Saturday, February 10, 2007

back to Taiwan...

Back again in getting ready for the big day--Chinese New Year! My trip to the Philippines was great! I had a lot of fun with the kids and enjoyed some Kapampangan cuisine. I took the kids to Echanted Kingdom...not much of an amusement park but the kids enjoyed it. I just wish I can afford to take them all to Disneyland so they experience a real amusement park. I'm planning on visiting again this summer (April to June) and get the children interested in gardening and maybe visit one of the beach resorts nearby like Subic Bay and teach them how to swim and appreciate the great outdoors...they spend too much time surfing the Internet and playing video games.

Back to Taiwan's most important holiday of the year--Chinese New Year! During this time of the year, you can see most people doing some major cleaning--washing their windows, mopping their floors and hanging red papers with writings on them. Five years ago, alot of people visits the market place in Jong Hua road where a bunch of vendors sell Chinese New Year items such as candies, red papers, and other items used during this certain holiday. Today, the market place is empty and most people prefers to go to western-style department stores own by either Americans or French. The culture in Taiwan also calls for the family to cook special dishes to be shared with the whole family on Chinese New Year Day; however, most families no longer cook. They order a "Chinese New Year Meal" from either restaurants offering the service and 7-11 stores.

Like poinsettas during Christmas time in the U.S., the comquat tree is also sold and displayed in front or inside everyhome. They believe it will bring them money luck with the yellow lemons symbolizing gold. I have a couple myself that bought the first year I was here and they bloom and fruit every year.

Finally, this is the time of the year when families get together and distant close relatives come home and stay for at least a week. This is when my husband and I feel obligated to spend at least 2-3 days at his parents house...something I find very uncomfortable since their standard of living is different from mine. It's also very difficult for me to sit there not knowing what they're talking about because my Mandarin is so terrible. But, since it's only once a year, I just play along--smile and nod and smile some more and eat whatever wierd stuff they put in front of me to show appreciation for their efforts and hospitality.