Saturday, October 06, 2007

Friday, October 05, 2007

the winners!

Posted by Picasa

Art class

Posted by Picasa

"Snow" day...

Hi everyone (or anyone, it’s been so long!),
I can’t believe we’ve already been in school over two months. Therein lies the tardiness of this blog….we started “Once Upon a Mattress”, the Upper School Musical, the week we returned and today is our first 2-day weekend since! However, it’s not because we’re through, but the Taiwan version of the “musical snowstorm curse”! We are currently in the midst of super-typhoon Kronsa, missing the full Act 1 and 2 put-together, which we really need. There’s no help for it, around here, when the government says “Typhoon State” NOTHING goes on! It is really quite amazing. You cannot go on a beach, drive, are told where to move your vehicles onto bridges and other high-ground locations prior to the onslaught, and generally shut the place down. We are talking 40-foot waves already. We are battened in, Bill is glued to Weather Underground, and I’m doing what I always do – bake, until the power goes out. Having friends in our building is very nice, though, as we’ll all get together tonight without having to brave the elements. Some single teachers go to friends before it gets really going, just for company. It’s our third one this year already, and is quite late in the season. It seems like the weather is weird everywhere, my mom and sister have been having 90 degree temps in Connecticut this week, while they’re getting ready for the church Apple Festival!

Any way, the show is coming along, there is only a week and a half left before we open, as the National 10/10 holiday is next weekend and everyone leaves for the 4-day break. We are rehearsing one of the days, but will get a little break before the final opening. A young woman who just moved in this fall is actually doing the costumes with the help of a professional seamstress and a couple of moms, and she is doing a wonderful job. What a stroke of luck, she really knows what she is doing, and the show should look like a box of Godiva chocolates when she is through. Perfect for Mattress!

Our return to Taipei and Taiwan has been happy, I really had missed my Tai Chi and Chinese classes. Two of my friends and I have moved on to the Taipei Language Institute for our classes as we felt we wanted a more rigorous and individual course. One day a week I work with a young couple from Tai Chi who coach me in pronunciation and vocabulary with help from their 4 and 7 year old sons’ books! In return, I try to help them with English, which is to say, I get the better part of the bargain since they are already quite accomplished. Like most young couples, they have purchased a house (condo) but live with his parents, and will for probably many more years. They say, “That is just the culture!” When they move, his parents will move in with them, and they will care for them. In the meantime, there is constant child care, stability, and shared responsibility for the home. In the best of circumstances, it is not an unreasonable arrangement. Somehow I can’t imagine Rudi and Miche spooning Kitty Munchies to us in our old age! We really miss them, but they are legend in Taipei, since we whip out the pix at any opportunity and brag. Our Hu, the porch boy, has become an affection junkie and demands full-body massage in the morning before he will deign to eat his breakfast…what a con. Like any cool young guy, when we encounter him in the park, he pretends not to know us in front of his buds.

Speaking of tai chi, I am really excited to be starting sword forms. Yes, they are real, although we will start with a practice sword the same weight, just not as expensive. It is stunningly beautiful, and naturally, Ivy was the National Sword Champion. To watch her do it is pure poetry, I expect we’ll look more like Ogden Nash for a while! She was talking about a group of 85-90 year old men whom she does a class for every morning at 5:30 AM. She says they complain vociferously if she is one minute late (she is doing this as a volunteer!) but she loves it as what she learns from them is much greater, she says, than what she can give them. This from an internationally recognized Master! I can honestly say, though, that I have never been so free from pain in my entire life, and watching the other elderly folks in my own classes is an inspiration. Everytime I get to thinking how calming it is, she says something like, “Keep the edge of your hand parallel with your elbow and your fingertip no higher than your eyes, you’re blocking a blow to break your nose!”

On a less combative note, or maybe not, I am including some photos from the Camp Taiwan with the sixth graders 3 weeks ago. It was beautiful in Kenting, but chasing after 200 11 year-olds for a week is not for the faint of heart (or slow of foot!). The art project came off well, though, and as you can see from the results, some of the kids really enjoyed it. I am actually trying to purchase a couple of woodblock prints from the freshman art class exhibit, there are some very talented visual art kids here.

Well, before the power goes off completely, I’ll close with love and best wishes to all, we think so much of the sweetness of a Midwestern fall and dream of crisp apples, beautiful leaves, cool nights and woodsmoke…enjoy it for us!

Words words words

I love provides so much humor.

In upper school concert choir we are learning a selection entitled, Musicks' Empire with poetry by Thomas Campion. Part of the text about a chant like section is "Consecrate, Consecrate." Because English vocabulary is always an issue, I asked if anyone knew what consecrate meant. Blank stares....until one very vivacious and alert (I might add innocent) young freshman girl finally responded with, "I think it has something to do with having sex." OK now what. After a moment, I suggested...."Do you mean consumate?" "Yeah, that." she replied.

Super Typhoon Kronsa

Our first two days in a row without working since we got back from USA are courtesy of Super Typhoon (Class 5) Kronsa. And what a storm it is. It is 11 am on Saturday here so 11 pm back in most of the states and the storm still has yet to make landfall around 5-6 tonight. The wind is supposed to be sustained around 150 mph with gusts to 185 mph AND (this is the really unreal part) 50" of rain or as they say 1300mm. We have got the bathtubs filled with water, food and gin laid in and the steel doors shut and locked over the windows. When the wind blows, we have to pop our ears for the change in pressure and the sound of the howling is impressive. Waves at the coast are supposed to be around 39'. Luckily we are on the 2nd level so unless the back wall and steel fence give way we should be ok. We look forward to an interesting and relaxing adventure. I will not be going out as decapitation from sheet metal has been mentioned.

In the picture, note how BIG the storm is and how little Taiwan to the left is.

Ah well a snow by anyother name is a sweet.