1 Week in Taiwan

Well one week has passed by in sunny (and occasionally rainy) Taiwan.  I’ve made great progress with chopstick usage and the VERY few Chinese phrases I know are tripping easier off the tongue.  I still can’t spell them, but hey, baby steps!

Big recent events–we attended the 24th anniversary of our friend Joy’s rotary club. There was a beautiful reception and everyone was wearing their best dresses and suits. We were all in the team uniform–navy blue jackets and grey slacks–which was a shame because everyone else literally glittered. It was an amazing.  There was a central catwalk that rose from the floor to about 2-3 feet high and all the important rotary members walked down it with their husband/wives and were applauded.  We met up with a lot of our new friends and had a delicious dinner with a particularly memorable creme brulee cheesecake. Mmmmm. Cheesecake.

We also attended the big annual rotarian conference earlier today.  It was held at a local university and everyone was called up on stage to shake the hand of the rotarian president, Joy.  It must be noted that the motto for this conference was ‘Joy to the Rotary’ and that can’t be a coincidence!  After shaking his hand and taking a few photos, there were a bunch of speeches, which most of us could not understand, so we were allowed to wander off. My host family took me out to shop for baby gifts–including some red envelopes that you put money in and tuck into the baby’s blanket.  Since we had a little time to kill, we also looked at a few fabric stores and I spent some of that sweet tax return money!

Afterwards, we headed to the baby party to celebrate the 1 month birthday of my host family’s niece.  She does not have a name yet, as according to Alice–the daughter of my host parents–the baby has to be examined by a fortune teller.  The fortune teller will look at the birthdate and other factors and determine how many characters are to be used for the baby’s name. Then the parents can arrange and rearrange them until they find a pleasing combination.   I told her about babynames.com, but she just laughed.

The baby party itself was huge and was held in a wedding parlor. Friends, relatives, and even some local politicians (the mayor of Nantou, according to Alice) were in attendance.  We had delicious food and there was a 3-tiered cake.  All of the small children were invited up on the stage to sing Happy Birthday in English and Chinese, and then we ate all of it.  And it was wonderful. At around 9, we packed it all up–they take their extra food home in plastic bags instead of boxes, and headed back to the house.  Everyone has to be up early tomorrow to send me off to the next host family and (as usual) all my stuff has exploded all over the guest room.  So I should probably do something about that…

Until I blog again…



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