We took a day trip up to Taichung today to visit my grandmother, affectionally known as 阿媽 (á mà). It was a really good trip.
Unfortunately, my grandmother is suffering from dementia, and the last time I had visited her (2 years ago), I was caught completely unprepared with the first line that came out of her mouth when she greeted me at her door, “And… who are you?”
Anyway, the updates I received on her condition over the past 2 years weren’t too good… it was mostly that her condition was continuing to deteriorate.
So when we arrived, I was very pleasantly surprised to see how healthy she looked. She seemed vibrant and full of energy… and she was definitely excited to see me and her great granddaughter.
But despite her strong physical condition, her mental condition was indeed deteriorating. Not only did she not remember me again… but I would actually have to re-introduce myself to her every 15-30 minutes. Whenever she left the room and then came back again, she would ask things like, “What’s your name? What’s your daughter’s name?”
Despite all of this, we still had a wonderful time going to lunch and hanging out in her house.
Last night we attempted the popular and touristy Liuhe Night Market. On a Saturday night. Really not a good idea.
I generally love night markets because it is really just a street or area with one food stall after another. So dinner ends up being an eating progressive. An order of this or that from each food stall that catches your eye as you make your way down the street. And Liuhe has EVERYTHING. It has many foods that I won’t eat – like stinky tofu or BBQ’d animal organs, but it also has lots that I love to eat! Deep-fried oyster mushrooms, zhongzi (sticky rice), dumplings, green onion pancakes, noodles, papaya milk (Mike’s favorite), etc. You have to remember to pace yourself though because it’s a long street and there’s always something else you’d like to try just a few stalls down.
Jennica drinking sugar cane juice and eating roasted corn on the cob at the night market
Susan ordering deep-fried squid on a stick
It began okay because we arrived a little early (around 6pm), but after our first stop at a shao long bao (dumplings) stall, the street became increasingly crowded. On top of that, throw in a section of the street that allows mopeds to drive through and it’s complete chaos.
Moped pushing through the crowds at Liuhe
Still, we made it about halfway down the night market before the crowd of people just became too much for Jennica…and Mike.
Afterward the husbands (my cousin, Mike, and Greg) took the kids back to our apartment while the wives went out for night shopping, more eating, and foot massages. Thanks guys!
Final food stop for dessert – sweet tofu soup w/ peanuts!
This is my first Thanksgiving in a foreign country since I was eight. And while it can still feel like Christmas in Taiwan (decorations are abundant and there are even carolers!), Thanksgiving is just another Thursday here. So we went in search for any traces of what might feel like “traditional” Thanksgiving – that means turkey, friends, and family.
First, we were very lucky to have our friends Susan, Greg, and their 2-year old Gabe come in to visit with us starting on Thanksgiving. Then we did a search for any restaurant that might be serving turkey that day. We actually found a few! We decided on the Ambassador Hotel dinner buffet. Next we invited our extended family. Presto! Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving Dinner at the Ambassador Hotel
There were probably only 10 other people total eating in the restaurant there that night (and all were most likely hotel guests), so it was great – no lines! The best part though was probably the iced coffee and all-you-can-eat Haagen Dazs ice cream (in my opinion). Or maybe it’s that none of us had to work to prepare anything for it and the hotel was in charge of clean-up!
Greg’s beautifully plated dinner
Family and friends at the Ambassador buffet
Ashley, Mike, Jennica, Gabe, and Susan
We hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and would like you to know that we are so thankful for each one of you!!