Thursday, August 26, 2010

Highlights of a week gone by.

  • Singing in English alongside the kids at devotions every night, and finally getting to the point where we can goof around too!
  • Learning 3 more broken phrases of Manderin to learn to say "good-night", "you're welcome", and "good-morning".
  • Pizza and Coca-Cola for dinner, courtesy of the families who are here picking up babies.
  • Spending a morning at the beach with Abby and Jennifer and riding the waves into shore, as well as writing messages in the sand.
  • Walking to the Salex Cafe and getting an iced Mocha. Yummy!
  • Packages in the mail from halfway around the world! Letters from little hands that I'm aching to hold.
  • Having little "Pan" receive a brand new name and a brand new family.
  • Having my special chinese friend give me a chinese name which sounds close to "di-an-na"
  • Evening walks with the girls, jumping at imaginary snakes and talking about the most random things.
  • Talking to freinds and family via skype, so thankful for technology!
  • Wallpapering my bedroom with drawings and cards from my little people at home.
  • Experiencing my first earthquake, even though I slept through it.
  • Ordering icecream at 10pm from a poor old lady who didn't understand English and was closing shop.
  • Saying good-bye to 2 more babies as they head to new lives in the States.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Lu Dong at Night

Abbey and I have been walking even night down to the lake which seems especially pretty at night. A picture will never fully show what it looks like, because you just can't get the full context of the area, but I wanted to try and take some pictures to show you what we get to see every night. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Taiwan National Arts Center

On Friday morning we were able to get out of the Home for a little break and visit the Taiwan National Arts Center (or the Cultural Center as everyone else calls it). Its a really, really neat venue and I can't wait to go back in a few months time with David. I don't even really know how to describe what exactly it is, but I think the general idea is to expose people to the cultural side (artistic) of Taiwan and the colourful heritage the country has. The biggest part of the outside center is shops, which have so many cool things. Each shop is unique and there isn't one that is remotely the same. Most of them are really unique too, with real quality stuff that is surprisingly cheap. A lot of the other stuff you can buy in Taiwan is not quality at all! But I know now when its time to buy souvenirs for people at home, that's where I will go!

A few pictures for your enjoyment. Sorry, but I really am not feeling very wordy today. . .

Abby, Kristie and myself at the beginning of the morning. It was 38 degrees that day,
by the end of it, we looked a lot more 'melted'.

Again, keep in mind the heat. These guys were doing some traditional story telling dance
with lots and lots of layers on.

Main street. . . both sides are lined with shops.

Back view of the cultural center.

This is right behind where the other picture was taken. Sortof like a little museum.

This wasn't my lunch . . . by this point I really wanted some 'American' food so instead I got  ....

but Chinese imitations of American food are almost worse than Chinese food. 
I won't need the bagel next time.

we found a Starbucks and that Carmel Java Chip Frappacino might have been the best 
thing I've ever had.

These are whistles, but they make some beautiful music and you can play real music. Definitely want to bring one or two home.

I have no idea what these are, or what they are used for, but there was an entire shop full of them. 
I thought they were pretty cute, I just wasn't going to pay 300$ NT to get one.

Not really sure what these are either, but they make movies with them which look really lame as they are dolls.
The dolls themselves are really cool, but pretty expensive. 

and thats all for now. . .

Friday, August 13, 2010

Random early morning notes . . .

  • I love evening devotions with the kids, especially when they sing songs I know and I can sing along (I of course sing along in English, which they think is pretty cool)
  • Sounds that are very common place here : a catchy dingle played by the garbage truck to let you know he's here (you have to dump your own trash in), a rooster crowing at every hour of the morning, a baby crying, children's laughter, mopeds driving back and forth, and geese in the backyard.
  • Yesterday we were able to go to the Cultural Centre for the morning and early afternoon (post coming later about that), had extra help with the babies for the rest of the day, and had a TV film crew spend the afternoon!
  • Nightly walks with Abby are pretty much the highlight of my day, that and getting out around 12 in the afternoon to bike around the lake, even when we get attacked my monster Praying Mantis!
  • Somedays I think the food is better than I thought it would  be, other days not so much. Very grateful for the plain boiled chicken we had for dinner last night.
  • Tonight we have the English service since we can't do it on Sunday morning when the babies are in bed. This is a lot less akward for me than some of the other girls, its a lot the same format as what our family does on Sunday mornings. 
  • My first official NT purchase was an icecream cone.
  • With exception of the heat, I really am loving Taiwan, more than I thought I would.
  • The older kids certainly make this place a lot more fun, I didn't expect that before I came. Its funny how I can come half-way around the world and kids are the same here, as they are at home. 
  • I've become a pro at changing diapers on my lap and multi-tasking. Currently I am rocking two babies as well as typing.
  • I am so excited for David to come here and show him around!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A peak into my life . . .

Just a peak into daily life here at the home. This is the kitchen during playtime.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A very long Post . . .

I thought it might be a neat idea to share with you all my day at the home. I'll be writing it in bits and pieces as the day progresses, rather than try to sit down at the end of it all and recount all the little details, because this life here is very much made up of little details. There  isn't a lot of exciting or large things that happen on a daily basis, but I still love it anyways.

Yes, you heard it right. I'm learning to love my time here. Maybe not as much as I loved being home with my family every day, but I'm loving it in a very different way. I hope you understand what I mean when I say this, but I very much feel like I have a purpose here.

7:00 am : This is actually the latest I have gotten out of bed in the days that I have been here. Its been more like 6 every morning, but I guess this must mean I am finally settling into the time difference. While it hasn't been a huge adjustment in terms of jet lag and all that, I have been a little more tired than I usually would be at home. I dressed and then came downstairs and headed to the front room where I have stowed my computer. Its out of the way of the normal commotion and its good for a little privacy during the days. Abby and Beth are on early morning shifts, which means I technically don't have to be around to help with babies until about 8, but if too many of them start waking up, I will go to the kitchen and start helping. Right now there are only 3 babies awake. We have 14 here right now. They seem to do really well with keeping relatively quiet until 8:30 or so when we will feed them their first bottle. The home's smallest baby is on the couch beside me sleeping, he is less than 2 weeks old and certainly sleeps a lot! I can hear a baby fussing in the babies room, but he's not to loud, so we'll leave him for a bit.

There are 3 adoptive couples here right now, plus one set of grandparents. Its pretty rare that we have more than one at a time, and even to have one only happens every few weeks. Its pretty busy here right now, but on the one hand its kindof nice because all these people make feeding time a lot easier. There is an adult for every baby that needs to be fed, which means we have a lot less screaming babies.

8:30 Babies are all up and for the most part they were reasonably well-behaved before feeding time. There is always one or two that don't do as well as the others. Cade and Lillian tend to cry 30 minutes before breakfast, but usually the others are relatively good. We had a lot of hands to feed this morning. Something I need to make sure I don't get to used to, once all these families are gone home (Beth is also leaving on Wed.), there will only be three of us volunteers for the 10 remaining babies, which isn't bad. A few weeks ago they had 28 babies, I couldn't imagine that!

 The smallest baby at the home, about 2 weeks old.

We  feed babies, change diapers, and then play with them on the floor, in the walker . . . Because they were so many people to feed babies, feeding time went by really quickly. It a blessing and a curse having this many people in the house. There isn't much room (the home is tiny) and with all the babies fed so quickly, the day tends to drag. But . . . because there were so many people, Abby came up with the brilliant idea to take a walk! Yeah! It was the first time I had been out of the house since I got here, so I jumped at the chance. We took three babies and it was quite the experience. It started pouring on us while we were half-way to the town (5 minutes away). The locals had quite a laugh at us as we came charging down the road seeking shelter. The stand we stopped at was really nice and the owners were quite helpful. They didn't understand english, but they liked to try and laugh with us.
 The street about 2 minutes from the home. At the end there is a small lake, and along the left there are all sorts of small food vendors and bicycle rental shops. 

 This is the road that the Home is one, about 50 ft up. We had just turned off the road that had all the shops here, you should be able to get an idea of how close everything is!
 Here Abby is ordering some crape/icecream thingy for us. She can speak a little Mandarin so she's rather useful to have along for something like this. Plus, she has been in the country long enough to get an idea of what food is good, and what really isn't!

 Kristie is volunteering at the home for 2 weeks. Here she is with Lillian enjoying the thingy that Abby ordered for us!

 And here is the thingy. Its wrapped in a crape, and then filled with something akin to shaved peanut brittle with three scoops of weird icecream It was good, but very different. It cost 30NT, or less than a dollar. We had the option of putting coriander on it as well, but wisely passed on that addition. 
Abby and Naomi.

Coming back from the walk. This view of the home is about 25 feet off the road.

11:00 We came back (rather woefully) for lunch-time with the babies. Again, feeding time was pretty quick. But for some reason the babies were really quite noisy. Some days they settle down for a nap really quickly, but I think that having all these people in the house might be throwing their schedules off somewhat. For lunch Ted is bringing back McDonalds for the the 'foreigners' but I am going to resist. As much as I really, really want to go get a hamburger I know that if I don't choose to eat the Chinese food at this point of the 3 months, its not going to get any easier. That, and I really do want to try to conserve my money :-)

I'm really not sure what was on the lunch menu for the chinese half of the orphanage, but I accidentally skipped lunch, so I finished off my meager to begin with stash of granola bars and headed upstairs to skype home while the babies napped. Its a really strange feeling knowing that I'm half-way around the world from the people I love the most. But it was so good to talk to Mom and David. I'll let you in on a little secret, I am really, really, really, looking forward to David getting here!

2:00 Babies start to get up! We try not to feed them until 2:30, but again that doesn't always happen. We are dealing with babies here :-) And so begins playtime . . . Bev came down during this playtime and conversation started flowing between her and the couples. She seems to be quite the talker. Bev takes night-shifts so we don't see a lot of her during the day, but do get to spend time chatting with her in the evenings.

 Four of the boys during playtime. They love playing on the floor because its cool!

By 5:00 all the babies are very ready to eat, and then straight to bed. Abby and I stayed back while the rest of the group heads to the other side of the orphanage to eat with the older kids. Squid, grass soup, rice, chicken, were all on the menu, but I have to admit I skipped the squid. A few of the babies slept really well during this naptime, others really didn't! I had to hold Kade during this time, he tends to be a fairly fussy baby, but he's from a differant background and I will have to forgive him for it.

After dinner, there is devotions, also with the older kids. The orphanage is divided in two, we usually stay in the one half during the day, but we eat with the older kids. Devotions are really interesting. Sometimes they sings choruses and sometimes hymns. I try to sing along if I know the songs, its an interesting experience singing along with the kids, when its in another language! The older kids hold the babies during this time except the two littlest and also give them their bottles. Its usually around an hour. Its good, and tedious all at the same time. Once they are done, they older kids help us put the babies to bed which can be a little bit hectic! It was pretty good tonight. Its Father Day here in Taiwan so there was a little extra presentation by the smallest of the kids. They sang and gave Ted some pretty cute cards.

Its now 9:00 and all the babies are relatively quiet, I'm enjoying the cool of the evening and getting ready to go to bed. Days are long, and I find that by this time every night, I'm pretty ready for bed! I'll take a cold shower which I have decided is the best part of every day. For those of you who know me well you will know how unlike me this is, I love HOT showers. Here in Taiwan, thats not even an option.

I probably won't update like this again in a while, its a pretty long post! But it was fun, I wanted to let you know what I expect on a daily basis.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

This is me.

Not sure what to think.

Actually, this is me in the Beijing airport, showing you the rows and rows of empty chairs. But they weren't empty for very long, half-way through my layover and at the end of my nap, they were filled with large amounts of asian people. It was a huge airport, but I didn't see much of it. maybe on the way back when I'm with Jr. we will explore it a bit more.

But I'm not here to tell you about Beijing. I'm here to tell you about Lu-Tong and THOGL. Actually, more like here to tell you that I'm alive and hot. Its not the heat so much but the humidity that is hard to handle. Its 5:50pm here in Taiwan, for most of you reading this, its either 2:50, or 3:50 am. I'm a little jealous when I think of the big comfy beds you will be sleeping in right now, wrapped up in some cozy blanket, and enjoying the air conditioning. But I have something wonderful that you don't. Babies, lots and lots of babies! I have only been here at the home for a little more than 24 hours, but already their little personalities have begun to grow on me. It seems strange that yesterday, I didn't know these people. Didn't know the babies, didn't know Beth, Christy, or Abby, that I had never eaten with chopsticks . . . Its fascinating to me how very quickly life in a new world, becomes life.

In some ways I am really struggling. Not with jetlag, but with being lonely for the family. However, I know that its not about me and my wants. Coming here was not to be comfortable and cared for. I came to Taiwan to help, to serve, and to love. Its going to be a growing experience, I already am well aware of this. But I am looking forward to it! There are some wonderful people here to help me through the hard times and plenty of little souls to nurture during the good.

Please keep praying, especially right now as I settle in, I feel I need a lot of it!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Finally made it!

I always said I wouldn't believe I was going to Taiwan until I was there.

Guess what?

I'm here and still can't believe it.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


I'm leaving tomorrow.

Part of me refuses to believe it, but there are my suitcases, packed and sitting at the foot of my bed as proof that this journey is about to begin. It struck me tonight, that this is the last time for 3 1/2 months that I will sleep in my own bed, eat familiar cooking, be surrounded by my family and hear the wonderful voices of my people. Its a very big thought for me. I won't be here again for a long time.

Yet at the same moment, its wonderful. Tonight is the last time I need to wonder what Taiwan is going to be like. Its the last time I need to fret about how much I don't know, its the last time I need to count down the days till I leave. Its the last time I wonder what Taiwan looks like, what its smells like, what it feels like . . . For the last time I have no idea what will be in my next 3 1/2 months, because tomorrow, I'll know!

Tomorrow, I'll be there. Isn't that wonderful?