Monday, February 22, 2010

7 places to see in Taiwan when you only have 3 days

I'm really glad I had time to bring Jeanine back to Yilan with me. She stayed in my guest room and got to try driving my scooter. We also did a whirlwind tour of some important Taipei sites with Hope along for company.
7. The Traditional Arts Center, we actually spent quite a while there and got lots of good pics, but here's a fun one. The little girl kind of just wandered into the shot, but it almost looks like she's supposed to be there.
6. Rice fields...ok maybe not a must-see, but you will undoubtedly see some!

5. The Grand Hotel

4. The National Palace Museum, we made it just in time for a 10 minute run through because they closed early for New Years' Eve, but got some good pics outside

3. Miramar, there weren't many people there so we waited for the clear-bottomed car, kind of cool, kind of overrated

2. Night Market, crowded, lots of food and cheap stuff to buy, i prefer to go at about 5pm on a Wednesday, but I guess it's kind of like a mosh pit without the good music.

1. Taipei 101
It had been awhile since I've been to the top of 101, since it's pricey to go up to the observation deck, but they have added some fun things since I was there last, including a projection onto the floor of Taipei city (pretty cool) and huge museum/gift shop you have to navigate through before you can exit (not so cool)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Visitor!

My friend Jeanine from college is teaching in Asia now, and decided to take advantage of the lunar new year holiday to hop over to Taiwan! She was my third visitor since I've been here. BTW I always welcome more! We had a great time and managed to squeeze a LOT into 3 days! But the trip started and ended with God's miraculous provision. On Friday night at about 11pm, Jeanine called me to say that there was a problem with her return ticket, and she might have to cancel the trip. We were both disappointed. She had been trying to call the airline, but couldn't find anyone who spoke English.

Finally she got her parents to call the office in Canada. Miracle #1 At about 1am (2am her time) she was confirmed on a Sunday afternoon flight, giving her about 30 hours in Taiwan. I went to pick her up at the airport the next morning, and we checked at the service desk. Miracle #2 There was a flight available for Monday afternoon, but the only seats open were in business class. She book it since she wouldn't have to pay the difference until check-in, and got put on a waiting list for a regular seat.

We spent Saturday in Taipei, and Hope met up with us. Then we headed to Yilan in the evening and stayed at my apartment. Spent a warm sunny Sunday (Miracle #3 maybe, as it has been pouring rain since she left) in Yilan, then went back to Taipei Monday morning for a bit more sightseeing before her afternoon flight. At the check-in she sorted everything out, and the clerk asked which seat she preferred. She joked to me that she preferred the business class seat at the economy price...well that was what she got! After a few phone calls, the girl said what most travelers dream of hearing: Today's you're lucky day, you got a free upgrade to first class! Well both of us burst out laughing. From an almost canceled trip to flying home in style - God is good!

Sunday, February 07, 2010


My Taiwanese friends tend to be really impressed with my ability to make cakes and cookies. On the other hand, I'm always impressed by how they can make whipping together a multi-dish meal seem like nothing!
I had a lot of fun baking with my Bible study students, from age 10-50.

I taught them how to make cheese biscuits and chocolate chip cookies. Then we had a short worship and prayer time as we were waiting for the cookies to bake.

We talked about how God created each one of us, and just like a cook knows every ingredient he puts into a dish, God knows every part of us. As he's making us, sometimes the mixing and shaping process is painful, but in the future, we will become something beautiful.

This is the second time I've had such a large group of people over to my house, and thankfully this time didn't get in trouble with the neighbors! But I am again so thankful that I have a great apartment like this where I can host people.

There's a mom with two sons who come faithfully to class every week. A couple of times when we've had a potluck, they've brought their waffle maker and batter, and made fresh waffles for everyone. The boys are really sweet and sensitive. Their mom teaches them how to cook. They really liked baking, and even volunteered for dish duty. Someday, they'll have happy wives.

I wish the quality of the pictures were better, but hopefully you can get the idea. Here is our pastor and my co-worker getting their hands dirty!

P.S. I know my Christmas tree is still up. I might take it down this week after the second batch of students comes over to bake.... but then again, I'm having a visitor for Chinese New Year...maybe I should leave it up for her?

Monday, February 01, 2010


I don't have a lot of interesting things to blog about this week, but Chinese New Year is coming up! This year it falls on February 14th, Valentine's Day. Apparently that happens only once every 50 years. Next (lunar) year will be the year of the tiger.

Five years ago was my first Chinese New Year in Taiwan, and it included my first trip to a lot of places, including Taroko Gorge and the National Palace Museum, both of which I've now visited numerous times! It's kind of fun to look back and read my first
impressions of them. If you don't have time for that, here are a few pictures: