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Kelly's parents arrive for Chinese New Year

We welcomed our first visitors since we moved to Taiwan six months ago, Kelly's mom and dad arranged to be here while he had some time off work during Chinese New Year.
Here's Christopher showing Grandma how to play River Rafting on Kinect Adventures.
We were told that traffic would be terrible during the holiday, so we didn't travel too far away and ended up going to most places we'd already been, such as Emei Lake.
"Orange you" glad I took some pictures of the fresh fruit?
Orange trees filled every nook and cranny of the hillsides, and fruit was plentiful and looked very tempting. We made sure to buy some oranges along the way.
Here's the plant that makes the betel nut tobacco-like substance that is sold here. It's not really tobacco, but more like a chewable nut that turns your saliva red and ruins your teeth. People actually pay for this product in little shops to have this happen.
This young woman was standing outside in the cold, selling wedges of this mystery food that we didn't really know what it was, but we bought some anyway. I think it is made from rice, but it looks like cheese or tofu.
Kelly ordered some and we weren't sure what we would get or how it would taste, but it was fun watching him converse with her in Chinese.
She grilled up a few pieces for us to go. It was somewhat tasty, surprisingly. I'm not very adventurous when I don't know what I'm eating.
Christopher was having fun talking in Chinese with her too.
We hiked for a while and that warmed us up.
It was quite chilly that day.
*Christopher, my 13-year-old.
*A couple of golden statues outside of a Buddhist nunnery.
*A chubby Buddha in the courtyard of the nunnery.
*Scenic view from the nunnery
We were waiting for Dee to come back, who was unaware that people actually live there, and he was trying to enter their home until we called for him to come back and he finally listened to us. We had a good laugh about it.
Here's the massive Buddha near the lake that we'd visited a couple of months ago.
We bought some fruit and vegetables along the roadside. This little old lady was so tiny, about four and a half feet tall. Look at her little wooden stool in the background.
Christopher arranged the fruit in the bowl when we got home and here's Kelly with his mom showing it off. The bananas were really small and firm, with a lot more fibrous texture than what I'm used to. We bought a few varieties of oranges which were really sweet and delicious. Later that day, we went to a reception to celebrate the temple sealing of a couple in our ward.

One of the missionaries was lucky to have his cousin, Becky, and her husband and son come here for a visit. Becky's husband grew up in Hsinchu.
This is one of the counselors in our bishopric and his adorable little girl whom his wife and he adopted. She's darling.
Here's Christopher with "wife," Joy. They get married in the Shakespeare play that they'll be performing in together later this month. The two of them have a blast telling everyone they are married.
This 11-year-old girl got baptized and we attended her baptism. Kelly's parents were able to meet several of the people from our church and they were kindly welcomed by everyone.
We stopped by the nearby Hi-Life convenience store to pick up a few tasty bakery items.
The first day that Kelly had off from work, we drove to Taipei and spent a few days there exploring.
We stayed at the Grand Hyatt and here's a view of the swimming pool on the 5th floor, from our 11th floor window.
The grand entrance had a magnificent tree that was decorated with fancy little red envelopes and red lantern ornaments.

There were all these beautiful natural elements that made the most wonderful art.
These were strings of leaves.

We headed right next door to the Taipei 101 shopping mall.

Almost every high end shop you can imagine can be found in the Taipei 101 mall.
There was some kind of live show being recorded, I think it might have been a lottery program.

We took Kelly's parents up to the 89th floor observatory.
There were hardly any lines, which was a pleasant surprise.

There were some little cards where people could write down wishes for the year. I wish I could have read some of them, but most all were in Chinese. We were thinking of Lindsey, wishing she could be here too, so I made a wish for her.

Local taste preferences were considered, as you can see a Seaweed Pretzel is offered as a choice. That probably wouldn't be a big seller in the United States, at least not in Austin.

We boarded the complimentary shuttle outside the mall to head to the MRT to catch a subway train.
We were intrigued by the Chinese New Year decorations on the bus.
We made it to the MRT en route to the night market.
The smell of stinky tofu filled the air and I visited the same shop I'd been with Lindsey and we bought a few goodies.

There was a giant W outside the Westin hotel that was very striking.

We were hoping to see fireworks from the Taipei 101 on New Year's Eve, but found out that they were only on the December 31 New Year's Eve, not the one for the Lunar New Year. We did see random fireworks go off at midnight from our city view on the 11th floor.
Christopher received his very first red envelope on New Year's Day. I still have a ton more pictures to upload from Kelly's parents' visit, but will stop here since this post is already quite lengthy, and will add more soon.


Dustin said…
Thanks Kelly! I loved seeing the pictures of your time with Marlene and Dee.. I can't believe how tall Christopher is! Beautiful area you guys are in.. Dustin
Wow! That looks like so much fun and how nice to share it with family!
Robert Choate said…
Looks like you all had a great time. Your in-laws look exactly the same as I remember them. They are good folk.
jennie w. said…
Seaweed pretzels? Ewww.

I love all the New Year's decorations!
Kathy said…
I'm with Robert.. Can't believe that Marlene and Dee haven't changed a bit! How is it that I am getting older and they are staying young? This is NOT fair! You all look great! So wonderful to have visitors when you are feeling all alone in a new country! I sure enjoyed our chat a couple of weeks ago. I hope all is going perfect for you! Miss you! Kathy
Annie Japannie said…
You know what's funny? I have a picture of the same seaweed pretzels from when I went to the 101 mall!

They were pretty tasty though :)
Bobbi said…
Looks like a fun visit. It is so great to have loved ones come visit when you live in a foreign country. I love all your pictures, and feel like I get to see what it is like over there. Thanks for sharing, and Happy New Year!
Dianne said…
Kelly, looks like a great celebration and so nice to have your in-laws there with you. I like the wish you made for Lindsay.
Julie said…
I love all the red envelopes adorning the tree in the hotel lobby. I would have tried the seaweed pretzel. Marlene and Dee look exactly the same, they have not aged! The design elements in the hotel were gorgeous!

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