Sunday, August 28, 2011

I'm Stateside!

I arrived safely in Arizona after a long day and a frustrating experience in the San Francisco airport. I'll give more details in a later post, but now I'll just say I was glad to arrive in Pheonix.

I've had a great, relaxing time with my family. I've taken a nap almost every day! I've also filled my time with playing cards, shopping, and talking. You can't beat that.

I'm off to Colorado tomorrow, and I probably won't be able to update for a little while. I'm going to fully enjoy seeing people and visiting my hometown. I could definitely use a rest after such a busy summer!

Until then, adieu.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Tomorrow, tomorrow, I'll love ya tomorrow. It's only a day away.

Yep, yep, I'm leaving Hong Kong tomorrow! I still have so much to do, like going to the dentist, dropping by work, finding a bracelet I left at a restaurant (cross your fingers with me), meeting up with a few people, and laundry. Oh, and my bedroom looks like a tornado hit it. Really, it kind of does. AAAAAAHHHHHHHH

But I'm excited. I'm definitely a procrastinator, so of course I haven't started packing yet. I guess I thrive on the last minute. I may have to buy a backpack if all my stuff doesn't fit in my suitcases. We'll see.

So far I'm very excited! I can't wait to see family and friends, stop feeling tall, and understand everyone around me. At the same time, I'm going to miss those things too. I like listening to Cantonese and trying to pick out a few words that I know. I'm going to miss my work, my coworkers, and my students. I'm going to miss friends and my parents and my building's friendly security guard. So I guess I'll be happy and unhappy. Hoi sum and mm hoi sum.

I am excited about the new chapter. I have no clue what it will hold, but I can't wait to find out. I know that God is guiding me in this, so I don't have to worry about it. Hey, I'm open to anything he wants!

I just hope that the plane has some good movies.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Taiwanimania: Part 4

The next day, Paul's family took us around to see some nice views and eat delicious food!

Riding in the car

I managed to get a shot of their grave houses.

We first went to a beautiful river walk. Although it was pretty hot, the river was really pretty! It reminded me a little of Grape Creek, the creek my family used to sometimes go to to play and wade in. We took a lot of pictures, and even little Pearl acted as a photographer! We finally climbed down to the edge of the creek to dip our feet in the water. That felt pretty great in the heat.

This walkway reminded me of Swiss Family Robinson.

After that we ate lunch at a Hakka restaurant. Hakka people are a group of Chinese people who speak the Hakka language. I know a couple of Hakkas or part Hakkas, so it was cool to be able to eat some traditional food. The restaurant had a nice garden with fish pond so we also wandered around taking pictures.

Hakka Delicacy

Yum yum! The one on the right is pig intestine cooked in vinegar and ginger. The shrimp were good, but I kept stabbing my mouth with their pointing, fried legs and antennae.


When we were nice and round from the food, we went to see a famous suspension bridge. I really enjoyed looking out the window while we drove because the scenery was so great! The bridge was really pretty, especially since it was slightly overcast and cloudy around us.

I've left my mark on Taiwan.

On the other side of the bridge there was a cool little town/village with a sweet market. We looked through some shops, and I accidentally tried to use some conditioner as lotion. Yeah, that doesn't work.

Going down to the market.

Shaved ice with mango and chocolate ice cream.


We went by the post office.

After wandering around for awhile and eating some more delicious shaved ice, we headed back home. It was a tiring but awesome day.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Taiwanimania: Part 3

I'm slowly but surely getting through my trip. Mom left this morning for the US (a visit), and Dad and I went to Shek O today. Pictures will follow at some point in time.

Anyway, back to Taiwan.

Paul and I met up with his cousin, and she showed us around Danshui where she had gone to college (Aletheia University). We first had lunch at a restaurant called the three sisters. The food looked strange, but it was so good! It was basically thin glass noodles wrapped in tofu and covered with a pink sauce.

The Three Sisters

Yum yum

After lunch we walked over to the college and toured the grounds. It's a beautiful campus, we had fun taking pictures everywhere. They had several replicas of old-style Taiwanese houses. We also ducked into the college's coffeeshop to take a rest from the heat.

Paul and an old-fashioned house made of flat rocks.

Inside the sweet cafe. I liked all the flowers.

When we had snapped a million pictures, we went to see George Mackey's first church. He was the first Presbyterian missionary to Taiwan and an important influence of Taiwan's Christian community. In fact, he was the one who started the college we visited. Paul and (most of?) his family are part of the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan.

A window in the cloister.

They had some really awesome trees there.

The head of George Mackay. We actually hadn't planned on being twins that day, but neither of us wanted to change.

Then we took a boat to see a famous bridge. It's very big and pink and interesting. Paul and I enjoyed eating some "metal eggs." I was leery at first, considering they're black and have a somewhat hard, leathery texture, but I ended up enjoying them. It was so hot so we were thankful for the wind that was blowing off of the bay. That, along with the shaved ice we bought, helped us stay somewhat cool. We were thinking of going up on the bridge, but it was too hot so we just pretended we had.

The famous bridge.

The Three Musketeers!

Me and the metal eggs. You can't really see it, but I was trying to show that I had an egg in my mouth. They're actually a little addictive.

This helped cool us down.

For some reason this didn't help cool us down at all.

We had fun playing some carnival games, and each of us won a small porcelain pig. Yes. We missed our boat by just a few seconds, so we wandered back to an arcade. We bought some tokens and tried to play a game but it wouldn't work or give us back our tokens! To make matters worse, the arcade guy wouldn't believe us that the machine ate our tokens. Finally, we found our token stuck in the back of the machine and he grudgingly gave us our tokens back. Then we tried to do DDR (which I'm terrible at) but it froze in the middle! The guy saw what happened and gave us another free game, so at least that was nice. Then we realized we were almost going to miss another boat, so we ran back to the dock and caught it.

View from the boat.

That evening we drove to another town to stay with another cousin and his family. We met them for dinner at a Japanese restaurant. Paul's little second cousins are so cute! We went to their house after dinner and watched some home videos/picture reels. Always fun. Later that night we had a midnight snack! I don't remember what everything was, but there was at least french fries, fried chicken bits, chicken feet, fried cartilage, squid and chicken feet. Paul's relatives seemed surprised that I would eat all of those things (a common theme during the trip).

Snack time!

To top it all off, his cousin's wife went out and got some durian! She found out that I hadn't tried it and wanted to. Usually her husband and father-in-law don't like it to be in the house (it does have a funky smell) but for a guest... I tried it, and I have mixed feelings about it. I like the overall taste, but I don't really like the aftertaste. The texture is a bit strange, but not unpleasant. It did taste much better when it was frozen, kind of like durian ice cream! My students later told me that if I'm not averse to it, then I'll like it if I eat it a few more times.

I'll have to give it a try a few more times. Maybe I'll turn into a durian addict too.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Cuteness Factor

Maybe I've been in Asia too long? Of course, in the whole scheme of things, one year is a drop in the bucket. But today I found out how much I've been affected by living here.

I had a break from work and I went out to get some milk tea. I was thinking about how I need to buy some cute things to take back with me.

I was perusing the local Circle K while my cold milk tea (dohng lai cha) was being prepared and discovered that the convenience store is simply packed with cute things.

There was an alien (from Toy Story) Kleenex box cover and a toast-shaped zippable soft bad with HelloKitty's face on the front.

But what was my impulse buy? What was the chunk of cuteness that stole my heart?


And actually, he's quite useful.

See? He can hold my glasses at night!

At least he can remind me of the Stitch-crazed city of Hong Kong. I'll miss the backpacks, paper-lanterns, and ski-hats with his likeness staring at me in the streets and elevators and shopping malls. Maybe I can start the trend in Arkansas?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Three Weeks!

The countdown is here. In less than three weeks, I'll be back in the US. I almost can't believe that it's happening! I'm excited that I'll get to go to my grandpa's 87th birthday party in Arizona, bum around my hometown in Colorado (and see people, of course), and visit people in Tulsa before heading to Arkansas.

I do hope the driving part won't be too bad. I'm flying from Arizona to Colorado, but I'll be driving from Colorado to Tulsa. I haven't driven in over a year and I'm going to be driving fourteen hours in one go! Oh well, coffee will be my friend.

I am going to miss Hong Kong. I've been trying to a lot of things before I leave, like drinking lots of milk tea and going shopping in Mong Kok, stuff like that. Today I'm going to get an egg tart! It'll be a bit strange to transition from the bustle of the big city back to a small town again, but it'll be nice.

I look forward to small things I miss like farmer's markets and frisbee in the park and getting pupusas and snow. It'll be an interesting chapter, however long it may be. Pray that I get a job when I get back! And I'll be seeing some of you very soon, on the other side.

I'll miss this.