One of the most challenging parts of serving here at the Home for an extended period of time is the limited amount of free time I get. Well, free time isn’t that limited — but free time to leave the house and go see places is. It’s been a struggle at times for this young lady who is known to drive around town just to get out of the apartment. Seriously. If I haven’t been out of my apartment all day, I’ll go drive around for a bit. Waste of gas, I know, but I’m just being honest.
It had been two weeks since I’d been further than the nearby lake. So when I heard we were going to the cultural center and beach for the day I was elated. And the day did not disappoint. I’ll leave you with short bits and photos…
I thought the cultural center would be a museum with Taiwan artifacts. But really, it was a place with a historically-inspired street lined with shops, a beautiful area of gardens, paths and historical homes, and a STARBUCKS. Abbey and I pretend we’re going to Starbucks almost every day — you do weird things when you’re spending your days with babies in another culture. Needless to say, seeing that Starbucks almost brought tears to my eyes. I think sitting in that familiar setting, drinking a frappuccino in the air conditioning was one of the best parts of the day.
Going to the night market was fun, but the shopping at the cultural center was so much better. Everything was more traditional and much higher quality than my $7 hooded sweatshirt. I even got customized, handmade shoes! Without really speaking the same language, the woman working in the shop communicated that I could pick a style of shoe bottom and pattern of fabric for my shoes. The shop was the first I’ve seen with my size, too! Once I picked out the parts of my shoe, I sat down on a stool to watch another woman put together my shoes. Though not totally practical, I love these shoes. Mom, Dad, Ry, and Ty — start praying the goodies I bought for you don’t get taken away in customs!
It was a huge blessing to be able to go out with all the volunteers! Adrian and Kalyn toughed it out despite not having slept for 24 hours due to their night shift duty. And Laura and Bradley, who will be here for about a week, got to come, too. I sometimes forget I haven’t known these people more than two months.
The beach was beautiful! It had black sand, and it was really quite secluded. We could see the mountains on either side, including a Haystack Rock-like mountain out in the ocean. There were giant clouds all around, but sun where we were. I got sunburned despite my 70 SPF and umbrella, but I think most of that occurred when we were walking around at the cultural center. I tried, Mom!
The whole time we were there, we only saw about six other people. Two of them were American guys from Michigan living here to teach English. We were so excited to see Caucasians — this area has very few foreigners — that Abbey shouted out “Are you Americans?!” There was two photographers and a couple who came for several pictures. For weddings in Taiwan, couples get a TON of pictures taken in different outfits. This bride had on a purple evening gown. Later, they get a gigantic book made with all their best pictures in it.
To top it all off, Ted picked us up with bings (kind of like fruit sorbet) for each of us. And a care package from my mom was waiting for me when I got home! While everyone else was at devotions tonight, I stayed back to calm our littlest guy. He fell asleep quickly, so I pulled up some songs on the computer and spent time thanking God for Ted and Bev’s willingness to let us experience this great day. I have a feeling this day was just what I needed to sustain me during the rest of my time here!
…which is going so quickly, by the way. I think the count is now up to three times I’ve gotten teary-eyed just thinking about saying goodbye.
[I look a bunch of short video clips all day. I’m going to try to string them together and post the video soon!]