Friday, 28 May 2010

Late April to late May

Here we go again with a long picture post!

Quite a number of events have happened since our last update, the first of which was our Chinese Special Assembly Day. As seems to be the usual thing now, Martin was put in charge of the bus and he gives the current mags to the bus driver. Here's the chap leafing through the April editions.=)

We were in the same sports centre in Banqiao as for the Circuit Assembly back in November, as you might remember. These are most of the 2244 in attendance.

Two weeks later, it's early May and we're in Taichung (Taizhong) for the English Special Day and here are the 450-odd who gathered there. It's SUCH a relief to hear the programme in English, esp. as I was just waiting to go home all through the Chinese day (and was off school with that nasty headache and earache virus that's been knocking folk down at both ends of the Eurasian mass, I hear). It was nice to catch up with friends from all over the island as well, including David and Janine Sachs who arrived from Germany (and who used to live in Cornwall for a few years recently) back in February.

Another two weeks on and it's the Zone Visit Special Talk! Martin was on bus duty again and the drier was delighted to see the May 'Awake!' as he said he'd been trying to give up smoking for ages!!

This is the same stadium that was used last time I went to a ZO visit meeting and back then about this many were gathered too, but that 12 years ago, the 5000+ were all the bros in Taiwan. This time, it was just over half as about another 4000 were at 2 more locations in south and east Taiwan, tied in by telephone link. There were two visiting speakers and it was a wonderful programme.

I felt sure that the programme was localised as the first speaker encouraged us to use our own discernment and to think for ourselves (it's quite characteristic in the east to follow along with the authority figure or with the tradition without thinking about it at all), whereas in the west, he probably would have had to remind the brothers to be more obedient!!

Here's the deaf section joining in the song. (This one's for you, Sylvia, so I hope you're still following along!)

The second speaker was GB member Bro Splane and he spoke about not falling into the trap of relying on 'Saul's armour', i.e. not being mislead by worldly thinking which, on the surface, can seem very sound, (i.e. you need umpteen qualifications to get a job, so you must get a degree, or don't risk your job by taking the day off for an assembly when your boss has refused permission), but are really forgetting the Source of our support.

Here's Bro Splane himself, with his interpreter, giving his marvellous talk. If anyone's interested in some notes from both of these talks, I'd be happy to type some up, but you must tell me you want them first or I won't know, OK?

Onto school matters and we're now on holiday after our third term. Martin re-took the TOP exam which I passed in November, but he missed by one point and was pleased to pass, not only the basic, but also the intermediate levels. So, he now has a level higher than me, (as I've never taken the intermediate monster - I tell you, these tests are HARD!), so I want to try and take it in August, if at all possible, but it may not be.

This is the class I've been in for the last term. We're missing the Swede, the Spaniard and the Japanese guy here. I'm glad to be getting a new teacher as this one has a fixation with murder and suicide and it gets a bit much at times!

Yesterday we took a trip up the hill near where we live to the Maokong area. It's a tea growing area, with lots of lush, tropical greenery as you can see here. The rather muggy, wet weather makes it look even more what you expect of the sub-tropics, no?

I loved this roof that seemed to just pop up out of the trees here.

And here's another sterling example of classy Taiwanese architecture!!!

This is the view across between the hills and over to Taipei city. You can see some of the apartment buildings which lay between where we live and Maokong as well as the 101 building in the background (although that's rather indistinct - it's just above the big temple building on the right hand hill). You can also just about see the Maokong Gondola cable-bars and the bit pillars that hold the lines up. As seems to be our thing, we had a hazy day for photos, but as it's a local place, I should be able to get clearer photos later on.

The following two photos were taken in the 'outdoor classroom' gardens section of the Tea Promotion Center. There were some wonderful plants up there, including a dumpy tree with a clump of papayas growing and ripening, and a number of amazing insects. Sadly, the enormous butterflies never rested, so I couldn't snap them.=( They can get huge though - as big as small birds!

So, that's it for this lot of photos. As it's holidays, we're planning on doing some more tourism Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, so there should be more local landmarks soon. We decided to stay home this time, but to do the places we wanted to see that wouldn't really be convenient to go to on our free afternoon after school. We have plenty for those days as well!!

We've booked our tickets for Japan and are trying to get plans for that finalised. A couple from Kyoto/Kobe visited our Hall last week and invited us to stay a night with them when we're over there, which as we wanted to visit Kyoto, is most welcome. We're now working on our Japanese language (which I learned for a year 10 years ago and is all new to Sir), so that we can talk to them a little as he seems to speak nothing but Japanese and she knows a bit of English and a tiny bit of Chinese. So, that's all set for 12 days from late July to 8 August, when Martin will give the talk at Michiyo and Darren's English group and then we leg it for the 'plane back to Taiwan!!

And then, 3 weeks later, we leave Taiwan altogether. We haven't booked the ticket as yet, but we plan to spend 3 nights in Seoul, Korea and then fly on for a fortnight with Martin's mum and step-dad in Germany. Should be home about 14 September - volcano permitting!!

Now then, what have YOU all been doing?? Don't just sit there letting me entertain you, provide something for us to read!=)

1 comment:

  1. Amazing on all counts. Thank you for showing us a glimpse of your travels; I'll never see it (these places) for myself and your snaps are wonderful depicting the real Taiwan and elsewhere in the Far East. Fascinating as it is, I'm not up for these experiences so many thanks for sharing yours.