sacrificial food for the ancestors ( they eat it after all the jig-amoral is done)
The Taoist Temple
I Heart Taiwan!!!! Everything is so new and entertaining. I'm just letting myself get swept up in the swage smelling air, and carried to and fro in the scooter cover streets, and into crazy celebration that are that are so quintessentially Taiwan that I can't help but smile. The last few days have been extraordinary. The first full day in Taiwan was filled with a lot of paper work, for visas and work permits. But we also picked out bikes, mine is a blue SPEEDA, it rattles, squeaks, the gears don't work, and basket on the front is bent on one side from what I imagine being a run in with a out of control scooter, but I love it, as it is my only form of transportation for the next 6 months. On Saturday night we went to Asia-go, the Taiwan eqivent of Walmart. That was the craziest shopping experience of my life. I walked the alies looking for anything I could possibly decipher. But for the most part, I picked up things a could tell what they where by the pictures, and what the extremely pushy asian clerks put in my baskets for me. I don't know if they saw me as a lost and scared American, which I was, and were just trying to help, but I need lean to say "no". The next day was Sunday, which was a whirlwind. I woke up at 10am, hopefully recovered form the jet lag, and got a phone call which I was reluctant to pick up because, hay I don't speak Mandarin, but it turned out to be on of the old teachers that was going to be taking us to church. She, Lou, was so excieted about this Taoist celebration that she had wandered upon earlier in the morning. We all ran downstairs in our pj's, breakfast in hand wondering what's going on. We ended up jumping on bikes for a 15 min ride to what looked like a carnival. There where games, and neon colored, what looked like some sort of fun house, but eneded up being the temple. The rows upon rows of food for there ancestors, mountains of rice and slottered pigs with a apples in the mouths. We learned from Lou that this was the 40th anavsery of the temple and a few years ago was damaged by earth quake, so this was also a rededication of the temple. The number 4 has a very bad connotation, as if you say it with a different tone means death, which is taboo to talk about here. But the guess was that they where also having this celebration, to word off the evil sprits. We left to go church shortly after that on a 45 min bus ride to Taichung where the English speaking branch is. I'm so sad because I left my new water bottle on the bus, I've only had it for a totally of 4 days. Boo! if it isn't coats it something else.
Because we were almost all new in the ward we had a little lesson on some of the laws and rules of living here as a American. Very interesting. There was about 25 people there including some Asians, but mostly it was English teachers like me. I'm so excited to be able to go to church that looks that same and hear the same words as home. Hopefully this will help with homesickness. But after returning home around 6 ish, we were hungry. We all busted out of food that in the most part was fantastic. Later on we returned to the Taoists temple rededication, it was bigger, louder and had more food, more pigs and goats. We didn't stay long because well, I thought my ear drums were going to explode.
I woke up a 6 am today again. But today there was a reason, we had to go to the hospital and get out check ups so that we could get out resident visas and so on. It was very strange to go to a hospital in a different country, Lots of waiting rooms, and you just take a number. But all in all nothing super sckechy. When we got home we explored the local bakery which is heaven. We decided that since today in new years, for us at least , we would get a cake. It ended up being about 800NT which is about 25US but it look beautiful and I can't wait to dig in. But the reminder of the day was in training, for the school, as well how to recycle which is a bit more complicated. We went to dinner and it was fab dumplings, and then we went the bing shaw stand , everyone got all these fantastic flavors, and then I got pineapple, and I was so sadly disappointed with my choice, but what can you do, I'll figure it out one day. Well that New Years party is going to be starting, Kiss.