now there's some randomness for you... don't ask where i get my titles from
As last week progressed, my stress level over the impending bicycle trip augmented... especially once I actually got the bike... anyways, we were riding with the young holistic group which I think is more like Junior youth group with some older teens attending, but there were a lot of 10-12 year olds there. We were to meet them at the church at 1 and start the bike ride by 1:30, which lasted over an hour. Hope and I rode at the back.... and it wasn't long before we couldn't even see the rest of the group anymore! Poor Dr. Su rode along slowly with us. We (the whole group) stopped for a little rest, and by then we were feeling rather tired, but determined to go a little farther (we were allowed to ride along in the van when we got too tired). So here I was, tired, sweating, and wishing I was in the van when we approach a hill, not a really big hill, but definitely a easily discernible incline... while riding up I tried to change gears: I do remember a little from those days when I used to ride a bike long long ago.... but apparently not enough because I didn't quite do it right and suddenly my bike chain was loose! We had to stop and they fixed it for me. All in all it was a very eventful trip. In the end we did make it about halfway before opting for the comfort and air conditioning of the van (even a gel seat feels like a rock when you haven't ridden a bike for 7 years....). We visited a really beautiful place where there is an aboriginal school and some interesting statues etc. The youth played a bunch of games and then we returned back to Yuli by 5:00 (we rode in the van on the way back).

Oh but this was only the beginning of my interesting day.... see we have a washing machine here, but not a clothes dryer... so we bought this odd drying rack that looks somewhat like a clothes rack in a store or a hotel... anyways, I had done laundry in the morning, and decided it would be a good idea to put the rack out on the balcony so my clothes would be dry by the time I got home.... while we were gone there were some strong (or not so strong) headwinds on our little balcony... and I came home to find the rack tipped over... my clothes all over the floor of the balcony... well except for one shirt, which was hanging off an awning type thing two floors down... i had to use our broom handle to retrieve it.... not impressed....

Sunday was our much needed day of rest, although that didn't start until about 2:00! We went to Yuli church, and when we got there, Dr. Su gave us copies of the songs with the phonetics written beside the characters so we could sing along!! He is so sweet! Actually I think it was his wife Peggy (Yes, her English name is Peggy Su...) who wrote it out, but it definitely made the service more enjoyable for us! Also the guy sitting next to us (who I don't think we'd met before) translated kind of the outline of the sermon. Afterward we were invited to the house of one of the church elders for lunch. It was really nice, although kind of akward at times becuase of the language barrier. He knew enough english to want to try it out though, so we didn't get much chance to practice our Chinese. We watched an old episode of Friends after lunch, and he wrote where we were from on his globe.... lol i thought that was a little odd since it is something sitting in his living room, and he just started writing on it! Anyways, then they discovered that my name is the same as Charlotte Church, and so they brought out her cd. They offered to take us to see a lake but we were both feeling really tired, so we declined. We both slept two hours in the afternoon too! i guess all that biking did tire us out!
It's kinda funny, but I've noticed that everyone and their cockroach wants to sit down with us for a half an hour every week and practice their english... that could add up to a lot of half an hours!
hmmmm anyways, we had a chinese lesson/Bible study today with the Su's, and then they took us for lunch (they're all about the eating and taking you out for meals here I've noticed). We got some food to go and drove up to a national park in the area, which is the beginning of a hiking trail to Taiwan's highest mountain (I can't remember the name at the moment, but it's 4000 metres tall). We looked through the visitor's centre, and then walked through a rice field which was pretty neat... I was wishing I had my camera with me! We were walking on the raised paths between the rice paddies, with the rice growing waist high. It was kind of surrealistic... one of those things that reminds you you're in Asia (in case you forgot...)