Sunday, April 15, 2012

Four years in Taiwan

I arrived in Taiwan on April 15, 2008.

I fully intended to write something meaningful and memorable to commemorate this day. Heck, I had hoped to do something memorable today. Alas, my celebratory activities consisted of buying myself a new houseplant and some socks.

This blog entry will likewise be just as exciting.

But, there are pictures!

Click on photos to enlarge

Here is the last photo I took on my digital camera before I left the US.

And here's a photo I took while on the plane.

My first photo in Taiwan.

I arrived late in the evening on the 15th and was met at the airport by two of the greatest guys you could ever hope to meet.

Here are some images I captured on that first day as I wandered around.

And in the following years…

April, 2009


April, 2010

April, 2011

April, 2012

Hey, that's now! My camera has been broken since February, but here's the last shot I was able to take…

Perhaps mind control rays (which surely were emanating from the aliens responsible for that weird cloud ring) broke my camera.

My goal for year number five? Improve my Chinese—which will be my goal whether I'm here five or fifty years—and enjoy my family, friends, and life as much as possible.

Oh, and find out where I can get my hands on some corn tortillas.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My first Passover Seder

Last Sunday I was honored to attend my coworker Phil's gathering, which he called My Super Amazing Fantastic Awesome Happy Fun Time Seder.  It turned out to be quite an appropriate name.

He and some of his friends prepared a ton of food. Most guests also brought a bottle of wine (which would be needed as this was definitely a wine-drinking ceremony).

Each place setting also included a script which allowed all of us to take part in telling the story of the Jewish exodus and the traditions associated with Passover. 

It's always great to share a meal with good friends, and Phil is the consummate host, as evidenced by his introductory greeting:

"Feel free to participate as much or as little as possible. This is to be an egalitarian and cultural event, and I tried to make it as friendly as possible. If, however, your religious sensitivities are upset, then by all means you do not have to do any of the rituals. Enjoy!"

A truly super-amazing-awesome-fun-happy-time awaited us!

Click photos to enlarge

A lot of preparation went into this event…


…including lots of cooking…


…and lotsa matzah.

The matzah must be prepared from start to finish within 18 minutes!

But all that preparation was worth it.

The guests arrive…

Phil now explains Yachatz, the breaking of the matzah. During dinner Phil will hide one half of a matzah, called the Afikomen. After dinner, the children (or "young at heart" for our group) will hunt for the Afikomen and the winner will be given a prize.

It's now time for the second cup of wine and the Magid—the retelling of the story of the Jewish exodus.

At last, Shulchan Orech—the feast!

After dinner it's time for Tzafun—searching for the Afikomen (broken matzah).