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.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Season of School Birthdays

Bird on a wire, fishing village outside Fulong

Last month all the schools around Yilan celebrated their founding year with a Saturday activity. The following Monday was off to preserve the 2 day weekend. The different schools did it on different days so that for my neighbors it a hodgepodge of comings and goings. The oldest elementary school in Yilan is Zhongshan, which was founded in 1896.

My daughter's school celebrated their 38th year mid May with many speeches, a performance by each grade that ended with a massive pot-luck feast. The early morning race around the lake was canceled because of the rain. One of the mothers was Vietnamese so I made sure to sample her spring rolls and fish sauce. A Canadian father baked three different scones, I had brought bland potato salad (that Z and I made together) but the kids were happy gorging themselves on pizza and ice-cream.

I parked near the house of my child's classmates home, and her gran gave us several of these veggies.
The most notable performance was from my daughter's class (of course) playing a traditional Chinese clay "flute" (aerophone) called a Xun () that dates back over 7000 years from the Stone Age. Its associated with loneliness, respectable hermits, ladies in sorrow and was played in palaces. She played the tambourine as well. I adored the "Chinese Yo-Yo" (扯鈴) class performance and solo. I wish I had the time to learn this myself.

My school had their big bash the end of May. The students had been rehearsing their class dances the past few weeks. It was a terribly hot and humid day. We escaped to our office AC several times when it was unbearable. It was set up like a night market with each class selling different snacks. 

The Environmental Science table was my favorite; they demonstrated how to collect and filter rain water, gave me a free succulent and sold edible cacti drizzled with raw honey. I ended up buying more little succulents for my balcony. 

With my following Monday off, I wanted to do something that I couldn't do on the weekends because of the crowds. So I pulled my kid out of school and we took the train to Fulong and biked 27 km around the Sandiao Cape. We rented bikes for the day (100 NT)  and started at the Old Caoling Tunnel, looping around the Lighthouse, returning near the free beach. Despite having hats and sunblock we still managed to get patches burnt- human candy canes. My daughter had a bit of an accident near the end and is recovering from a nasty cut that became partially infected fairly quickly after washing it (hard to dry out in this climate.) We want to try to bike the loop again in the Fall from the other direction.

Yilan Coast from New Taipei City, biking the Fulong Loop Bike Trail 
We were so hot and sweaty, shaved ice (bing) was in order as soon as we returned the bikes. Z was extremely exhausted from the bike ride that she didn't even want to cool off with a swim!  This worked out, as the sky started pouring as soon as we took the train back to Yilan. She slept in my arms the whole time. This was the highlight of my Fulong venture.

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