On Sunday afternoon we headed to Yilan and my family was able to see where I work and live, as well as meeting many, many people. First stop was a church activity where a calligraphy master was creating spring couplets for people. It's tradition during Chinese New Year to put a spring couplet (a poem consisting of two lines, written vertically in Chinese script - two banners is one poem) on your door as a blessing for your household. Since my family members don't have Chinese names, we transcribed the sounds, and they were then written into poems.
So here are couplets for my family Tai-Rei (Terry), Xue-Lun (Sharon), Xia-Lu-Di (Charlotte), Sha-La (Sarah), Ri-Ke (Zeke) and Zha-Ke (Zak).
After that we went for dinner with most of the students in my Wednesday night class, and Zak made a friend: 6 year old Ben, son of Dr. Chen. His English was quite good, and after eating the two of them took off to play outside. We had a nice traditional Taiwanese dinner. My parents tried almost everything! Everyone was doing quite well with the chopsticks too.
The next day we headed to the Traditional Art Center, though we could have spent at least 2 more hours than we did there! Rebecca (8) and Deborah (4) some of my favorite little girls, accompanied us, and Rebecca declared herself our tour guide! Their mom had dropped us off, but had to go take care of their younger sister. We had fun browsing the shops and taking pictures with some of the props they have out for tourists.
Dad banging the gong.
Large replicas of puppets that are the stars of a soap-opera type tv show in Taiwan.
Sunny picked us up from there to show us around her village, the fishing village of Nan-Fang-Ao. We had fun touring, enjoying a lovely beach view, and driving up to a school at the top of the hill overlooking the harbor.
We were slated to head to Hualian the next day, but not before a delicious hot pot lunch buffet with Robert, an elder at one of the churches I go to. We were amazed by his hospitality! I hadn't met him until the week before my family came, but he'd found out they were coming and had free time, so offered to take us around. He drove me to physio, and toured us around Yilan (including the schools I teach at), and then treated us to lunch. Dad and Zak really enjoyed the hot pot, though it wasn't Mom's favorite. Zak discovered his favorite food ever is available even in hot pot - ramen noodles. He asked to eat Ichiban every meal after that, and even had a bowl from 7-11 a few days later.
Stay tuned for the next phase in our whirlwind tour!