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 outcome and 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.
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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!