Monday, November 30, 2015

Anne Marie Sings at Taiwanese Concert

At the end of November, our school held a concert to commemorate a new sculpture on campus. Anne Marie was asked to perform the Taiwanese song she learned for the Foreigner Chinese/Taiwanese Singing Contest, as well as two other English songs. This became an awesome opportunity for her because she sang two praise and worship songs. Before she performed, she was asked on the spot to explain the songs and she was able to share about our Faith. The whole thing was translated in Chinese so the whole crowd could understand.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving in Taiwan

When the holidays come around and you're living in a foreign country, sometimes it can become lonely. You don't feel the same mushy feelings in the air around this season; no one is putting up Christmas lights on the street or their houses, T.V. programming doesn't get you excited for the holidays, you don't hear Christmas music when you go to restaurants or listen to the radio, no one talks about what they are going to buy for their families, etc. Thanksgiving and Christmas just feel like regular days in the heat of Taiwan (Temps have still been in the high eighties). This will actually be my wife's first Christmas away from her family. Last time I lived in Taiwan, I spent the holidays without any family too so I feel blessed to have my wife with me this time.

We have a couple Taiwanese friends who decided to have a Thanksgiving meal with us so we would feel more at home. They told us to not worry because they would get the food and bring it to our apartment. We were excited because my wife was having a hard time finding ingredients to make traditional Thanksgiving dishes. She is also still learning how to cook in Taiwan, since Taiwanese homes generally don't have ovens. Most homes only have a tiny stove top, which is basically those stoves you can get for when you go camping; so that makes it difficult to cook a real Thanksgiving meal.

The girls substituted the turkey with a chicken, pizza for stuffing, and of course the sweet potatoes were substituted by McDonald's French Fries! A perfect Thanksgiving feast!

This was actually our first time to have Thanksgiving in our home because usually we spend it at one of our families homes. This is also the first time we were able to use our wedding china. It was almost a classy Thanksgiving minus the McDonald's and pizza.

After the meal we told them a little bit about what its like/means to us to celebrate Thanksgiving in America. Then we put on the Christmas music and set up our Christmas tree!

Happy Holidays!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Chinese Singing Contest - Anne Marie Gets 1st!

After class one day in October, our Chinese conversation teacher approached Anne Marie and said she saw on her school file that she had a degree in music. She asked her if she could sing in Taiwanese for a concert in late November. Anne Marie reluctantly accepted the offer, feeling that she wasn't great of a singer and knowing it would be a lot of extra work on top of studying Chinese every day. We are studying Chinese, but the song was in Taiwanese.

The concert would be by one of our teacher's friends who actually wrote the song. It turned out that he was very famous and had won the Taiwanese equivalent to a Grammy some years ago, as well as other awards. We had the privilege of going to his house, seeing his awards, and getting to practice the song with him.

Our Singing Group

Every year our school, (中山大學 - Zhong Shan Da Xue) holds a singing contest for foreign students from around southern Taiwan. Our Chinese teacher convinced Anne Marie to compete with the song she was learning. She figured it would be a good trial run to help prepare her for performance in the concert. We also decided to participate with a group of 8 other classmates with a group song: Yen-j嚴爵 feat. PEACE [ 輕輕 Lightly ] Official Music Video

There was a lot of really good singers at the event. Many students who had been in Taiwan for years and had been studying Chinese for a long time competed. Anne Marie was the only one to sing in Taiwanese.

At the end, they announced the winners. The whole contest was in Chinese so I wasn't sure all the time what was going on. When she got called up to the front I didn't know why; but when she came back to her seat and showed me her prize money and certificate and I realized that she had won first place in the solo category!  We were both in shock!

Anne Marie and the other top contestants

Our group performance didn't even place. However we did get 1st place for best delivery!

*All photos provided by our school's faculty.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Lotus Pond Dragon Boat Race - 蓮池潭的龍舟

One of our Chines language school classmates was competing in a dragon boat (龍舟) race at Lotus Pond (蓮池潭). We decided to go out to support him and the rest of our school. Watching the race today got us excited for the Dragon Boat Festival which will take place next May.

Dragon boats are long narrow boats that hold twenty paddlers, one person steering in the back, and one person drumming in the front to keep everyone's rowing in sync.

It is believed that the use of dragon boats for racing originated in southern China during the same era of the Greek Olympic games. Originally, dragon boat racing was to celebrate the summer's rice planting and to celebrate the Chinese's dragon water deity. For some more info, check out Wikipedia.