Today’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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
What trip to Taiwan is complete without a Taiwanese hair wash/massage? Enough said.
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…
…an impromptu, loud, hot, fun dance party…
…sparklers on the roof…
…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.)
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!
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.