“Taitung feels like Hawaii and it’s very comfortable. It reminds me of the time I used to live there!” says Jeff as he picks up a mug with the map of Hawaii printed on it. He happily points out the location on the small map. Kauai, where he once lived (Kauai is translated as “cute island” in Chinese). He adds that the mountains there directly extend into the sea. The scenery along the coast of Taitung, especially near Donghe, is very similar to Kauai. The enchanting mountains of Taitung, the magnificent sea views, the relaxed atmosphere and the fresh air all make him feel like he is living in Hawaii.
Jeff continues to teach in Taitung, and started teaching in private schools in the beginning. Now he is an English instructor at the junior high schools of Donghe and Beinan. “The children in Taitung are very cute. Although there is a huge gap between the English level of the kids, I like the way of teaching very much here,” Jeff laughs. Although he has lived in Taitung for more than six years, he still cannot communicate in Chinese. Therefore, his students must speak with him in English, which helps them learn English more quickly. Earlier this year, Jeff and seven other foreign teachers jointly held a fully-immersive English winter mountain camp for kids in Taitung. They led a group of children for a three-day outdoor excursion to experience an American-style English camp, and allow the children to learn the language in a natural way. Although it takes time and effort to hold such an event, the happiness associated with children is the most precious and priceless reward one can get.In addition to Taitung, Jeff has also lived in Taipei and Kaohsiung for a short period of time. He said that even though the big cities have the convenience and diverse lifestyle that Taitung does not have, the unique scenery and fresh air here are not exchangeable for money.
Forest Park Lake swim, Biking beside the ocean, Home sweet home Taitung. —Jeff Pike
Using this short English poem, Jeff had done his best in the ordinary life of Taitung. Home is where the heart is, as far as he is concerned.