Sushi Making

Today for an activity for our church, the women learned how to make sushi!  There is a woman from Japan in the group and she prepared everything and taught us all how to make it.  It was so fun to spend an afternoon with these women who have been so welcoming to me and so helpful with Carter since we’ve been here. Here the women are mixing the vinegar and sugar solution in with the rice.  We then mixed ingredients such as prawn eggs, dried seaweed, fish flakes (I can’t remember what it’s called), and scrambled eggs into separate bowls of rice.

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We used these drink cartons to press the flavored rice into layers.

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Once we had filled the cartons, we carefully flipped them over onto a plate and garnished it with shrimp and peas.

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After we made the layered sushi, we made sushi that looks like a teddy bear when sliced.  Isn’t it cute!

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I’m going to miss these women so much!  They have been so kind, and such in inspiration to me.  It has been so fun to be a part of this ward family while being in Taiwan and I will forever remember the friendships I made here.

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Taiwan Indigenous People Cultural Park

To escape for a little bit from the crowded city life of Kaohsiung, we boarded a train and headed to Sandimen.  We really didn’t know what we would do in Sandimen once we got there, we just heard that it was absolutely beautiful and there were some cool hiking trails to do.

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We ended up taking a taxi once we arrived in Sandimen and asked to be taken to Pingdong.  Once in Pingdong, we tried to find a scooter rental only to find they didn’t exist so we asked our taxi driver to take us to a visitor center—all this communicating was done with google translate… let’s just say we paid a bit more for our taxi because of the amount of time it took to try to explain what we were looking for.

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The taxi driver dropped us off at the Taiwan Indigenous People Cultural Park and we were a little apprehensive considering we didn’t know that this place existed before we arrived, and it didn’t seem like anyone else did since it looked like there were about 7 other people in the park.  We decided we’d try it out though since we had no other plans and no way of getting any where else after our taxi left.

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After a short presentation (completely in Chinese), we boarded a bus not knowing why we were boarding or where we were going.  It was incredibly beautiful though riding through the mountains!

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When the bus stopped and the driver looked at us and then the door, we figured we should get off.  We were greeted by these lovely natives who ushered us into a theater.

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We had no idea what to expect from the performance, but it was incredible!  The drums were Carter’s favorite part.  He was dancing and drumming along the entire time!  The show was about the different Indigenous tribes of Taiwan and some of their clothing, rituals, and ceremonies.  We got to meet some of the performers after the show.

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We then followed a crowd of people to another bus and were very grateful that another man on the bus spoke some English.  He explained a little bit about some of the “houses” we were driving around and how they were replicas of the indigenous peoples homes.

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The bus stopped at one of the homes and we learned about musical instruments, sacred tattoos, and toys for that specific tribe.  There was also this giant swing in the area and Carter absolutely loved it!

 

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All in all, it was a very successful accidental trip to the Taiwan Indigenous People Cultural Park!  We learned a lot, did a lot of walking, and got to see a lot of beautiful scenery in the mountains.

Finding Monkey Mountain

On our second attempt, and with some help from Lisa and her youngest Rebecca, we were able to find Monkey Mountain!  It was actually the exact same mountain that Scott and I went to the first time, we just made a wrong turn on a trail..  But we decided that we were really glad that we didn’t see any monkeys the first time we were on the mountain because we were all by ourselves and we probably would’ve gotten attacked by them considering how naive we are and how mean the monkeys turned out to be.

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We started the hike around 9:30am and we soon found ourselves engulfed by a large hiking group.  They all gawked over Carter and practiced their English with simple phrases like, “Hi, how are you?” and when we’d respond they’d just smile, nod, and walk away.  I don’t think they knew what we were saying haha.

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When we saw the first monkey walk across the trail we were so excited!  We kept walking and made it to a resting area and we slowly realized that there were several monkeys in the trees surrounding us!

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I was trying to point out a monkey to Carter and when my arm was almost fully extended I heard this horrible hissing sound, saw the monkey show his very large teeth, and felt a tug from a Taiwanese man.  He pulled me back a couple steps and said, “Don’t do that!  Just act naturally.  Naturally.  No make eye contact!  Act naturally.”  Yep, it was official, I was scared to death and didn’t want to have anything to do with the monkeys after that!

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Scott’s sister sent us a picture of her on monkey mountain and she was super close to a monkey so we assumed that the monkeys were nice and they let you get close to them, but no, not these monkeys!  Haha, it was a great experience though and we had a lot of fun.  We got to see several little baby monkeys hanging on to their mamas.  So cute!

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Kaohsiung Night Markets

One of our absolute favorite things about being in Kaohsiung has been experiencing the night markets.  Scott put together this awesome video of the night markets:

We LOVE the delicious food at the markets and it’s also hilarious to see how many people go crazy over Carter.

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^^Seasoned chicken on a stick, candied sweet potatoes, pot stickers

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^^Mango shave ice

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^^French fry battered and fried corn dog

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^^Not really sure what this one was but it reminded us a lot of quiche.  It had lots of cheese and bacon!

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^^Cream shave ice with mangos

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^^Fried squid

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We decided to start a fun video project during our 12 countries trip called “Girl Eats World.”  I think Scott thinks it is more fun than I do… considering I’m the one who has to eat all the nasty stuff…  Here’s me eating Stinky Tofu!

In Search of Lt. Kao

My grandpa has a special request of Scott and I while we’re in Taiwan.  We’ve been asked to find relatives of one of my grandpa’s friends.  This isn’t just any friend though, this man was my grandpa’s assigned buddy in the Army Ranger School back in 1961.  My grandpa speaks of his friend, Lt. Kao, with a deep respect as these two men shared experiences with each other that helped them survive Army Ranger School (what is considered one of the toughest military schools in the world).  They depended on each other to complete Ranger School and they graduated together in 1961.  After graduation, Lt. Kao returned to Taiwan and the two men corresponded with each other via letters for a several months.  In April 1962, my grandpa received a letter from a Lt. Chao informing him that Lt. Kao had died a few months prior at the Chinese Ranger course.  My grandpa, and many others lost a great friend when Lt. Kao passed away.

My grandpa is seeking to make contact with Lt. Kao’s family here in Taiwan so Scott and I have been asking a few friends that we’ve made here so far, but nothing has come of it.  The other day we decided that since a branch of the Republic of China Military Academy (ROCMA) is here in Kaohsiung we’d go there and see if we could find Lt. Kao’s records.