My mom and dad have been sending me wonderful care packages every month I've been here so far. Inside, there are always necessities, from lotion, vitamin pills, to the ever-so-important chocolate macadamia nuts. I absolutely love chocolate and will sometimes forget to share with other people, so it's gotten to the point where my mom has to label one bag for me, and the rest for other people. ^_^ I always appreciate the packages (and so does everyone else who gets to eat the chocolate!) and get so excited every time I get one. It always gives me a sense of home here in another country.
It seems since I've been here, so many things are happening in my family! This is Vickie's baby boy, going to be born on Valentine's Day!!! He's so cute already, and he has already learned how to smile! Just like his mom. ^_^ I'm so excited, and a little bit sad because I'm not going to be there for the birth, but I can't wait to meet him. Vickie is in her 5th month and doing great (Vickie's Blog).
The other huge happening is Liz's engagement!!!!!! Gah! Why couldn't all these things happen while I was in Utah, so I wouldn't have missed them all!!?! Just kidding, but I am sad that I can't share in the joy and excitement with either of my sisters having the 14 hour time difference. I would have loved to share in the excitement of hearing the news of Liz's engagement, or to go shopping for maternity clothes with Vickie. Every time I see little babies I just get reminded that she's carrying inside her a baby! I never really got the chance to be a part of the baby process with Jackie's beautiful, hawaiian babies, who are growing up so fast!!!!
Sometimes I feel a little left out that I can't be there, but we're all so spread out over the country that the only way I really can keep up with my family is through blogs. (Jackie's blog)
All I can say is that I hope I don't miss out on anything more than Liz's wedding and Vickie's baby's birth. So I guess this is a warning to everyone else out there not to go out and have some life changing event for the next nine months while I'm out here! j/k (but really, no more, for my sake ^_^) I guess all I'm really saying is that I miss my family and wish I could be there to share the joy.
Other than that, life here in Taiwan is going pretty smoothly. We spent the weekend in Taipei again, figuring out the metro system, getting used to the city, and of course, shopping. We had fun playing with the tokens for the metro...went up to the top of Taipei 101 (the tallest building in the world, until 2009), watched the street performers, which were pretty fun (some live statue guys, some acrobatic guys that should seriously try out for Cirque du Soleil, a street rapper, musicians (including an accordion player)).
Oh! We also got massages...where they used knives...it was awesome. They covered each of us with a blanket, then two people simultaneously worked on each of our bodies using butcher knives (probably dulled) to massage the muscles and to increase circulation throughout the body. They used the knives everywhere, including the soles of the feet, which felt amazing.
This will be about the third week that I've been doing Tai Chi with a few other teachers here. I really love it. I always try to think of a turtle when I do it...just try to make my movements very slow...The teacher speaks English very well, and we basically get a private teaching session on Wednesdays, since it seems we're the only students in that class. On Fridays, it's for the advanced students, but he said we're welcome to just join in and follow along (even though we don't know the kata yet). He did say it would take about a year to learn the entire kata, which makes me excited to stay here in Taiwan for a year. (the video isn't of our class, it's just a video I took of another Tai Chi class going on at night.)
We actually don't have a dojo. Most of the Tai Chi classes it seems, are outside usually in a park or plaza. For us, it's a large plaza, which, is also shared by hip hop dancers. So while we're in one corner, doing our very slow movements, there's a group of young people in the other corner, their music blaring, and dancers in a circle. Some days I feel like we're actually doing our Tai Chi to music...and it adds a different flavor. ^_^ Across the street from our plaza "dojo," there's always a group of fan dancers practicing. It's really nice to see different elements of the community in one place on a Friday night.
I'm getting more and more excited about staying for a year. ^_^