About Me

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Yilan, Taiwan
I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Case for Taiwan

It’s simple really.

I had planned on teaching high school social studies this fall in the TIR (Teacher’s in Residence Program) where someone w/ a BA can become a teacher. I applied for an opening at Arapaho H.S which is down the street from here, but I doubt I will follow through with this. Who knows? I don’t totally don’t want to close the door on anything w/o having all (or as much) info. I will talk to the Littleton Public Schools admin tell them my concerns and see what they can do for me.

If I take on the TIR program (after having been hired by a school first), then I begin classes in July, start full time in August and go to night school every Monday at Metro for the first year I teach. The TIR program is 2 years. From teachers I’ve talked to I’m looking at least to 60 hour work weeks, with the prep time, grading papers + Monday nights, I would never see Zenaida! I don’t really want to be away from her all that long so soon, she is still so young and so attached to me (and vice versa), she still nurses and sleeps with me. And I would still have to live w/ my folks for a year saving for a place of my own. ‘Im itching to spread my wings be independent. I’m too old to be with them.

Now, I’ve worked in Taiwan before, I known what I’m getting myself into more or less. I can get a full time job teaching ESL in a kindergarten, which is 9-5 and 25-30 hours teaching, 1 ½ hour lunch breaks, free lunch and breakfast. The cost of living is cheaper, I can immediately (or after 3 months) get my own apt. The best thing of all is Zenaida can attend the same school I teach (they start at age 2-3), so I can see her during the day, possibly teach some of her classes, take lunch w/ her, even nap with her if I wanted.

What has prevented me from not going to Taiwan sooner, is the shock it will be for Zenaida; she will be emerged in Mandarin, she will stand out as a foreigner, the crowds, the climate, and being uprooted from her home and extended family; it weighs on my conscious. I think she can handle it, we will be together, she will like being in school w/other kids, she will become fluent in Mandarin (and maybe Taiwanese and Hakka too). It’s temporary, only for 2 years max. We can come home w/money in the bank and I can pursue the TIR program and teach high school when she starts school .

So I've applied to some places throughout Taiwan. I would love to be near my friends in Taipei and live in Taipei country again, but I am also interested in living in other parts of the island and have applied to a school in Tainan and am making plans for a phone interview. I don’t think most of the schools have been too keen on me bringing a daughter into the equation. An exception is a school in Hsinchu, but they wanted me to sign a contract where they were going to charge me 1/3 of my salary to pay for Zenaida’s books, which is insane because she cant read or write yet. I think having her in an ESL school is an advantage for the school because she is so articulate for her age and has the vocab of a 4 year old. But these schools make their profit on these books, so many books.

I'm taking it one day at a time and see what happens. Its exciting really because anything can manifest right now.

I'm freeing some space, making room for grace.  Now the danger is having an attachment of what Zenaida and I’s life will be in Taiwan, should we go that route. The one benefit of international traveling is having these initial expectations and being so wrong because the reality far exceeds the expectations. It’s a blast. I miss it. I wonder if I have the courage or wisdom to make the right decision.

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