Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year! It's the year of the powerful and passionate Tiger, (my year!) which should help in warding off thieves, fire, and ghosts- the latter being a very troublesome but important aspect of Taiwanese religious beliefs. CNY in Taiwan is similar to Christmas back home; people clear out of town to visit family, take a vacation they've been planning all year, and participate in age-old traditions like the giving of "hongbaos," red envelopes full of money. The main difference is that the ringing in our ears is not from sleigh bells jingling; it's from fireworks exploding. Of course no Taiwanese holiday would be complete without excessive sparkling explosives- they have literally been going off all week during all hours of the day and night. This is in no small part due to the fact that they are extremely accessible and completely legal, even the ones that look like mini-missiles.

It's been great to have the week off school, but unfortunately the weather has been some of the worst we've had so far- cold, wet, and rainy. Therefore a lot of the plans we had for this week had to be abandoned. Instead of going camping, hiking, and day-tripping, we spent a lot of quality time together just relaxing and rejuvenating. We did find an amazing center that houses a huge selection of Taiwanese handicrafts and works of art from all around the island. It was great to find some beautiful and hand-made items for our friends and family back home.

It's really hard to believe that we're down to the last two months of our year living abroad. These last days will be spent doing all the things we still want to do and journeying to all places we still want to go. In the line-up is a trip to Orchid Island, a ride on Alishan Forest Railway- one of the most spectacular mountain-railways in the world, and a visit down South to the tropical beaches of Kenting. Hopefully we'll have some exciting updates for all of you soon!

*Update: This post is a few weeks late- I got a little behind on posting it- but Chinese New Year lasts through February and most of March, so it's still relevant. The weather is also now in the 80's with sunshine- it changed just in time for our vacation to end.


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