Yesterday was warm and sunny, so we went to the Expo Center for the Taipei Lantern Festival.
Theo and I walked to a nearby mall to pick up a few supplies requested by his new preschool. Of course, he couldn’t resist dancing on the large bird mosaic outside. (Really, who could?)
This is the Core Pacific City mall in Taipei, which was a pretty big deal when it opened and was even included as a landmark in SimCity 4.
As far as malls go*, it seemed nice enough, but it was almost surreally empty. Theo and I found ourselves walking hallways and riding escalators mostly alone. Perhaps Monday afternoons aren’t the best time for malls. Or, perhaps all of the people have flocked to the newer, shinier malls opened more recently. At least they left the bird.
* I’m not a mall person.
The park near our house is perfect for relaxing, playing, or enjoying a takeaway lunch while soaking up some sun. Between the peach blossoms and the increasing warmth, it’s feeling very much like spring here in Taipei.
Unexpected fact #254 that I didn’t know about Taiwan before arriving: pearl milk tea (often called bubble tea elsewhere in the world) was invented here in the 1980s, though you’ll have to take your pick of which specific origin story to accept. I’m definitely enjoying it’s relative ubiquity in Taipei. Aside from coffee, this is pretty much my favorite beverage, especially here where I can order it only slightly sweet.
Longshan Temple has been destroyed many times – by earthquakes, typhoons, fires, and American WW2 bombers – but has been rebuilt each time, and is still a popular place for Buddhist/Taoist worship. (It is also popular with tourists.)
For Theo’s first birthday, there were no festivities. He was still a baby. He didn’t care. (I even checked to verify that there were indeed no photos of some celebratory measure that I had forgotten. There weren’t. It didn’t happen. However, I found photos of Theo dated four days after he turned one, at a children’s museum. So, we must not have been too horrible of parents.)
Unexpected fact #255 that I didn’t know about Taiwan before arriving: the baked goods are amazing. (Well, at least the ones near our apartment in Taipei.) We’ve tried several nearby bakeries, and they all offer just slightly varying degrees of awesomeness.
Theo really seems to enjoy helping with certain cooking and cleaning tasks. Here, he is washing bok choy and vacuuming the kitchen in our Taipei apartment. For me, the mental battle is remembering to that there is long-term value in incorporating him into our daily household chores, even when it takes more time and energy than just doing it myself.
Beitou is accessible by the (clean, convenient, and affordable) Taipei metro system, but feels very much outside of the city, with lush foliage and paths that weave over a river flowing from a hot spring.
As Brian and I dropped off Theo at school on Tuesday, we told him that we parents were headed to school too – a cooking class at Ivy’s Kitchen. (A benefit of having childcare is that we can periodically go out together sans child. This is good for everyone’s sanity.)
In the class, we made vegetable potstickers, spring onion pancakes, and hot and sour soup, all of which were delicious. Ivy is an excellent instructor, who is clearly fascinated by cuisines and cooking in general.