I’ve always struggled during periods of transition. Regardless of the magnitude of change – new job, haircut, moving, my favorite Chick-fil-A closing, graduation – it is an emotional upheaval that prods the anxious monster in my brain.
The worst-case-scenario happened in June: I resigned from DaZhu AND I didn’t get the desired writing position. I cursed myself for my zealous and foolish decisions. After a couple of frustration-filled crying sessions, I resigned to the outcomeand focused on finding a teaching position in Taipei.
Within a week my recruiter lined up an interview with a private middle school close to the Taipei zoo. Typically, schools ask interviewees to create and present a 10-30 minute long lesson plan of their choice. This school provided lesson content the day-of and allotted 40 minutes to prepare a 20 minute lesson.
Using my laptop, a notebook filled with past lessons, and provided textbook, I struggled to create an interesting and fun lesson plan in the designated time, but I ended up making a shoddy six-page PowerPoint outlining grammar rules, and one boring activity. After 45 minutes of hectic planning, I presented to the Director of foreign English teachers (a young Taiwanese woman), a current English teacher (a young South African man), and my coordinator (a Taiwanese man) in only 7 minutes. Both the coordinator and Director asked “that’s it?” when I ended, but the Director added “nice and efficient I like it.” The interview portion left me feeling confident because I connected with the Director about being women in education, and she mentioned “students love young, female teachers but they’re hard to come by.”
As I walked to the bus stop with my coordinator, he assured me I handled the interview portion better than two other candidates, but they have more experience than me so it’s hard to tell who the school will choose. I held back disappointed tears on the bus ride home.
2 days later an email from my recruiter popped up on my phone and my eyes widened as I read they offered me a position starting on August 27. My immediate response, “WOW!!!!!!!! I AM SO HAPPY!!!!”
Though the school is located further from the city than I anticipated, I will work with my desired age range (7th-12th grade students) and receive a sizable raise (more than my previous teaching position & the rejected writing job).
Eager to begin my life in Taipei, I ended my apartment lease on July 31, completed my teaching contract the same day, and found an apartment with a move-in date on August 1.
My agenda was filled with a long to-do list for two weeks. While teaching summer camp, I filed a police background check, completed a medical exam, opened a bank account, toured potential apartments, and ate multiple goodbye lunches with co-workers.
Once I completed the pre-employment check-list and signed my teaching and apartment contracts, I relaxed and began looking at Luzhu through a lens of lasts.
Below are photos and captions taken in Luzhu to commemorate my 7 month stay and appreciate everything that happened.
One afternoon shortly after work, I ventured on bike ride around Luzhu to capture idyllic snaps of the Taiwanese countryside. Here are the results:
Once a week since February, I ate dinner with Phillip and his family. I met Phillip while playing tennis at DaZhu, and he quickly became a great friend of mine. Originally, our dinners included a language exchange, but we all tired of this due to our busy schedules. We agreed to simply eat dinner, catch up, and spend time together like a family. I watched movies, talked about politics, and learned about Taiwanese cuisine and history. Phillip and Grace supported my decision to find work in Taipei and I am very grateful for their friendship!
Peter and I bicycled 20 minutes to enjoy the rare and beautiful view of Sakura trees in full blossom. En route, we encountered two brothers shooting fireworks in the distance and shouting ‘hello’. They shared one bicycle to formally greet us, but none of us could mutter a sentence that the other could understand.