Danshui River Walk

Taipei City is a huge metropolitan of more than 2.6 million people. There always seems to be hustle and bustle. And heat. On the weekends, many city dwellers like to go a little outside of town to get away from it all, cool off  from the ocean breeze, eat some snacks, and play a few games. Recently I had a chance to visit Danshui, where the Tamsui River meets the Pacific Ocean. It was a perfect respite from constantly being in the city center. travel in Taiwan

Taiwan Danshui mountains

The mountains were beautiful!

Snacks in Danshui Taiwan



Danshui Taiwan

Is this not the tallest ice cream you’ve ever seen?!

Taiwan Beach

Playing games

Playing games

Temple in Taipei Taiwan

There were even a few temples there


Danshui Danshui Taiwan

Man's Silhouette in Taiwan

Instawalk 2nd Edition

Last time I did an Instawalk, it was of my hometown. For my 2nd Instawalk, my friend Zach and I walked around the downtown of the city in West Virginia in which I currently live. We had quite the adventure!

large satellite dishes

Satellites for the local news station

Reflection of clouds and building

Reflection of the courthouse

Ohio River

The Ohio River

Oil and Gas Museum in Parkersburg West Virginia

Oil and Gas Museum Mural



Parkersburg, WV courthouse


vintage door

Marietta, Ohio bridge

Another bridge over the Ohio River

Huntington Museum of Art

I’m a big believer in being a tourist in your own city. When I visit my family, I always try to do this in my hometown area. During this visit, I was determined to finally make it to the Huntington Museum of Art. My mom and sister volunteered to go with me.

The Huntington Museum of Art just celebrated its 60th anniversary in November. Located in Huntington, West Virginia, the HMOA is the largest museum in WV. It’s open every day of the week but Monday. Admission is only $5, and on Tuesdays it’s free. Luckily, we accidentally went on a Tuesday!

Huntington Museum of Art Huntington, West VirginiaSome of the exhibits we saw were antique firearms, glassware, Near Eastern art and rugs, and American and European paintings, sketches, and sculptures. My favorite was the Near Eastern collection full of beautiful items from the Arabic world.Art Gallery Painting

art gallery

art gallery The conservatory also had a piece by Dale Chihuly. I’ve always seen photos of his work but had never had the chance to see it with my own eyes.

Dale Chihuly Not only does the HMOA display artwork, but it also has a conservatory filled with so many rare plants and even a few animals.

 pomegranate treeA pomegranate tree from Iran. macro frog


I’m glad I went, and I definitely recommend going if you’re around the Huntington area. Be a tourist in your city!

The Paris of China

So, I’ve been slacking on my blogging. My excuse is that I’ve been to China and back. Likely excuse. That’s what everyone says, right? 😉 Well, I have lots to say about my trip, so you have lots of posts to look forward to!

I went to China for a teaching program that I work for. Every summer I help train new teachers to go to China, and then the following spring, I visit them in China. It’s nice because I also get a chance to visit my Chinese friends from when I lived in China several years ago.

I got to visit my friend Derek’s hometown of Haining. Haining is in Zhejiang province in the east. It’s a really small city, and I’ve been there several times. However, this time Derek surprised me by taking me to the French area of town. I had no idea it even had a French area. It was more than I imagined! They have a stinkin’ Eiffel Tower! A life-sized one!

Eiffel Tower in China

We also got to walk around the french gardens. They were really beautiful! And I even found some Chinglish, which I always love.

Paris of Haining, ChinaEiffel Tower in ChinaParis of ChinaFrench GardensImage

I’ve never had the chance to go to Paris, but apparently this looks pretty similar. I hope I get to compare it one day! Looking at these photos, you would never guess that I was in China, huh?

I Didn’t Die on the Subway

I am so impressed with myself. No really. I am amazing. I took the subway by myself today, and I didn’t get lost or cry.

Tokyo Subway Map

Looks simple, huh?

It is pretty complicated. Once you are on the subway, it’s simple to see the stop you need (they show it in romanized letters). The part that gets me is walking around underground trying to find the right line, the right color, the right number, and the right gate. When I was with my students, they even took us the wrong direction a few times! I think I could conquer the Tokyo subway system if I had a few more months here.

So, on to my students. I had my first class today. I have 3 students in my morning class: 2 guys- Shun (23) and Naoya (33), and a girl- Azuki (19). We are practicing conversational English by taking field trips to various spots around Tokyo while speaking English the whole time. I really enjoyed getting to know my students and look forward to spending more time with them.

Japanese English Students

My students

Our first trip was to the Shibuya area. First we went to the Meiji Shrine, which is  a Shinto shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji, who died in 1912. It is a beautiful, green area. I love seeing the very Japanese toris, or gates.

Meiji Shrine

We even got to see a Japanese wedding that was taking place at the shrine. How interesting for me to get to witness!

Japanese Wedding

The bride’s outfit is interesting, huh?

There was also an area where you could write your prayers and hang them.

Meiji Shrine

Next we visited the Harajuku district. It is a famous shopping street and is also known for the crazy fashions you’ll see the young people there wearing. And I really did see some outrageous outfits!

Takeshita DoriJapanese Fashion

Harajuku Tokyo

So, overall I had a great day! I am looking forward to spending the day with alumni from my university tomorrow.