one was throwing stones at the monkeys or the foreigners.

No trip to Taipei is complete without a stop at Taipei 101. I thought it might be refreshing to ride the elevator to the top and look out from the observation deck, but I declined to make my wishes known as we had a train to catch.

The rest of the holiday was quite nice, though I wouldn't go so far as to say "relaxing," but Taiwanese holidays all seem to place more emphasis on "recreation" than "rest." Still, it was a rare opportunity to play with the kids all day and go for walks in the park.

After Chinese New Year, Maggie and I decided it would be helpful in our pursuit of curbing costs if Franklin were to come to "The Elephant" with us to help out. He's 3 years old, and most of our kids are about 6 or 7. Franklin helps carry books & messages upstairs. When a student's mother comes to take her child home, Frankie will run up to our third floor to tell ge-ge or jie-jie it's time to go home. When I'm in class, the first couple days, he always wanted to come in and see what I was doing. We're just a small school so such breaches in professional etiquette can be ignored from time to time, but we made it quite clear that he was allowed to come to Thursday evening story time only. For classes on other days, Frankie sits on the easy chair outside my classroom door and waits for break time.

At break, Maggie quizzes the students one at a time on the current unit. Franklin stands in line with a book in his hands waiting to answer the questions just like the big kids. He speaks Chinese now in complete phrases and is making strides in English despite the fact that his only conversation partner is his dad.

1 comment:

hermitide said...

just wanted to leave you a note on that being the only English conversationist with Frank is what's happening in our household, too...I will keep fighting for that so hopefully by the time Mia goes to school, she will have a solid foundation in English (provided I haven't dragged the whole gang back to the US by then)...

ditto on your 'lookaforeigner' ditty...I hear you, man...I hear you.