The past six months have been exhausting. I haven’t written much on the blog because life has been happening at warp speed. On the list of significant life stressors, Charles and I can check off four major ones for this season of our lives: moving, new jobs, marriage, and sickness. Add to that the culture stress of living in a foreign country and the extreme rigor of our jobs, and we’re utterly wiped out. I am so thankful for this Christmas vacation (two weeks off–the blessing of the teaching profession) to rest and recuperate. I don’t think I’ve ever needed it more in my life.
Now that I have time to write, I want to catch up on a few recent events. In this post, I’ll highlight the lovely Thanksgiving and Christmas season get-togethers, traditions, and time with family and friends.
A Time to Be Thankful
For Thanksgiving, Charles and I (and Emi), drove down to Kaohsiung to be with my sisters, Sara and Ashleigh. We had decided that their gargantuan kitchen would be a much more ideal setting for preparing Thanksgiving dinner than our itsy bitsy Taiwanese-style kitchen. The girls also invited some single friends over for the big meal, and we had a blast together. It was the first year that we “children” made the turkey, and by “we” I mean Sara with the support of Mom and Dad via video chat. The turkey was delicious (perfect, really), as was the rest of the meal that was a pot luck deal. There were several Taiwan Xi En babies plus a cute little white dog to keep everyone busy and smiling. We played some group games, and, of course, shared around the table about what we were thankful for this year. I sure did miss my family back in the States as I always do, but it was comforting to have a full house of laughter and joy.
Traditionally, on the day after Christmas we put up the Christmas tree and other decorations around the house. This year, we were a day late, but we still managed to get the house looking festive before going back to school on Monday. Here are some snapshots of our Christmas decor:
For Christmas, we again headed down to Kaohsiung. (The girls will return the favor and come here for New Year though!) It was wonderful to see all of my MAK friends at a fancy party on the first night I arrived. I have just a few photos of that event. Then we enjoyed a Christmas Eve dinner at Sweet Home, one of our favorite restaurants in Taiwan. Following dinner, we attended an intimate Christmas Eve service with friends from New Life Church. It was a blessed time to focus on Christ coming to earth and to rejoice together. On Christmas day, we enjoyed the annual MAK Christmas Breakfast complete with delicious food, children (and toys) everywhere, and lots of noisy fellowship. Then we Skyped with Mom and Dad and opened presents. We had the traditional Hatcher family lasagna in the afternoon with two additional friends, and we finished the long day with a late movie outing. The day after Christmas, Charles and I enjoyed lunch at our favorite restaurant and then drove back to Taichung. That’s a lot of activity in just a few days, but it was all great (and it’s also why I’m lounging and writing today).
As I mentioned, this has been an exhausting six months. Still, I’m thankful for all of the gifts from God with which I’ve been blessed during this holiday season: friends, family, good food, laughter, fellowship, worshipping the Savior, rest, reading. writing, music, time off from work, and so much more. I am truly blessed.