Thursday, June 25, 2015

Weekend with Katy

My friend Katy and I have known each other for close to 12 years now.  We were only neighbors for a year in Alaska, and never even went to the same school. I feel so lucky we remained this close for so many years!  Katy and I had first talked about her coming to visit back in April, but the timing just didn't work out.  I had given up on the idea, but then she was given the opportunity to travel to Japan for work.   She then extended her trip, and was able to spend the weekend in Taipei!

I was so excited for her to visit, and although the weekend went fast we had a blast!  I actually had a job interview on Friday night (which I passed!) so Katy was stuck spending her first night as my moral support.  The next day we tried to beat the rain and hit up some of the local sights.  We then went on to get a manicure, which ended up being the most meticulous manicure we both had have.  They did a good job, but we almost missed our dinner reservations it took so long.  That night we had every intention of experiencing local nightlife: meant to take a power nap,  and then slept through our alarm.  Oops!  The next day we saw a few more sights, then continued on to the night market and shrimp fishing.   Katy had to leave the next morning, but it meant so much to me that she was able to squeeze in a visit!

Traditional Tea Tasting

Living in Taiwan, I have became quite the tea drinker.  Between my morning cup of tea and the local tea stands around the city, it has become a daily ritual.  With this new found love, I was eager to visit a traditional tea house.  My friend Judith and I discovered Wisteria Tea House, and were excited when we walked in and saw the large Japanese style room.  With low tables and cushions, everyone sits on the floor while enjoying their tea.  Taking a few minutes to read about the different teas, we decided on two and it was time for the demonstration.  They brought over the tea set, our cups, and the loose leaf tea.  I learned different parts of properly enjoying tea, such as seeping times and using a separate cup just to smell the tea before drinking it.  Here are some photos from this unique experience.  

Saturday, May 23, 2015


Mom made it back to Taipei, and we decided to continue our adventure by jetting off to Japan.  Our original plan was to visit Tokyo, but ticket prices and availability were not in our favor.  After a little research we decided on Kyoto, which turned out to be the perfect choice.  I fell in love with the city, and was awestruck by some of the sights.  The trip started off a little rough.  We waited about an hour and a half to get through immigration, all while fighting the hoards of people trying to cut in front of us.  We finally made it out of the airport, and after a little confusion got onto the standing room train. The craziness continued when we made it into the city about two hours later, but with some help from the locals made it to our hotel.  

Some highlights of our trip included Arashiyama, where we saw wild monkeys and a bamboo forest, Tenryuji Temple, Ryoanji Temple, Kinkakjui Temple, Fushimi Inari TaishaKiyomizu-dera Temple, Yasaka Shrine, and Nishiki Market.  Not a bad number to squeeze into a long weekend!  Here are some photos from the weekend.  

Hong Kong

Photo Diary from Hong Kong 


Sky 100

Friday, May 15, 2015


I hadn't heard much about Singapore before I went except that it was extremely clean and very expensive.  Both turned out to be true, but I must say I loved the city.  I was inspired to visit Singapore after learning that my childhood best friend Rebecca was there teaching at an international school.    We were neighbors when I was five, and hadn't seen each other in years.   Its amazing how life works out!  I flew into Singapore early Friday morning, and met Rebecca at her school.  It was a beautiful campus, which wasn't surprising after learning student tuition is around $40,000 a year.  I spent the day exploring while she was working, and saw some stunning sights.  Here are some highlights from the beautiful city.

Walked into this temple and was fascinated by what I saw.  There were about 15-20 monks sitting and chanting, while people were waiting in line throughout the temple to give each monk a red envelope.  

Marina Bay at Night