Saturday, 23 April 2011

Final week in Taiwan

So, it's the last week, and a busy one too. There were a number of invitations to meals etc, (which saved a lot of messing around with shopping and cooking!!), and this first one shows us on the last full Saturday with the Fengs from Xindian congregation along with the student Martin was passing onto Bro Feng and another family they've been studying with for a while. The older of the two boys plays the cello rather well and, bless him, was quite willing to run home and get his instrument to play for me. Next time, I guess.=)

On the following day we had an open house afternoon with 20-odd from Wenshan cong dropping in for afternoon tea etc. Those who kindly lent us things were also able to take them home again afterwards, which made things easier for us, esp. as we had no car over there. We were also able to give away a number of things to local bros and sis, such as heaters, the fans, our printer and even my school bag!!

On the Monday we went up to the northern suburb of Tianmu to a lunch do at Martin's last teacher's place. Technically, the term didn't end until that Monday, but most classes managed to squash in extra time in the earlier weeks (mine had two 9am starts instead of 10am ones to make up the needed two hours), so this teacher had her final 'class' at home. We just had a meal and then legged it off to get on with final things.

This is what the living room looked like a day or so later! We were out with a family of Bible students on the Tuesday evening, but after that it was a case of really getting on with the packing. As we'd only brought two boxes with us, I'd hoped to be able to get it all back into two, but no such luck! I had to get another three to cram this lot in! And then the fun with setting up the TNT account and the two hours on the phone on Thursday morning to get the 30% price that showed for Taiwan customers! It was £305 from there, but over £900 in the UK... It was two hours well spent!

This is the Shuiyuan Market building at Gongguan. We passed this at least twice a day on the way to classes and for many months it was hidden from site behind scaffolding etc as it was getting a facelift. This was what emerged later on, all done in blues to match the name - 'water source'.

On, I think, the final Thursday, we went out to do a bit of spending (got some Chinese clothes from one of the markets), but first took up an invitation from the Lis to go and eat at their breakfast bar.

The food was lovely and, although I wouldn't normally have such heavy things for brekker, the egg and spring onion/scallion pancake rolls were to die for! We'll certainly call in there again when we go back sometime.

This is a typical market aisle. Along here there are three or four shops selling traditional Chinese style clothes. I got a few blouses and Sir a few shirt-type tops. He can't wear them with a tie, but they do still look very smart.

We couldn't resist this display of shoes on one of the streets near the market. One good thing is that the stall holders never mind you taking photos. In the UK, you'd almost certainly be shoo-ed away, but not in Taiwan. They're so laid back!!

Thursday night saw us at Wenshan cong for the very last time. We had a few shots taken with some friends and then the whole cong got together for this great group shot.=) During the Service Meeting, Bro Cheng had us up to talk a little about our plans etc, which was quite cute.

Now it's Friday and, whilst poor Martin ended up having to stay home to wait for the TNT van to come and collect the boxes, I went out to the 101 building to meet up with Sisters Xie and Fan who'd invited us for lunch in a restaurant on, I think, the 37th floor.

Outside one of the entrances to the 101 shopping mall, just where many of the tourist coaches drop of thei load of rich mainland Chinese tourists, you can often see protesters and human rights activists trying to draw their mainland cousin's attention to certain atrocities in China. I often hoped that the local cong also took advantage of the visitors!=)

Here's my dinner in the 101 building that day. Very nicely done, isn't it? Full marks for presentation.

And here the three of us girls are outside the cafe after eating.

After that, I dashed off to collect our final paperwork from the language centre, meet up with Angela for coffee and cake in a cafe at Guting and to treat myself to a box of pencils from the art shop near the school. When I got home, Sir was out trying to get his final hours of the serivce year in (he missed the target by only 2!! Not bad, considering!), and I cracked on with packing the cases for our trip home, which was to start the next day with the taxi man upstairs taking us off to the airport at 10:30am. Rose came about 8am to collect the crockery, bedding and other bits and pieces promised to her and Sis Cai called in about 10:15 to collect what she wanted of what was left.

And that was it for our year in Taiwan!

Next up are two postings on Korea, then Germany. I'll put some more Taiwan photos up in the months to come.

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