This was a really fun trip-we took a train to Yingga, a nice little town that is the pottery capital of Taiwan! The streets are lined with shop after shop that sell every kind of pottery from tea sets to marble statues. You can even make your own pottery right on the street.
Monday, December 29, 2008
This is at the top of Yangmingshan Mountain. We hiked it the easy way-take a taxi to the top and walk down. (nice matching smiles, boys!)
We were walking along and these huge monkeys came down right on the trail with us! They were almost as big as Evan, and this is the closest shot I got before my camera died!
Just around the corner from our house, we always pass this sink and toilet-all hooked up to the plumbing-right there outside the building. We have always wondered who put it there, and if it really works. So yesterday as the kids and I were walking past, I pulled out my camera and told Evan to go see if it would flush. He grabbed the camera and said "No way! YOU go!" Well, I had to satisfy my curiosity, and no, it didn't work.
Chinese people really seem to be afraid of the sun. You see people like this everywhere-they look like mummies. And I don't know if you can tell, but she's even wearing sunglasses. It doesn't matter how hot it is in summer, they mumify themselves to protect against the sun. Kinda scares the kids, though.
The other day, I was walking through a store and I walked past these 2 sales clerks standing there talking. Without any warning, one of them reached out and took a big double handful of my hair, kind of took me by surprise, and then she just smiled at me as I walked away rather quickly.
Yesterday, Nate was home, and he went out to our favorite noodle place to get some lunch. I go there all the time, and the guy who runs the place always knows just how I like my noodles, so when Nate went there yesterday, he didn't realize Nate spoke chinese, so he used broken english to say "I know your wife! She is very dericious!" We think he was trying to say "She thinks the noodles are delicious." ...We think.
It's funny to look at the pictures and think about what Nate and I were sitting there talking about as the pageant went on around us-we talked about all kinds of things; I remember asking him if he had re-applied his lipstick before the show.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Every year here in Taiwan the english ward puts on a nativity pageant at a local sportspark. This year, Nathan and I got to be Mary and Joseph. It turned out to be quite a production; there was even an article in the 'Taiwan Times' the next day. It is amazing to me that a lot of people there hadn't ever heard the story of the Nativity.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
'when B was in the states I had him pick up a few things for me and last night as he was unpacking I marveled at what he'd done. He drove a car to an all-purpose store- parked in a parking spot very close to the store. Walked in the store perhaps got a shopping cart w/o having to insert money - maybe even a shopping cart with a child basket and straps then he browsed the wide, well lit, organized aisles for the things he needed. He didn't even have to go up any escalators and when he couldn't find what he needed, he simply asked someone in English and the associate helped him. Then he checked out w/o having to pay for a bag to place his items in and walked casually out to his car or perhaps and even better pushed his cart out to his car, placed his items in and left w/o having to pay for parking! Amazing. I'm sorry I was almost flabbergasted at this thought when it hit me last night how easy it must have been for him. Don't get me wrong I am grateful for the chance we've had to live here and experience Taiwan and its nuances but it makes me grateful for America and really how easy our lives were there..."
Let me just add that since I don't have a car here, my shopping trips also include waiting for a cab on the street with all my purchases and a 200 pound 2 year old in my arms, then doing my best not to vomit from the stench inside the cab on the way home (usually garlic and pickles, but sometimes severe body odor and grease with an undertone of urine) and then having my purchases unloaded at the gate of our apartment, and having to carry them up a flight of stairs in several trips.
The wide open parking lots and shopping isles of the states is like a distant dream to me...
Monday, December 1, 2008
Just the other day, I was telling my friend how much Ashton LOVES baths. Well, our drains here are open with no sort of filter in them, and bathtime used to be Ashton's favorite thing, until the day he lost half a bar of soap down the drain. Now he is terrified that anything that gets near the tub will go down, including himself. I have shown him that the toys he plays with in the tub don't fit down, and when he's safe outside the tub he's able to think a bit more rationally. He'll sit there and say to himself. "I not go down-I too big. Toys not go down-it's too big." But when he gets in the water face to face with the drain that swallowed up a bar of soap, the panic sets in. He cries "I go down! I go down!" and if anything gets in the water, he will save it's life by throwing it out, including the washcloth that I'm trying to wash him with-he will grab it out of my hand and throw it to safety- and the cup I use to wash his hair. The second it touches the water he grabs it crying "This go down! This go down!" Needless to say this has made bathtime a little bit harder on all of us. Even when there's no water in the tub, if something ends up in the tub, he panics. The other day his friend Lizzy was here playing and I was in the bathroom hanging up a shower curtain. Lizzy climbed in the tub to watch me, and Ashton fell to pieces! "Wizzy go down! get out Wizzy! Hurry! Come on Wizzy! You go down!" I don't know how long this phase will last-it was kind of funny at first, but now I just hope this doesn't scar him for life!
Ashton is a kid who really 'feels the music'. He loves to sing and dance whenever he gets the chance. He sometimes walks around the house holding open a book with one hand, leading an imaginary chior with the other hand, singing at the top of his lungs. He does the same thing in church; when we sing he feels that he needs to be just a little louder than everyone else, and the fact that he doesn't know the words doesn't matter at all. He just sings whatever comes out. My favorite is when a commercial with music comes on the t.v. - he will drop whatever he's doing and rock out for a minute.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Robinsons. It rained a little, and we didn't see the sun all day, but the weather was really warm. It was the most fun we've had since we got to Taiwan, and the kids slept great that night! Too bad the Robinson's will never invite us again after Ashton threw up in their car on the way home (sorry guys!)
On the way home, we stopped at a Texas Bar-B-Q restaurant. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the sign. I thought it's too good to be true! We went in and met the owner, who is a genuine Texican; hat, boots, wranglers, the whole 9 yards. I thought for sure we had hit the jackpot. Then we tried the food. I should have known there's no way Chinese people would ever eat real Texas Barbecue! If you want to try it, all you have to do is mix a bucket of chili powder with a small serving of pork and slap it on a bun.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
We had a busy night; first we trick-or-treated in our apartment complex, then we went to a ward Halloween party, then we came back and went to a party at our neighbors house. Whew! Since Taiwan doesn't celebrate Halloween, everyone kinda stared at us walking down the street in our costumes. It was a regular 'Grimley family parade' with everyone honking and yelling, and we even had some people take our picture. I think some of them actually thought Nate was the pope. He walked around with his arms up 'blessing' people all night. I know some of the non-members that came to the ward party thought Nate was our church leader. (Yes, we know he is going to HE*@!)
Our traditional Halloween night dinner...meal in a pumpkin, mmmm...
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Oh, and while we are on the subject of things that freak me out, tonight on the bus I saw a lady who had six fingers on each hand. Once again, I was without my camera, so I have no proof, but I counted several times, and I am POSITIVE!
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Also, Nate had the opportunity to translate for our stake conference this weekend. He did this with a few other chinese speakers in our ward. This was an interesting meeting. The chinese people talk about things that people don't normally bring up to other people, ever. One lady started by saying she had a story about a toilet. So she went on about how the toilet was really clogged, which was odd to hear in church, but then she went on about how she was sitting there on the toilet, and how she was really sick, and she had to brush her teeth on the floor, and all the english people were laughing so hard, but then Nate said afterwards, that the person translating was very tactful to leave out the details of her bowel movements that she was sharing with everyone. And none of the chinese people even cracked a smile! For some reason, I didn't really get a spiritual message out of her talk.
The kids seem to be adjusting well. Evan loves school; he has a mandarin class, so he is learning a little bit of chinese. He can count really well (he sometimes has to help me remember the numbers when we are shopping, and the shopkeepers are telling us the prices) and he can write a few characters. He spends lots of time with his friends that live in our building. He also loves going to night markets and playing the kid's games, especially the game where he shoots balloons with a b.b. gun. because when he misses, the game guy reaches over and pops the balloon for him, so he wins a prize every time. Who wouldn't love a game like that?
Ashton is in full '2 year old' mode. His most recent hobbies include seeing how long he can hold a bite of food in his mouth (he once held a piece of sacrament bread in his mouth until after the closing prayer. I think that's the record-except the chocolate chip cookies we had for dessert tonight. He finally swallowed that one when I went to brush his teeth before bed), pulling the chairs around and using them to climb on everything, copying everything Evan does, copying everything I say, and sneaking out of bed at night.
I am enjoying my calling as young womens president. It is a very different calling here than in the states, that's for sure. I'm going to start a 'survival chinese' class next week, which I am very excited for. Nate says my chinese cooking is improving. I volunteered to be the room mom for Evan's first grade class, and Ashton keeps me busy during the day. We go to play group every week, and I've gone shopping a lot with my friends. There's a lot to do here, and I'm really lucky to have good friends who know their way around, and speak chinese. I also let my friend Chiu-yi talk me into going to get acupuncture with her a few times. yes, it hurts. I don't care how little those needles are, some of those babies really hurt! And I'm still running at 5am every morning, except I've slept in a lot the last few weeks because Evan has had some days off of school. I was going to run the Toroco Gorge half marathon, and I was halfway through my training schedule when my friend and I went to register for it, only to find out it had filled up the day before, so we didn't get in. Oh well, now we are talking about going to China to run a race on the Great Wall.
We went with our friends James and Lydia and thier son Mason. We took a ferry ride and the kids loved it.