Here, I am always perpetually eating. Imagine three official and big-portioned meals and some sort of snack in between. And I’m not talking about half a bag of chips for snacks, but more like a mini-meal. It’s a good thing that I’m always perpetually sweating; have to keep off the weight somehow, right?
We woke up at 7am and couldn’t fall back asleep. Guess we’re not adjusted to the time difference yet.
Breakfast was amazing. I don’t usually eat breakfasts at home, but here, I would dutifully eat it every day. Eggs, turnip cakes, pita salads, almond juice, and rice milk.
Lunch at this amazing hole-in-the-wall place for beef soup noodles. Then again, about every other food joint is a hole-in-the-wall place, and you have to go through the locals to know which ones are the best. This place is famous for its broth, and not so much the beef or the noodles, and the line was out the door after we got there.
Off to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. For those of you who don’t know who he is, he was the first president of Taiwan. Lots of big old buildings, giant statues, and lots of old stuff.
Then to Longshan Temple, very big and very popular with the tourists, surrounded by tons of shopping and food joints. We went and got shaved ice at a popular place that’s been around since 1920. Walked around a bit, did some shopping, bought my first pair of flip-flops. And the shopping begins.
We went back to my dad’s house, the place where I was born and grew up in for the first three years of my life. Had a mini-family reunion at my Uncle’s new Karaoke place down the street. Again, more food: amazing dumplings that my Aunt made, clams, fresh-not-frozen edamame, Chinese water spinach, tofu, fish.. did I mention that we eat a lot here?
Back in the States, I don’t have all my family there. I have an aunt and her family up in Ohio, whom we visit about once a year, and my great aunt and uncle out in California whom I don’t see very much. So I’ve always been a teeny bit jealous when my friends always talk about hanging out with their cousins, seeing their grandparents, or big family reunions. It’s a bit strange to see uncles look like my dad and aunts who I’ve always been mesmerized by as a child with a different perspective years later. There’s a different dynamic with every aunt, whereas all my uncles are the same, easy-going and fun like my dad and grandfather. And the thing is, they all love me that can only be expressed by food and entertainment. My cousins are all so big now, and I only remember them as children. It’s nice to know that I have family, and it’s definitely made the transition easier.
Jennifer has been doing fantastic, willing to try everything and has taken on quite a palate for most of the food here. She’s been openly practicing her Chinese with my family, and they’ve taken on quite a liking to her. We went and had our hair washed at a salon which, by the way, was less than $5 USD for 10 minutes of hard-core shoulder and head massage, 30-45 minutes of intense hair washing: shampoo three times for about 15 minutes each, then a really long rinse, and a blow dry and hair styling at the end. It was less than $5, to the point where Jennifer and I felt kind of bad for paying so little, and also there are no tips here in Taiwan.
But I digress; Jennifer fascinated everyone at the salon. Everyone here, my family included, thinks she has doll-like features and is so awed by her beauty. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell her when she keeps saying that everyone is staring at her a bit too long, as if they’ve never seen an American before. Oh, but they have, and we have confirmation that she’s just way too pretty. I told her she should start wearing big sunglasses, and I’m going to start going around and calling her Julia Roberts. I plan on exploiting Jennifer quite a bit. =)