Such a fun day, and we got to go on the new skywalk ~ YES!
In September 1999, I started working at St. James’ Church, Taichung, about the same time as St. James had a new church administrator, Rebecca Liu. We shared the church office together, along with Rev. Charles C. T. Chen, the rector of St. James’ Church. Rebecca was our right-hand person, always so willingly on hand to do whatever needed doing whenever it was needed, and she was always always so lovely!
At Chinese New Year 2000, Rebecca kindly invited me to her home for the Liu family celebratory meal on Chinese New Year’s Eve. Their home is in Dadu, on the very edge of Taichung, towards the coast. Dadu 大肚 means ‘big tummy’, which is what happens to you if you enjoy too much the good hospitality of the wonderful Liu family in Dadu!
That evening, Chinese New Year’s Eve 2000, Rebecca’s oldest brother, his wife and 2 young children were also living there. Their little boy was called Bo-Shen, he was toddling around, and his baby sister, Yi-Ting had been born only about 2 weeks before, and their mother was spending her one-month of confinement after the baby’s birth.
That’s the history! While Rebecca was working at St. James, she was baptized and also changed her Chinese name to 劉恩渝 Liu En-Yu. Later she married very handsome Mr. Huang, moved to Changhua, and now their delightful 10-year-old daughter Han-Han is part of their lives too. This past Saturday I spent the whole day with Rebecca and her family, and y’know what, I also got to meet little Bo-Shen, baby Yi-Ting and the whole family, and yep, those kids are all grown up!
First Rebecca and Han-Han took me to the Liu family home, where her mother still lives, the same house in Dadu where we had spent such a happy Chinese New Year celebration all those years ago ~ YES!
Rebecca’s mother is now 68 and as energetic as ever, she helps at the local Dadu Community Centre every Saturday. All the old people in the local community are invited there for morning exercises, chat, lunch and karaoke, and funded by the Taichung City Government. Dadu used to be in Taichung County, but in 2010, Taichung County merged with Taichung City, and everyone says things are much better since, including the provision of special activities like this one. We went to the community centre to visit, and even had some lunch with the volunteers, all smiling away!
And then off we went, about 30 minutes drive away to Changhua, where Rebecca lives with her husband and daughter. Her husband, Mr. Huang is a teacher, artist and sculptor, and in his spare time belongs to a group called 醉石創藝協會 (Tsui-shih Creative Arts Association). They are currently having an exhibition at the 國立彰化生活美學館 Changhua Living Art Center, so we went to visit. Mr. Huang himself was at his pottery class all day, so we didn’t meet him, and the museum staff are very strict in enforcing the ‘no photos’ rule at the museum, so these photos are from Rebecca, and from the museum facebook page. Oh, I did get one photo from outside the main entrance, looking in. Mr. Huang’s amazing stone sculptures are mostly of turtles, and they are beautiful, just so life-like! The biggest one is actually the main exhibit in the main entrance ~ so you must go if you have the chance!
Just outside the museum is the start of the brand new skywalk that was only opened last month and is proving to be a major tourist attraction for Changhua. The Taipei Times article about it is here. The skywalk goes up to heights of 16m and it is just over a km along to Baguashan (八卦山), famous for its 26m-tall Buddha statue.
Saturday was a very very dull, overcast and muggy day, hot and humid with no breeze whatsoever, and no sun. So the photos are dull and overcast too, but maybe such weather is better for walking on a skywalk! The flame trees were in full flower and the walk is safe and secure. Taiwan has a number of high glass bridges and they are scary, but the skywalk feels very safe! At Baguashan they were selling eggs of every kind, including huge ostrich eggs, the biggest NT$ 550. It’s many years since I went to Baguashan, and we wandered up into the big Buddha as far up as shoulder-level to see the view and the exhibition. But it was very hot and the skies were getting greyer and blacker ~ so we were pleased to get back to the car before the rain started!
We went into town to visit Rebecca’s parents-in-law, in fact we parked outside their house to go for lunch. Mr. Huang senior is also an artist, and their house is full of his paintings; but he couldn’t stop long to see us as he was rushing off to attend an art exhibition grand opening ceremony along with his younger brother who lives next door, and, guess what – he’s also an artist!
So our next stop was back to Dadu to visit Rebecca’s eldest brother and his family, who now live in their own house not far from Rebecca’s mother. This is the same brother whose wife had just given birth to baby Yi-Ting in January 2000. Wow, and they haven’t changed a bit! Their son, Bo-Shen is now all set and ready to start in September studying Mechanical Design Engineering at HuWei 國立虎尾科技大學 (National Formosa University) in Yunlin, about an hour’s drive south of Dadu. Wow, such a nice, polite young man! We all sat around drinking tea and more tea, then coffee, and munching on snacks of every kind for several hours, catching up after 16 years, and talking about what life might be like at university. And we later switched to English. And here they all are!
And then Yi-Ting came home, who I haven’t seen since she was a baby. Of course she’s now 16, and plays the French Horn in her school wind band. There were 2 other band members with her and they were off to a concert that evening. Here’s everyone, Yi-Ting is the one down in the front with Han-Han!
And OK, one with me too!
And to finish off the evening, we went up to Dadu Plateau to Tung-Hai University Night Market for BBQ. Of course it was delicious, and y’know what? When we walked into the BBQ place, there was a family from Advent Church, the Yang family, whose son Paul was married only a few weeks ago to Christine, and the whole family was there having BBQ dinner! Wow, it’s such a small world! Here we all are….
And yes, I know you can see I’m there clutching Winnie-the-Pooh! It was a gift from Han-Han, who has inherited her father’s great art skills, and her mother’s great people skills, and just loves everybody and everything, and just didn’t want to go home!
But home we had to go, as I had to be speaking at the English Service at St. James’ Church on Sunday morning!
What a great day, such lovely people and such a fun time! Thank you Rebecca and all the family for such a wonderful welcome, and thanks be to God for such great friends and happy reunions!