There are so many fascinating Kates out there. And every week, Kate-book.com is resolving to introduce you to a new one. This week, I would like you to meet Kate Vesper, of Taiwan, who just turned 25 with only a minimal quarter-life freakout. Without further ado, 13 questions with Kate.
What do you do?
I teach English to kids in Taipei.
I hadn’t visited Asia before making the move, but was in contact with a few people who had taught in China and South Korea. They had really positive experiences to share, so I thought I’d give it a try. Teaching abroad started out as a ‘I’ll just do it for one year’ thing, but the temporary adventure has turned into a really fulfilling and sustainable life.
To those who are slightly wary of children: how surprisingly un-scary working with kids is. There’s a lot more to it than sticky jam hands threatening your every article of clothing or a nonstop headache-inducing cacophony of ‘myyyy toy!’.
One thing kids don’t get enough credit for is their intelligence. They are crazy smart. Their brains are seriously absorbent little sponges for knowledge. There’s a lot of societal pressure to be studious here. Taiwanese children start school at a very early age – they can be as young as 2 when they begin a full-day schedule! In addition to learning English, ages 3+ often also take Chinese, music, dance, art, and supplemental French and Japanese classes. The kids are dropped off around 8 in the morning and often don’t go home until 7 p.m. All this long before most American children have even been introduced to the concept of spending time away from their parents.
Another really awesome thing about teaching kids is witnessing the everyday outpouring of love. I began my Taiwan experience with a brand-new group of children who had never before been subjected to the classroom environment. One little boy couldn’t stop bawling over this sudden and insurmountable lifestyle change. His little classmate (on her first day!) automatically brought him a tissue, dried his tears, and held his hand all day, showing him the ropes like she was a seasoned pro. Seeing stuff like that pretty much makes it impossible for your heart not to melt into a puddle of goo.
In an ideal world, where making a living weren’t an issue, what would you be doing?
Bungee jumping. Taking dance lessons. Learning how to kickbox, draw, speak 12 different languages, become a master chef, water ski, and play saxophone. Visiting every country and going into space.
What’s a band, television show, book, or movie that you hope Kate-book readers will go watch, listen to, or read RIGHT NOW?
The British miniseries ‘Black Mirror’ is incredible. It’s about various ways modern technological advances could potentially alter and corrupt society. Each episode is set in an alternate reality, based on different sets of circumstances and characters. There are only 3 stories so far, but a second season is on the way.
Anywhere under an open expanse of starry night sky. Everything looks so incredible when you’re away from city lights.
I once uploaded a picture to one of those face recognition sites. The closest percentile match came up Danny Glover. I must admit, the resemblance is uncanny.
A medieval madrigal group at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Something incredibly small. On my scalp, under the hair. In white ink. Maybe a tiny shark fin.
The versification possibilities! I always dominated at that summer camp game where you go around the circle making name rhymes. There are a lot of awesome Kates, so it’s cool to be in such good company. I’m pretty fond of my last name too, largely due to a Vespa scooter obsession.
I’m probably echoing a lot of other Kates here, but when people call me Katie! Good name, but it’s not mine.
Katharine Hepburn. She was one tough cookie.
Katie Morag from Mairi Hedderwick’s series of picture books. I loved reading about her as a kid – she always had such crazy escapades.
Know a Kate, Caty, Katherine, or Catelynn who needs to be Kate of the Week? Awesome! Send me a tip at email@example.com. I will be in touch with them soon.