With Three Months Comes Freedom

December 4, 2006

As of Friday I have been in Taiwan for three months.  That’s 1/4 of the time I’m committed to, can you believe it?

The biggest change for me recently is that I finally got up the nerve to drive my scooter out of Luzhou.  A whole new world has opened up to me!  I can zip over the river into Taipei, or head in the other direction to check out that park that was always just out of reach.  I have nothing bad to say about the public transportation I had been using up until now, but it’s great to be a little more independent.  Also, I’m not sure exactly how big my gas tank is, but it only takes about 4 bucks to fill it up!

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas around here.  Well, maybe not Christmas in Minnesota since the weather here is still in the 60’s, but I drove into Taipei to do some Christmas shopping this weekend and bought a little tree and some decorations.  We’ve been decorating the kindergarten like crazy too, as well as preparing the kids for the annual Christmas program.

I’m really looking forward to Christmas, as nontraditional as it will be.  My dad and brother are coming over and we’ll be heading down to Hualien and Taroko Gorge for a few days.  We may not be making snow angels, but how’s this for a winter wonderland?


  1. That’s where I’d like to spend Christmas. Wow, it’s gorgeous. Plus, I can just tell by looking at the photo that it’s not 7ºF there with a -2º windchill, like it is here right now. Awful, just awful, and it’s not even winter here yet…

    The whole winter wonderland thing for Christmas is greatly over-rated.I think Taroko Gorge looks like a much better place to be in December.

  2. Hey, there’s an upside-down Christmas tree in that photo. See it? If not, perhaps you haven’t spent the better part of your youth reading Highlight’s magazine in the doctor’s office.

  3. There IS an upside down Christmas tree in the photo! Who knew!!

    Hualien and Taroko Gorge are incredible! Another beautiful (and aerobic) thing to do is to go to Shi Tou Shan (Lion Head Mountain) near Taizhong, if I remember right. It is (or was 30 years ago!)the center of Buddhism in Taiwan and you can hike up the mountain and stay over night at one of the temples. Then hike down the other side of the mountain the next day.

    Truly, truly an incredible experience.

    Joy Hayenga

  4. Funny thing–after the post about the upside down Christmas tree, that is ALL I see now when I view this Taroko Gorge picture. I may not have read Highlights enough to be the first to spot the Christmas tree like Suzi was, but with my strong visual memory I will probably continue to see that tree long after everyone else forgets about it. @@

  5. I totally picked one with an upside down christmas tree on purpose… yes….

    Thanks for the suggestion, Joy. That sounds amazing, I definitely hope I have the chance to go there!

  6. Kaitlin,

    This is Chrys Reynolds, your old neighbor from next door in Minnesota. I just found out about your blog when I read your parent’s latest Christmas letter.
    Congrats on your graduation. We always knew you had all that in you. Also — remembering the plays in the barn, the Theater Design degree doesn’t surprise me at all — nor does the teaching.

    I think it’s wonderful that you are having such an adventure in your young life. I would never have had the “guts” to do anything so exciting alone.

    I’ll bet you’ll be talking like a native by the time you finish your year there and will be having a very hard time deciding whether to come home or not!

    I’ll keep reading as you keep writing. Love, Chrys

    PS: I can only see the upside down Christmas tree in the photo now, too. Weird, huh, what those kinds of things do to our minds!

    I’ll pass your blog information on to Niki. I’m sure she’ll want to read it after she finishes her last final tomorrow and after she recovers from having her four wisdom teeth pulled out an hour later!

  7. Hi Chrys, thanks for commenting. It’s good to hear from you!

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