Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Steamed dumplings

Aren't you jealous of our lunch? Steamed Shanghai pork dumplings (shao long bao), braised tofu, and fresh sweet potato greens. We all eat heartily when we have this meal.

Last night, the kids and I tried out a new restaurant. It is new to us, anyways. Our favorite fried dumpling (guo tie) stand is closed, so we heard about another one. As soon as we entered the tiny place and found a table, somebody came over to help us fill out the order form, which is written in Chinese. Then he asked us where we are from, how old the kids are, where is Baba, etc. By the time our order was done, the entire restaurant knew all about us, as well as the whereabouts of Peter - I noticed everybody was listening intently.

Halfway through the dinner, an older couple came in and were charmed by Ada - she kept showing them how old she was and trying to talk to them. They started in with all the questions, too, and I kind of wished that somebody at the next table could answer them for us so we could finally eat!

Here is the cutie herself. How could you not be charmed by her?

On her way out the door

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Chinese New Year

It's Chinese New Year again. It's hard to believe that exactly one year ago, on our way to a caravan trip in Australia and Tasmania, we had no idea we'd be living in Holland the following month. Things move quickly in our household!

This is the first time we have ever been in Taiwan for Chinese New Year, since we always take advantage of Peter's big vacation time to explore somewhere new to us in the eastern hemisphere. Our first year in Taiwan, we went to Palau, then we went to Thailand, followed by two great years of caravan-camping in New Zealand and Australia.

After six weeks of visiting across the U.S. over Christmas and the western New Year, we just wanted to stay put and sleep in our own beds this year, even if it means a week or so of stores being closed, taxis doubling their fare and most people being gone on vacation. And we discovered last night that it also means all-night firecrackers!

When we moved in 3 weeks ago, the landlord promised this cherry blossom would bloom in time for Chinese New Year. He was sure right.


Ada's Chinese New Year dragon mask. She made it at school.

Ada's dragon mask.

Jonas made this fish print at school. It says, "Happy New Year" on it. One day, he came home and told me about the dead fish that his teacher gave him to paint black, then press paper onto it. I'm glad that such a horrifying-sounding project turned out this nicely.

Jonas' fish print

The famed red envelope (hong bao). Children get these money-filled envelopes at Chinese New Year from friends and relatives.

Hong Bao

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Laundry Morning in the Front Yard

Laundry Morning in the Front Yard

Many years ago, if somebody told me I'd be living in Taipei one day, I would have pictured a busy, dirty city, not this. Not these serene, birdsong mornings.

Helping Out

The dryer is broken, so until we get a new one, we are left to use the old-fashioned method. The weather has been pristine this week, with clear blue skies and gentle winds that dry the clothes in under an hour.

Jonas enjoys helping out and is pretty swift and careful about getting the clothes off the line. He's also good at folding pants, which is the only part of the laundry that he's willing to fold.

PS...a note for the grandparents: if you'd like to print a photo from Flickr, you must be a Flickr member, and then you can click on "Order Prints" above the photo on Flickr. You can also download the photo for your own files by clicking on "All Sizes" above the photo, and then you can click on the Download link above the photo.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

A Good Day for Jonas

Jonas at the pool at Grandpa and Grandma G's last summer:

Tonight at dinner, Jonas said, "I feel really blessed right now."

Me: "Really? Why?"

He, with angelic smile on face: "Because this drinking yogurt tastes so yummy."

This was a good day to be Jonas. He made 2/15th of the amount of money he needs in order to purchase a Power Ranger super morpher sword thing that he dreams of, night and day. He had a blissful 4-hour playdate with Clara, the sweet girl in his class who lives up the street (and speaks English, a major bonus). And he got chocolate-flavored dental polish at the dentist. It is like the inverse of Alexander and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, a story which, with exception to today, matches Jonas' days a little more accurately lately.

Later at dinner, I was telling some silly story, and he chuckled at me and said, "mom, you are SO funny. You should be in the circus."

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Little Lady Big Cart

I'm just testing my first photo upload. I took this a couple of years ago; I used to see this teensy woman regularly in our old neighborhood. She always walked with her cart.


Welcome back, everybody, from the old Formosa Diaries. I had to change my blog name and blog software for a few reasons. For one, there are a couple of other Formosa Diaries blogs out there now (I'm flattered). My biggest problem, though, is that I can't remember how to access my old FD account - it's been awhile.

I'm starting up with the blogging again because I recently spent six weeks in the U.S. and was struck by how little my friends and family know about our daily life here. Several people told me how much they enjoyed checking in on our family and seeing what it's like to be American in Taiwan. So this blog is really mainly for the doting grandparents and cousins and close friends back home.

I do miss my old photography, too. I don't pretend to know anything about the art of photography - I only enjoy the process of taking pictures and sharing what I have seen. The best part of it for me is how much more I see when I am intending to share my photos. It opens my eyes and I find so much more in my environment to enjoy.

One note about the new name: Bright Sun Mountain. We now live in a sweet, little stone house on the edge of Yangming Mountain north of Taipei. Yangming in Mandarin literally means "sunshine bright", as far as my old Chinese training informs me.

I always welcome (and thrive on!) positive comments.