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.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Holiday Homebodies

Christmas, New Years, birthdays came and went and we are still here. Of course, Christmas isn't a holiday here and it really is just an advertising gimmick to get people shopping, so we have to really cultivate all that cringle cheer, sans family or Colorado snow. Ten years in Taiwan, we are experts at this by now. Every year, my kid's presents seem to reduce, thankfully Grandpa saved the day with a package or two from home. In January, we went to Kyoto for a birthday getaway. It was both exhausting and exhilarating.

On the honor roll again, 2nd place in her class
Zen and Emm

2018's Chinese Lunar New Year (of the dog) was our first in Taiwan. Z wasn't up to going anywhere (although I had my heart set on Bali.) It was the one year anniversary of her cousin, my niece Emma's tragic death. The whole family is still reeling. The wounds are still so fresh. Staying at home for 2 weeks, with our dogs and taking it slow and easy, was what needed to happen. 

Z's kumquat painting
I caught up on yard work when the weather was cooperating. There was a week when it was sunny and warm and we made the most of it, picnicking with friends, napping in hammocks. People all over Taiwan come to our part of the woods for holiday. Their giant buses and cars visiting the nearby lake jam up the small country lanes, but they don't go as far as our tea farm. It was a blessing to be able to enjoy the wealth of our little house location with all this time to paint, do yoga or do nothing. I had time to really reflect on where I came from and where I want to go. I made goals and plans and have been pretty successful thus far with little self-disciplines I have integrated into habits. It's very easy to slip into auto-pilot, especially being a single mom.

Z's vegan orange layer cake with a kumquat glaze

My kid baked a lot, and I am trying to lose the 4 kg I gained during winter. (I am thinking of making a cooking book or blog post of all the fabulous desserts she created.) She finds baking relaxing, an avenue for her creativity and a way to use all the local fruits our neighbors bless us with from their orchards.
Our first Chinese New Year's dinner in Taiwan
For the actual Lunar New Year dinner, one of our kind neighbors (the uncle of my landlady and the grandpa of one of Z's classmates) invited us over. They had quite the spread and made sure we were stuffed. They had the traditional foods and the burning coals under the table, explaining all the dishes and customs, including all the prayers and incantations that had to do during the day and after supper. The grandpa joked,"Its so simple for you, you only have one God, we have so many." I wondered if his grandson would be able to keep up these kinds of traditions when he grows up, he was so interested in getting as far away from the dinner table and back to his computer as possible. His other relations had 4th of July grade, visually beautiful fireworks. My dogs, the dogs in the neighborhood were not exactly feeling their enthusiasm.

Returning to art again in 2018

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