Summertime: June!

Taiwan summer means…lots of sunshine, mangoes, and day trips!

Weekend one: My director took all the Chinese and English teachers to Kaoshiong, a southern port city, for the weekend. We went by HSR and stayed at a really nice hotel called Eda. It was outside of the city and had its own complex of stores and outlets. Since this scene wasn’t Ringo (my co-teacher) and I’s style, we taxied it to the port. It started pouring rain, but we bought umbrellas at a 7-11. Ate mango ice first, then took a ferry to the marketplace. We wandered around the market area and I tried seasoned squid again! The seasoning was pretty tasty, but the texture- rubbery. Took a walk along the boardwalk and sat at a cafe swapping travel stories then headed back. I am so glad we got away for the day! For dinner, Eda provides a buffet… there wasn’t much to do around the area so we just had a chill night in.

Weekend two: Rainy chill weekend at a cafe…sat and read and relaxed. Met with friends and ate homemade sushi and heard about Zoe’s UK trip…she brought me back a pretty teal ring and watermelon lip gloss! yum!
Weekend three: Countryside. I met one of Ringo’s friend’s from Taechung. She had also worked with her in Australia. They were able to catch up and I just followed along and listened to their excited chatter. It was a good weekend of friends and food. We ate at Ringo’s family’s restaurant for dinner. Traditional Haka food…noodles similar to Pad Thai and meat with side dishes. Delicious. On Sunday, I was up at the crack of dawn as usual so I left the apartment and went for a walk…found a cafe and sit outside and wrote for a while.

I don’t have many pictures of this weekend because I spent the weekend away. My friend Ringo and her friend Jane and I spent the day in Hsinchu wandering around then that evening we went to Guanxi, a countryside hometown. I love the country. Lush green rice fields. Blue Mountains. And the homey feel of being away from city life…watching people’s facial expressions and listening to the tones and pondering thoughts in my head…I can’t believe I found this cafe on the first random turn after snagging her keys…watching traffic, enjoying the noonday sun, sipping an iced coffee…life is good. Even though there is still some hustle and bustle in this small town I can still feel the calmness underneath. Knowing I can say the street names to find my way back…I used to be the one following everyone and not knowing my way, but sense traveling on my own and not wanting to stay inside while other’s sleep, my sense of direction has sharpened. It’s a freeing feeling knowing I can venture out on my own and let my friends sleep- they are free spirits too- I love sharing our adventure stories in English and Chinese. I appreciate the lack of technology use face to face interaction. These two are rare Taiwanese women. I thanked them for not being on their phones and they were so impressed and I know Ringo remembered the last time we hung out all day and she wasn’t on her phone either. I feel so lucky to have met another good Taiwanese friend.

When the other two woke up we went to Neiwan, which is one of my favorite places in Taiwan. A quaint mountain town with great market food. Tried stinky tofu- it wasn’t toooo bad! Just spicy. And rice dumplings and fried mushrooms. After walking around there for a while we drove around and headed to another market in Beipu. I tried this shaved ice with various beans on it with brown sugar….it was different, but I kinda liked it. Bought a cute shirt and dress for $8. (250NT).

Guanxi

traditional summertime treat

wandering Beipu streets

 SUMMERTIME SKY and other everyday photos….

MANGO ICE-CREAM

Thursday June 26th- Took the kids to McDonald’s because we had been practicing and reviewing how to order and restaurant phrases. What a riot…they spoke so well!
Friday June 27th- Met Zoe for breakfast- love that she is a morning person as well- it was a beautiful morning- sunshine!!!…My 2pm class was my last USA day with Ann and Yoyo- we brought in McDonald’s for them to practice ordering with me and then we read stories.

Weekend four: My bucket-list item of bike riding the 17km of “splendid” coastline at Nanliao is complete! Rented bikes at a shop for 100NT. Waters provided. Went for an afternoon ride around 2pm, a bit early compared to everyone else, but I’m glad we went at that time as it started to get busier during the second part. We actually rode 34km as one way is 17km and it’s an out and back route! Along the route there are water stops and restrooms and vendors selling grilled sausages and squid, and others selling fruit and cold drinks. Bright sun, beautiful sea views, smooth riding, and lots laughter and conversation. What a fun ride! Watched the cloudy sunset for a bit and sat at a outdoor coffee shop truck with cold drinks, then went to Hsinchu for food! (We love market food.) Tried a couple Hsinchu specialty items. The menu would read: jellied dumpling thing stuffed with meat, spring onion, and bamboo shoot…basically don’t ask questions and just eat it, you will like it! Some things are simply untranslatable.  

i love the sea. 

Can’t believe I only have 45 teaching days left…bring on two months of summer camp! No tears yet…

My latest jam is Ed Sheeran’s CD- just amazing. just a few songs…but the whole CD is stellar.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBwJhqfiUGI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ix9NXVIbm2A
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TqGEbROFd4

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