About Me

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Yilan, Taiwan
I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas in Yilan

This is our 7th Christmas in Taiwan and our first in Yilan, so it was a cold and rainy Christmas, and on top of it I had to work. And even more joys we all have to work on Saturday, the fun doesn't stop. Fortunately I have an easy schedule and am just teaching " How the Grinch Stole Christmas" to all my reading classes, tweaking the level content as needed.

Our Christmas here was subdued to say the least, simple and spare.There is no chance of our Christmas being an excuse for consumerist over consumption, I can't afford it and am saving for upcoming excursions. It began with our tree of course. I had ditched our Tainan tree on the move north to Yilan and I guess all the hand made ocean theme ornaments along with it. So this year, our tree was simple, I like it better. It just had red ribbons, candy-canes, red apple ornaments, origami stars (that were addicting to make) and real pine cones dipped in red paint. The lights didn't look right, so I took them off and we put them in my kid's room for fun. My daughter started making her own origami creations and writing notes and stuffing them in the tree. She had no stocking this year.

Christmas presents almost didn't happen for my daughter. On Wednesday she lost her black clog like shoes that are apparently necessary for her "fancy" uniform she wears only once a week on Wednesdays (the other days is her sports uniform). On Wednesday after school she has her badminton class, so she changes her shoes. Well, she lost her shoes, couldn't find them Wednesday morning, and livid, I told her if she didn't find them I was taking her presents back and using that money to buy her new black shoes. Luckily for her she found them under the car seat;a real Christmas miracle for her.

Christmas Day at the Kindergarten department

I sound mean, right? Well losing and forgetting things, water bottles, coats, umbrellas is far from an isolated incident. I don't bust my ass at work and buy her nice things, so she can just lose them...Scrooge Mom.


On Christmas Eve she opened her smallest gift, a pink alarm clock that she asked for. In  Taiwan giving someone a clock or watch is a major faux-pas, I had no idea! Not that I cared, I didn't have a Taiwanese mom filling my head with superstitious fluff like its bad luck to give someone a clock. But it was nice to learn something new, we lived here almost 7 years and I never heard that one before. Surprisingly my daughter hadn't heard that either and she knows more about things like this than me. (To offset the bad luck of receiving a clock or watch as a gift, the receiver must pay the giver a penny or 10 NT piece).

On Christmas morning, it was just another school day.  I woke up at 6 am, had a coffee, checked the headlines, did a workout, same old routine. I said she could open her 2nd present if she got ready for school on time. So she jumped out of bed 15 minutes early all by herself, not needing her new alarm clock. Her second present is some kind of purple and pink shooting arrow contraption, called "Rebel" so she can play "Hunger Games" -not that she ever saw the movies, but she saw the trailers and apparently that's enough to knows she likes it.

By the end of Christmas day I was too tired to drive us to a nice restaurant to eat. I had planned having a delicious, Christmas dinner at Balagov Ukrainian restaurant. Their cottage is so nice and cozy and European feeling, it would be perfect for Christmas. However, the rain just made me want to stay home. I made a simple, not very exciting lamb and chickpea stew with steamed millet. For desert my kid ate a candy cane and I had the last shot of Amarula.

Kindergartens parade in the teacher's room, Christmas combined with Halloween

The highlight was my kid opening her third gift. Instead of opening it as soon we came in the door, she waited. She took her shower first and then happily opened and played with her new doll. She wanted a real doll that pees and poops, and this one does. It also talks and giggles. I enjoyed watching my daugher be this doting new mom, she was so careful and gentle and responsive. I enjoyed playing with baby dolls so much younger than her, its interesting she's interested in this kind of role play now. She forbid I should tell her friends at school for fear of being called a baby, but I think its sweet. This doll is pretty demanding, but the giggling makes up for it. I had to pry her away from play to eat her simple dinner.  She named her doll, Jazz.


Our Yilan Christmas was quiet, plain and mellow.
Last night, her new pink alarm clock started ringing at 1:30 am, she of course slept right through it.

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