Skip to main content

Mid-Autumn Festival

On the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, which was on September 22 this year, we got to learn about one of the biggest festivals of the year here in Taiwan (a long-time Chinese one actually) which was on a weekday, so Kelly and Christopher had the day off from work and school. We attended a family potluck event at our church at noon and enjoyed our first Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Moon Festival. An essential part of this holiday is moon cakes, not to be confused with Moon Pies from the United States. Apparently, people give this delicacy as a treat to others to celebrate. I never did try any, because I'm kind of a chicken at tasting new things since I got here. I know, I know, I'll eventually broaden my horizons, and soak in the culture, and all that. I'm taking baby steps, so please cut me some slack.The problem is I don't ever know what I'm going to bite into and have been surprised by some textures and fillings. For example, moon cakes are often filled with egg yolks to look like the moon, but the cake part is sweet, so the mixture of those two flavors kind of throws my taste buds off somehow. Anyway, let's get back to the ward activity at our church that we attended. First, here's an image of the center of a fancy moon cake.
Since the shipping container of my kitchen tools is somewhere in the Pacific Ocean between Los Angeles and Taipei, I had to be resourceful as to what to take to the potluck. Activities where I'm supposed to bring food are my favorite, and I would never want to show up with a bag of chips or something boring. How could I come up with an entrée or appetizer that I thought might be edible to my new Taiwanese friends? Would they look reluctantly at my concoction the way I look at moon cakes, with skepticism and uncertainty? It was challenging to come up with an idea, especially considering I had practically nothing to prepare it with. Luckily when I went back to Texas, I realized that I had not shipped my Easy Accent Decorator when the movers came, so I brought a spare one back with me. It was kind of a gamble, but I decided to make the kid-friendly recipe of Ants on a Log, or celery sticks with peanut butter, and instead of raisins as the ants, I used grapes. Since eggs seem to be popular, I whipped up a classic American egg salad, then spread some on toasted bread, which I had cut into small square pieces. I got plenty of compliments on the celery sticks, but only got positive reviews from my American friend, Rachel, on the sandwich bites. Everything I brought got eaten quickly, so perhaps people liked it, but I don't really know. Communicating here is often a barrier for me.
The lunch at the potluck was really good, mainly Chinese food, and there was plenty of it. I should have gotten a picture of everything, but I didn't remember soon enough. We played a few games and did an activity where one person had to stand in the middle of a circle of others, with arms folded and eyes closed and feet planted firmly on the ground, then lean backwards or forwards or sideways as the group would toss the person in the middle in another direction. Obviously this was an exercise where we had to place our trust in others. Christopher was the first person to go, then we formed small groups to continue.

There was a chance for people to sing or to tell a joke, and one guy played the harmonica. He played the longest version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star I've ever heard, but was having a lot of fun doing it. Later his wife and daughter sang as he accompanied them.
Kelly was brave enough to tell a joke, the one joke in Chinese that he knows. Everyone laughed, so he must have done a good job. Either that or they were laughing at his accent. As you can see, members of our church have really embraced us and have gone out of their way to really make us feel welcome, and I'm so thankful to be among them.
The following week after the Moon Festival, I had my first visitors at our apartment. My two sweet visiting teachers, Demi and Charlotte, and three other women came to see me and it was wonderful to have some company.
Demi brought us some fruit that she said is traditional to have during the Moon Festival. It's similar to grapefruit and apparently only grows in this region. In English, it's called a pomelo and in Mandarin, it's called yodzeh. It's almost pear-shaped and has a really thick skin with big seeds and tastes sweet and citrus-like. It was really good. Demi also taught me how to cut it and said that they often make a little hat for the kids to wear with it, so I saved the organic hat for when Christopher got home from school.
Christopher thought the yodzeh hat was awesome! Thank you, Demi!
Christopher loved his hat and even considered wearing it to school. For about a second.


Shana said…
I LOVE the pictures at the church building. I feel like I'm there! Keep them coming. This is so exciting. They must love having a beautiful blond around all the time.
Julie said…
Seeing the pictures from the church activity and your visiting teachers made me cry. If you were not a member of the church you probably would not have any friends. What in the heck would you do. I love our world-wide church. It doesn't matter where you live in the world, you will always have a brother or sister in the gospel to hold you up, to bear your burdens, to make you smile. To bring wearable fruit to you! I love the pictures and am loving this adventure you are on. Keep it coming, I love all the details.
jennie w. said…
I don't like trying weird food either. Do they have some sort of candy festival?
Casa de Mask said…
What an amazing post, Kelly!! I agree with Julie, reading this made me cry. What an amazing journey you are on. We love you guys!
~ Tina said…
ok... the twinkle twinkle part cracked me up! love it!
Hey, you don't give yourself credit... I think you are tasting and trying a lot beyond your comfort zone, so keep smiling, I'm cheering you on!
Rachel said…
Alex complimented your egg salad too. I served him one, and he told me, "No thank you." When I told him you had brought it, he took it back. You see, it's a little risky taking a mixture of food in which you can't identify every ingredient. We've learned to be cautious.

Popular posts from this blog

Fun with Ninnies and Nini

Our family got to attend the monthly stake temple day at the Taipei temple on Saturday.   Lindsey and Christopher did their temple work, then waited outside on the beautiful grounds and at the chapel next door until we were finished with our session. After that, we enjoyed hamburgers at a place we heard about called California Grill, then did some exploring.
Lindsey arrived last week from Rexburg, completing 32 credit hours and her first year of college at Brigham Young University-Idaho. We are so glad to have her home with us!  She will be with us until she starts school again in September and will be taking two classes online in the meantime.  In addition to Lindsey's arrival, we've been blessed to have the company of 7-year-old Nini (her real name is Yeh Min-Yu) with us this week.  She's so darling and we love having her around too.  It's kind of funny that when Lindsey was a little toddler and she could not say her name well, she called herself Ninnies.  So we h…

Isaac's creation

One year ago today, this little angel came into our world, sent directly from heaven, without a doubt.  Isaac is our fourth child, but the first that I gave birth to.  He was the result of a successful fertility treatment called In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), our first and only attempt.  The fact that I was 48 years old when I got pregnant, is a miracle in and of itself.  I had long since given up the idea of ever being able to experience pregnancy and childbirth after having been diagnosed with unexplained infertility, until a rare contact from a dear friend had renewed my desire.  This is the story of how Isaac came to be, and the loving environment that welcomed him.  Take note of the numerous small miracles along the way, leading up to our pursuing this dream.

There was a three-week window of opportunity when our family had come to our Austin home for the holidays, while we were living in Taiwan for one year.  My long, lost friend sent us a beautiful Christmas card, perhaps the fi…

Flagstaff House Executive Chef Mark Monette's Family Legacy

Mark Monette, executive chef and partner of Flagstaff House, has been the man behind the scenes in the kitchen for countless special occasions and celebrations. This fine dining restaurant situated a few miles up Flagstaff Road in Boulder, perched at the Flatirons' edge with a bird's-eye view of the city, is where Monette has spent more than three decades fine-tuning his craft in this family run business. The restaurant and staff have received accolades and notoriety locally and nationally, including recognition for being named "Top Ten Restaurant in Boulder," "Most Romantic Restaurants in America" and "Best American Cuisine and Best Wine Selection." (This article is from a Q&A interview I did with him in February, 2017.)
Your father, Don Monette, bought the Flagstaff House in 1971 when you were 10 years old. What do you remember about the restaurant back in those days?
"We would come up here in the summer and work, and it was just busy al…