Saturday, March 26, 2011

Paradise on Tioman Island, Malaysia...oooo, aaahhhh...

 This past summer, Danny and I went to China and practically ran around our entire vacation so our goal this past vacation was to go somewhere where we could do basically nothing... helllllOOO TIOMAN!  Tioman Island off the coast of Malaysia was a paradise just waiting for us to lay on its' beaches, eat it's good food, and sleep, oh yeah.  Danny and I took a taxi, a bus, a train, a subway, a moving sidewalk, a plane, ANOTHER plane, and a shuttle to get to our destination but it was worth it!

Berjaya Resort
The first place we stayed in was called Berjaya Resort.  We considered staying at one of the many cold shower shacks available on the island, but eventually we splurged and were won over by the 4 star resort and breakfast buffet, and oh was it worth it.  We got our own little bungalow room with a small but great view of the ocean.

We came to Tioman in the official "rainy season" but we were optimistic and hopeful that it wouldn't rain the whole time we were there.  Our first day, however, we confronted with a crazy downpour but it didn't dampen our spirits.  We decided to try to be adventurous and take a walk to a "cute little town with lots of stores in it, which is about a 45 minute walk away," said the hotel concierge.  However, 2 hours later, and after a welcome ride in the back of a truck, we finally arrived at the little town to find everything deserted and no "cute" town to be found.  We were not discouraged though, we just learned that Tioman is just a little bit bigger than we expected... and that you can't trust a hotel concierge ; )  Luckily, after that day the weather got better and better and our optimism and prayers for good weather were realized.

Like I said before, our plan for this vacation was to just relax... suntan, eat, snorkel, and a whole lotta nothing.  Like usual, on vacation, the eating part is one of my favorites and boy did we eat!  At the Berjaya resort we got to enjoy an AMAZING breakfast buffet every morning full of fried eggs, pastries, fresh fruit and coffee!  Since Malaysia is mostly Muslim and they don't eat pork, the only thing we missed out on was bacon and sausage : (  Breakfast in Korea is full of kimchi, rice, and tofu soup so western style breakfast was a great change... and probably made us gain about 10 lbs. each.

One particularly clear day we decided to venture out and explore the island a bit more.  We found a place that rented scooters for about $5 and after getting used to the scooter and getting used to driving on the left side of the road for the first time, we were OFF!  We rode around town and then parked our bike for a little while to walk around another little Tioman town called ABC.

I love it when you go on a simple walk and realize that you are definitely in paradise when you are seeing scenes like these...

One highlight of this vacation was definitely being able to spend time in the ocean swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving.  Because of the rough weather, the waters were a little choppy, but it didn't dampen our spirits!  Danny and I both agreed that we have never seen as many fish then in Tioman and we even got a few nibbles on our body when the fish got especially excited about us feeding them bread.

Tioman is full of animals in and out of the water.  We got to see all kinds of animals while we were snorkeling.  We saw tons of clown fish, some turtles, parrot fish, sting rays, blowfish, and I even got to see a 6 ft. shark while we were scuba diving!  While walking around the island, you can easily see monkeys digging through the trash, huge lizards walking around and more cats than you can ever imagine.  We probably saw hundreds of stray cats all over the island, but I "adopted" one I called Milo who liked to hang out at our hotel dinning room.  (I think if you are allergic to cats Tioman might be a place to avoid: )

After spending 6 days at the Berjaya Resort, we moved down the island to another resort called Paya Beach Resort.  Unfortunately the only reason I would recommend this resort would be that there is great snorkeling just off the beach, but other than that, it was quite disappointing.  There was not much food available at the resort because they said it was the "rainy season" but we did manage to survive painfully eating ice cream sundaes and french fries for some of our meals.  (Ok, who am I kidding, I love ice cream and fries!)  The rest of our 5 days were again filled with relaxing and LOTS of games of Rummicub.  Of course I have to mention that I, Katy, came out victorious in those games ; )

Tioman was an amazing place to visit and it was just what the doctor ordered.  After 11 days, needless to say we were officially relaxed and finally ready to move on to our next destination...Singapore.  Here are a few more pictures of some of the highlights of our time but stay tuned for tales from the only English speaking country we've been in for over a year...Singapore!  

One rainy day activity that took about 3 hours.
Paya Beach Town.
I married a cool man, that's all I have to say.

Our attempt at fishing!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New Job, New Year!

Danny and I in front of the Andong English Village.
Well it's been a while since the last post due to a lot of changes.  Danny and I have officially been in our new job for about 3 weeks and it's going great!  We are now working at Andong National University at the English Village, which is basically an English camp for kids. (It's funny we leave one camp job for another... is God trying to tell us something?) The first week of teaching was a "learning process" (that is just a nice way to say that all my lessons bombed) but now we are getting the hang of teaching elementary kids.     So I will get into more of what we actually do in the future but I just wanted to show you a little bit of our new job.  We work with 5 other Westerners so that is a big change for us... Danny and I are constantly saying that it is weird that we actually TALK at work (being that we are now not the only English speaking people in our school anymore).

Danny and Chris modeling their khaki pants.
We work with one American woman, Sue, one Austrailian guy, Gareth, one Irish guy, Cathal, and one English guy, Chris.  Needless to say it is an international office.  I'm hoping that all the kids coming to the English Village will walk away with a mixed American/British/Irish/Austrailian accent... that would be awesome ; ) It seems we are already fitting in as Danny is already dressing like one of our coworkers, Chris.

Apparently the guys aren't camera shy.
I'm sure that there will be a fill of poop jokes and farting going on since I will now be working with 4 men (especially because of Danny ; ) but hopefully it will be a fun filled year!  Stay tuned for a long overdue update of our Malaysia/Singapore vacation.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Funny Tales from the Man Formerly Known as "Danielle Teacher"

We know it's been a while since we last posted.  Sorry, Katy and I have been busy moving across town to a new apartment and a new job, which officially begins tomorrow.

As we were eating dinner together this evening we were reminiscing of the many experiences from this past year of teaching and as I recalled this particular memory I couldn't help but laugh again.
So I thought I would share it with you...

A few months ago as I was teaching a lesson to a class of freshman, I had just finished presenting the main points of the day and had given them a dialog to practice.  In this particular class of rambunctious boys whenever I gave them some sort of self-guided work I knew that I would need to keep a close eye on them to keep them on task.  I was feeling a little goofy that day though and had been joking around with a couple of students in the front row, when I noticed out of the corner of my eye that some boys were passing a white bottle of lotion around to each other and doing weird things like dipping their pens in it and wiping it on each others arms.  So, I confronted the ring leader holding the bottle.  (A cool kid, who usually found himself a little too cool to pay attention in my class.)  I told him that I was going to take the bottle and tried to convey to him that he could get it back from me after class.  Just before he begrudgingly handed it over to me he poured one last ridiculous amount into his hand and then realized he had taken too much.  He tried to pawn some off on his friends, who didn't want anymore to do with it and then finally offered it to me.

I know that it probably wasn't the most professional thing for a teacher to do to a student,
but I told him that I could use some lotion, but it smelled really bad...and just as I had planned as the kid put his hands up to his nose to smell it, I hit his hands up into his face, which smeared lotion across his nose and mouth and even sent some up into his nostrils.  Without saying a word the student ran out of the classroom toward the bathroom.

Obviously this sent the whole class into pretty loud laughter.  As our laughter started to subside another student from the group said "Danielle Teacher, not lotion...Glue!"  It made me feel bad, but also made me nearly cry with laughter as the student slowly came back, a look of displeasure and defeat on his face.
Needless to say, I called him "Glue-Face" for the rest of the year.