Hey all! Sorry it’s been awhile since I last posted. Dave and I have been pretty busy these past few weeks. We both started working, our shipment of boxes from America arrived, and we moved into our new apartment. We’re pretty much settled in, and are loving this place! I’m having fun finally getting the chance to decorate a home that I’ll actually be in for more than a few months, and I can’t wait to share pictures.
But first I wanted to share how we spent our first Chinese New Year in Taiwan.
Chinese New Year is a big deal in Taiwan. Well, in Eastern Asia in general. It’s like American Christmas and New Years all wrapped up into one big celebratory week. The week of Chinese New Year is really the only vacation time that most people here get, so as you can imagine, it kind of turns the whole country on it’s head. Besides the fact that most businesses are closed for about a week, over a billion people are traveling throughout Asia. That’s crazy! So unless you yourself are traveling, it’s advised to stay away from airports, train stations, subway stations, boats, etc.
It’s pretty much a madhouse.
We spent Chinese New Year in an actual Taiwanese home, out in the country, about 30 minutes from Kaohsiung. A woman from our church, Jennis, graciously invited my parents, Dave, and I to celebrate New Year’s Eve with her family with a traditional hot pot dinner.
Her family lives in a newer home that was built next to the old family homestead.
These are the old buildings, where the family used to live. Oh, and those are my awesome parents.
Jennis’ family are not Christians, and so earlier that day they had put food out on their family altar to honor their ancestors. This is very traditional and common during Chinese New Year, as well as throughout the year.
The architecture in the old house was so beautiful!
I loved seeing the old kitchen and the old doors. I really felt like I was back in time, in an older Taiwan.
Jennis’ parents own a small farm where they grow lots of fruits and vegetables, like pomegranates.
But besides all the food they grow, they also raise lots of these:
Pigs! And not just any pigs—some of the biggest pigs I’ve ever seen!
No, those are not small ponies, those are pigs! They were freakishly big I tell you. I had no idea a pig could grow to be so long.
In addition to the horse-pigs, they also had lots of sweet little piglets. They were so cute!
After we toured the pig pens, we washed our hands and got ready for dinner. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of the meal, but it was definitely a huge feast. We had lots of laughs with her family, especially when my dad tried to teach her dad some English. He’s around 70 years old and doesn’t speak English at all, but my dad got him to repeat the phrase “my pigs are big!” He had no idea what he was really saying, but he kept repeating it with lots of enthusiasm which made us all completely lose it. It was seriously the funniest thing I’ve seen in awhile.
On a side note, there were some beautiful flowers growing right outside her house, and I couldn’t resist snagging a few shots of them:
After Chinese New Year is another 2-week festival, called Lantern Festival. It takes place on the Love River, which is conveniently not too far from where we live.
I was expecting to see lots of old school red paper lanterns, and maybe even see a mass releasing of lit lanterns into the air (like in Tangled) but I was very wrong. It was mostly a display of animatronic lanterns that had been created by different people in Kaohsiung. They were cool to look at, but I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to see what I was expecting.
Here are some of the lanterns we saw. You’ll notice a snake-theme going on—that’s because this is now the year of the snake!
In addition to the lanterns, a whole street was set up with cheesy backdrops for people to take pictures in front of. Dave “traveled” to the Middle East, which I opted for the more traditional, you guessed it, lantern scene.
Although I didn’t get to see lanterns being released into the sky, we did get to see a pretty spectacular fireworks show. Apparently they do the same show almost every night of the two-week festival, which seems pretty ridiculously expensive to me…
And no night out would not be complete without a sighting of Captain America’s dog:
So that’s recap of the last few weeks. We’re still loving living in Kaohsiung, and are still in awe of God’s goodness and grace to us each and everyday. Thank you all for your continued prayers!