Sunday, November 13, 2011


Well today was a new adventure in the life of an international "criminal" expat. Ok so I have not been perfect: Indonesia asked me to support the Policeman's Benevolent Association (gee the Capital Letters don't spell BRIBE??),contributed to the New Zealand local government fund ( 100K in a 70 K. zone on New Year's Eve) but today was a first.
I received a visit from the Taiwan Environmental Agency on a complaint about air pollution. Ok so every now and then I really need to turn on the exhaust fan but that was not it today. Today it was reported that I was polluting the air with wood smoke while BBQing the Thanksgiving Turkey and Ham. Never mind that the fish cooked in oil in the local homes can drop you with the strong odor or that the guy downstairs feeds us lots of second hand smoke through the air vents or that grandpa's ghost money can give the whole of Taipei eye infections from the pollution. No it is just my hickory smoked turkey that is offensive. ........but they never turn down a chance to eat the smoked turkey or ham. Ah well. Have I mention durians and stinky tofu yet?

Oh the young lady let me off...thank you officer!!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Link to You Tubes relating to our China trip

These are YouTube Links for some photo of Lijiang, the city we visited first on our China trip. The mountain in back is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. These are not my shots but they will be coming. Just copy and paste these into your browser. Enjoy

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Our Itinerary at The Linden Center , Dali China

The Hoehn Party at
The Linden Centre
April, 2011

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”–St. Augustine -

The Linden Centre is happy to welcome the Hoehn party of Bill, Carol, Patricia, Marty, Gary, Jaami, Kendra, Ken, and Deb. Your travels have brought you to an area renowned for its beauty and ethnic diversity. Our footsteps will follow the paths taken by Arab and Tibetan traders as they carried tea, silks and religious beliefs through the verdant mountain valleys. We will explore villages little-changed since the local sojourns of Marco Polo and Kublai Khan, and will hear the echoes of Flying Tigers that helped the Dali region survive WWII unscathed.

The Linden Centre, started by Jeanee (Quan) and Brian Linden in 2008, is nestled in the southeast Himalayan foothills of Yunnan-'South of the Clouds'. The Centre offers guests an unprecedented immersion in a timeless China while basking in the comforts of a carefully restored national heritage estate (protected at the same level as the Great Wall).

A leading merchant family in the old Southwest Silk Road town of Xizhou built this famous complex that houses the Centre. It is one of the largest complexes of its kind and, because of its use as a military installation after 1949, has remained in pristine condition, unaffected by the ravages of the Cultural Revolution (the Red Guards were unable to enter due to the military presence).

"Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of the living." - Miriam Beard

Tour Description and Itinerary:
DAY 1: Today marks your first evening at the Linden Centre. After check-in and coffee, Brian and Jeanee will personally guide you through the Centre complex. The restoration of the Centre has garnered numerous international and national accolades for its attention to detail and sustainability. We will share many of the challenges facing a foreign couple in taking over a national relic. (The Lindens are among the first foreigners to take over a national relic in China).
After dinner, retire to the Linden Centre coffee and wine bar to relax, and to try the local spirits of plum and orchid wine.
Day 2: Every morning at the Linden Centre starts with a fresh Western and Chinese style breakfast. Enjoy a plate of toast made of our home baked bread, or bite into a delicious omelet prepared in front of you.

This morning we will take you on a guided tour of Xizhou, including the Village Square, and the morning market where the famous Xizhou pizza is baked outside on a daily basis. We will then take a short stroll to the village elder’s home as he recalls a lifetime of memories, and reveals his passion for painting and cultural preservation. Some of the old homes still contain Song and Ming Dynasty antiques which often can be purchased directly from the home’s owner.

After lunch at the Centre we will take horse carts to the Tongue of the Lake and surrounding villages to enjoy the scenery and people.
Tonight, a delicious dinner prepared by the Centre’s renowned chefs. To help us digest, we will share tea in the first courtyard while being entertained by Xizhou’s Dongjing music group. This music is considered to be a “Living Fossil” and dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The term Dongjing is an abbreviation of the title of the Taoist scripture Dadong Xianjing- a text that has been the basis of exclusive religious societies oriented around the worship of the Taoist deity Wenchang.

DAY 3: This morning , we will take a short car ride to peak into in a small village kindergarten to observe and interact with the young students. Don't be surprised if you are dragged into a impromptu basketball game or local dance!
For lunch we travel up the foot of the mountain for a selection of local foods in a courtyard setting.

After lunch, we will visit an ancient courtyard in the village of Zhoucheng to trace their renowned tie-dye process. Family guilds have been creating these woven treasures for centuries, and we observe all aspects of this creative tradition. The craftsmen believe that the indigo leaf, which produces the deep blues used in their textiles, is therapeutic, and we will be able to taste some of these teas while trying our hand at the tying process. We will also meander the old stone lanes and visit their famous Dragon Spring Temple and afternoon market (which is nestled beneath two massive, centuries-old Banyan trees). Dinner is back at the Centre and can be followed by a movie in a screening room or board games with the rest of the Linden team in the cafe.

Day 4: After a filling breakfast, we will travel north to the Peach Ferry Port and board a 100 ft boat for a journey across Lake Er to the sleepy fishing village of Shuanglang. This village clings to the rocky shores and has become the second home for many famous Chinese entertainers and artists.

A local lunch will be served along the shores and overlooking Nan Chao Island, with its gleaming white cultural palace and Guan Yin statue.

After returning to the Centre, we will have a Yong Chuan master come and give a talk and demonstration and have tea together to talk about his philosophy and life.

Dinner at the Centre

Day 5: Travel to Dali Old town after breakfast to see this ancient walled city. Dali has wonderful boutique shops, cafes, restaurants and traditional craftsmen. You will have free time to wander the streets to look in the shops, look in on a local craftsmen making fresh tofu. Peruse the English language bookstore, rest in a café or walk on the old wall. Visit the old Catholic Church, in the shape of a tradition temple, that has been serving parishioners for over 170 years.

After lunch at the German Bakery, we will ride the chairlift up the Cangshan Mountain for breathtaking views of the Dali valley. We will take a short walk along the Path of the Clouds, situated at 8500 feet in altitude.

Dinner will be held inside a newly built courtyard that exclusively serves vegetarian dishes.

Day 6: After breakfast we will assist you with check out and also travel arrangements to the Dali airport for your 12:00 o’clock departure to Kunming.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

International SchoolTeaching Info

For all my colleagues who have had it with Wisconsin’s abuse of teachers.

Here is information to get you started looking for international schools. Do not be afraid to look or apply. You may never know how good it can get being out of the USA and, more positively, living in a new country. The rewards for courage and a willingness to take a chance are huge and long lasting. It is absolutely not like public school teaching which can be both good and challenging. But the bottom line is that with few exceptions, teachers are respected and compensated accordingly. There are tax breaks from US and other monetary “goodies” that are unheard of in USA .Be prepared to work and work hard because most of the rest of the world has extremely high expectations for their students’ success and are actively engaged in their children’s education process.

If you want to contact me, use FACEBOOK message (only), and I will send you email to use as well as a SKYPE contact and I will get back to you. If you got this message, feel free to pass it on to others who you trust.

I am sad for you and am sick at heart for what is going on.


Bill Hoehn
International School Services
Carney Sandoe and Associates
Search Associates
University of Northern Iowa overseas placement office….this was my entre but Taipei American School no longer attends the fair.

Western Area School Council accreditation for west coast AND asia schools
a site that has information about how to apply, how to interview, and reports on schools. ($39)/year
website for the International Baccalaureate organization that also has an employment page.
a link to our school’s prospective faculty page

IASAS Schools

Taipei American School
Jakarta International School
Singapore American School
International School, Bangkok
International School, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)
International School , Manila

Please check their websites for employment information.

Find a country you like, search for the international school in the area, check religious based schools in the area, go to the school websites, fill out application. GET A SKYPE ACCOUNT WITH VIDEO…..most interviews are done over SKYPE, at least the initial ones.

Stay out of EU….it will cost you money to work there (with a few exceptions).

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Why our Chinese New Year Trip was cold, wet, and stormy

Our trip to Mataking Island off the SE coast of Borneo was not up to our usual standards partially because of the weather....huge tides and tidal surges, extremely rough seas all the time and COLD temp for Malaysia. Carol and Gary only got to snorkel 3 times during the week and even then it was not good. The tropical cyclone Yasi which hammered Australia and New Zealand was the responsible factor. Follow this link and see just how big the system was. HUGE!!!!!!!

More later Oh and ask Carol about the Komodo dragon on the island?????


Bill and Carol

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Happy Year of the Rabbit

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It is that magical time of year in Taiwan known as Chinese New Year....when children and all employees look for red envelopes filled with money, when every house and business is cleaned item by item and trash fills the street to make way for the new. On Dihua Street in downtown Taipei, stalls lined 6 city blocks and vendors sell candies, meats, specialty food items, auspicious decorations, give away tons of samples, yell and scream, dress up in animal suits (it is the year of the rabbit) and in general make merry. The crowd is so dense that one need not walk...just let the crowd push you along and hope you do not trip. One of our less traveled teachers at school had to leave because she thought people were touching her. OF COURSE they are and you are touching them with full body contact over 100% of your body but all in the cause of holiday treats. So what...get over it! We absolutely just literally dove in and went with the flow. You can not cross @ 90 degrees, instead you move diagonally across the stream just like with ocean current. But everyone is having a great time and the exotica of the scene is intoxicating. All the music talks about being with your family, eating fish for prosperity, hoping for good luck, lots of money, good health and a good life with lots of cymbals and loud horns and general mayhem noise. The fireworks will start in our park soon. So everyone, enjoy the slide show on the right and if you want to go slower, click on the picture and it will take you to the Picassa sight where our pictures are located.

We are off to Borneo and Mataking Island for diving and snorkeling, massages and evening cocktails, cookies, and euchre card games. Love to all of you and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Chinese mother article

I know this will be very long but this is a great article to a) understand our life and b) understand that US students and parents need to realize with whom they are competing.

• JANUARY 8, 2011
Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior
Can a regimen of no playdates, no TV, no computer games and hours of music practice create happy kids? And what happens when they fight back?
A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids. They wonder what these parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it's like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I've done it. Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do:

• attend a sleepover
• have a playdate
• be in a school play
• complain about not being in a school play
• watch TV or play computer games
• choose their own extracurricular activities
• get any grade less than an A
• not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama
• play any instrument other than the piano or violin
• not play the piano or violin.

I'm using the term "Chinese mother" loosely. I know some Korean, Indian, Jamaican, Irish and Ghanaian parents who qualify too. Conversely, I know some mothers of Chinese heritage, almost always born in the West, who are not Chinese mothers, by choice or otherwise. I'm also using the term "Western parents" loosely. Western parents come in all varieties.

All the same, even when Western parents think they're being strict, they usually don't come close to being Chinese mothers. For example, my Western friends who consider themselves strict make their children practice their instruments 30 minutes every day. An hour at most. For a Chinese mother, the first hour is the easy part. It's hours two and three that get tough.

Despite our squeamishness about cultural stereotypes, there are tons of studies out there showing marked and quantifiable differences between Chinese and Westerners when it comes to parenting. In one study of 50 Western American mothers and 48 Chinese immigrant mothers, almost 70% of the Western mothers said either that "stressing academic success is not good for children" or that "parents need to foster the idea that learning is fun." By contrast, roughly 0% of the Chinese mothers felt the same way. Instead, the vast majority of the Chinese mothers said that they believe their children can be "the best" students, that "academic achievement reflects successful parenting," and that if children did not excel at school then there was "a problem" and parents "were not doing their job." Other studies indicate that compared to Western parents, Chinese parents spend approximately 10 times as long every day drilling academic activities with their children. By contrast, Western kids are more likely to participate in sports teams.

When it comes to parenting, the Chinese seem to produce children who display academic excellence, musical mastery and professional success - or so the stereotype goes. WSJ's Christina Tsuei speaks to two moms raised by Chinese immigrants who share what it was like growing up and how they hope to raise their children.

What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you're good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences. This often requires fortitude on the part of the parents because the child will resist; things are always hardest at the beginning, which is where Western parents tend to give up. But if done properly, the Chinese strategy produces a virtuous circle. Tenacious practice, practice, practice is crucial for excellence; rote repetition is underrated in America. Once a child starts to excel at something—whether it's math, piano, pitching or ballet—he or she gets praise, admiration and satisfaction. This builds confidence and makes the once not-fun activity fun. This in turn makes it easier for the parent to get the child to work even more.

Chinese parents can get away with things that Western parents can't. Once when I was young—maybe more than once—when I was extremely disrespectful to my mother, my father angrily called me "garbage" in our native Hokkien dialect. It worked really well. I felt terrible and deeply ashamed of what I had done. But it didn't damage my self-esteem or anything like that. I knew exactly how highly he thought of me. I didn't actually think I was worthless or feel like a piece of garbage.

As an adult, I once did the same thing to Sophia, calling her garbage in English when she acted extremely disrespectfully toward me. When I mentioned that I had done this at a dinner party, I was immediately ostracized. One guest named Marcy got so upset she broke down in tears and had to leave early. My friend Susan, the host, tried to rehabilitate me with the remaining guests.

The fact is that Chinese parents can do things that would seem unimaginable—even legally actionable—to Westerners. Chinese mothers can say to their daughters, "Hey fatty—lose some weight." By contrast, Western parents have to tiptoe around the issue, talking in terms of "health" and never ever mentioning the f-word, and their kids still end up in therapy for eating disorders and negative self-image. (I also once heard a Western father toast his adult daughter by calling her "beautiful and incredibly competent." She later told me that made her feel like garbage.)

Chinese parents can order their kids to get straight As. Western parents can only ask their kids to try their best. Chinese parents can say, "You're lazy. All your classmates are getting ahead of you." By contrast, Western parents have to struggle with their own conflicted feelings about achievement, and try to persuade themselves that they're not disappointed about how their kids turned out.

I've thought long and hard about how Chinese parents can get away with what they do. I think there are three big differences between the Chinese and Western parental mind-sets.

First, I've noticed that Western parents are extremely anxious about their children's self-esteem. They worry about how their children will feel if they fail at something, and they constantly try to reassure their children about how good they are notwithstanding a mediocre performance on a test or at a recital. In other words, Western parents are concerned about their children's psyches. Chinese parents aren't. They assume strength, not fragility, and as a result they behave very differently.

For example, if a child comes home with an A-minus on a test, a Western parent will most likely praise the child. The Chinese mother will gasp in horror and ask what went wrong. If the child comes home with a B on the test, some Western parents will still praise the child. Other Western parents will sit their child down and express disapproval, but they will be careful not to make their child feel inadequate or insecure, and they will not call their child "stupid," "worthless" or "a disgrace." Privately, the Western parents may worry that their child does not test well or have aptitude in the subject or that there is something wrong with the curriculum and possibly the whole school. If the child's grades do not improve, they may eventually schedule a meeting with the school principal to challenge the way the subject is being taught or to call into question the teacher's credentials.

If a Chinese child gets a B—which would never happen—there would first be a screaming, hair-tearing explosion. The devastated Chinese mother would then get dozens, maybe hundreds of practice tests and work through them with her child for as long as it takes to get the grade up to an A.

Chinese parents demand perfect grades because they believe that their child can get them. If their child doesn't get them, the Chinese parent assumes it's because the child didn't work hard enough. That's why the solution to substandard performance is always to excoriate, punish and shame the child. The Chinese parent believes that their child will be strong enough to take the shaming and to improve from it. (And when Chinese kids do excel, there is plenty of ego-inflating parental praise lavished in the privacy of the home.)

Second, Chinese parents believe that their kids owe them everything. The reason for this is a little unclear, but it's probably a combination of Confucian filial piety and the fact that the parents have sacrificed and done so much for their children. (And it's true that Chinese mothers get in the trenches, putting in long grueling hours personally tutoring, training, interrogating and spying on their kids.) Anyway, the understanding is that Chinese children must spend their lives repaying their parents by obeying them and making them proud.

By contrast, I don't think most Westerners have the same view of children being permanently indebted to their parents. My husband, Jed, actually has the opposite view. "Children don't choose their parents," he once said to me. "They don't even choose to be born. It's parents who foist life on their kids, so it's the parents' responsibility to provide for them. Kids don't owe their parents anything. Their duty will be to their own kids." This strikes me as a terrible deal for the Western parent.

Third, Chinese parents believe that they know what is best for their children and therefore override all of their children's own desires and preferences. That's why Chinese daughters can't have boyfriends in high school and why Chinese kids can't go to sleepaway camp. It's also why no Chinese kid would ever dare say to their mother, "I got a part in the school play! I'm Villager Number Six. I'll have to stay after school for rehearsal every day from 3:00 to 7:00, and I'll also need a ride on weekends." God help any Chinese kid who tried that one.

Don't get me wrong: It's not that Chinese parents don't care about their children. Just the opposite. They would give up anything for their children. It's just an entirely different parenting model.

Here's a story in favor of coercion, Chinese-style. Lulu was about 7, still playing two instruments, and working on a piano piece called "The Little White Donkey" by the French composer Jacques Ibert. The piece is really cute—you can just imagine a little donkey ambling along a country road with its master—but it's also incredibly difficult for young players because the two hands have to keep schizophrenically different rhythms.

Lulu couldn't do it. We worked on it nonstop for a week, drilling each of her hands separately, over and over. But whenever we tried putting the hands together, one always morphed into the other, and everything fell apart. Finally, the day before her lesson, Lulu announced in exasperation that she was giving up and stomped off.
"Get back to the piano now," I ordered.
"You can't make me."
"Oh yes, I can."
Back at the piano, Lulu made me pay. She punched, thrashed and kicked. She grabbed the music score and tore it to shreds. I taped the score back together and encased it in a plastic shield so that it could never be destroyed again. Then I hauled Lulu's dollhouse to the car and told her I'd donate it to the Salvation Army piece by piece if she didn't have "The Little White Donkey" perfect by the next day. When Lulu said, "I thought you were going to the Salvation Army, why are you still here?" I threatened her with no lunch, no dinner, no Christmas or Hanukkah presents, no birthday parties for two, three, four years. When she still kept playing it wrong, I told her she was purposely working herself into a frenzy because she was secretly afraid she couldn't do it. I told her to stop being lazy, cowardly, self-indulgent and pathetic.

Jed took me aside. He told me to stop insulting Lulu—which I wasn't even doing, I was just motivating her—and that he didn't think threatening Lulu was helpful. Also, he said, maybe Lulu really just couldn't do the technique—perhaps she didn't have the coordination yet—had I considered that possibility?

"You just don't believe in her," I accused.
"That's ridiculous," Jed said scornfully. "Of course I do."
"Sophia could play the piece when she was this age."
"But Lulu and Sophia are different people," Jed pointed out.
"Oh no, not this," I said, rolling my eyes. "Everyone is special in their special own way," I mimicked sarcastically. "Even losers are special in their own special way. Well don't worry, you don't have to lift a finger. I'm willing to put in as long as it takes, and I'm happy to be the one hated. And you can be the one they adore because you make them pancakes and take them to Yankees games."

I rolled up my sleeves and went back to Lulu. I used every weapon and tactic I could think of. We worked right through dinner into the night, and I wouldn't let Lulu get up, not for water, not even to go to the bathroom. The house became a war zone, and I lost my voice yelling, but still there seemed to be only negative progress, and even I began to have doubts.

Then, out of the blue, Lulu did it. Her hands suddenly came together—her right and left hands each doing their own imperturbable thing—just like that.
Lulu realized it the same time I did. I held my breath. She tried it tentatively again. Then she played it more confidently and faster, and still the rhythm held. A moment later, she was beaming.

"Mommy, look—it's easy!" After that, she wanted to play the piece over and over and wouldn't leave the piano. That night, she came to sleep in my bed, and we snuggled and hugged, cracking each other up. When she performed "The Little White Donkey" at a recital a few weeks later, parents came up to me and said, "What a perfect piece for Lulu—it's so spunky and so her."

Even Jed gave me credit for that one. Western parents worry a lot about their children's self-esteem. But as a parent, one of the worst things you can do for your child's self-esteem is to let them give up. On the flip side, there's nothing better for building confidence than learning you can do something you thought you couldn't.

There are all these new books out there portraying Asian mothers as scheming, callous, overdriven people indifferent to their kids' true interests. For their part, many Chinese secretly believe that they care more about their children and are willing to sacrifice much more for them than Westerners, who seem perfectly content to let their children turn out badly. I think it's a misunderstanding on both sides. All decent parents want to do what's best for their children. The Chinese just have a totally different idea of how to do that.

Western parents try to respect their children's individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions, supporting their choices, and providing positive reinforcement and a nurturing environment. By contrast, the Chinese believe that the best way to protect their children is by preparing them for the future, letting them see what they're capable of, and arming them with skills, work habits and inner confidence that no one can ever take away.

—Amy Chua is a professor at Yale Law School and author of "Day of Empire" and "World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability." This essay is excerpted from "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" by Amy Chua, to be published Tuesday by the Penguin Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Copyright © 2011 by Amy Chua.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

New Zealand Road to Milford Sound

This is a You Tube from someone else BUT it is exactly what we saw and the way we saw it. Sorry about the music. Carol spent a lot of time not looking as the S-curves were aggressive and pervasive. More later. Hope you enjoy HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Sur la route entre Te Anau et Milford Sound

2011 Taipei (101) Fireworks (2011台北101煙火)