Thursday, November 27, 2008


You lay back, open your mouth wide, and try not to move as the dentist prods around in your mouth. He digs and scrapes for a little while before declaring.... "Praise the Lord!" 
Well this is not typically heard in dentist offices across North America, but it is pretty much what my dentist said last weekend. The exact wording was "Gan xie Zhu, ni de ya chi hen hao." (感謝主,你的牙齒很好) Once ascertaining that it had been awhile (aka never) since my last checkup in Taiwan, Dr. Su looked at my teeth, and after giving me a clean bill of health, he did a (somewhat painful) scaling treatment. Dr. Su is part of the Christian Dentist's Association in Taiwan, and they do some pretty cool stuff. He regularly goes on short term missions to poor countries and provides free dental work and education for children. In the time I've known him, he's been to both Kenya and Nepal. 
Last weekend, I went back to Yuli for a visit. I got to see some of my favorite people and places, and I got to visit the dentist (not on that list of favorites, but it was time).  Dr. Su, and his wife Peggy (pictured above) took us in when we were in Yuli that first year, having us over for dinner, teaching us Chinese, and generally helping us out.  
Incidentially, as I was telling Dr. Su about the Franklin Graham Festival, he shared that he had gone to Billy Graham's festival as a college student in the 70s, and it significantly affected his life. At that point he'd already believed in Jesus, but hadn't told anyone yet. After going forward at Billy Graham's alter call, he went on to join a local church.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I just took note of my blog counter and I've now had more than 14000 visitors! It's hard to believe, but I guess I have been blogging for over 4 years now... that works out to about 3500 visitors per year, or almost 10 visitors per day!

Thank you everyone for joining in my adventures vicariously or making an effort to stay updated with my life! I'll try to do a better job of writing regularly :)

And now for another random picture: Me with one of my new roommates when we attended one of my old roommate's wedding last month!

<--- And here's a picture of the beautiful couple!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

oooh look! an update!

After a few friendly reminders, here I am to assure you that I'm still here. The last thing I remember is it being October, and me thinking, "Man, November's going to be a busy month!"

First, here's the random picture of the day: a funky blue drink I had, with little fruit seeds that resembled frog eggs... don't let the look on my face fool you, it was yummy! 

Now, in honor of this being my 4th November in Taiwan... let's take a little look back:

November 2004: Was in Yuli, meeting new people, still getting introduced at church every week, and barely communicating in Chinese! We were visiting a lot of schools, but weren't teaching at any yet.

November 2005: Was nicely settled in Yilan, teaching, enjoying visits from Yuli friends, and going back down there to visit them.

November 2006: Was getting around only on crutches and still going for regular x-rays. Teaching from a wheelchair, doing regular PT, and having bananas stolen from me!

November 2007:  Was hanging out with friends in Taipei, meeting other bloggers at ETA, and celebrating American Thanksgiving!

Now here we are in November 2008, and I was at ETA again last weekend, which is a conference for English teachers in Taiwan. Heard some great sessions by Paul Nation, Mary Christisson, and UBC's own Bonny Norton.  Unfortunately, none of my bloggy friends from the south were able to come up, but I did end up running into a teacher from Yilan, who incidentially is now studying her Master's degree in the same class as Harmony, a girl who helped out with our summer camps in Yuli! What a fun connection!

This weekend I'm going to Yuli, finally. It seems that every time I've tried to go for a visit this year, there have been extenuating circumstances, so I'm really going this time, even though some of my favorite people will be away. It's still worth it, I haven't been there since last spring! 

On  November 30 our English Bible study is going to have a big Thanksgiving dinner and movie night. I was going to attempt a turkey, but we were unable to find any ovens big enough, and after many discussions on the logistics of cutting one in half and cooking it in 2 different places, we decided to order a pre-cooked turkey from Costco. I'll let you know how it tastes....

Happy November, everyone!

Monday, November 03, 2008

2 busy weekends

There's always something happening in Taiwan. I could be attending something every weekend if I wanted to. November's already shaping up to be a really busy month! But here are some highlights of the past 2 weeks. First, attended a symphony orchestra playing in Taroko Gorge!
The music was pretty good, though I probably enjoyed the surroundings more. It had been quite a long while since I'd been back to Hualian, and especially to Taroko, so it was nice. The weather was great too. I got to meet up with Michelle and David (sorry I cut off his head in the picture), and later on unexpectedly had dinner with some old friends from Yuli, including Amy and Jack and Jamber and Sabrina, who have since moved to Hualian city. 

As I mentioned in my last post, last weekend was the Franklin Graham Festival! I had originally only planned to go on Saturday, but ended up going 3  of the 4 nights! It was really great. One thing that was interesting is that it was put together a lot like a Taiwanese variety show like they have on tv and at countless school anniversary celebrations all over the island. 
Basically they invited churches and influential Christian celebrities as well as some of the team from America to perform in a parade of acts, usually one or two songs and a short testimony. I was impressed with the number of Taiwanese celebrities who have become Christians since they found fame, and the courage they showed in proclaiming it. I also got to see one of my favorite Taiwanese pop singers, even though he's not really in the spotlight these days: David Tao!

 Franklin's message was simple and direct, and the response was overwhelming. I heard that over 9000 people came to the Lord over the 4 days of the festival. I personally know of three from my church (including the older sister of one of my bible study coordinators). One of my pastor friends also told me today that this is the most unified the church in Taiwan has ever been as soo many churches had to work together to make this event possible. I think the effects will be felt here for years to come.