Happy Chinese New Year!!!
I celebrated my first official Chinese New Year last week. On New Year's Eve night I was invited to the Head of the English Department's home (one floor below my apartment) for hotpot and other traditional Chinese foods. I really like hotpot - which for you all that do not know it is just a pot of chicken broth and you can put all sorts of things in it. Usually a person puts cabbage, spinach, mollusks, shrimp, thin cuts of lamb or beef, tofu and other vegetables in the pot and let it come to a boil. It is so good over sticky rice. We also had turnip cakes, sweet and sour fish, and some dishes that tasted great but I have no idea what they are called. The fellowship was great and I enjoyed the family-like atmosphere of the celebration. After we watched a movie my good friend, Becky White, and I hopped back up to the 5th floor and waited until midnight. We had a great view of the fireworks exploding over the Danshui River. Let me tell you the fireworks have not stopped since. It is now Sunday and since Tuesday night they have been booming every single night until the early hours of the morning. It's pretty wild - these people take their fireworks extremely serious.
On New Year's Day one of the Christ's College alumni who I met the first week I was in Taipei, Maple, came to visit. Becky, Maple, and I went to Taipei 101 and shopped in the mall area - they have the biggest and best English bookstore in the city. Then we went to Chili's and met another graduate. It was fun but so cold and rainy. It has rained almost every day for the past 3 weeks. I am ready for some sunshine.
On the day after New Year's the tradition is that the married women visit their mother's homes. One of the Chinese professors invited us to have the meal at her mother's home in Taoyuen. It was truly a traditional Chinese meal. There was a whole fish platter, a whole chicken cooked in a pot with broth - he was good I just had to get past looking at the head part! , and there was jellyfish (which by the way was pretty good). After we ate and visited, we went to a pottery museum that is close to their home. The little town is called Inga and the museum looked like a huge loft apartment. All in all I had a great time getting out of Taipei and going to the country. I really enjoyed being a part of a traditional family celebration at New Year's.
Winter break continues for another two weeks. Many of the stores and restaurants are closed until Tuesday for the New Year. I am hunkered down in my apartment, watching good movies with friends, and using this time to reflect and commune with God. I am getting ready for the spring semester to begin and to bring with it some warmer weather. The campus is quite silent and lonely without the students - I miss them.
Well, Happy New Year and until next time...