Sunday, July 31, 2005

The two love birds.

The two love birds.

A Buddist Temple.

The Dragon!!!!

The Family buying food at the markets.

Here is Madison by our apartment.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Okay Everyone!!!

It is now time for all of you to post your addresses and phone numbers on my blog....I need them!! And here is my phone number (complete...you just dial):

011-886-(0)926-455-599

Now here is the only tricky part...I'm not sure is you leave off the 0 that is in parenthesis. My guess is that you do, but I'm not totally sure. Also, here is the web address for the site that sells the international phone cards, in case anyone is interested.

www.noblecom.com

You need to get the one that calls from a home phone to a cell phone. Pretty soon we're hoping to have a computer and DSL with a home line, and that should make it less expensive for all parties. Anyway, give me your numbers and addresses because I'm beginning to go crazy!!!

Krista

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Madison and Krista on our scooter. That's our wonderful, state of the art, white car.

The monsterous spider.

Madison in the mouth of the Dragon.

Here we are inside the mouth of the Tiger.


On day we decided to go visit the tiger and the dragon. Madison talks about this place all the time.

This building is behind our apartment. Krista and Erika going on a hike.

This is what our apartment looks like. We live in the middle apartment , 5 th floor.


Krista and our friend Erika in our old apartment. When we arrived we sat in our very hot pad for days.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Spider Stories and Other Adventures

So as you all may have heard, we discovered our very first nasty spider the other day. We don't think it was a banana spider though, because it wasn't the right color or body shape....but let me assure you it was just a big and twice as scary in real life. We got our neighbor to come down and help Brian catch it....I left the room and heard shouts of "AAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!" and "Get it!" and many crashes before it sounded safe to re-enter the room. They caught it under a trash can that they had converted into a spider gas chamber.....they gassed that thing silly with cockroach spray, not exactly the most useful stuff for spider killing, but after about ten hours and twenty or so re-applications of the gas, the spider was dead. It still took us all day to work up the courage to do something with its carcass. Consequently, we are having a lot of trouble convincing ourselves to open any of our windows....and I have a hard time sleeping at night knowing that there might be another one waiting for me to fall asleep. Yuck!

I have been adventuring on our scooter while Brian is at work. I've now successfully traversed most of Koahsiung city on my maniac mobile...it is quite an undescribable experience. Really, I'm not sure how to explain how it feels to be dodging in and out of traffic, while taxis and buses and garbage trucks try to run you off the road. But not to worry....pretty much once they see the blond hair (which I make sure is visible under my helmet) they go easy on me. We've been told over and over that we should exploit the fascination with foreigners here, and in some instances.......scooter riding for instance....it is to my advantage to do so. Although most of the time I feel really dumb that people fawn over us. Having people come up to try to get their picture taken with Madison or me is getting really old! I'm considering a re-dying of the hair back to black...along with Madison. How do you think we'd look?

Anyway, here is our address again....this time with the Chinese on top....this will ensure it's proper delivery. Just copy and paste, that should be easier than trying to write out those characters!

高雄縣鳥松鄉松埔北巷 9之39 號 5樓
No. 9-39, 5 Floor, Sung Pu North Alley,
Niao Sung Village, Kaohsiung
Taiwan, R.O.C.

Please feel free to send presents, food, movies......anything really! And as a side note.....I'm reading Harry Potter right now. I got it in the mail two days ago (the postal system has risen by miles in my eyes) and soon I will be finished. Then I will just have to wait ten more years for the next one to come out! By the way, does anyone know when the next movie comes out? We actually went to see Madagascar in the theater (in English!) and it was pretty cute. Madison has been singing a rousing chorus of "New York, New York" ever since. Alrighty then!

Krista, even though it says Brian

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Squatter Toilets in Beautiful Taiwan

Today we went to KFC for dinner (mmmmmm......chicken....), and of course Madison had to use the potty. Only there is a little problem with public restrooms here....they are usually squatters. There are those of you who are not familiar with the squatter toilets, but all you really need to know is this.......a big hole in the floor.....and to use it you have to squat on the floor and aim. Now this might not be a hard thing for an adult (okay, so it actually is.....) but imagine what it is like for a three year old. Anyway.....I took her in the bathroom and opened the stall door...and we both looked at it. Then Madison yelled, "Look Dad!! A squatter!" And just then the music in the restaurant (I'm serious now) went......"Dun, Dun, Duuuuuuuuuun" Well, Madi missed the hole in the floor, but managed not to miss her pants. Then...as if this story isn't good enough....she ran away from me (she is too old to hold my hand a walk down the stairs) and went to run down the stairs (everything here has two or more floors) and tripped....and fell right on her head. By the time I got her back to Krista she had a large wet spot on her pants and an imprint of the kickplate on the stairs on her forehead. I don't think Krista will have me take her to the bathroom anymore.

Squatters, Typhoons and Floods.....Oh My!!

Okay, so I don't know if any of you have noticed, but there is a giant typhoon reaking havoc on Taiwan, and there has been for three days now. The day before the big typhoon, we asked Scott to tell us what a typhoon was, and if we needed to do anything to prepare for it. He told us casually it was just a little rain and wind, and casually suggested that if we wanted to we could get some candles for if the power went out, or some extra water or whatever. Needless to say we didn't think we had anything to worry about. Then the wind and rain started to come.....and now we know what a typhoon really is.....it is a freaking hurricane!!!! AND....it was the worst typhoon they've had in this area for over ten years!

We lost power and sleep the first night....all due to the excessive winds.....powerful enough to blow over electric poles and rip signs off of things. Then the rain came and we discovered that our windows are not typhoon-proof...not even really rain proof. So we spent the whole day and night (well, Brian did) mopping up huge puddles in our bedroom and living room....filling at least two big buckets an hour with water. The roads are rivers, with occasional lakes....and the trees are all naked. And we've also been informed that veggies and fruit are going to be astronomically expensive now.

But don't worry....it is over now, just a little rain residue for today and tomorrow. And power was restored surprisingly quickly here...and considering that it was a typhoon. Madison was a little scared of the wind and thunder, but she pulled through. Other than being a little damp and bored, we're just fine....and the bonus was that school was cancelled for three days, so we got some time off to mop up our floor.

I was going to tell you the squatter story....but I'm leaving that one to Brian since he was the witness.

That's all from this crazy Taiwan resident for now.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Flight

So I thought I'd give the quick version of our flight here:

Madison and I cried for twenty minutes after checking our bags because we were sad to leave Grandpa and Nanci and Wyatt outside. Then Brian cheered us up by feeding us junk and trying to learn Chinese. The flight to LA was pretty cool, Madi and I liked the free junkfood and the attention she got because she is just so darn cute. The flight attendant told Madison to open up her backpack on the way out, and it was promptly filled with all kinds of snacks, we're talking handfulls here. That kept us happy for a little while...and the excitement of going to Taiwan was still in the air. We ate pizza and tried to learn more Chinese. Then we got on the real flight. Five minutes after being seated, not even takeoff yet, Madi started to whine that she was bored and didn't want to sit in her seat. This was a precurser to the entire flight from LA to Taipei. Fortunately she fell asleep half-way through, but it seemed like that flight would never end. Then we got to Taipei, waited for our flight to Kaohsiung and boarded just fine. This one was uneventful, and blessedly short....so we were okay. On the last flight we met Erica, the other English teacher here. And now we are best friends, of course.

None of our luggage got lost...and guess what survived?! The sewing machine was just fine, not a scratch on it. We even remembered to go back and get our carseat after we almost left it on the luggage carousel at the airport. I am glad I don't have to take that flight anytime again soon, it will take every second of the next seven months for me to want to fly that long with a three year old!!!!

Kaohsiung Driver's Education

So I attended the self-taught driver's education course in Taiwan yesterday. The curriculum is as follows:

-Put on your cool pink helmet and feel like a real scooter driver
-Get on your scooter
-Try to start your scooter
-Realize that you don't know how to start your scooter
-Try again
-Finally figure out that you have to hold your brakes while starting your scooter
-Attempt to make it up the ramp out of the parking garage on your scooter
-Be mocked by the security guard as you run into the walls on either side of the ramp of the parking garage
-Finally get up the ramp and take a deep breath, wondering whether or not you should just give up now
-Decide that you are going to learn to ride this scooter no matter what
-Take a fairly successful test drive down the hill
-Realize that you don't know how to turn around without tipping your scooter over
-Spend twenty minutes in the parking lot practicing turns and hoping you don't die
-Decide that if you have to ride this dumb thing, you'd better just try
-Drive around on back roads hoping no cars come, because it really freaks you out
-Understand that you must talk to yourself, saying things like "BE COOL!! YOU'RE JUST FINE!! JUST LET THE CARS PASS YOU!!!"
-Accidentally end up on a busy road with lots of traffic, and try not to curse as people cut you off and try to run you over
-Attempt not to fall into the open sewers that are immediately after the ledge at the end of the road
-Make it back home somehow, even though you swore you were lost
-Drive your bike back into the parking garage and park it like a pro
-Carry your pink helmet back up to your apartment feeling the camraderie of all the other cool scooter drivers, and knowing that you are the only one here who really knows how to drive.

The fees are pretty good for this class, and the class sizes small.....not recommended for the faint of heart.
-

Sunday, July 10, 2005

New Address

The long awaited for address is finally here!!

No. 939, 5 Floor, Sung Pu North Alley
Niao Sung Village, Kaohsiung
Taiwan, R.O.C.

So now we expect frequent letters and packages containing brownie mix and other American food!

We actually found Costco here....and it does have American food and other items there. We were thrilled to be able to buy salsa and tortilla chips....it doesn't take much these days. Anyway, we are still alive...and still just trying to make it here in Taiwan. Brian and Madison found a new pet living behind our fridge....we call him George the Gecko. We've decided not to get rid of him because he is earning his keep by eating the spiders, cockroaches and mosquitos. Way to go, George.

We still do not have a phone....but it is just on hold until we have our ARC's (alien registration cards), so it isn't a hopeless cause yet.....just a slow cause.

More later!!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Quick lesson on International Calling...

Here's a quick lesson on international calling. From your end....

Dial your country code: 01, or 1....haven't figured it out totally
Dial my country code: 002, or 2....experiment
Dial the phone number you are trying to reach...including all area codes, etc.

That should get you to us. More on phone numbers later........

Whoa!!!!

Okay, so I guess we get the message that you all are wondering if we are living in a grass hut and living off of cockroaches......

Well, our new apartment is really nice. Two bedrooms, living room, dining room, kitchen, laundry area, two bathrooms...and the most gorgeous view in all of Taiwan. And I really do mean that. Plus it is up higher on a "mountain" and farther away from the city, so it usually isn't as hot or as stinky. This apartment is also furnished. It was where the last couple from the US lived, and they left us a bunch of stuff...food, toilet paper...you know. And I must say that when I woke up the first morning and watched the sunrise from my bedroom window.....wow.....I knew that I was in love. Taiwan really is beautiful, if you can get away from the big city and all of the people. Don't worry, we aren't drinking the water...and we are eating lots of good food, actually. One of the three things I know how to say in Chinese is dumpling. That's because dumplings are awesome!!

Madison certainly misses her people. But she is also doing very well. She loooooves school, and yesterday she told me that she "ate that yucky food all gone", so I guess we can say that her hunger strike is over. She was refusing to eat anything that resembled Chinese food. Poor little girl was living off of peanut butter and crackers....and fruit, any kind of fruit that we could find her.

We live on the fifth floor of our building. No swimming pool or gym, but, like I said...a gorgeous view. And I'll sacrifice the swimming pool for the size and awesomeness of our apartment, anyday!! We'll send pictures soon, then you can all be jealous of our hardwood floors and huge apartment and big nasty bees that fly in occasionally.

We are going today to see if we can get a phone. Sooo....after today you will know if we have a landline or a cell phone. I found a website that sells cheap phonecards for international......here's the address:
www.noblecom.com

Brian has stared teaching already. He taught a summer camp all week...and it was interesting. The thing about teaching here is that there really isn't much of a curriculum, or really much direction, so they kind of have to make it up as they go along. Scary prospect for someone like me, but Brian has been doing alright. I actually have to teach on Thursday next week, my first day!! I'm scared!!! But I'm sure I'll be alright.

Well, I guess that's all for now...but we'll get back to you as soon as possible. Hopefully we'll soon have a phone!!!! Then I can call you all and talk for days! Tonight I will get our new address and a few phone numbers for you, and then I'll try to post them soon...it is Friday, so I don't know if I'll be able to post until Monday, but we'll see.

Love, us...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

More News From Taiwan

Well, we are getting settled now. Things are coming along...but slowly. That is how things work here. They keep telling us that we are worried about too many things, that we need to chill out. In Taiwan, everyone is laid back, and it can sometimes drives us foreigners crazy! But we are getting used to it, and we will soon be telling you all that you are too uptight.

We don't know our exact address, but until then, you can send things to us at the school:

Brian and Krista Hobbs
Chung-Shan Industrial and Commercial High School
79, Changchi Road
Taliao, Kaohsiung County 831
Taiwan, R.O.C.

That should get things to us, if you need to send things. We don't have a phone yet, phones are complicated here in Taiwan. We have to get a Chinese person to sponsor us and then sign a two year contract on the phone. But rest assured.....we are on it!! As soon as we get one, we'll be calling!!!!

We have been using the computer at the school to write on this. And also, our friends David and Mandy (David teaches at the school) have a computer we use sometimes. But it is kind of hard to get to a computer sometimes...so if you don't hear from us for a little while, we are probably still alive....just not near a computer.

Madison had her first day of school yesterday!! It was so sad for me, but she was soooo excited! Pictures will be coming once I get a way to post them. She loved it....other than she refused to eat the food (as she has been doing for a week now) so today we had to pack her a lunch. The Chinese teachers love her, and so does everyone else! We draw a crowd wherever we go, and it gives a chance to practice the little bit of Chinese that we know.

Well, we have to go...but we will write again as soon as we can. We love you all! Dad, we are still looking into a computer, but I'll know more in a few weeks whether or not we can buy one here.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

New Apartment!!!!!

We are veeeeeerrrrryyyyy happy to report that we have found a new apartment. It is beautiful! Soooo, don't send anything to the old address that we gave you before we left. As soon as we can get someone to give us the address (we just don't speak Mandarin) we will post it. We're moving tomorrow, and we couldn't ever be more excited. Anyway.....we'll let you guys know what is happening as soon as we can.

Hot, Hot, Hot!!!

So the thing about Taiwan is....it's HOT!!!!!! The first night we didn't have air conditioning, so we all slept as close to naked as possible, sprawled out.

Anyway, things are going along. We are in the process of finding a different apartment...ours is kind of rat hole...to put it nicely. Hopefully we will be getting a new one. We'll let people know about that later.

Other than the apartment, we loooove it here. It is really beautiful and green, and we are already making new friends. We met Ericka on the plane here...she is teaching here also. She is our new best friend. We are actually at another foreigner's home right now, David and his wife Mandy, who is Taiwanese.

Well, I don' t have tons of time, but I wanted you to know that we are okay. Hopefully we can call you soon. We love you all and miss you so much.