We're more or less back online, so I'm going to start writing from where I left off, which was before I left Taipei. We have now been in Yuli for 5 days, although at times it feels like we've been here for weeks!
The countryside was beautiful, breathtaking. The ocean was a bright turquoise and blue with large waves, and there were greenery-covered mountains rising up from the coast and extending into the west. We saw many small towns along the way and rice paddies, tea fields, and temples. There are mountains in view no matter where you are.
We got into the train station in Hualien city, and we dropped our stuff off at Libeck’s house. We both had to use the bathroom at this point, but her house only had a “squatty potty.” So anyways, we decided to go for lunch at Pizza Hut” American food, American toilets, it makes sense right?? Well, apparently not. So we decided (considering that neither of us really knows how to use one and it didn’t seem like the most ideal time to learn… if such a time does exist) to go ahead and eat lunch and then try our luck at McDonalds across the street. Fortunately, there was one there. Anyways, we did eventually make it to Yuli which is a 3.5 hour train ride and then a 2 hour bus ride from Taipei. And we met Dr. Su, who is kind of in charge of things here. We got to see our prospective apartments, and then went to someone’s house for dinner. Her name is Amy, and she has two young children who can both speak some English. We had an amazing supper, our first in a Taiwanese family’s home. Afterward she had about 15 ladies over for their weekly Bible study, which was pretty cool, but kind of long since we didn’t really understand much of what was going on. So that was our first day in Yuli.
I have seen so many different kinds of trees, it made me wish that I knew more about how to identify them. I saw at least 3 kinds of palm trees, and what looked like small forests of tall, thin palms. It would be fin to wander through one. It is beautiful here; everything is green, but at the same time the poverty of the area is really evident in some places. There are a lot of older, and run down buildings, and also some really new ones.