May 22, 2012


Happy Birthday, Addison.  Hope it’s a good one for you!

Well, I’ll tell you, it is so nice sleeping in an air conditioned room again!  After the past few months of warm nights, sometimes downright hot, and muggy, and humid (especially during the rainy nights we’ve had lately), it was so nice to lay on my cushy mattress, fluffy pillows, with a gentle cool breeze all night.  The kids thought so, too!  When I woke up this morning, I had to jostle them all awake as well.

Eloise is not really a morning cat.  She’s really grumpy in the mornings.  As I’m the one who wakes her up, she takes it out on the others.  All the other cats seem to understand, is that when I wake up, it’s breakfast time!  Eloise on the other hand, is not so much interested in eating, as she is in making sure the others get out of her way.

Today, after settling in on the computer, and having made my coffee, I decided to see what was happening on The French Job website.  It seems not much has changed.  Then again, the website is 6 hours behind me, so 6am here, is only midnight in France and Switzerland.

After a bit of cleaning up messages on Facebook, and starting to watch episodes of The Waltons on justin.tv, something told me to check my email.  Usually email is something I check once the caffeine has kicked in.  However, for some reason…

I had received an email from The French Job team.  The email basically informed me that I was in the top ten of the English Blogger category.  As this is not secret information, since anyone can see that by looking at their site, I was nonetheless thrilled.  Attached was a waiver to be signed, as well as a questionnaire they required to be answered and returned to their office by 4pm Swiss time.  That would be 10pm Taiwan time.

However, why wait.  Even though the coffee was just finishing up, I decided I may as well start working on it.  It was a fairly lengthy questionnaire.  It would be crazy to relate all the information they were asking for, but it was relevant to the final process of choosing the right person to fill the position of English Blogger.

I started working on it about 8am or so.  I feel that I choose my words well, and filled in every question asked.  Two areas in particular, were like writing an essay.  These areas required a little more than a few words to answer.  Obvious questions though.  Why did I feel I was right for the position, and why did I apply for the position.

One of the most difficult things to do, is to write about oneself.  Perhaps it’s just me, but I find writing a narrative about myself, is daunting to say the least.  I want to highlight my credentials, my experience, etc., but it seems vain.  I suppose it would have been easier to write in third person, thereby making it more like writing about someone else, then change the pronouns back to me.

Like most things that I write about, and this blog is no exception, it takes me a while to write it well.  I try to choose my words carefully.  I want it to be ‘readable’ by anyone.  Sure, there are times I use words that I know my students would never understand, but writing is the formal communication in any language.

Nonetheless, it did take me almost four hours to answer the questionnaire. Once I do sit down and start to work, the focus is on the work at hand.  After reading it over, printing it and proof-reading again, I felt that I had done the best I could at filling out the questionnaire.  The next step, was to send it to them in Switzerland.

Email was my obvious choice, as I do not have access to a fax machine.  Yes, I know there are fax programs available, and fax websites, but they are mainly in the USA/Canada.  From my office at home, it was easier to email.

My printer is also a scanner.  Since I am unable to ‘sign’ documents on the computer, I had to print out the documents, sign them, then scan them, and attach to an email.  I wasn’t overly paying attention to the scanner program, and didn’t notice that it was scanning the pages as pdf files.  This made each page just over 28mb each.  Email will only allow a 25mb file!

Back to the program, look over everything, and change it to a jpg file.  Sure enough, each page was just over 1mb, thereby allowing the email to handle 6 pages being sent.  Just after about 1pm, the email was sent.  Now the waiting begins.  I think my ‘comfortable’ night’s sleep last night, will not be repeated tonight!

Back a few months ago, I wrote a letter to the Taiwan Taxation Agency (Ministry of Finance) regarding some inconsistencies on their website, as well as a concern about telephone calls to their offices.  It was again, a lengthy 4-page document.  I received a response back to one particular point in my letter, with a basic response of ‘… we will fix the website problem… ‘.  Hmm.  Sounds like a form letter to me, but, we’ll see what happens.

So, the day ends with a nice evening out with a friend, having dinner and celebrating his birthday.  To my North American friends, you may want to skip through this.  Dinner was beef fried rice (okay, not so bad), steamed red bean sprouts (okay), spicy steamed clams (not bad, you say), and … hmm…  something I’m actually surprised about.  Liver soup.  Yes, liver soup.

I don’t mind liver.  In fact, if cooked gently, and not to the point of shoe leather, liver is very tasty.  The way this ‘eatery’ makes the soup is just cutting up liver into bite size pieces, and putting it into a hot soup.  By the time the soup gets to the table, the liver is no longer red, but brown I suppose.  It is tender and very tasty.  I’m not too fussy about the soup itself, but the pieces of liver are wonderful.

This eatery, I have been visiting from almost the time I came to Tainan – over 10 years.  The wife (whom I call mom because she does not have an English name) is a wonderful woman.  Her English is worse than my Chinese, but we still seem to be able to communicate with each other.  Her husband, who is the cook/chef, does ALL the cooking.  They have a daughter, who is now 5 years old, named ROBIN.  When she was born, they asked me to give her an English name, and the first name to come to mind, was my sister, Robin.  I have never heard the name Robin in Tainan in all the schools I’ve taught.

This weekend, Robin is competing in an English story telling competition at her bushiban.  Unfortunately, it’s not my bushiban.  However, mom did indicate that she wants me to tutor her in English.  I’ve never met Robin, never seen her, never seen pictures.  I guess I just don’t go there on the right days.  It would be fun and a privilege to be able to tutor Robin in English.  I’ll find out next week how she did in the contest.

That’s it, that’s all… for now!

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1 Comment

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One response to “May 22, 2012

  1. Great website, thanks for share this article with us

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