Live, Love, Laugh

Archive for September, 2007

Cliff, Beach, and the Sea! Coos Bay, Oregon

September 19, 2007

Climbing!!! Well, to be exact, repelling. On the way
to Coos Bay, Oregon, we stopped by the Face Rock View
Point. There are some cliffs around so Jared and I finally gotten the chance to
use our climbing gear!! We repelled down the cliff twice, it was fun because we
got a little overhang in the end to just hang in the air and repel down. The
scenery was beautiful, as we were leaving the place, the sun broke out.

I was hosted with a great and fun (by fun, I mean…
crazy!!!)  This time I was with Lysan (Germany), Katie
(USA), Jeremiah (USA). Bill and Becky own their own coffee shop, which is so
cool!! I think if I were to own one, I would love to have one just like theirs.
It’s cozy and people can just hang out. They also hold open mic night, drum
night, and chess night for people to gather and do. It’s just great!!

For CI in Coos
Bay, we went to clean up the Sunset Beach,
the weather was great so that makes it even more enjoyable. I learned a few
things from the Ranger:

The rock lines on
the shore are affected by the tie, the wave, and the current

Gray whales came
close to because they were feeding on the sediment that is stirred up around
the reef which is less deep and more nutrition

The Oregon coast has four
tides each day: high tide, low tide, a lower high tide, and a higher low tide
instead of two.

“Never turn your
back on the ocean.” Oregon
coast has “sneaker waves” that are very dangerous. They are waves that are much
larger than the average waves washing into shore. Luckily, none of us were
washed out to sea.

The jellyfish can
still stun people even when they are dead. Be careful!!

The same night our host family took us to a football
game! It was the first time Lysan went to a football game (probably even watch
one ever). Then we went to Karaok afterwards, it was fun night, super fun!! =)

Double show day, tough and hard but it was fine
overall, I really don’t want to bother to write about the show because you must
watch it to understand it =P Come to our show if you ever get a chance.



Back to California! Eureka

September 17, 2007

This first one is for Eureka,
California… a pretty city nearby Redwood National Park! Of course, on our way
from Winston to Eureka,
we went to the national park to see all those giant trees!! It was fantastic!
The staff on the van also went near sea and we saw a few whales, I was
fascinated by creation of nature.

We had a really short stay here in Eureka but the host family are still
wonderful. I was hosted with Megan (USA) and Amiee (Netherland) by Andy and
Cindy. I had a staff meeting on Tuesday and that gave me even less time to get
to know them. Andy is a sheriff which is great because as I was with him in the
car I got to ask many question about how they operate. For example, actually
using code words, how to express letters so the headquarter understand, and the
biggest problem around (which was illegal drugs).

I also didn’t do much on Tuesday because I signed
myself out to work on accounting, the cool thing was there was a basketball
court that we got a game going, which was great because I really love sports,
especially basketball. However, there was an interesting education workshop
about “Value” which demonstrated how people value things differently. Basically,
we have several things (A Healthy Family, A Wonderful House, etc) and a total
of 1000$ to assign budget for those items. Then we will bid for it… I think it’s
a good way to find out how far we are willing to fight for some of the things
that are important to us. I personally want many things, two main things are “A
Healthy Family” and “A Life Time of Travel and Adventures”… I was able to get
one of them out of many other things that I would love to have in life. Well,
just like real life, we can’t have everything; just make the best out of it,

I would love to spend more time here but it’s just not
possible. Things end, I must follow the flow.


Melon Festival! Story of Winston!

September 11, 2007

Long distance to cover from Corcoran to Winston,
therefore, we had a travel stop in Redding,
California. Though just one
night, most of us have host family, I was hosted by a 20-year-old girl who
works three jobs! I was actually happy to know see the hardworking side of
American, not just the lazy stereotype that people talked about. She took us to
the sundial bridge at night since it was the only night we were. It is a beautiful
bridge when it’s light up… I wish I could spend more time there because it appears
to be an interesting city.

We arrived Winston the next day; I was the city staff
coordinator so I was allocated in the hotel this week. However, internet access
was really limited (no internet in hotel either). I was hoping to get some work
done and maybe start applying to graduate school, it did not happen… Well, just
have to live with it.

My CI project this week was stemming the outdoor
theater in the Riverbend
Park. It looks much
better after the job, especially because it hasn’t been painted for 15 years. I
had lots of fun because I was working with a great team. For regional learning,
we went to Wildlife Safari; it is basically a combination of a zoo with natural
environment settings. I was lots of animals there that I haven’t seem before,
it was fun to tour around with the bus and the animals were the boss along the
way. The same night we had BBQ with the host families, which was good for me
because I would have had to pay for my own food otherwise… Hehee… I love
saving money.

The big highlight of the week was Melon Festival!! Most
of our CIs were also related to it. Alright, to be honest, I am really not in
the mood writing a lot of things. I will just mention the highlight is the
Parade of the Melon Festival. Also, the cast perform official performed outdoor
this time. It was very fun to see people bring their own chairs, blankets and
simply sit on the grass to watch the show. Well, there were some people just
stand outside watching without paying. Normally I wouldn’t care but it’s only 5
USD to enter and it’s a fundraising event. It upset me knowing people doing it
and helped me to realize how it would feel for the others if some free rider
just took what others worked so hard for or others worked to archive. A lesson
for me to watch out my own behaviors.

On Sunday, 9th of September. The hotel
staffs decided to all go to Crater Lake. On
the way, we passed by the Diamond
Lake… This state reminded
me so much of Switzerland…
the natural scene is just truly wonderful and amazing. I ran down to the lake
and swim… It was cold but refreshing… A relaxing day, overall, and great food
at the end of day. I did not eat health nor enough in Winston… Well, problem
with saving money, right?!


Hot Again, Farm, and Cotton, Corcoran

September 4, 2007

Just when I thought I got out of the hot zone of USA,
Corcoran proves me WRONG! Must say, I was not ready for the surprise at all.
The temperature went back up from 85F (27C) to about 100F (36C). It was simply…

This week we are very involved with school and youth
in the community. Many Stand for Peace workshops in the school and YMCA after
school activities with the kids. For those of you out there who has no idea
what in the world “Stand for Peace” is all about, here is a quick rundown for
you. Stand for Peace is an UwP education workshop for elementary, middle and
high school students which promotes appreciation of difference and peaceful
message in their life. As to the YMCA after school activities, we primarily
play games from different parts of the world with them or for me; I tutored
some kids with their math homework. That really reminded my year as an intern
teacher in the Swiss Alps teaching math.

It was great to be one of the instructors of Stand for
Peace workshop and interact with children. It allows me to really sharp up my
skill to facilitate activities. I also got a chance to simply observe how other
people lead their workshop and I got a few great ideas from others which I
later on applied and found them extremely affective (for example, in activity
“Power With,” how to use the questions to lead the students thinking about
working together instead of telling them to work together. “How does it feel to
have someone forcefully trying to open your hand?” “What other ways are there?”
“How does it feel to be asked?”).

On Wednesday, Aug 29th, we went to the J.G.
Boswell Company’s Cotton Gin. It was really interesting day for me, Taiwan used
to be a country which was depended on agriculture product so I have seem a few
traditional farm land with some relatively modern technology but I never really
seem the current modern style of farming. Individual watering system, satellite
driven vehicles and 100% mechanical harvesting. It was also truly fascinating
to learn about the farming cycle they use to keep the soil in good sharp.
Overall, I enjoyed it very much.

Human Rights was the main education topic for the
week, the education team brought awareness of human rights to us by giving us a
quiz. Some shocking facts were presented to us, for example:

Woman in Afghanistan are
not allowed to attend school or hold jobs

People fleeing
armed violence in Haiti are
refused admission to the US
as refugees.

The government of
Turkey burns down villages
of Kurds – an ethnic minority of southeast Turkey – and forces them to move to
new towns.

I think it was great to really be conscious about
those unfair and inhuman things are still happening at this very day. We should
all contribute what we can to help out and to be fair to others.

Later on in the week, one lady from the Corcoran
prison came to talk to us about what’s it like in the prison and its main goal.
I was very much surprised to find out how well the prisoner are treated in
there and very much STUNNED by the fact that it takes 35,000 USD to keep a
prisoner in jail and that number is higher than average income family in US.
Something does not feel right with this picture to me. I still can’t get my
head around the fact that prisoners have better health care than lots of people
that’s in the country. That’s one thing I am really proud of Taiwan, the public
health care system, I only need to pay about 3 USD a month to have a really
well covered health care. Anyway, I just felt that the law and the rules have
been bended too much that justice system is slowly losing its position and
authority to bring fairness to the society.

Home Team Olympics Atlantic edition took place on
Friday…  My home team was severely
locking of people due to the fact that most people are away, sick, or
unavailable. We did what we can as a team and did relatively fine on the whole.
Most importantly, we had lots of fun, same as everyone else so it was great.

After long time, finally I got to see my sister again…
It’s probably been three years the last time I met her. It was great just to
catch up and to know what and how she is doing these days. Of course, it was
great to have her taken lots of stuff that I no longer need on the tour. I
kinda missed the show rehearsal for that matter so I decided then not to be in
the show. Taken by surprised, our music coordinator told me that she is short
of mic group (backup vocal for harmony) so she needs me to step in. So there I
was, 90F (32C) without AC, sweating like raining, doing the best I can on stage
to give what the audience deserved. Though heavily dehydrated, it was worth it.

I was hosted with Johan (Sweden) again this week by the
wonderful Cartwright family (Mark, Lora, and Adam). Mark took us out on Sunday
morning and let us learn about how to use a gun and respect such a type of
tool. In the afternoon, we went to the Sequoia Kings
Canyon National
Park to see some GIANT size trees, especially,
the largest tree in the world “General Sherman Tree.” The natural scene was
absolutely amazing and beautiful. I loved to be out in the woods again and breathe
in the fresh air. Step up to the top of the Castle Rock and stare far into the
mountains, which was really nice as well. We ate dinner at a diner but
unfortunately, Johan couldn’t get his cherry pie so he has to wait for another
week. Johan and his American dream… What has the media done to us… hehehee