Mochi & 99 Peaks

March 25, 2017

Recently, my co-worker called me a dinosaur. That is the nickname you are given when you’ve been working in Taiwan for 2 plus years. I have officially been in Taiwan for 2.5 years. Actually a little bit more. With recent events and promotions I will be in Taiwan for 4 years total. I know that is nothing compared to the people who have lived here 20 or more years. It is like a blink in time compared to the rest of my life, but it seems like a lot. It is way more than the year or two I promised everyone when I left home.

My last visit home I was giving “I don’t know” answers like it was my job. Maybe I was like the Oprah of unanswered questions; “You get an I don’t know! You get an I don’t know! Everyone gets an I don’t know”. Sadly, I am not nearly as cool or famous as Oprah, so when I was giving that answer repeatedly I felt like people were judging me a bit. I am sure they weren’t, but I still felt bad for being so vague. I honestly can’t give anyone my 5 year or 10 year plan because it changes every day. One day I want to say f*ck it, drop all my responsibilities, and move to Australia. One day I think about how important it would be to give back to the community in America through volunteer work and teaching.

I guess I am rambling on about this because I made plans to hangout with my friend from initial training. Oliver was one of the first friends and travel buddies I made when I arrived in Taiwan. AND he is STILL here! It is rare for that to happen. The idea of hanging out with Oliver after 2.5 years brought up all of these feelings. Mainly, plenty of time for reflection. I was thinking about how I have changed since I first arrived in Taiwan. Also, how Taiwan has changed for me too. I no longer look at Taiwan with rose colored glasses, but that isn’t a bad thing either. Because Oliver and I were in the same training group we knew each other pre-dinosaur era. We remembered what we told each other our goals were when we got to Taiwan, and can now look and see what our goals are now. We have both traveled quite a bit and we both went home to visit our families over Christmas. I enjoyed spending time with Oliver because it reminded me of old us versus new us. The things that have stayed the same and the things that have changed.

Now, enough of this mushy reflection time and onto what we actually did.

We met up in Nantou near the Mochi Museum. We still had some time before our DIY class, so we drove to a lunchbox place and ate some lunch. Back at the Mochi Museum we waited for our DIY class. The class was cute. We got to roll up the mochi into balls. Mine were so ugly, but they tasted delicious! After the class we walked around the museum. All of the facts about mochi were in Chinese, so we couldn’t read anything. Then we went to the shop portion. There were samples, and I think we tried everything. I was still a little hungry because I didn’t eat enough during lunch, but was super full after all the sampling. I ended up buying peanut butter mochi for my co-workers.

It was a bit later than we had thought, but we still decided to drive to 99 Peaks. It was a trail 30 minutes away from the Mochi Museum. Back on our scooters we headed towards the trail. One thing I never expected was how similar Oliver’s driving was to mine. We aren’t the safest, but we still don’t kill anyone. LOL! We got to the South end of the trail and started walking up the stairs. The pollution wasn’t terrible, so we had a clear view. We walked all the way around the trail loop in less than an hour. Sadly, we had to say goodbye sooner than I had expected. Oliver was going to be late to a barbecue if he didn’t leave. We said our goodbyes, but not our last.

I drove to Fengjia to meet Alex. We were going to visit Sean and Laura’s bakeshop, Brownies, Cakes, and Bakes, one last time. We got our night market potato and our treats. We sat in the shop for a long time just chatting. I couldn’t believe it was going to be the last time we would all stand in that small space together. It was crapped and warm, but the conversation filled my heart. Alex and I were getting tired, so we said our goodbyes and drove home.

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Never a small crowd at Fengjia Night Market

I have been feeling really tired lately, but dang my friends make all the outings and driving worth it. My chosen Taiwanese family continues to fill my heart. I hope wherever they are in the future I will get to see them again. But, it is not goodbye quite yet.