I had several things I wanted to write about today, but I figured I should introduce the other eta’s before I get to anything else.
Let me introduce everyone in the photo that I think you can see above. Also, I am sorry, because I think it is fuzzy, but you can see the clear version here.
Up front and center is me!, to my right is Jedrek, taking the selfie. Jedrek just finished doing TFA in Detroit. He is from California, so funny, and has been very helpful in terms of practical teaching advice. He also was the first one to pick up on the fact that I use relatively odd inflections while speaking and has dutifully teased me about such.
Above his head to the right is Melissa. Melissa just joined us today! She was doing an intensive Chinese language program for two months this summer, just finished, and is SO sweet. She happens to be light years ahead of most of us in Chinese (from what I can tell). She’s so impressive, and I’m so excited to get to know her better.
To her left is Diane, she is one of my apartment mates! She is SO funny, easy going and is going straight to med school after being an ETA. She is BOLD and happens to be one of the few who actually knew NO Chinese coming into this program. However she’s already picking it up and has been so fun to hang around.
Slightly hidden by Diane and me is Julianna. Julianna is hilarious. She also has a dog she misses from home and she is also looking to go to med school. She seems so accomplished and on top of her post-ETA game. I’m impressed. She also has family in Taiwan which is really cool.
To my immediate left is Catherine. So, Catherine is my other apartment mate. She went to Williams a nd studied math and Chinese and is freaking hilarious. She happens to be a trashy TV junkie, and we have already enjoyed several nights of watching Scandal and eating chocolate. Not to say Scandal is trashy. Because it clearly isn’t.
To Catherine’s right is Iris! She is our coordinator in Taichung and as I said in an earlier post, she is an angel. She is the one who puts together and patches everything up while we are here. She picked us up on the first day and she honestly has made this transition SO much smoother. She studied in Minnesota for a year in college and has lived abroad several times and is just so trendy. When I grow up, I want to be like Iris.
Behind Iris is Alvin. Alvin is like Iris’s little brother. He is so endearing. He grew up in Taichung and his mother is like a mentor/friend to Iris (from what I can tell). He has FLAWLESS English and is so smart. (He is 12, I think.)
To the right of Alvin is Joyce. Joyce is a gem. She went to Rice and studied a combination of things that make me jealous. Poverty, Justice, and Human Capabilities. Seriously?!?! Anyway, she is SO sassy (this actually might not be the right word, still trying to pinpoint it….) and the first to point out the irony in a situation and can get everyone rolling with side-splint inducing laughter in a hot second.
To Joyce’s right ( in the glasses!) is Sarah. Sarah went to a smaller liberal arts school and graduated early and has been living in Taipei the last 6(?) months. She has great Chinese and has been such a resource as we’ve explored Taichung the last week. Grateful to have her, indeed!
To Sarah’s right, and above Diane, is Chia (Pronounced Chee- Uh. You’re welcome, Mom). Chia is wonderful. She is another one of the characters in this group that in no time at all has the whole group dying of laughter, without even trying. I think her observational skills are pretty keen. She is such a fun spirit and our group wouldn’t be the same without her.
Last, but certainly not least, is Chris. So, before we all meandered over to Taiwan for this thing, Chris and I exchanged Facebook messages discussing pressing issues like passport photo sizes and our suitcase packing identity crises. He is also brilliant, speaks like 17 languages, and studied Intl. studies at Univ. of Central Florida.
The reason I felt the need to write a whole blog post about my fellow ETA’s is because of the culture that we have. We are ridiculous. We are the people who all sing Backstreet boys on the street in public, dance to J Biebs in a department store while shopping, and play sardines in a 12 story mall. Already these individuals have had a HUGE impact on my perception and experience in Taiwan, and I have a feeling they will only be more intertwined in my experience. I think it is important that you know who they are!
Till next time,