Saturday, June 26, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

Where is home exactly?

We've been back in the US for a little over a week now and have been on the go the entire time.  I think the first 5 days I slept in a different city each night.  It's all been well worth it though to see friends and family that we've been missing since Christmas.  This weekend was extra special because Jeremiah's brother got married in DC.  It was a beautiful wedding and tons of the Sullivan family were able to come out, some of whom I hadn't met yet.  It was nice to catch up with so many people at once, get to know aunts, uncles and cousins I didn't know, share in the wedding and welcome another sister to the family!

We fly back to Taiwan in 5 days but this time we're bringing a few special guests back with us and boy are we excited!  Stay tuned....

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Best wishes and belly dancers

Last week we went to a wedding of a co-worker.  This wedding was like no wedding I'd been to before.  And from what I've read and been told, it was very common for Taiwan.  It started with dancers:

Then lanterns were brought on stage:

The family was presented to about 600 of their closest friends and family:

They brought out the food, and more food, and even more food.

We toasted:

The bride had a wardrobe change:

And we chatted with our (oh-so-cute) table-mates:

I hope we have more weddings to attend while we're here - it was an amazing experience!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Looking back, I probably shouldn't have done it

Allison has been posting quite a few pictures, so I thought I'd throw a little story on here.  A couple of weeks ago, I went on a field trip with one of the middle school classes to the little island of Liouciou.  We hiked, biked, snorkeled, and ate great food.  Overall, it was an amazing trip and everyone had a great time.  However, there was one little incident from the trip that will always stick with me...

After an epic bike ride up one of the steepest hills, we coasted down through the trees until we go to the empty beach down below.  Our students quickly kicked off their shoes, rolled their pants up, and waded out into the velvet sea.  The other teacher and I watched them as I started to look for sea glass for Allison.  While the students were playing, I spied a couple coconuts on the beach, and immediately decided that I would get some coconut when I got back home.  But then it hit me, why wait until I get home, when there is a perfectly fine coconut resting a few yards away from me.

I quickly called for one of the students to throw me the coconut (yes, I was lazy that day) and, being students, picked it up and threw it back in to the ocean.  A couple of kids started tossing it around and eventually, I was able to convey to them that I wanted the coconut because I was going to open it.  By now, most of the kids were out of the water and quite a few had headed back up to their beaks.  I took the coconut over to a huge rock near the pathway as two female students and the other teacher walked over with me.  Palming the coconut, I bashed it against the rock as hard as I could.  As it struck the rock, I could instantly tell that water had soaked the husk because it made a dull thud as it connected.  It didn't take more than three hits before I was able to pry the husk off.  After I'd peeled it off, I could tell the coconut didn't look like a "normal" coconut, but a lot darker.

As I held on to the smaller inside of the coconut, visions of coconut meat and milk dance in my head.  I got a little giddy as I began to swing my arm back because the students watching me had never seen an coconut opened before.  After the first swing, the coconut made solid contact with the rock, but I could tell it was going to take a little more effort.  I would up and hit it a little harder, but nothing happend.  Finally, on the third go, I gave it my all and heard the wonderful sound of the coconut splitting in two.  Now, looking back, I probably shouldn't have done it.  I should have picked up on a hints.  Usually, I'm good at picking up on those types of hints.  The soggy waterlogged husk, the darkness of the shell, and the hot hot sun.  But, I didn't.  And in that split second after I cracked the coconut open, all five of us were greeted with the strongest and worst smell in the entire world.  It was as if someone had bottled up the Black Plague inside of the coconut and I had opened Pandora's Box to release it back in to the world.  In the split second following the smell hitting my nose, I instantly felt a thick good envelope my hand and I look down in sheer terror as it rolled all the way down my arm.  I almost threw up and I'm pretty sure some of the students threw up in their mouth a little.  Without thinking, I sprinted towards the ocean to wash the rotten coconut milk off my arm.  Washing my hands had the opposite effect that I wanted it to and the oil was spread all over my hands and arms.  My hands smelled rancid five hours and I was sick to my stomach each time I caught a whiff of it.  The students thought I was crazy and the other teacher couldn't stop laughing.  However, I did have fun walking up behind people and putting my hand under their nose without them knowing and making them cry.