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.

Monday, January 18, 2016

2015: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

In the words of Poison front man Bret Michaels, "Every rose has its thorn." As for 2015 its not so much good riddance as much as, "What's next"?

The Ugly:
In the summer I had a traumatic car accident and had to pay a hefty chunk to the other driver. After that my car repair bills were killing me and the combination on just a part time pay check wasn't easy. I couldn't have made it without my boss and friends lending me here and there to get me by.  After coming back from my summer trip back home and thinking I could catch up and save a little something, my landlady  evicted me and gave me 2 weeks to move out (she was selling). There was also a couple ugly typhoons, one I missed and the other we safely endured.

Out With The Old: The year started out with me quitting my full time job at the other private elementary/junior high/high school- and not batting an eye lash, best move of 2015, but it did put a monkey wrench in my finances. I had a month of unemployment before traveling and starting a new part time job.

I worked part time for a fantastic Canadian boss in a kindergarten, but again, part time wasn't exactly working out financially. Did I teach my last kindergarten? Time will tell. The good news is I landed a fantastic job teaching a subject I studied for and care about at a prestigious private school.

I've reached out more than once to former coworkers but the epitaph of busyness has evolved to non replies. Such are expats in Yilan; unlike Tainan foreigners, those in Yilan are cliquey, exclusive, private.  In their defense, there aren't really venues to hang out like Tainan, nothing to do but eat and drink, so perhaps I am not missing out on much. I prefer to hit a hiking trail or do yoga in the park so I have made new friends at my gym and we do hit the trails. By the way, I'm not referring to expats with families and businesses, I understand life is hectic and time is a commodity; I hardly have but an hour to myself in the evenings. Its just one glaring difference from Tainan, the sunnier weather invokes communal gatherings.

Z also changed schools (again) and 3 is certainly a charm! Its a small mountain school, with a teacher all the kids adore. He is one of the most interesting people I've met, a former top emergency surgeon who was tired of telling grieving families sorry and he decided to teach (thankfully).

 The Good-Wander land:
As always, travel was the inevitable prerequisite. For my 40th birthday we returned to Sabah, Borneo for some ideallic diving and beach time. Suiting up and going under with my kid was worth it, although she wasn't comfortable enough to descend much, more like graduated snorkeling. Still its baby steps, progress. The visibility or coral wasn't great, but the experience with my kid priceless. The thorn of that trip was being attacked by a group of amphetamine induced thugs on our last night, but fortunately it all worked out.

For our Chinese New Years we went to Chang Mai in northern Thailand for 2 weeks.  Thailand is Disneyland for travelers, easy enough to get around, great food, perfect for beginners to get their feet wet or experiences travelers to have it easy.

In summer I went home for a blessed month. I took an RV trip with my folks, a brother and niece through New Mexico and Colorado. I didn't get much sleep but it was heavenly. Its getting more difficult leaving friends and family. Z and I are definitely talking about what living back in the States will look like.

 I hope we can stay another year here, we are both happy with out life at the moment and then we will leave Taiwan. Our plan is to get a place in Yuanshan close to my school and get some chickens and a goat, try that out for a year before we return to Colorado indefinitely. The exit strategy is on the back burner, but for now I scope little houses for rent in these misty mountains overlooking Turtle Island in the distance.

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