GYA16: Making Tofu at Yilan

Itinerary: Goat Farm 宜農牧羊場, Making Tofu Pudding and Tofu at 羅東農會

The weather has turned rainy and cold (60s!) again and after a weekend of activities, I took it easy Monday and Tuesday.  On Monday I took a friend, Rain, who is visiting from the US to a bookstore.  By now, I think it’s a bad idea to go book shopping with me.  People always leave with tons of books.  Though thank goodness Rain already knew the books she wanted so it wasn’t all me suggesting books.

We stayed home all day Tuesday.  I had some trouble buying the Puyuma train tickets and learned that you can’t buy more than 5 tickets at a time via the train app.  And also that even if it says it’s out of tickets, they actually release more the day of.

Wednesday morning, we rushed out the door at 8:15am to make it to the train station on time because we had to buy 7 tickets in person.  Thankfully there were seats that were mostly together.

Rain took us to visit her friend in 羅東 Luodon, which is 1 train stop south of 宜蘭 Yilan.  We had such a fantastic time today.  The best part is that all the locations are super close to the train station.  I love to travel with locals.  They never take me to the super touristy places and it’s always way interesting.


GYA16: Chun Shui Tang and Asian Pacific Cultural Day 春水堂和亞太文化節

Itinerary: looking for tutors, Chun Shui Tang, 中山地下街, Asian Pacific Cultural Day, sushi boat

The children and I had a wonderful mindful day together.  Well, at least the first half.  Then they got distracted by the cultural day events.  Still, it was really nice that we actually paid attention to each other.

I had a little talk with Thumper the other day about how she needs to let me know if she doesn’t agree with whatever is on her work plan and not passive aggressively choose not to do them.  She’s been great about learning herself the last two days.  I spent the time talking to Chinese tutors.  Astroboy, on the other hand, spent the morning eating breakfast and snacks while I was on the phone.



GYA16: Theater Show and Marukame Udon 影子牆 和 丸龜製麵

Itinerary: Children’s theater @ 文山劇場, 景美生煎包, Marukame Udon, Browsing for home electronics

Finally!  A day I’ve been looking forward to!   I highly recommend everyone to take their kids to a local theater show when they are in Taiwan.  My dream is the Ciao Hu stage production one they have yearly in the summer and fall.  But those are pricey and sell out quickly.

We got tickets to see 影子牆 at the Wan Shan Theater.  I took all 4 kids with me.  There were some issues with our tickets so we had to wait till 5 minutes before our show to go in.  To pass time, I bribed them with some baked goods from 85 Degrees Cafe, which is across the street, while I relieved the stress of being responsible for other people’s children by having some delicious Grapefruit Honey Tea.


GYA16: Herbal Doc and LoveReadBook 中醫和愛閱書坊

Itinerary: Herbal Doc, LoveReadBook, Socks, Sesame Paste

Did you know that pigs get fed moldy cake in Taiwan?

We went to toss our trash tonight and I was all ready to dump the moldy birthday cake in the compost bin.  But the guy sitting in the back of the trash truck saw the cake, picked it out, and tossed it into the “For pigs” bin.

I’m assuming it’s for pigs, that’s what the recycle poster tells you, that there’s a compost bin (堆肥) and one for pigs (養豬廚餘).  All I can say is, I hope the pigs from HUCC 主婦聯盟 don’t eat those cake.

Astroboy has been sick the last few days and it’s now progressed to his chest.  So time to go to the herbal doc my aunt goes to and get some 百合膏.  It’s like that 川貝枇杷膏 Chinese medicine thing you buy when you’re coughing, but made of Lily?

Fleur took Thumper to EP bookstore while Astroboy and I looked for the herbal doc, who opens at 2pm.  I still find it very strange that docs open in the afternoon and work till 9 or 10pm.  In any case, EP bookstore is this free “library”, with a $100 entry fee, which includes unlimited drinks.  You can’t buy books, you can’t borrow books, you can read books there.  The draw is the nice space with new books to read.


GYA16: Afternoon Bubble Tea

Itinerary: 翰林茶館 Hanlin Tea,大安運動中心 Daan Sports Center

The temperature dropped 10 degrees and it’s the low 70s today.  I even pulled out my long sleeves.  Yay!  Finally some cool weather!

After a morning where I buzzed around doing a bit of this and a bit of that and then felt like I got nothing accomplished, we headed out for some Afternoon English Tea at Cutty Sark.  We had wanted to go yesterday but decided last minute that with antsy children it may not be the best choice.

Basically, my tummy has been tempting me to go out every day.

We took the MRT to Taipei 101 to go to Att 4 Fun mall.  However, the darn Cutty Sark was closed!  That’s the English afternoon tea place I tried 3 years ago.  The one we tried to go to yesterday was closed too.  Since it was already 2pm, we decided to go to Hanlin Tea instead.  This is one of the 2 stores that claim to be the one who invented the bubbles in bubble tea.

hanlin (more…)

GYA16: Halloween and Bookstar

Itinerary: Children’s Amusement Park, 市立大學 Taipei City College, 曉食堂, Bookstar Bookstore

We got a late start today because we got home so late last night.  Though I was tempted to stay home all day, I felt bad because the kids have been talking about Halloween non-stop and we did buy them cat costumes at Yabook.

So I did some research and found out that all the big Halloween activities already happened this weekend.  Oops!  The biggest one is apparently the one in Tianmu 天母.  Not surprising since that’s where the international schools are.

Thankfully, the Children’s Amusement Park supposedly had an event where you can beg for candies so we went that route.  However, after lining up at 3pm to follow some little witch around the park, we found out the candy giving part was actually this morning at 10am.



GYA16: A Day with Relatives

Itinerary: Family lunch, visit cousin’s house, Marukame Udon 丸龜製麵

It’s hard to keep up the one blog a day habit when you’re out at 8:45am and back at 10:30pm!

We had a family lunch with my mom’s large family yesterday at Fleur Lis in Hsin Chu.  To make it to our 11:30am lunch, we left the house at 8:45am because we had a 10am train to catch.  But, next time I know I don’t need to leave so early!

First, we got to the bus stop a bit early and had to wait.  Then we go to the Taipei Train Station 30 minutes early and had to wait.  I did not know how convenient it is to transfer to Taiwan Rail (TRA) 台鐵 from the green MRT line.  We basically got out of the MRT ticket gate, walked right across to the TRA ticket gate, and then upstairs to the platform.

Took us all of 5 minutes.


GYA16: Looking for DVDs at Electronics Shopping District 光華商圈

Itinerary: Electronics shopping district for DVDs

It’s been raining the last day or so and the weather has been down to the 70s.  We took it easy Saturday morning to catch up on school work.  After a nap, we headed out at 4pm to go find some Chinese DVDs.  The electronics district is right off of 忠孝新生 station.  You take exit 1, walk back, turn left around the school, and it’s 2 little tiny blocks ahead of you.

Of course, by the time we got there, the kids were hungry so the first stop was a little stand that sells 紅豆餅 Red bean cakes. These were huge ones that had tons of red beans in them.  Thumper couldn’t finish one.  I also sprang across the street for more winter melon lemon tea 檸檬冬瓜茶, my new favorite type of drink. (more…)

GYA16: Raohe Night Market 饒河夜市

Itinerary: Homeschool, Raohe Night Market

After 3-4 days of running out first thing in the morning, we finally took it easy today and had a 3 hour work period at home.  It’s been hard getting the kids to homeschool because it takes so many days for them to get into the routine and we haven’t had days like that.

Because Astroboy is sick once again, I made him take a nap as he doesn’t breath well at night and keeps jerking awake.  After our nap, we took the bus down the hill and went to 7-eleven to pick up my train tickets to Hsin Chu this Sunday for a family gathering.

I’m still trying to figure out the train e-ticketing system.  What I did today was to download the 台鐵 app and reserved 3 tickets.  Apparently you can reserve a specific train or any train within a time frame?  Not sure how that works.  The app allowed me to pay online with US credit card, specifying whether or not they are children’s tickets during that time.  Then I went to pick up the tickets at 7-eleven’s iBon and putting in the reservation number.  There’s a handling fee of $8 per ticket.


GYA16: Taipei Zoo and Art Class 台北動物園和蘇荷美術班

Itinerary: Homeschool, Maokong, Taipei Zoo, Mos Burger, Soho Art Class, Uber

Wow, we’ve been having jam packed days the last few days.  Will probably need to be a homebody soon.

We finally connected with a local homeschooling group that has outings this week and last minute decided to join their trip to the Taipei Zoo today.  To get there we tried out taking the bus instead of MRT, since buses are much cheaper ($15 per segment) than long distance MRT ($40-$50).  Plus sometimes buses are more direct than MRT.

Since the bus got there way earlier than we expected, we took a detour to Maokong 貓空, which is right next to the zoo.  貓空 is high up in the mountains there are tea plantations around there.  But because we were pressed for time and the whole trip is 2 miles each way, we turned around half way.