All in an Expat Weekend

Sometimes weekends pass with nothing out of the ordinary coming to pass.  This was not one of those weekends.  Nothing dramatic happened but we saw several things that made me double take.  Life abroad is full of things we don’t see at home.

It all started on Friday at the boys’ school with a reading celebration in the Feisty First Grader’s class.  In the class, EACH CHILD possesses an iPad.  All the kids found their files in the videos app and, with headphones, each parent listened and watched as the child read a favorite book.  Harold and each of his 18 classmates has access to an iPad in the classroom, just as Bob and his 21 classmates each has his own laptop in the classroom.  This is one of the many clear benefits to international schooling.  The kids also get to use the several 3D printers in the school in their art and technology classes.  (More on that later.)


Our plumbing issues continue, so the facilities department contracted with a company to repair our septic tank.  Upon investigation, though, they determined that the septic tank is actually broken and crushed and cannot be fixed.  They have to replace it.  They filled in the hole they had dug, put excess dirt into bags, which they used as weights to keep the caution cones secure.  The workers blocked off the area and even pulled up the stakes securing the trampoline, turned it and re-secured it, so that the entrance isn’t blocked by the hole.


Workers in our backyard. The white outhouse looking thing is the water heater.


Before we ventured out on Saturday, I decided to try to change the settings on my GPS to speak to me in English.  I thought that since the menu can be set to English I might be able to select the correct setting to get an English voice.  No such luck… No such option:

5So, the GPS is helpful but manages to add an element of stress since I cannot read the street names or understand some of what it says to me.  Thankfully, I do know “Turn Right,”  “Turn Left,” “meters,” and the always helpful, “Recalculating,” among other phrases.

Next, I happened upon a large pile of scat on our driveway when I moved to open the gate to get the car out of the garage.  It was clearly droppings and it looked like it came from a bird.  I was perplexed because its size seemed to make it impossible for a bird to be its origin.  At the top elevation of my Saturday run, though, I found what I assume to be the source of the mess on our driveway.  An enormous, screeching hawk!  I saw it soaring above me, screeching at the top of its lungs.  I guess it’s all part of living with nature all around us.  I am choosing not to dwell on the fact that if it was spending time above our house, there must have been something it was hunting.  Come to think of it, I haven’t seen the tailless stray cat that hangs out in our back yard lately.


9Next, we went to the American Club for haircuts, where we saw an older gentleman who found his manicure VERY relaxing.  When we first took our place at the station opposite him, he was completely slumped over the side of his chair!  The manicurist had to push him into a sitting position.

8After the haircuts, we stopped in the market at the American Club, where Harold chose a soft pretzel as large as his torso!


On Sunday, Horatio and I went back to the American Club for the Sunday Brunch.  The food is delicious and the spread is massive and includes a large variety of seafood.  If you look closely, you can see the man in this photo donned plastic gloves in order to eat his crab legs without getting stinky hands!  The couple at the next table enjoyed the endless platters of steamed shrimp, heads, tails, and all.

2Finally, on our way home, we spotted this family on their way up to the national park.  Hopefully they don’t plan to have more kids because they seem to be at maximum capacity on their vehicle.

1I always know to keep my camera handy when we are out and about here in Taiwan.  I don’t want to miss a thing.  Who knows what next weekend will bring?


About Commander in Chief At home

Erin is a military spouse and, sometimes temporarily single mom to 4 boys. She's a writer, editor, teacher, and (Autism) mom.
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