103-Year of the Pi Ma

It has been a long while since I posted. Partially because I have been so busy with the day to day of living I haven’t had much time for any grand adventures to brag about, and well, partially because I’m embarrassed I have been so boring lately.

We did finally hike Elephant Mountain New Years Day. It was outrageously crowded;

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A few points of interest since the new year. I met with a Buddhist nun for a meditation lesson. Now I have my hesitations about religion of any kind but I really hoped it would help me sleep better. I went to her little flat near Guting station in Taipei. The power was out and it was raining. She sat me on a floor cushion and a candle for light and explained what meditation is and why people, Buddhists in particular practice it. Then she gave me my own mantra and had me close my eyes and guided me through my first meditation lesson. The actual meditation part was only about 10 minutes long and I was too distracted by the pattering rain to focus (or stop focusing), but I wasn’t expecting any miracles. I went back to the flat for a New Years celebration. I’ve been to a lot of different religious events in my life and this was just the same as the rest, singing, prayer, talk of worship, buuuttt they did have some great vegetarian food. Buddhism is not for me, though I have tried to meditate on my own several times since I have not been back to see the nun. I would like to incorporate meditation into my self work for year 103.

I have spent most of 2013 scouring Nankan for the best produce prices, reading, and planning my Chinese New Year holiday. I have learned somethings though;

  • For cheap produce the day market with all the old Taiwanese people is the way to go.
  • A haircut is not something you get on sale at Carrefour for the equivalent of three U.S dollars.
  • I now know how to say “whatever” “breakfast” “really spicy” and “be careful”. My short list of random Mandarin phrases is getting longer.
  • 2014 didn’t start exactly as planned, but I get a second chance to start the new year on the right foot with year 103, year of the horse.

This week I have been preparing for vacation and Matt’s visit. To keep myself busy this Sunday so I don’t go crazy waiting for him to get here I joined a new meetup group for a hike near Nanshjiao MRT station. The English translation is something like Ovens Ground Trail. It was a trail near a local temple, that was crowded with people praying for good luck and success in the new year. We paid our dues and did the same, you are supposed to give the god 10 NT then you get to make your wish and rub his beard and staff (when in Rome…).

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The hike had some good views of Taipei, and was fairly easy and short. I got to meet some good people that hopefully I will see again in the future for more events.

Just a short post before the winter vacation. I will be hosting Matt in Taiwan before leaving for Thailand for two weeks. I will have plenty to report on once back to my “normal” life!

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