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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Yingga

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

Yangmingshan hike

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!)



going down...


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!

Only in Taiwan...

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.





It's quite common to find stray animals lounging around amongst the items for sale here...never dig down into the bin... you just never know!

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.

"I saw a wiggle behind the shampoo!"

The other night Evan went in to take a shower, and he came running out yelling "Cockroach! Cockroach! Mom, there's a cockroach in the bathtub!" He said as he was getting in, he saw 'a wiggle' behind the shampoo bottle. Now this is only the second one I've seen in our apartment, and I was really amazed and grossed out at the size of the thing, so I grabbed my camera just to prove to you how big they are. It is kind of hard to tell just how big it is from the picture, and neither one of the kids would get in the picture with it, so you'll just have to trust me. The worst part was that Nate wasn't home, so it was up to me to do the dirty work! That's right, I had to grit my teeth and...run downstairs to get the security guard to come up and kill the cockroach! Even though he was laughing, I could tell he felt quite chivalrous, he kept saying "Do not worry! Do not worry!" as all 3 of us did the cootie dance while he squished it in a tissue. Everyone says "If there's one, there are always more." and I know this; the thing you have to understand is that this is Taiwan--cockroach capital of the world! They are EVERYWHERE! You see them hanging out on the streets! I know they are there, I just don't want to see them!

Taiwan orphanage

A few days before christmas, I took the kids to an orphanage for kids who have HIV to pass out some presents and diapers. We played with the kids for several hours, and I fell in love with this little baby girl, her name is 'quay quay' she is 5 months old. Ashton loved to rub her head, which I must admit was very soft. The orphanage seemed to be run really well. We had a great time, and I think the kids really got into the spirit of giving.

more pageant footage

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This is my favorite picture-EVERYONE got makeup!



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.

That's Evan-the only one NOT singing!

These are my young women who played the angels-LOVE IT, GIRLS!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The best Christmas pageant EVER!

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.


I have to admit that there was a moment or two when I thought "what did I get us into?" I had been told there were no speaking parts, so I though all we had to do was sit there and stare at a baby doll...but it turned out to be a little bit of 'silent acting' for Nathan mostly, and I did my own stunt work on the horse--riding sideways on a saddle that wasn't as secure as one would want it when doing her own stuntwork! As Nate lifted me off the horse for the 4th and final show, I heaved an inward sigh of relief! But overall, we had a great time, it was a really good experience for all of us, and it did help boost our Christmas spirit.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Where are you Christmas??

Here we are in the middle of December, and it doesn't feel like Christmas at all! Maybe it's because it's 80 degrees outside, maybe it's because there is no Christmas music or Christmas decorations in the stores, or on the radio. Maybe it's because I missed the 4am - day after Thanksgiving shopping spree, or maybe it's because I'm missing those obnoxious bell ringers in front of Target; I just can't quite put my finger on it. I need some suggestions on how to get into the Christmas spirit! Tomorrow, our ward is putting on the nativity pageant. Hopefully that will help!

Taiwan living...

This is a paragraph I copied (with her permission) from my friend's blog. This is exactly how I feel, and I really can't say it any better:

'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

THE TERROR OF...THE DRAIN!

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!

DANCE BABY DANCE!



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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.