Memories for a Lifetime

all smilesToday’s is a blog update via photos. Charles has been here in Taiwan for Christmas vacation, and we’ve had a superb time together so far. We’ve spent time relaxing at home, sightseeing and eating out with friends, and connecting with family (here and afar). Since we have only these three weeks together between now and the wedding this summer, I’m savoring every waking moment.


We had just a couple of days before Christmas to hang out and enjoy each other’s company. We visited a few good restaurants, spent time with my sisters, and did a lot of prep for Christmas: cleaning, cooking, preparing presents, etc.

In the photos: The baby in the Christmas hat is a Taiwan Xi En baby. The other little guy is the son of the chef/owner of our favorite dumpling restaurant. And of course you see our little happy family photo complete with the pup.

Pre-Christmas 2013

Homemade Treats

We’ve eaten out a lot during Charles’ visit, but I’ve also tried to do some cooking at home. It’s nice to have the time to cook over a break from school like this. Some of the things we’ve made are: pancakes, sausage, grits, scrambled eggs, lasagna, parmesan garlic bread, English muffin pizzas, quick quiche, chocolate chip cookies, and a cream cheese ball.

Homemade Food

Christmas Eve

In the U.S., our family Christmas Eve tradition was to order Chinese take-out after the Christmas Eve service at church. This year in Taiwan, we ordered Peking Duck (Beijing Kao Ya 北京烤鴨) and ate it at Sara and Ashleigh’s place. It was so tasty that I think we’ve settled on a new tradition!

In the photos: Peking Duck is slices of roast duck, spring onion, and delicious sauce on a paper thin tortilla. Top left–Charles guarding his Dr. Pepper which is not readily available in Taiwan.

Christmas Eve Dinner

Christmas Day

On Christmas morning, we had a staff Christmas breakfast. Then the girls, Charles, and I opened presents with Mom and Dad on Skype. We had a lot of fun spending the morning together. We rested in the afternoon, and then we had dinner at my house (the traditional Hatcher family lasagna) and watched Elf. Two Taiwan Xi En babies were with us on Christmas (actually, the girls took care of them all week), so it was a full house of fun. Charles and I watched my mom and dad open their Christmas gifts during our evening via Skype, and then we ending the day by calling Charles’s parents in South Carolina.

Christmas Morning 2013

Fun with Friends

One of my favorite things about having Charles here is that he’s been able to meet and spend time with many of my friends. I feel like he has a better understanding of who I am because he’s seeing me on my home turf and meeting the people I’m always telling him about. I haven’t gotten pictures of everyone with whom we’ve spent time, but here are some photos of one night with our friends the Griffins.

Griffins Sweet Home

Delicious Delicacies

We have eaten some phenomenal Taiwanese cuisine in the last two weeks. My darling fiance has enjoyed almost everything…which is a good thing since he’s going to be living in this country next year!

Delicious Taiwanese Cuisine


One blessing of this break was when Charles and I had the joy of caring for a newborn for a day and a half (I had night duty =P ). He is a new Taiwan Xi En baby, and he was just ten days old when we kept him. He was so cuddly and sweet, and I could have snuggled him forever.

Of course, Charles has also made friends with Emi (or she’s made friends with him?). She loves curling up next to him on the couch. I’m so glad they’re getting along.


Ci Jin Island

My sisters (with the two Taiwan Xi En babies), Charles, and I visited Ci Jin Island (part of Kaohsiung City). We enjoyed sightseeing and topped off the visit with a delicious meal.

In the photos: Please notice Christel and Charles sharing a squid-on-a-stick Lady-and-the-Tramp-eating-spaghetti style.

QiJin Island 2013

Hair Wash

What trip to Taiwan is complete without a Taiwanese hair wash/massage? Enough said.

Charles Hairwash

New Year’s Eve

On New Year’s Eve, Charles and I hosted a party at my house. We had delectable food and great guests…

Party Things 2013

…an impromptu, loud, hot, fun dance party…

Dance Party 2013

…sparklers on the roof…

Sparklers 2013

…and a phenomenal view of the E-Da World fireworks at midnight!

(And I got the first New Year’s Eve kiss of my life that just happened to be with my fiance. Happiness.)

E-Da Fireworks 2013

Beautiful Taiwan

Today, we went to a lovely restaurant with my good friends, the Lins. The food was exquisite, but what I liked just as much as the food was the look of the place. It was like a traditional Taiwanese home with a beautiful courtyard complete with a fish pond. As Bill Lin pointed out to us, the character 囍 (xi) meaning “double happiness” is mostly reserved for weddings, but that character is in the name of the restaurant. So, as Bill said, it was a perfect place for us engaged folks!

Traditional Dinner

Engagement Photos

Speaking of engaged folks…we’re going to be taking some engagement photos tomorrow with Ashleigh (photographer) and Sara (coach). Stay tuned for more photos! (I’m just hoping the girls don’t try to dress us up like they do the babies…).

Also, please pray for Charles and me as we will spend most of next week visiting the Taichung Morrison campus. Charles will be training for next year’s position, and I will be connecting with English teachers and getting a feel for the campus. Pray for good experiences as we begin to prepare for a big transition next year.


6 thoughts on “Memories for a Lifetime

  1. I loved your photos and it brought back so many amazing memories of our 20 years. The fireworks, the sparklers on the roof, the unfolding of new traditions mixed with old ones, the friends that become family – Blessings on your fabulous journey. I’m proud to know you yet again, Christel.

  2. Loved catching up with your life. I agree with Kandy. . . brought back so many memories. I love you Christel. Happy New Year. Love, Aunt Sherri

  3. I loved your pictures and you look so happy. I know you will have a wonderful life together because you already are!!

  4. Aw, Christel, I was overdue for a catch up on your blog, and this was well worth it. I’m so glad you’ve had such a wonderful holiday together and am just so excited for what God has planned for the two of you. You deserve all of this happiness and more. Love and miss you, girl. *hugs* ~Lori

  5. Hello,

    This is Sasa from Taiwan News.
    My colleague is the fan of your blog. :)

    There is a unit in (Blog)

    May I extract your article on
    Just like that ->

    I think that can also promote your blog.
    And browsers will link to your blog directly.

    We want to post the article “Prayers for Taiwan: Bringing Life to a Culture of Death” on BLOG of
    I think the article can help foreigners to know Taiwanese traditon better~

    How do you think about that??

    I am looking forward to your earlier positive reply.

    Thanks a lot,

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s