Archive | April, 2018

Amazing Year Day 53: This Work Train Don’t Stop!

30 Apr

I woke up having finished a nostalgic dream where Jaewon and I visited Aomori and were looking to purchase a summer home. Whenever I think about Japan, I am comfortable and at peace with the world as well as within my soul. I miss you 日本. Don’t worry Taiwan, we good!

Thank the heavens and whatever else is up there that I enjoy my work, because it hasn’t stopped since I clocked in at 7:30 a.m. However, I’m also learning to fit in mini-breaks so that my personal habits aren’t ignored. One of which was my weekly mini-reading in Pep Talks for Writers, which justified my messy home office as it reported how a study conducted at the University of Minnesota “found that tidy rooms tended to foster conventional thoughts whereas messy rooms inspired a sense of novelty and creativity.” #BeautifulExcuses

Also… special shout-out to Gordon Biersch, as “his” ribs and mashed potatoes certainly helped me get through intensive AP English Language essay grading.

Back to work…

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Amazing Year Day 52: Pop Principal

29 Apr

When you’re a curious kid at heart, sometimes playing school principal can be a challenge. You are representing more than yourself, and professionalism, maturity, and clarity must blanket all that you do. Though sometimes, there is a chance to let your true self shine. When penning the principal’s letter for the 2018 yearbook, I first ventured to our inaugural edition from last year and I was stunned by what I read. At first glance, it’s what you expected a principal to say. That’s the problem. It could have been penned by anyone. Well not this year. I opted to give this paper made time machine a taste of my creativity. Instead of directly highlighting our new teachers and student accomplishments, I embraced the art of metaphor and wrote the letter as if our school was a legion of warriors on a quest for greatness. It wasn’t until I was able to sneak in the words “masters of the universe” did I truly feel at peace with myself. A pop culture reference from my ’80s childhood, now that’s winning. He-Man would have been proud.

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Amazing Year Day 51: Welcome to the Family

28 Apr

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Today marked our school’s 2nd Annual PTA Sponsored Street Fair, which is my favorite of all the Saturday work days of the year. While this one was spent representing the school and speaking to a parade of parents, it was a joy to see it all come together and the students have such a good time while not having to break the rules!

The highlight was adopting this cute little fella. Our mascot is a lion, but perhaps our grade 10 students didn’t get that memo, or they just can’t resist an adorable dress code compliant teddy bear (except for his lack of pants).

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Amazing Year Day 50: Not So Finite Friday

27 Apr

Typically, the second I walk out of the school on Friday, fatigue attacks like quicksand. Ever since I started teaching in 2003, I’ve had an uphill battle against Fridays. Not today. The Avengers brought their Infinity War to our viewing pleasure. No time for spoilers, just a big thank you to everyone who made this wonderful film!

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Amazing Year Day 49: Reserving the Past

26 Apr

Nine years I had the pleasure of experiencing one of the greatest set of days in my existence as a bada$$ Russian, Fred from Scooby Doo’s stunt double, and the coolest Aussie on earth all descended on a three-day music festival extravaganza on the bay in Tokyo called Summer Sonic. Katy Perry’s no show was a bummer, but Nine Inch Nails, Big Pink, Lady Gaga, School of Seven Bells, Linkin Park, Placebo, The All-American Rejects, Keane, CSS, Girl Talk, Tom Tom Club, Matisyahu, Yuksek, 2 Many DJs, Ting Tings, The Veronicas, the Flaming Lips (saw them instead of Beyonce), and even Limp Bizkit (charity move) sure as mozart made up for it! Those were just the bands we chose to see. With a stage in a stadium, on the beach, and three within a massive convention center plus a silent disco, this was a mecca of a good time. Did I forget to mention this was in Japan? Of course, there was no rude drunken rudeness, and it was a clean yet exhilarating affair. Sure the festival has since shrunk to two days, and I won’t be camping along the bay, however the time had finally come to return to the greatness of Summer Sonic.

Today, Jaewon and I made that commitment. Summer Sonic 2018 here we come! I have to keep reminding myself that I’m 37-year-old, married, and clearly out of shape. Doesn’t matter, a good time will be had!

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Amazing Year Day 48: A Good Day

25 Apr

Today was one of those days at work where everyone was working hard and delivering results. It sure was busy for all of us, but we felt accomplished. Not only did a full day of classes occur as usual, but delicate situations were handled, future construction finalized, an end of the year Interact meeting, and a 10 grade parent meeting all happened within minutes of each other.

When I walked out the door today, I felt as though I could stay here forever. School administration sure has its challenges, but its rewarding work especially when you can collaborate with those of equal passion and dedication.

Here’s to enjoy your day job!

Amazing Year Day 47: Wedding Aftermath

24 Apr

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If Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster lived in Taiwan, he would surely try his hardest to get invited to as many weddings as possible. For those of you in the know, a Taiwanese wedding is not complete until the guests have received their gorgeous box full of…

COOKIES!

I’ve had the pleasure of receiving a few boxes of wedding cookies, and I must say this by far was my favorite. Not only was there an eclectic mixture, but there were also succulent cakes and the fun names of each cookies take the experience to the upper echelons of snack food heaven.

Special thanks to our cherished colleague for taking the time and effort to choose such a delicious assortment of edibles. My shoes are already giving me a dirty look for how much weight I’m about to gain.

 

Amazing Year Day 46: Go Fish

23 Apr

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A hearty meal fit for a sailor was had today as my wife and I sailed the conveyer belt seas of our local Kura Sushi restaurant. While I consumed my fair share of dead fish, I dare proclaim that their french toast is the BEST in Taiwan. Go figure… I mean go fish!

BONUS PHOTO:

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Starbucks owes me royalties.

Amazing Year Day 45: Tied Knot & First Cut

22 Apr

Congratulations to one of our cherished school members on her beautifully grand wedding. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your special day. May you both find trust, fulfilment, and happiness today, tomorrow, and forever!

As the night swept in I was reminded of my “amazing” quest, and it was time for another first…

I purchased my first pineapple and for the very first time cut it up. Special thanks to YouTube and to my wife for convincing me to take a bite. Much like “green eggs and ham,” I thought I didn’t like pineapple in a house, with a mouse, nor in a boat, or in a moat. It turns out that’s all true. But I do like fresh pineapple. I do! Well, permitting it’s as ripe-ishly fresh as this bad bear was!

Amazing Year Day 44: This and That

21 Apr

A whirlwird of little thises and thatses greeted my curious soul.

“Hello Chinese” has proven to be the most successful attempt at developing a smidgen sense of Mandarin Chinese. Almost all of the phrases can be used in my daily life, except for the one below…

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Journeying with my wife to Taipei a revisit to Baba Kevin’s for another barbelicious meal was in order!

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At midday, I received a turbulent CT scan for dental purposes. You don’t realize how out of shape you are until you struggle to stand up while the technicians work through a eponymous difficulty.

Books #27 and #28 of the year were also put to a close. The former being legendary (so I read) comic book creator Neal Adams having a recent go at DC’s Deadman, with the latter the 6th book in the hilariously honest Ellray Jakes chapter book series. Don’t let the age of kid lit’s primary (pun intended) audience fool you, there are NUGGETS of golden diction within each page. For example…

“She’s a dreamer! But I guess I already knew that. That’s probably what writers are.”

Channeling my inner child, I pondered what a fancy cheese plate would look like to a kid so I made such a contraption. Only if I add this to a child character in a story it will also feature frozen mozzarella sticks on account of how “I’m not allowed to use the oven”

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A Child’s Cheeseplate: cheddar cheese, macaroni and cheese, and cheese curls.