June 25, 2010

Hello again…

It seems that whenever I have to write a blog late, is because I have a good reason. And today is no different.

My day started off pretty much as normal… up at 5:30 am to the sound of rain pounding down outside. At first, I thought I was just dreaming, but when I looked outside, it was coming down. You’d almost think it was typhoon season! So, we had a few days of big fluffy white clouds, with sunshine, and moderate temperatures (for Taiwan). Now, I guess we’re back to the rain.

Recently, well, last week, I was having a problem with my fourth printer of the year. One of the colours wasn’t being recognized. I shut the printer off. Turned it on. No go. Unplug everything. Turn off the power. Start again – nothing. Unloaded the printer on the computer, reloaded, still nothing. So, I took the three printers back to the shop, GAVE them back, and bought a new one. As I’ve said before, computers and printers here in Taiwan have a 1:50 year lifespan! The three printers aren’t even made or sold here any longer. And I’ve only purchased them within the past year!

Got home, loaded the printer, and it seemed to work. Two days later, it wasn’t recognizing the colours. A brand new printer, and I was having the same problems. Then I got to thinking – maybe it’s because I’ve got Windows Vista 32 as the operating system on my new laptop. Took the printer back to the shop. The same problem happened to them, they replaced a card, and voila, printer works. Good, now I can get some work done.

Three days later, today, I start printing again. I need 15 copies of 20 pages for next Wednesday. It printed 25 sheets of paper, and guess what – it wouldn’t recognize the cartridges again! Now, I know I’m not a patient person. But I really am. I’ve now purchased five, yes, five printers within the space of a year. One printer, the latest, I’ve now taken back twice. Again, it now seems to be working – again. I’m getting so tired of this. And when I get upset, I get people telling me to calm down, that it’s not that big a deal! At 6,000nt per printer, that is a total of 30,000nt! More than the average salary of most people for a month!

Okay. Today is also the Giraffe kindergarten graduation. I sort of remember my kindergarten year, but I don’t remember ‘graduating’ from kindergarten. There was no big performance or song and dance about going to grade one! However, every kindergarten I’ve worked at in Taiwan since coming here, has one of these graduations every year for the kids in ‘da ban’ going to grade one.

We’ve been practicing for about two months. The kids are incredible. They’ve learned a speech, which they will present in both languages – English and Chinese. They’ve learned songs, dance routines, and Marie Nugent will be proud of me for this – I’ve taught them how to sign the alphabet in English. They can also spell (sign) their names, and know a few basic words – mom, dad, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, and uncle. As I will be on stage with the kids during their ceremony, I won’t have a recording of them signing.

I think on Monday I may just have them do it in class. I’m actually quite proud of the fact that they have accomplished as much as they have in English. In my opinion, they’ve learned a lot more than most of the kids I teach. I mean really, not only are they performing in Chinese, but in English, and in sign language. Kids are truly sponges!

After practice this morning, I got home, got the printer hooked back up again, finished off a couple of things, and then it was time to get over to my afternoon classes. Off to An-ping. Then, back home, change books for my next classes, and get things I’ll need for the nights ceremony. Straight from one school, off to the next, then from there, back to Giraffe.

The night went rather well. The kindergarten kids did a bang-up job. It was really a pleasure watching them – and participating with them. It was also the final story telling competition for our branch. There are four classes of readings, and three or four contestants in each category. Overall, the contestants did really well. Again, I do take a bit of credit for some of their work. That credit is also shared with Janice, Julie, Christine, and Sabrina… the director and other teachers who helped these students.

The four winners were announced, and basically the night was finished. There were a bunch of door prizes to be given out, so while that was going on, I went inside to cool off. It was a very warm and humid night. The rain held off for most of the night, but started up again.

While inside, one of the kids had a helium filled balloon, that they had let go of. Myself and another person were trying to jump up to grab the string to get the balloon. It was just out of reach. Where I was standing, there is a box of sorts. I stepped up onto the box, and kind of used that as extra leverage to push myself up to reach. Didn’t get the balloon, but slipped off the box. All I heard was a loud ‘snap’, and the next thing, a shot of pain coming from my foot.

I was a bit hesitant about looking at my left foot. It was sore. But I didn’t make any motion about it. Too many people and kids around. Found a quiet place for a sec, took off my shoe, and was a bit shocked at what I saw. My middle toe, on my left foot, instead of facing forward, was kind of ‘bent’ outwards! I just looked at it and shook my head.

Quietly, and again, without alarming anyone, I called Janice over. I had her look at my foot. My right foot. Then I showed her my left. I quietly asked her to not get alarmed, but perhaps someone could take me to the hospital or a clinic.

She calmly got her car, and took me over to a chiropractor. I think she was a bit more worried about it than I was. I was kind of laughing about the whole thing. I mean really – a toe! A little toe. A useless, little toe. But the pain was numbing. I think she thought perhaps it was broken, but since it was still rigid, and not limp, I kind of figured it wasn’t broken – just dislocated. But I was too much of a wimp to ‘crack’ or pop it back into place myself.

Got over to the chiropractor, he looked at it, massaged it for a second, and while I held my breath waiting for the worst, he popped it back in place. Two minutes at the most! Cracking my knuckles on my hand hurt worse than him popping my toe back in place! LOL!

Now, its just a little sore, but I think I’ll live. It did make an interesting close to the evening. Apparently no one (staff or anyone else for that matter) knew what had happened, but the noticed that Janice and I weren’t there for about 15 minutes. Really… a foreign teacher and the director are gone. Of course people will notice.

Well, I think my luck of 3 is finished now. Let’s see. I’ve been in a scooter accident, I’ve had a seizure, and now a dislocated toe. Enough is enough. It should soon be time for the luck of 3 to begin again – the good luck this time!


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