Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sun Moon Lake

We enjoyed a beautiful day trip to Sun Moon Lake.  It was about an hours drive from the apartment.  Once we were out of the city a little ways the smog cleared and drive was very pretty.

Loaded and ready to head out

The area of Sun Moon Lake reminded me very much of a ski town in Colorado...narrow, windy  streets loaded with shops and restaurants.  We poked around in the shops for a bit. We all enjoyed looking around, Zane loves to watch all the people.  We found Zane the cutest little music box with the Big Bad Wolf and the three little pigs. 

Chinese love cute things! SO does Zane

Zane's new music box

After lunch we walked down to the lake.  It's very big with lots of tour type boats that all seemed to be loaded full of passengers and lots of play boats.  The water was very clear and absolutely beautiful  We will definitely go back when the weather gets warmer and enjoy the lake.  The view of the mountains  from the lake side is breathtaking.

So many big boats

When we were driving in I had seen a Pagoda way up in the mountains and really wanted to check it out.  We loaded back into the car and started driving  up the mountain. It was a pretty narrow road and their were LOTS of people riding rented bikes up road.  These were not experienced cyclists getting their exercise, these were just average people making their way to the top.   With drop offs on both sides of the road I thought they were nuts!  We wound around until we found where you parked to walk to the pagoda.  Since the tour buses could not drive to this spot it was not crowded at all. We loaded Zane into the backpack and started up the hill. It was 239 steps to the top with pathway between those steps.  It was a beautiful climb with lots of vegetation to provide shade.

Best way to the top!

As we climbed the view of the lake below was amazing!

It was totally worth the climb.  The pagoda was very cool!   And then we climbed to the top of that....154 stairs to the top and we could ring the gong, plus the view from there was the best yet!

This is Eric....he is our assistant, interpreter , driver and has been invaluable to us these first few weeks.

Stairs inside the pagoda to the top

A very heavy, very loud gong....Zane loved it

I am really glad we took the time to climb all the way up.  It was a lot of fun and the weather could not have been more beautiful.

I love looking at all the temples here.  We stopped at one today that had some really pretty features.  I always love a dragon and the one on this Temple was really nice. When I look at theses temples and all the detail I think about how many hours went into the carvings and details. And there was the god of love.  His story is that he lives on the moon and if you pray to him he will "tie" you to the person you are supposed to love.

The god of love
All in all it was a very fun day.  I look forward to sharing our next adventure!


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Convenience Store Pancakes

Pancakes with butter and honey from Family Mart

It's funny what can turn a situation around.  For me this week it was pancakes from Family Mart.  Here convience stores are not connected to gas stations, they are on every block and offer a sampling of a small grocery with some hot food.

Jet lag for an adult is awful. Jet lag for a toddler is miserable.  Our normally happy Zane was NOT happy! We needed him to be awake when his body was telling him to sleep and he wanted to play when we were trying to sleep.  A few days in and we were living in a fog.  He wouldn't eat much and usually he will try anything, but he wanted nothing. We found a McDonald's and he ate a cheeseburger. McDonald's is McDonald's no matter where you are.

After several days in the hotel we moved into our apartment even though our stuff was still a week out. It was not a good day. Tired and crabby Laura is bad.  Tired and crabby Zane is worse.  Poor John didn't know what to say or do to make it better.  Everything frustrated me that day.  I knew it would be tough being here with the language barrier, but I hadn't thought about things like all the controls in our home are also in Chinese. DUH!!

So....John went for a walk to get some dinner and came back with a sack from Family Mart.  He unpacked it one item at a time.  Plastic cups so I could have ice in my drink.  Paper bowls, an ice cream bar in the flavors I love and a package of mini pancakes.  Zane eats pancakes for breakfast almost everyday, the frozen ones, we hadn't seen them anywhere.

I know it's silly. I know we will adjust to what is available and try new things and discover lots of things we didn't even know we liked. But in that moment those pancakes helped me see beyond the fog.  The tiny American and I are very lucky to be on this journey with someone who is so patient and kind.  There will be more days like this I am sure, we are creatures of habit, but together we will get through it.

Sunday, January 04, 2015


When J left for Taiwan on October 25 we knew it was a possibility we would be moving there.  We had been talking about it for several weeks.  When he called me a few days later this is how the conversation went....

Him:  You need to get your passport in order.
Me: Ok. When do they want us there?
Him:  They would like us to be here the beginning of January.
Me: Wait.  What???? Do you realize thats in 2 months. We have Thanksgiving and Christmas between now and then.  What?

J and I made a trip over to let me see exactly what I was signing up for.  It went pretty that I mean I only had one major meltdown and announced that I wasn't sure I could do it.  In my defense I was VERY tired and the sidewalk was not stroller friendly and WHY do they park on the sidewalk??? Anyway, I got a nap, found a more stroller friendly path  and accepted the fact that they are going to park on the sidewalk.  

While we were searching for an apartment some interesting things were revealed.  The first thing that I noticed was the kitchen, the tiny ovens.  Some didn't have any oven.  They just cook differently than we do. I'll learn to use the steamer. And then there is the washer/dryer situation, it's all one unit.  That will take some figuring out. We found a really nice apartment in a very nice building, close to shopping, a grocery store and a beautiful park.  Since I won't be driving, having everything within walking distance was a priority.

I am very nervous about the communication issue.  I was assured there were a lot of people living in Taiwan that speak english, I only saw a handful and most of those were at the hotel we stayed at.  I can confidently ask for ice water in Mandarin but that is about it!  At least I won't be thirsty, but I'll miss my diet Dr. Pepper.  

It will be an adventure.  A fantastic experience.  We are nervous and excited and ready to start our adventure. We want to share our journey  with you through our blog so stay tuned!