In my last post, I talked about the season of life in which I find myself: one that has been challenging but through which I am able to see God’s grace and provision. One healing aspect of walking this difficult road is celebrating small victories and accomplished daily goals. One such victory was that over Spring Break (two weeks ago), I was able to travel down to Kaohsiung via the High Speed Rail by myself to spend four days with my sisters. I went down on Friday morning, and Charles (with Emi in the car) followed on Sunday morning for an Easter celebration and then Morrison Professional Learning meetings on Monday. Though we certainly did miss each other, Charles and I enjoyed our respective vacations: me with my sisters away from my home, and him with some peace and quiet in our apartment.
This post is dedicated to several very fun days of being a “Hatchling” once again. I have mostly pictures and short anecdotes to share, and I hope you enjoy.
On Friday, we (Sara, Ashleigh, Laura (a very close friend), and I) started by having lunch at our favorite dumpling restaurant. I’ve written about the restaurant owners and our relationship with them a lot on this blog, most recently when we spent Chinese New Year dinner with them. They are a wonderful family, and we had a great time eating their delicious food and hanging out with them and their sweet baby girl. One special thing that happened is that we gave the baby girl an English name. We brainstormed together and (with the use of iPhones for research), we decided upon the name “Hannah.” “Hannah” means “grace,” and we think it is a beautiful name for a beautiful little girl. We shared the name with Hannah’s mom and dad, and we told them that it is a special name that means “恩典” (“grace”) and is from the Bible. They were very excited; it is an easy name for them to pronounce, and they know it is special because the Bible is special to us (even though they are Buddhists).
After lunch, we went to see Divergent in the VIP theater (with fully reclining lounge chairs and popcorn and drink delivered to you). I didn’t get any pictures of the event, but we had a great time watching and then discussing the movie. It was a very relaxing afternoon.
We decided to go to Sandimen, a rural area of Taiwan where many aboriginal people live. One of our favorite places there is “The Bead Shop,” a place that sells handmade glass bead jewelry. We spent a while at the store, shopping for friends, family, and ourselves. The picture to the right shows three necklaces from the shop, but the center one was my only new purchase on Saturday.
After our shopping, we picked up a late lunch of grilled “mountain meat” and sweet potatoes and headed to a waterfall area that is nearby. The “mountain meat” is absolutely delicious, but we’ve never bothered to learn what kind of meat it actually is…hahaha, I guess that’s what happens when you live in a foreign country.
We decided to take a short hike up to the second waterfall. Ashleigh had done it before and promised it was an easy walk. Ha! Not for me, it wasn’t. Of course, there were several factors working against me that day: 1) the heat and humidity of Kaohsiung is weather I’m not used to anymore, 2) I have very bad balance in general, and 3) as I’ve been staying home for the last month or so, I have let myself get out of shape. So, it was a very difficult, although picturesque hike for about an hour (up and back). My legs were in serious pain for the next two days, but it was worth it to spend that quality time out in nature with my sisters.
After our hike, we dashed home in time to get cleaned up for dinner. We went (with Laura again) to The Bayou, one of my favorite restaurants in the world. It serves “western” food (a.k.a. American cuisine), and though it is in Taiwan, it is better than most restaurants in America, in my opinion. We had a delicious meal: artichoke dip for an appetizer (my FAVORITE), and I had a pepperoni and cheese calzone. To. Die. For.
On Easter, I woke up early to turn on the crock pot for the ham. This was our first year in Taiwan to have a REAL ham on Easter (usually we have some sort of processed stuff from Costco). Sara did most of the cooking for the day, but I did help with some food prep. Charles and Emi arrived around 11:30 a.m., and I was happy to find that Emi did well traveling in her crate in the car. Ashleigh and Charles worked to set up the table, and Ash added lots of cute Easter decorations. Two friends, Laura and Tony, joined us for our dinner at 1 p.m. Our meal consisted of glazed ham, sweet potato casserole, hash brown casserole, salad, and fresh broccoli with homemade cheese sauce. We topped off the meal with an adorable local dessert called “egg pudding” where the pudding is actually in real egg shells (you see the Easter theme?). After lunch, we went to church at 4 p.m. and enjoyed worshiping in song and listening to the message; it was especially good for me because I love that church and this was my first time back to visit.
On Monday, Charles and Sara had PL meetings to go to at school. I was exempt because of my leave of absence, but Ashleigh and I went over in the morning for the worship time. Sara helped sing, and the whole team really led us into worship. After that, Ashleigh and I relaxed at home for a bit before going to the highlight of the day which was when I got to meet Leah’s family. Leah is the foster baby Ashleigh and Sara cared for, and I was so excited to meet her adoptive family. They are wonderful, and it was so good to see Leah again. We took Emi over to their place, and all the kids enjoyed playing with her. Leah also got to my iPhone and, as you can see from the screenshot below, had a great time taking photos of herself. I also had a chance to grab tea with one of my dearest friends, Cathleen, after PL was over; it was wonderful to catch up with her. Around 5:30 p.m., Charles, Emi, and I began the 2 1/2 hour trip home. Boy was I ready to get home to some peace and quiet, but it was a fabulous four days in Kaohsiung!
One Final Tidbit:
When Emi is visiting her aunties (Sara and Ashleigh), she gets to use these special bowls that they bought for her. Is she spoiled or what?!