The Cost of Living in Taichung, Taiwan

One of the most important things to understand when living somewhere is the cost of living there: this is my report on my cost of living in Taichung, Taiwan, as of November 2013. I think the best way to look at your cost of living is yearly, because months can vary quite a lot, sometimes. […]

Moving to Taiwan: Avoiding Disaster

There are always people moving to Taiwan.  I talk a lot about it in what I write; I give a lot of advice on this site regarding moving to Taiwan, getting settled in Taiwan, and living in Taiwan.  One topic I haven’t addressed is moving back to The World. On July 22, 2013, I received […]

My First Ride In A Police Car

I was driving north on WenXin Lu, Monday, August 20, 2012, at 10:45am, on my scooter.  Coming off the traffic light at Daye Lu, heading towards Dalong Lu, I attempted to merge right (from the right-hand lane into the scooter lane).  I felt something hit the right rear of my scooter and turned my head to see […]

Caught With My Pants Down

Taiwan has a pretty significant amount of earthquakes.  Most of them are pretty mild, but usually I can feel one or two each month – just enough to notice I’m not dizzy and that the room is, in fact, vibrating.  But every now and then, something a little bigger comes along, and you’re faced with the […]

Traffic, Shopping Carts, And Saving Face

It has always fascinated me that a culture so aware of public perception can also be so completely self-absorbed.  In Taiwan, there is a great emphasis on “saving face,” and yet, it only applies to certain facets of life.  I have yet to fully grasp the concept, but I have made some observations. Generally-speaking, Taiwanese people prefer […]

How Carrefour in Taiwan Hates Foreign Customers

While the people of Taiwan are often the nicest and warmest in the world, their cultural indoctrination leads to a dependence on bureaucracy, often to the point where people are unable – or unwilling – to make any decision without it being written as law or being directly authorized by a superior.  As a culture, […]

The Reality of Living In Taiwan: An Introduction

Living abroad in a land where I don’t speak the language very well, questions abound and answers are not forthcoming.  It’s my own fault, obviously; you should become literate in the language of the place you are in, not simply as good manners, but also as common sense.  What happens when you need to find […]

The Long Winter of My Discontent

I talked before about peaking in high school, and that I could never be accused of such a thing.  University, however, is a different story.  It was one of the best times in my life and I had major accomplishments.  I served all four years in student government and, along with my best friend at […]

What’s It Like To Be A Sub?

Being a substitute teacher at Pulaski County Special School District boils down to one thing – you are a per-diem employee that can be dismissed at any time for any reason.  However, given that there are so few substitutes available, most schools simply ban bad substitutes – it’s rare that you hear of one get […]

Never Let Schooling Interfere With Your Education

When I was in high school, which was only a decade ago, it was a better time than today. While I wasn’t enrolled in the district I currently teach in, I’ve seen pictures of kids then and I see them now, and today is clearly more oppressive. We thought we had it bad in high […]

How My Students Change The World

When I was in middle school, which was around the time modern high school students were born, there was a new phrasing of an old word that had really taken over the scene.  For a long time the word meant happy and then, later, the word changed to mean homosexual; by the year 2000, the […]

Oh, That Sub?

Substitute teachers have a few different brands.   You were a kid once.  Maybe you still are.  You know the drill.   There’s a reverse bell curve, with “insanely strict substitutes” on one end and “totally aloof substitutes” on the other end.  The minority find themselves in the middle – 90% of subs are super strict […]

Who’s The Sub?

Teaching has its various merits and drawbacks, for me.   First of all, no matter what educational bracket you are in, academia is the lowest income bracket you are looking at.  This is why most teachers do lots of extra stuff – anything from coaching sports teams to staying after school to monitor kids getting […]

You’re The Sub?

I’ve come to realize, over the last few months, that I’m in a unique position. Since returning to the USA in December on 2011, I began substitute teaching at Pulaski County Special School District at the end of January.  I have worked the last 45 out of 55 working days, the majority of my work being at […]

Part I – Energy – Written 2002

Spirituality is a topic I’ve dealt with my entire life. I was brought up Methodist and confirmed Episcopalian, but I never really believed any of it; it all seemed too simple. From the time I could have independent perceptions about the world I questioned what was taught in every philosophy or theology I encountered. There […]

The Reality of The Partnership for a Drug Free America – Written in 2003

I have never claimed myself a journalist – I write what I write to entertain, not inform – the fact that my material has educational value is insignificant to my desire to simply write what I think and feel. Recently, however, I was watching Bill Maher on CNN, who mentioned something about how the leading […]

Change Is Not Always Progress – Written February 21, 2003

Sometimes, in the course of a nation’s events, it becomes necessary to re-structure the government. Most revolutions in Earth’s recorded history can pinpoint their catalyst in a dynamic realization about the ways things are and the way they ought to be. Humanity is long overdue for an Enlightenment, but before each revolution there must be […]