This is very long...which I am okay with.
So, a previous blog post might have shown my love for BYU football. I was quite devastated that I could not watch the BYU/OKLAHOMA game, so when I found out that it was being broadcasted on BYU tv on Friday at 7 pm (Sat @ 9 am), I was happy. I sat in my little bed with my BYU attire on and watched the whole game on my laptop.
Then, we met up with a bunch of friends and went to a waterfall about an hour away from my apartment. FYI...it is not very comfortable to ride a scooter for 3 hours in one day. But, it can be really fun. The drive was incredible...the hills are so green and we were driving up windy, hilly roads.
After getting back we went into Taichung and had curry...yummm.
Here is part of the drive up.
When we hiked down to the waterfall there was this monk meditating. It was so beautiful.
I tried climbing up the waterfall, but there was so much moss. It looks way easier than it was...there was a rope higher up that you could use to climb, but you had to get to it which was the hard part. I did not give up though :)
See! We all slid down together and maybe I got kicked in the thigh...hard. But, it was funny.
My friend Kim is serving a mission in Taipei and just happens to be at temple square...so I called her to get a tour (mostly so I could hang out with her). We took the train to Taipei, which is always great. I love train and bus rides, especially long ones. Yes, you might think I'm being sarcastic, but this is not the case. I love looking out the window, taking 5 minute naps here and there, listening to music, reading, practicing chinese, etc. The temple was great as usual- Kim, or Sis. Chang took us to the second level of the church office building so we could see the temple. She told us to look out and think about why it was special to us. I thought about how amazing it is that so many temples are in the middle of the city (LA and Taipei)...you enter the grounds and there is silence. The spirit is automatically present and seems to wash away the outside. I realized the somewhat significant parallel between your home and the temple grounds. I've always hoped that my future home would be somewhere that you can walk into and feel the spirit...that it would be a happy, comfortable, and loving place. I need to always make sure that I'm living the life that would help me to have a home like that.
After the temple we went to the Chaing Kai-Shek Memorial. wowzers. It is beautiful. There is a giant memorial, reminiscent of the Lincoln Memorial (which I have never been too, but those pictures online reminded me of it :) ) There is a main building with the statue of the first president of Taiwan, who was a pretty awesome guy, and a museum below. There are two other huge buildings on the site that are also beautiful. In the museum, an older man walked up to my friend Janae and started speaking to her in Chinese. They seemed to be talking about me and my friend, Wendy. We started speaking to him and I could not understand any of his English. I felt so bad cause I just kept nodding and smiling, feeling like an idiot. I tried really hard to understand him because he was so nice. After a few minutes, his accent seemed to clear up and I could understand everything he said. There is a lot more to the story that I will keep to my journal, but lets just say that it was one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had in my life. Heavenly Father really does put us in the right places at the right times to help us learn and grow. The man's name was Charles Lee and he continually told me in our conversation that, 'To live is to learn.' That is really easy to forget! I love to learn, but sometimes my life can get so busy that I forget to put that extra effort to really learn new things. I figure learning how to teach can keep me busy...along with tae kwon do and learning Chinese so here's to learning! After the memorial we went to the Longshan Temple. wow, it was pretty. There were so many people praying and monks all over the place. I love seeing temples on almost every street, although this one was much bigger than most. After the second temple of the day we went to Snake Alley/Huaxi night market in Taipei. It was nice to just relax and walk around, except the fact that I might have had to really go to the bathroom and those are not easy to find around downtown Taipei.
Here is the little group from the day, including Kim and her super cute companion. I look funny in this picture, just like every other picture I take here.
That is me, in case you didn't remember what I looked like...
This picture is to show how the temple is right in the city and of course, right next to a gas station.
Longshan Temple. People love their incense and candles. It was so smoky.
Here are all the offerings because of ghost month. My favorite are the 7-11 type snacks. They put out so many random kinds of food....it kind of made me hungry, but I thought it might not be a good idea to take the food.
I loved watching these people pray. There are hundreds of people praying so reverently as if no one else is around.
The man, Chiang.
They sure love him here. I highly contemplated buying this little treasure.
Here is my pal and I. The guy is still a professor at the age of 85 and was a scientist for the rest of his life. He had me read a sort of paper that he wrote about the necessity of love in the relationship between China and Taiwan. It reminded me of Israel and Palestine as well.
So there was this exhibition of art at the museum. Every piece was made out of real flowers or leaves or some kind of plant. It was so funny...and a little cool in its own special way. I actually liked this one, mostly because it was made of daisys and was a pretty dress. Most of them had creepy birds and trees.
Here is a video of this super random band playing, Hey Baby, which they play at every BYU game. I've been to this memorial twice and they were there both times. The sound is not so good and please notice the boy in the midriff in the back.
Third Saturday from heaven:
I got to sleep in! Well, that means until 8:30, but it is better than 7:30 every other morning....just the life of a hard-working teacher. Some friends and I went to the morning market in town. It was so nice...all different kinds of stands and people. I bought an incredibly soft pillow, which still has not helped with my horrible sleeping problems that have developed here in Taiwan, but it is still nice to have something soft. Then we went to a bbq at one of our secretary's orchard (not where she lives). It was on the outskirts of our town, so there were much fewer buildings. She had a small house and a sweet, old, handmade basketball hoop, along with a fishing pond. We played on bikes, fished in the pond (where I caught 2 fish and cooked them right after- I ate it right of the bone. yum.), ate incredible food (which they did not stop cooking the ENTIRE 5 hours) including ROOT BEER, which was bought at Costco , and went on a walk through the hills to a bridge and tunnel. Besides the fact that I seriously could not cool off, the day was really relaxing and wonderful.
These asparagus were at the morning market. The big ones were about 2X the size of my thumb in width- about 4 normal size asparagus put together. mmmm.
I liked these chickens particularly because they still had their mohawk in tact.
I walked so close to this bag I nearly stepped on it. I jumped quite high when I realized they were huge toads. what? There were also a bunch of eels and other creepy stuff. Sometimes I do not understand the Taiwanese people.
The basketball hoop and hill behind the orchard.
These little guys were so cute. They are the twin sons of one of our secretaries. The one of the right was so smiley the whole time.
I love Fenny. She is one of our secretaries, but really just my friend. Plus, she majored in English and speaks like an American.
The bridge. super exciting. This bridge is part of a bike trail- when we got to it, someone mentioned that we should high five the bikers as they went by. You see, in America this would seem like a normal thing to do. Not in Taiwan. I high fived like 50 people- one guy gave me an actual handshake as he was riding his bike by us. It was mostly just the younger people that understood what I was doing with my hand pointing, open palmed, at them.
Palm trees on the walk.
I suggest to everyone to have your saturday's be perfect as well. It is like a present every weekend.