Well, it is that time of year again.
The weather is finally cooling off to a pleasant normal high of 30*C (86*F), the windows are open, and Halloween is upon is. I assumed that we would have to create our own Halloween celebration this year, because certainly it is not celebrated here in Taiwan.
Oh, how wrong I was.
Not only do costumes and decorations abound, but there was even a full-fledged Halloween festival for kids here in the Nanke Science Park tonight.
The haunted house was especially fantastic, even though I had to go through it with six children under the age of 8, four of whom had never been in one before. Lucky for me, we just happened to run into a pack of my students and their parents. J I told them, if you just scream at all of the monsters like you are trying to scare THEM it will freak them out and it will be less frightening. The kids went in and immediately came back out stating that it was too scary. I had just stood in line for 30 minutes so those kids could have a turn, so I took the lead and drug them in with me. They immediately grabbed onto my waist and clung to me as if we were wading in a sea of slime. I think a few of them had their eyes closed the entire time! We meandered our way through the maze of possessed mummies and bloody monsters screaming at the top of our lungs and attacking anything that landed in our path. We finally exited unscathed and I concluded that the screaming worked like a charm because I saw nothing but smiling, happy children as we stumbled out the door.
Our school used the excuse of Halloween to have a spirit week and the kids dressed up five days in a row.
A much needed break from seriousness? Definitely!
My favorite was dress like a teacher day.
C & P chose to dress up as the two coolest teachers in the school.
Can you tell whom they picked?
|Hmmm... who could they be?|
|I love the fact that P is stepping on C's toe. I wonder if that is part of being 'in character'.|
Marty was Music Sandy… who is pregnant… and on bed rest.
|not much to say about this photo...|
Moving right along...
Last weekend, Marty and I had a day to ourselves to celebrate seven years of marital bliss. We ended up going to one of the oldest parts of the city, Anping. It is the port of Tainan City and is the home of Fort Zeelandia, a Dutch Fort built in the 1600’s. Of course, there is only one original wall that remains inside a reconstructed replica, but it was impressive nonetheless. Anping District is apparently a hotspot for Taiwanese tourists and we finally found a street market riddled with ‘traditional’ artisan goods. Most markets we have found to date consist of stall after stall of inexpensive fashionable clothes and shoes, and terribly delicious food. Not that this is bad, but it was nice to finally see more art on the streets.
Oh yes, and jade. Out of my price range jade as far as the eye could see.
Have no fear… we shall be going back there soon.
|Ladies shucking oysters|
We also went to the Matsu Temple where Marty picked us up a bag of ‘safe rice.’ This small packet of rice apparently keeps you and your family safe... we figured, why not? The Matsu Temple is quite beautiful and its most striking feature is the black, smoke stained ceilings. Gold sculpted fixtures are attached to the ceiling and have been covered with incense soot from years of prayer. It adds an eerie sort of mystical feel to the place.
Lately, the family and I have gotten into the habit of doing the ‘bai bai’ when we go into temples. We have watched enough people and asked to enough questions to know how to light the incense, where to put it, and what to do. I imagine we look a tad odd, but that is nothing new.
One last funny story…
So, we all eat the school lunch now, and like most days in Taiwan, each lunch is an adventure unto itself. It has become quite the game for me to guess what the mystery dish (and mystery meat, mind you) of the day is. I have even taken to praying to the noodle gods that at least once every few weeks we actually have something other than white rice. So far, I don’t think they are listening.
Last week, there was a particularly curious dish that consisted of what appeared to be white and purple tofu. I thought, … tofu… that is safe! But then I overheard one of my students say, “Oh yeah! Pigs blood, I love pig’s blood!” Apparently, it was NOT purple tofu, but some gelatinous tofu-looking curd made from pigs blood.
Needless to say, I had white rice and vegetables, yet again.
I immediately thought of Pilar and wondered what she was eating for lunch. (most of you know how Pilar loves pigs and refuses to eat pork products)
The funny thing is… …at dinner I nonchalantly asked her if she tried the purple tofu.
She said, “Oh yes Mommy. It was delicious!”
I didn’t have the heart to tell her.
Apparently it is a delicacy and Marty said I was a wimp for not trying it. Perhaps I am, but if I am going to try pig’s blood, it is not going to be from the school cafeteria. There are just some things I won’t do.
We are planning to lay low this weekend and study for the fast approaching, ever ominous Chinese mid-term exam. Feel free to light some incense for us… we will need it. Ha! I just realized I am saying ‘us’ like I have to take the stupid exam too.
Oh, the agony of being a pseudo tiger mom!
Happy Halloween and may the candy be with you!!!!!