Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mid-Autumn Festival aka. The Moon Festival-Part 1

Sorry its been awhile. I am working on getting over a lingering cold. Most of it has gone away, there is just some left over sinus issues. Anyway, on to what I have been doing since my last post. I have been doing school... well Monday-Wednesday of last week. I had to call in sick on Thursday because I was not well. So school was school. I did not do too much teaching because the teachers of the class wanted to. But it is always a joy to just spend time with the kids. They are some much fun and they will come up to you and just greet you like your their long lost friend. I love them all so much. I also went with Lauren one night because she asked me to come and help out because she was asked to do an after school "club" with the kids. It is actually something the school already does. Its for students to come to the school at night to do there homework and have some fun instead of being at home alone because their parents might work late or their grandparents. It was so much fun... and pretty chaotic. We played musical chairs. But Lauren and I asked if we could do a drama thing with them because we figured that it would help with their English and also give them something else to do. The teacher said that we should probably do it around Christmas time because more parents would be off of work. This made us happy because we get a chance to share the Gospel through the play. And it will help us to grow a stronger relationship with the kids. I think that that pretty much catches you up on what I have been doing over the last week or so. Now on to the topic at hand...
Moon Festival is one of the most random out of the Holidays that have come around since I have been here. From what I can understand of it, its about this women who somehow ends up going to live on the the moon and for some reason they celebrate it. I'm pretty much clueless about what the holiday is all about except for three things:
1. School is off Monday and Tuesday
2. People give you lots of pomelos (a grapefruit type of fruit that is green)
3. People give you enough moon cakes to last you until the next moon festival
So since we were off for Moon Festival King Car (the organization that supports us over here) planned a trip to Hualian City. We had absolutely no clue what the trip would entail except going to Hualian City which is about an hour train ride from Yuli. So we decided to buy the tickets the night before we left... we did not know that it would be such a big deal to buy the tickets... but it was. According to the people at the train station, there were no more tickets left... we at least ones that you could sit. Standing on the train for an hour was not our idea of a good way to start a vacation. We had a very good friend of the teachers here in Yuli with us and she said that we should pray about it, and so we did. She had gone home and went online just to check on the tickets... she found 5 tickets that were very close to each other on the same train that we wanted to be on. Praise the Lord. So she came over to our house and she and our leader, Jonathan, headed about a block or so down the road to the train station. So the next day we made the trek to the train station with all of our luggage in the pouring down rain. Our train left at like 6:30 and we got there at maybe 6:25 so we moved pretty fast once we got there. It was pretty entertaining. We got to the station in Hualian City and had to wait about 30 minutes for the bus to get there with the other teachers that came down from the English Village which is up in Taoyuen. After we were picked up, we went to dinner. A traditional Taiwanese dinner. We had Sashimi (my first sushi-esqu food since I have been here) which is basically raw fish that is sliced really thin its really good, sweet potato leaves (very similar to collards or spinach), broiled fish, soup with tofu and fish balls, and some other things that were really good. We ate family style so you just basically pick up whatever you want with your chopsticks and put it in your bowl of rice, and eat away. After we ate dinner we headed to our place of lodging. It was some sort of French catholic training place... I think. All I really know is that it was catholic. I was on the floor of my friend Trevor's (a guy from the English Village) room. The next day was stocked full of activities. First, we went to the national park. It has been raining so much here recently so we could not do much there. So all we did was watch a movie and looked around the visitors center. It was a really neat... and looked really pretty because of the rain. *the picture is of me, Ruthie, Sarah, Jessika, and Andrew* After that we loaded back into the bus and headed to the beach. Now the beaches here are not like the white sand beaches that I am used to back home. They remind me more of the seashore in England. They had rocks and pebbles and smaller pebbles. It was really neat. It makes a different sound than back home. It was really pretty... the only thing that made it not to nice was it was VERY hot and humid. That part kind of reminded me of home. Overall I could have built a house on the beach and been content for a long time. After that we all loaded back in the bus and headed to lunch. Our lunch was very interesting. It was at this huge restaurant that was geared toward large groups such as ours. It had probably 50 round tables and they just started bring food... and more food... and more food. There was barely room on our table to put our small bowls of rice. In Taiwan they like to make sure that you have plenty of food. It was all much like the food from the first night. Except for this soupy looking stuff that was like solidified fat with grease... needless to say it did not get eaten... I think that a couple of people may have tried it but thats all. After that we went and got ice cream at this very busy... almost outlet mall type place.*in the picture: Junes, Wes, Tyler, Naomi. Jessika, Andrew, ME, Sarah, Ruthie, and Susanna* It had a bunch of stores that sold different handmade things. Like jewelry and key chains and other things. The kind of things that tourists waste money on. :-)

Ok... so this is the end of this post... I have been attempting to write in since the day I got back and that was Tuesday... It now... early Thursday morning. I will finish the trip very soon! I love you all and thank you for your prayers. They are greatly needed.

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