Getting Around Taichung City – Resources and Tips

Having been to Taichung twice (Dec 2013 and Dec 2014), I would say that I am relatively familiar with getting around Taichung using public transport. There is, unfortunately no MRT/MTR/Metro/Subway system in Taichung City, so the only public transport services available are the buses and taxis. If you are really on a tight budget and do not mind sitting or standing on buses for a long time, take the bus. It is fairly cheap to take buses in Taichung since the first 8km of most rides are free. It might be all rides, but I am not too sure.

If you are taking the buses, do take note of the intervals and waiting time for each bus. Some intervals are really long, so it might be good to do some research to see what other buses in that calls at the bus stop where you are at or other bus stops near can also take you to where you want to go. The bus stops are not always sheltered, unlike what we commonly see in Singapore, so it might be hard to find one. Look out for poles and signages with lots of numbers, they might easily be the bus stop you are looking for. Check that it goes in the direction you want it to; some includes a route map and indicate the direction in which the bus is heading but if you are unsure, to check with the driver.

One useful resource is a website managed by, I believe, the city officials. It offers real-time bus updates (when a bus would call on a certain stop) as well as the route map. It is in Chinese, so it is best if you can read it. The bus are numbered, so you should still be able to find the bus route you want to check out by selecting it from the dropdown menu. Once the route map is loaded (with the Google Maps backdrop), you can click on the little bus stop location markers where a little dialogue/message box would pop up. Click on the button, it will give you a list of other buses you can take from the bus stop. (http://citybus.taichung.gov.tw/ibus/RealRoute.aspx)



Reflections on work

It had been 5 weeks since I officially started teaching, and half a term has passed. I feel like a failure sometimes. I had been reflecting a lot in my head since, but this is the first time I’m actually writing? typing my thoughts down.

One big problem I have is retaining my students’ attention. I had an over-reliance on powerpoint slides and a tendency to type everything I want to say on it even though I know I shouldn’t be doing it. There is a fear that I will forget what I want to say. I have, hopefully, I think, moved away from this dependency on powerpoint slides.

Another problem – lack of scaffolding. Oh, it is not a lack of it because I do build in scaffolding in my lessons. But I need more, especially for my class in the N(A)  stream. I’d been an Express student and had only been exposed to Express classes in all my observations and even during my practicum. It is hard for me to put myself in their shoes. I’ve only truly realised how much more help they needed when I started marking their worksheets – an in-class assignment which I thought I had modeled and scaffolded. It is apparently not enough. As I was marking, I recalled the lessons in NIE – how we should even go through the information and visual stimulus with the weaker students. This was something I neglected in a hurry to complete the lessons on time. I need to remember that the Scheme of Work IS NOT EVERYTHING. I realised that despite the fact that the visual stimulus contain nearly everything the students need, they did not know how to put them into complete sentences. Just providing the information alone is not enough. Everything has to be guided step-by-step.

I apparently also lack awareness of who is in the class and who is not. Even if I had been informed beforehand that there are certain students who will miss lessons because certain school programmes or because they are out for competition, it had never occurred to me that I would need to change plans for teaching to accommodate these students until I heard other teachers talking about it. I also need to track their homework submission – with it, I would be able to discern who was paying attention and who was not.


Another new beginning

I will officially begin my duties as a trained teacher the next week once school re-opens for the second semester of the year. As this day draws near, I find myself reflecting more and more, both as an individual and on my role as a teacher. While it is not the first time I am writing this, I find myself with an urge to type this out, in case I lose track of my thoughts and musings before I capture them in words, rather than just as thoughts in my mind.

I suppose I am in a particularly reflective mood since this is what I had been doing this past couple of days in school. Two days of induction into the school, and two days of staff seminar put me in this frame of mind. The staff seminar has a focus on CCE lessons, which has been brought into spotlight recently. Frankly, I haven’t exactly given much thoughts to it, except during the Social Context of Education module we did in NIE and the workshops we did during the BTOP. One of the internally conducted workshops I attended talked about the teaching of CCE through dramas. One thing which was mentioned was a lesson on self-worth. It was a lesson which I had observed earlier during my practicum. I had reflected briefly on what my self-worth is after that lesson which I had observed earlier but I guess it wasn’t really enough since I did nothing about it. I guess this shows one thing – mere reflection is not enough to result in any changes or improvements. After reflection, one must take action to improve and commit to it. If not, nothing may change.

I reflected again on my self-worth again after being asked to represent my self-worth through a pose. I knew that all along, I did not have much self-worth in certain areas, yet I can also be egoistic in some other areas. I worry, truly, that I am going to teach students about self-worth when I still lack self-worth in certain areas. How can I teach them to have more self-worth when I am equally crippled, especially in the areas in which they are going to have problems with? As I am writing this, I came to the realisation that my lack of self-worth stems from my own secondary school days, where I was struggling. I was in the TAF club and was never the popular in school. In fact, I was ostracised somewhat, being rather more matured than my peers. While being more matured at the age has helped me made the right choice that lead to who I am today, I sometimes wonder what might have happened if I wasn’t so. I don’t regret it, but wonder when I would ever get over those experiences.

I guess I can share what I have done since my secondary school days. I was determined to start each new journey afresh. I began my JC years with less shyness and being more open to approach other people to make friends.This helped me to make two good, close friends with whom I still frequently meet up to this day. I told myself that I would evolve even further in university after my ‘A’ Levels. I was the one taking the initiative to make friends, more willing to take charge, and more willing to be the centre of attention. By the time I began my teacher training after my undergraduate years, I was totally unrecognisable from my secondary school days. While I may never fully recover my self-worth, it has reached the point that I am no longer crippled by it.

I hope that I will have more time to write on this blog to hone my writing skills. As a language teacher, I sometimes find myself being unable to find the right words to express myself, despite always telling my students that they need to be precise with the use of language. However, I struggle in writing. I’m usually only satisfied with works that have gone through drafts and constant reviewing and revision. Yet my students have to complete their written work within a set period of time, with no time for drafts and revision. I hope that by blogging, I will get a chance to hone my writing skills such that I would be able to write something that I would be satisfied with, without having to go through any revision.


Swimming after 1-2 years

I have applied for my 2-year complimentary CSC membership simply because I wanted to sign up for the aqua aerobics class. This is the ONLY exercise that I can and is interested in doing since I have sprained my ankle doing step aerobics. Unfortunately, I missed the deadline for signing up and will have to wait for the next round. Nevertheless, I decided to make full use of my membership benefits, which included access to the pool. I haven’t swam for nearly 2 years, I think. Going straight to the lap pool was a BIG mistake, especially since I’m short and haven’t swam or done any exercise for some time. My stamina is at an all time low. This means getting breathless easily; not a comfortable feeling when you are in the water and can keep your entire head above the water easily. I’m only a couple of centimeters taller than the pool depth of 1.5m and sucks at treading in the water. I managed to make it to the other end of the pool but to my horror – the pool has a consistent depth of 1.5m! There is no where I can stand without having only the crown of my head above the water and rest unless I hang on to the ladder! I just drown-proofed at the side of the pool for a long time, frequently going back into the water because I was too tired to keep my head above the water. It’s kinda like taking deep long breaths so I did rest for a while before going for another 7 laps, with plenty of rest between each lap of course! Really, I should have gone for the wading pool first.


Almost Vegetarian Dinner



The most successful dish of the day – Mushroom Onion Quiche, though my pie pan is a little too big. Recipe from The Little Teochew. After a week of liquid diet, I was eager to eat and kept cooking.



Mushroom Aglio Olio with Tofu patty. Aglio Olio was a disaster at first – my mum helped me save it. I hate cooking on stove tops, I don’t usually do well there. Patty was too hot – courtesy of my little sister who added too much chilli powder.


Wisdom Teeth, Shopping, Organisation

Another update on wordpress today. I’ve been meaning to do so but just didn’t manage to work up the energy to do so until now. With a mask on my face. The past two weeks of orientation programme had been really tiring. I have had been really tired out during practicum – all work and no play burns me out. I learned this firsthand maybe two years back when I was working really hard to pull my CAP up after one disastrous sem. After one semester with that as the sole goal, many tuition kids and very little time for leisure, I was completely burned out even after the examinations were over. I could find no interest in anything, not even things I usually enjoy. Not dramas, not books, nothing. It took me quite sometime to recover. Even though I had two weeks of break after practicum, it did not seem sufficient in pulling me out of the funk. Especially since I started the orientation programme nearly immediately. I only managed to recover with Running Man’s episode with Park Jisung – he never fails to cheer me up. :)

I’ve ended the last day of the orientation with a wisdom tooth surgery and an extraction (which came as a surprise to me as well). One of my wisdom tooth (the impacted one) had shown signs of decay since last June but I had been putting it off out of fear. I’ve finally decided to take it out and entered the clinic with trepidation, only to be told that I would have to remove the one above the impacted tooth as well, since it would eventually cause problems. Rather than having to face another visit to the dentist two years down the road, I decided to settle it once and for all. And thus my gums lost two tenants and bemoaned the loss for nearly one week. Especially since the I left them with the dentist – he asked if I wanted them and I said no thanks. Never had any tooth fairy and wasn’t about to start. And doubt that given my age, I can see any. And left me on a liquid diet of Campbell soup, 豆花 and juices.

In the meantime, I had been online shopping (oops) on Gmarket for books, physically shopping at Papermarket for scrapbooking supplies, ebook shopping on Kobo and book shopping on Amazon…(Someone stop me!!!). Having a week MC with few entertainment options is bad. I turn quickly to shopping. Ok, not just shopping. I did something productive in anticipation of having to start work soon. I ORGANISED. Which I hate. And always start, but almost NEVER FINISH. Because I get headaches every time I organise anything and have to stop. Ha. In spite of the migraines, I must say I was fairly productive this time, since I managed to organise the images and documents in my PC, deleted a lot of video files which I had hoarded, threw out a lot of cds (or set them aside for upcycling) and threw out magazines.

I will post something about the upcycling of old cds soon since I have many many plans for them. Seeya then.