So, this past New Year's celebrations were some of the best I've ever had! We didn't go to some great party and it was very low key but deliciously enjoyable. We went camping with out ward! For any unfamiliar with LDS lingo, a "ward" is like a congregation that you're assigned to based on where you live. They're often called "ward families" because people in the ward typically try to help out other people in the ward. Moving on.
So, we were told that the ward was having a camp out for New Years and since we had no other plans, we decided to go! There are a few other English speaking foreigners in our ward, but we were the only ones who decided to go. Because of this language/culture barrier, we were a little worried, but we ended up preferring it that way. What stuck with me the most throughout the weekend was how unfailingly kind and thoughtful everyone was of us. There are a few Chinese members who speak some English and they were always trying to help us. In fact, all the members who didn't speak English were always trying to help us too. We're seen as these young, well meaning but very confused people who are a bit strange but in an endearing way. You can see it in their eyes and it's great. I wish I could adequately describe how welcoming and eager to help they all were (and still are). So, without further ado, the pictures.
|Here we are New Years Eve night|
The camp out started on New Years day and we got there a bit late because we had to work til 9:30 or so. It took about an hour and a half to get up there, so we got there about an hour before the new year. The Bishop was kind enough to give us a ride. He's great.
|In the morning we had breakfast. Lots of unappetizing (to us) Taiwanese food, but we scrounged up enough passable stuff to not go hungry.|
|This is what the site looked like. It was really nice for a camp ground! Nice stone tables and chairs. Great barbeques and cement squares to put the tents on top of.|
|There was this nice walkway connecting all the tents.|
|This is the bishop's family. His wife speaks GREAT English and their kids are just precious.|
|This baby's great. Nearly always completely stone faced. Hilarious.|
After breakfast the whole group walked to this beautiful recreation area. It was a big field surrounded by the green mountains with lots of flowers and everything too. I wish I'd taken my camera there. To make things better, we'd expected the whole weekend to be freezing cold like it had been leading up to it, but it ended up being perfect weather. Nice and sunny and in the low 70's.
At the field we played ultimate frisbee and baseball and chatted. We actually brought the frisbee and taught a bunch of people how to play. It was so great trying to explain it to them and then watching them all try. So endearing. We loved it.
The whole weekend, but especially while we were at the field, will probably end up being one of my favorite memories from Taiwan.
When we were done, we walked back and had lunch.
|For lunch everyone just barbecued a wide variety of foods. They relentlessly tried to feed us EVERYTHING. I was brave enough to try one of those dark squares you see on the right. Blood rice, which is exactly what it sounds like.|
|I tried a little bit of this too. It looks like meat, but I think it's made out of fish eggs or something. Apparently a delicacy.|
|The meat in the back plus the green peppers were the best.|
|I just thought this guy looked great.|
After lunch, we went for a nice walk and then took a pleasant nap.
|The road next to the camp site. The area was actually really nice. Very pretty.|
|This house had a neat style and was just randomly there in the camping area.|
|It was totally falling apart and didn't seem to have a purpose|
|The place we were at was a reservoir, I guess, with lots of pretty green mountains around it.|
|Tom throwing some rocks.|
|We climbed down by the water and chatted for a while, just enjoying being out in nature.|
When we got back, it was time to pack up and go! But first, we took a group picture. Isn't this a great group?
Happy New Year!