July 26, 2010


Monday, Monday… you know the rest!

On the odds months of the year (January, March, May, etc), Taiwan has the ‘Uniform Invoice Lottery’. What exactly is this? Well, let me tell ya!

When you go to the store here in Taiwan, or get any kind of receipt from a service or good, the receipt is printed with a unique 8-digit number. On the 25th of the odd months, they draw several numbers to win money! Yes, cold, hard cash! There are usually 3 numbers drawn for the first prize of 2,000,000nt (about C$65,000). Very hard to win this one. You must match all 8 numbers EXACTLY. No subsidiary prizes.

The next three numbers drawn are broken down. All 8 numbers, 7, 6, 5, 4, and 3. The last 3 numbers is worth 200nt. 4 numbers – 1000nt… Needless to say, this drawing is probably the first time ever since coming to Taiwan, that I did not win anything. Oh well. There’s always next draw!

When I first came here in 2002, I won 1000nt (last 4 numbers). I usually get at least 3 numbers each drawing. I have won 4000nt one time (5 numbers) and 10,000nt (6 numbers) one time. The government keeps 4%, and you receive the remainder. And yes, even though I am a foreigner, I am still entitled to win the lottery. And yes, the government still keeps its share! No exemptions…

Today I started my grade 7 GIFTED junior high students classes. Hmmm… I’m not exactly sure that “GIFTED” is the proper word though! It is very easy on a 10 question, multiple-choice test to luck out and get 9 or 10 correct. The only problem is that the test do determine if these students are ‘GIFTED’ in English does not include a verbal test! I realize that it may be almost impossible to give 500 verbal tests, but…

These little children come into the school, having just been the ‘big kids’ at their elementary schools. Now they are at a private school, and think they are, how shall I say, ‘the cat’s meow’? They think they are better than gold. Unfortunately for them, they have me as a teacher! Hahaha!

The first thing I stress to these little boys and girls is that there is only ONE VIP in the class… that being ME! I’m sure a lot of them go running home to their parents that evening talking about me. Cool. By September when regular classes begin, I will have good classes of students to teach, who know what is expected of them. They will realize that they are in school – not on the playground. They will be speaking and participating, or they will be transferred to the classes where they can sleep, drool, or pick their noses during class! But I don’t teach those students!

Last Friday, the students already had a day off. Whatever the reason, I don’t know. No one can explain properly. I sort of understand it as: there are a certain number of classes during the school year. If the number of classes and the number of ‘potential’ days are uneven, then the students are given time off. Man, they just started last Tuesday, and already had a day off… poor little things!

What the school system doesn’t account for is the number of ‘typhoon days’ that this country has each year. There will be at least 5 or 6 days where the students will not be in class because the government closes the schools for these ‘typhoon days’. Then, the number of classes and potential classes is out of whack again. Then, the students are required to make up those days by going to school on Saturdays and calling them Friday’s or something.

I think it would be better to just let the school year go on, and if towards the summer they notice that the days are uneven, make the adjustments then. So, the kids may have to stay in school for an extra day, or they may have an extra day off. What’s the problem?

I don’t set school policy or decide the number of classes these kids need. I am but a foreign English teacher. I have my schedule, and sometimes I have to adjust to suit the school.

[Digress…]

For anyone that looks at my Facebook Albums called “View From The Roof”, you may notice that there is a gap in the ‘views’. The last pictures uploaded were July 8. The next ones are of July 21. Everything from July 9-20 (and I mean EVERY PICTURE TAKEN) were lost due to the phone screwing up.

So, I’ve now gotten into the habit of uploading or downloading (however you want to look at it) from my iPhone every day. I can’t seem to trust the iPhone too much these days. So, better to get the pictures off of it ASAP – every day! If I want to show pictures, then I still have access to them through the Facebook app and the album that auto-syncs when I plug the phone into the computer.

As well, if you haven’t noticed, there is another type of ‘Facebook’ available called ‘Catbook’. Yes, it is a Facebook app for cats! I’ve tried to look for it again, but seem to be not looking in the right place. I do have it as an app on the iPhone. Pretty funny… the only thing is, now I have 7 accounts to keep active! Mine, and the kids! When I have time, I’ll have to get them using Farmville or something!

As far as messages, I may have to record their ‘meows’ and post them to each other. Crazy. We’ll see what happens.

Well, it took me about 6 hours tonight to get some work done, and so the house is still a mess from the weekend. I’ll have to get to it later.

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