Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy 牛 Year!

新年快樂! 


Happy Lunar New Year! 


This year is the year of the Ox, and the Chinese word for ox (Niu) sounds like the word "New", so everywhere I go there are signs that say Happy 牛 Year!


I was very Taiwanese in my New Years' celebrations this year, which I spent with one of my favorite families.

I ate dinner with the Chen family who pastor a small church in Yilan county. I usually go to their house once a week for dinner. We had hot pot (ironically with beef in it.... I guess it's not a lucky year for the cow).


We also had a vegetable called "chang nian cai" a bitter vegetable which is traditionally eaten at this time of the year. The Chinese name of the vegetable and many other tradtional foods sounds like a blessing or wish for good luck in the coming year.

I also gave red envelopes to their four daughters.
Then we went outside and played with sparklers and firecrackers.
I'm still hearing some tonight, and probably will all week.



Pastor Ivan shared some similarities to passover, where the Israelites ate bitter herbs to remember their suffering, and put blood on their doors. He likened it to the red banners that Chinese put on their door frames.





You can buy these banners everywhere, and have them custom-made by calligraphers who set up shop around town. 


When my parents came two years ago, we had some made by a Christian calligrapher who would make a poem of blessing out of your name, or the names of your family members.  



Saturday, January 24, 2009

Which one of these things is different?


 I went to this tea house last weekend where all the decor was really old antique stuff...well almost.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Severe Weather Alert....

Brrr.... it's chilly! Even as a Canadian, I can admit that. While I do enjoy putting on my touque, mittens, and scarf, it does feel quite cool here, especially without central heating, as I'm sure I've mentioned before. Think camping: every night! But I still have to chuckle when Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau classifies 9 degrees celsius as "Extremely Cold." They just don't know any better...

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Happy New Year!

I went to Taipei for New Year's Eve, where I watched the fireworks from afar. Some of us went up on a colleague's rooftop where we could see both the 101 show and ther fireworks being set off throughout the city. It was quite the show, since Taiwanese love fireworks! I went to bed shortly afterward, since we were leaving bright and early for the Philippines. I exchanged my scarf and mittens for a swimsuit and sarong!  I was there for 4 days, and got back shortly before classes on Monday....the next week or so is the final push of classes and grading before the semester is finished! I'll update with pics and stories from the Philippines when I get a chance!