Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ben's son's B-Day; Chinese NewYear

After the first piles of ashes had been cleaned up, the procession came around the block again, so more strings of firecrackers were set out in the middle of the street and they repeated setting them off, ahead of the "god of the land" float, with the drummers still beating their drums and the horn blowers blowing as loud as they could. The firecrackers were set off to scare the evil spirits away this year. During and after the time the float passed by, they set off the fireworks. They were beautiful! We stayed and watched this procession go by twice and then we left. It was supposed to continue on for about four hours! We have never seen so many firecrackers and fireworks! They would make a big pile of firecrackers in one spot and when they set it off, it looked as if the hydrogen bomb had just been dropped, with mushroom-shaped, red-fringed smoke as high as the apartment buildings on both sides of the street! I can't believe that the apartment and store windows did not shatter. All in all, it was a most interesting evening, thanks to our dear friends, the Lins, the Tans and Arnie and Jen!

Sweeping up the ashes of the thousands of strings of firecrackers that were laid in the middle of the street here in Neihu. They had to douse the fires with water and then raked the ashes into cardboard boxes! It got so smoky!!

It is hard to tell, but this chicken was roasted with its head on! This is a table filled with "delights" for the business owner's ancestors. What the ancestor's don't eat-the Chinese will take inside and "finish" eating!

Arnie and Bro Lin in foreground, Sister Seow, Sister Tan, President and Sister Walker and I and Arnie's son, Samuel. If you are wondering what the little dots are, they are cinders! Hot cinders everywhere! We wore masks when the smoke got really bad, but there was nothing to keep our eyes from burning!

The fires that burned in the middle of the street after they had set off thousands of firecrackers at one time. It was unbearable to not cover your ears, and you had to watch that you were not too close -- the policemen left it up to you, how close you wanted to be. We thought we were back far enough on the sidewalk, but found out we were still too close when we got "cindered"

Some of the crowd that followed the procession around the blocks, taking pictures of all that was going on!

This was the beginning of the Chinese New Year parade of welcoming the god of the land into Taiwan. Five or six men dressed in full Chinese costume were walking alongside and blowing horns that sounded like bag-pipes playing only one, sustained note, and banging drums. The small, ornate, temple is in the background.

This was a car all decorated up to advertise that the panda bears were coming from China to the Taipei Zoo! We need to go and see them! Everything around here has panda bears on it!

Arnie, the Temple engineer, invited us and the Seows to a special Chinese New Year dinner. I have never seen so much food! Arnie's mother and wife must have cooked ALL day to get things ready! Arnie and his wife, Jen, have been so good to us and helped us so much! Just TRY to pay him when you go to dinner with him!

Tony, our Temple assistant engineer, invited us for a special lunch, two times during the Chinese New Year celebration. His wife is the best cook! We had beef noodle soup, a specialty of Taipei. The man on the left is someone he freindshipped into the church when he was his Bishop! They have four daughters and one son. The oldest daughter had not returned from work yet, and his son was still at school! School here comprises many hours a day, even for the smaller ones!

Our Ward clerk gave the son he had not seen for 20 years, a birthday party at Bishop Chiles' home. He cooked the main part of the meal - Chinese roll-ups with peanut powder, and the rest of us brought the other part! What a reunion he and his son had. His son is living with his mother and going to University of Minneapolis, studying bio-chemistry and physics! He is one very smart kid. His taxi driver father is very proud of him! He had not met his half-sister before, either, so it was quite a reunion!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Joyce likes to show interest in what people are eating at the Temple lunchroom. As a result people like to share their stuff with us(her). Yesterday she received a sack of stuff; about 5 hardboiled eggs without egg shells. Anyone that doesn't care for egg whites would love these. The whites are not white; they are brown. I think they are cooked in brown shoe polish. She also received some Tofu squares that likewise were cooked in the same brown shoe polish. After trying one of the eggs she pulled a round thing out of the sack; I think it is meat, also cooked in shoe polish; about the size of a small softball that looked like Matt had hit it over the fence, wet several times. As she was looking this over I mentioned that 'I had not seen one of these since I left the farm.' ----She returned it to the sack.
Awhile ago a lady was eating one of the famed 'chicken feet'. She only took a couple of bites and the thing disappeared. I wanted to tell her that it had been cleaned since it was attached/detached from the chicken so the flavor had been washed away.

Living in other cultures does indeed broaden ones horizons.

Until next time Elder Miller

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Trip w/ brother Liu & Seows - East coastline!

Can you tell that we had a wonderful time? It is so nice to see these places with my favorite person, even if the road along the seaside was winding and scary! Thanks, brother Liu!! We love you!
On our way back home, we visited a dairy farm called "Rareseed Ranch". Not only did they have cows and all kinds of foods and products made from the milk, but they had polywogs and ostriches! We brought home some nougat candy that is scrumptious!!

Our "mountain homestead. The info is below because I do not know how to get this info up here where it belongs.
Christmas Eve was spent in the most different way ever. After traveling to a community Christmas program, that had fireworks, and a preacher, shouting praises to Jesus Christ and encouraging the crowd to shout back, we were delighted to find brother Liu and his single adult friends at a member's restaurant, caroling to the people there. What a stark difference in the Spirit felt at those two places! One really good thing happened at the community Christmas affair, though. We sat next to two men who were interested in knowing what Jesus Christ was REALLY like, and we took their email addresses to give them more info. It was so loud at the program, we could not talk to one another, only between "acts". This was our "homestead" in Tai Tung. Wow! We had the whole home. We stayed on the second floor where the left gable end is, in a bedroom that had a little window, out of which, we could see the sea and all the beautiful mountainside on the way down! The landscape was gorgeous!

We stopped at a place where the water ran uphill! It was surrounded by a nice little park and some beautiful, colorful flowers and bushes. They called it "water running up" - very original!

I wish we would have had time to go to the end of this "8 arches bridge", but they said it would take 2 hours to make the trip. It truly was a bridge to nowhere. We went to the third arch and watched a fisherman cast in his line about three times. It took less than one minute for a fish to bite. It was really something to watch him real the two-foot long fishes in. They were fierce fighters, long and very slender, (almost eel looking) - with super long noses like a swordfish!

We stopped along the coast near Hualien and bought some lunch. Can you believe these "flying fish" - deep fat fried - head, wings and all - to eat like that? They love it!!

The sea coast was beautiful! I'm so grateful we had the privilege of seeing it before we left Taiwan. No wonder so many people like to live along this coast - even though it is where the thypoons hit the hardest!

Here is a sample of the marble furniture in Hualien. Everything is made of marble because of the supply from the "marble gorge". This is lobby furniture in the "army barracks' hotel we stayed in the second night. What an army barracks! This was once a very plush hotel. Then social unrest and the Japanese army came in and divided it up into small rooms for their army. Now it is a nice hotel (and not as expensive as it appears).

Our hotel in Ilan, where we spent the first night, was right in the middle of rice paddies. For some reason, the owner of this nice place wanted to take our picture with his sweet, little Indonesian hostess.

At the Traditional Chinese Cultural Center, we saw a performance that we will never forget. This guy did cartwheels and jumped over people with these "stilts". It was amazing!

Here's the group: Sister Seow, brother Seow, their son, brother Liu and Elias in the last row. Matthew, his mother and I on row two, and the three little girls in the front row. The first day was pretty cold and windy! We stopped at a park in Ilan and had a picnic lunch here.

What a great trip over Christmas, thanks to Brother Liu and the Seows. The Seow's son, Stephen, his wife and four children were so fun to be with - even if the little ones were challenging at times.