Starting the School Year

Today was the first day of the new school year.  All students were welcomed in the new gym.  One of my favorite things about this school is that the students lead all assemblies. By the time they graduate they are all very comfortable speaking to large groups from a stage.

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Then we squashed all the classes into the rest of the day.  That meant that I only had 20 minutes to introduce the 5th graders to the cooking class.

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I did manage to squeeze a quick recipe in for the high school class.  Andrew seemed happy with the result.

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A new building and a new school year

Today the school dedicated the new activity center. It’s a beautiful new building and the school is justifiably proud of it.

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The gym, cafeteria, and fitness center are great. But what I’m really excited about is the new teaching kitchen. It’s a glorious space with two lovely sinks (with hot water!), a big worktable with four very nice built-in induction burners, three ovens (!) and A DISHWASHER. This is the first dishwasher I’ve seen in Taiwan. The locals think this is silly. That’s OK. I have a dishwasher and I know how to use it! I also have a dish dryer (a very common Taiwanese appliance) and I don’t know how to use it. But I will learn.

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Obviously I needed to test the appliances before school starts tomorrow.  I made grilled ham and cheese sandwiches for the teachers yesterday using each of the new burners.  They worked like a dream – much more consistent than the inexpensive ones I started with.

Today I tested the ovens with oatmeal cookies.  The ovens worked well and I was pleased that the space didn’t heat up as much as I thought it would.  It’s been very hot and humid the past few days.  The air conditioning in the kitchen space works well if I give it a good head start.

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The school community oohed and ahhed over the new space.  There was a nice reception (not catered by me, although I did share my cookies), a formal ceremony, and many, many stunning flower arrangements to admire.

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School starts tomorrow.  Dan has the same two classes as last year (intro to business and robotics).  I have high school cooking and nutrition (10 students) and 5th grade cooking (14 students to start with although that should get smaller when the Chinese language class starts).

Revving Up for the School Year

It’s almost time for the new school year to begin. The new crop of teachers has arrived and the returning teachers are trickling back from summer vacation.

There are always lots of things needed to settle into life in a new place – stepstools, shelves, baskets, brooms, and more.  Charlene arranged for the new teachers to shop at several kinds of stores, but we felt they could benefit from an introduction to the wonderful Taiwan “everything” stores.  Everything stores are kind of like dollar stores and they are everywhere. The stores sell all shapes of plastic bins, household gadgets, inexpensive dishes, and more, all jumbled together.

At the welcome dinner last night we figured out the car pools and all met this morning at our favorite breakfast place, the Pancake and Waffle Café (which after a year we realized has no pancakes on the menu).  Even Carol and Simo made a surprise appearance, fresh off the plane.

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We coached the new teachers through the extensive menu, dragged them down the block to the everything store when we were done eating, and walked them through their first morning market.

Job well done.

The new teachers are wonderful!  They’re a great fit for the school.  I’m really looking forward to seeing the whole team together next week.

Rest up, folks!  We have a big week coming up.  Classes start on Thursday.

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