Saturday, 17 July 2010

June and July so far

So, what's been happening with us lately? Here's what we've been doing over the past 6 weeks or so.

David and Janine came to visit for a few days. They'd meant to go camping, but the weather was foul, so they 'camped' in our back bedroom whilst in the Taipei area. As it happened, one day of their visit was a public holiday, so we were able to go on a day trip up to Yangming Shan with them, a geothermal national park area actually within the city limits!

Chiang Kai-Shek had one of his many villas up there and this was the one he used as a guesthouse for his friends. It's actually a dull-ish green in colour and looks better on this photo than it did in real life. We couldn't help but feel it was a bad choice of colour for the outside walls!


This is view across part of the internal courtyard, where the external walls are a better colour!!


This scene is out in the park area itself. The cloudy area you can see is not low lying clouds, even though it was a rainy day without much visibility, but is smokey-stuff coming from the sulfur 'vents' up there. There are those who believe Yangming Shan is a dormant, but not extinct, volcano and it's monitored closely.


Here's me making my debut on the School at last. I did this as a stand in talk for a sister who'll be moving shortly and, thankfully, Tian Dixiong announced her name instead of mine for the second school, so I was saved a larger audience coming in. Having said that, he's given me a first hall talk for 19 August - less than 10 days before we leave!


About 4 weeks ago we took a business trip to Tainan, in the tropical sector of the island. Martin had a meeting with a local chap who will be needing his help with dealing with UK test houses for product components as well as some interpreting perhaps at some point. He had a wonderful time discussing elements of the product with the design engineer and doing it 95% in Chinese! Just the technical terms in English. This is the rather fancy restaurant that we were taken to on the first evening. It's very much like the Wu Wei Teahouse Yufang took us to in Taichung 2 years ago and that there's a picture of the central pool of at the top of the blog.



The next day, we went to visit a traditional Taiwanese embroidery studio and had a talk with the master embroiderer and his team - mostly relatives. This dragon is his favourite of all the designs he does.


He was kind enough to make a gift of this white based piece to us and here we are holding it. The lady, I think, is his daughter and she seems to be the administrator for the business. Sadly, much Taiwanese traditional work (at least the stuff that resembles Chinese style, not the aboriginal, tribal styles) is directly related to the temples and so has limited interest for Christians, but there were some neutral designs as well. The style is much bolder and brighter than mainland work is. He had a piece bought in China near the door and it was much subtler, with more realism and wasn't at all religious.


Tainan still has at least one of the old city gates intact and this is it. You can go up there and walk all around the top of the remaining wall etc. Very militarised, of course. Canons everywhere! Tainan has quite a number of things like that.


Our last port of call in Tainan was the Aboriginal Museum where I took this photo of one of the info boards outside showing members of the various tribes in their traditional costumes.


This is one of the tribal costumes (although I don't know which tribe - as you can see from the photo above, there are quite a number of them), which shows quite a lot of intricate embroidery and embellishment. Some of the costumes in display were really spectacular!


That weekend, after having to miss the mid-week meeting at our Hall for our trip, we went to catch up at the English - our first time there since arriving in Taiwan. It was lovely to hear an English talk for a change, given by a Canadian missionary brother we'd met at the last Chinese assembly. We didn't get to catch up our missed meeting as it happened, as the cong had finally managed to split their big Sunday afternoon meeting into the regular pattern and that week was the very first standard public meeting. They'd also finally started a Tagalog Bible study!

Whilst we were there, we caught up with a Filipina missionary sister who used to be in the cong Martin was in when we here 12+ years ago. She kindly invited us for lunch, and here and I with her and the Sponenbergs, a US missionary couple who've now been here about 18 years and are still in the cong I used to be in back then. Fun catching up!


Classes are going ahead as ever although Martin's actually at Pioneer School this fortnight. In 10 days time, just after PS ends, we fly out to Japan for 12 days, including a trip to Ebina for a Bethel tour and the English convention. After that we get the bullet train to Kyoto and spend the final few days with the Ostlers (Darren and Michiyo) finishing with Martin giving an English talk for their group on Sun 8th Aug after which we fly straight back.

After that we have 2 weeks more of classes, then 1 week to get all our stuff sorted (and probably fit in a tourist trip somewhere else on the island, say Sun Moon Lake or AliShan, or both!), then we're off to Korea on 28th. A sister we met at school has a brother in Bethel there and has offered to try and arrange for us to visit and stay for lunch!=) We also plan to have a look at some of Seoul.

Lunchtime on Tuesday 31st sees us leave Asia and fly on to Germany for 12 days where we plan to recover from the jet lag at Martin's mum's and play tourists a bit in the area too. We fly back to the UK on Sunday 12th September and get in to Manchester at 4.15 in the afternoon. We then make our way back to Leeds temporarily, where the first priority is to get a car so we can start flat hunting in Sheffield - our new 'assignment'. We wrote to London branch asking for their input on where needed help within easy reach of Leeds, asking specifically about Sheffield, and they said, 'Yes, please' to that and we've already been in touch with the brothers there.

So, plenty coming up to keep us busy...

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