All posts by Catherine Lee

Taipei Lantern Festival

Yesterday’s Lantern Festival in Taipei was spectacular – a huge area near the Expo and Art Museum and everywhere were lanterns of all shapes and sizes, many of gods and ancient sages, myths and traditional stories, also big lantern displays from schools of all ages, fun lanterns and aboriginal indigenous ones, all with an abundance of horses of course….

Happy Year of the Horse ~ and that marks the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations for this year…. and a new semester starts next week here at SJU!

Happy Valentines Day…

and Happy Lantern Festival – the last day of Chinese New Year, and there’s lantern horses everywhere and big celebrations tonight…

Should you be looking for someone to celebrate Valentines Day with, look no further than this new sign that I noticed at Chinese New Year in a street near St. James’ Church in Taichung….

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Love it!  Just hoping that ‘Everlasting’ applies only to ‘Marriage’ rather than the whole title – otherwise their work’ll never be done!

2014 新北市平溪天燈節 Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival ~ Truly Awesome!

Truly awe-inspiring, honest!  Definitely a sight to behold….

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Yes it was raining, the beautiful hot and sunny weather of last week having been replaced by a cold front of drizzle and cold, but nothing dampened our spirits on Saturday night at the Pingxi Junior High School as hundreds of lanterns were sent heavenwards.  Truly an awesome sight!

Pingxi is an old coal-mining town in the mountains up beyond Taipei and famous for its annual sky lantern festival, made even more famous in recent years by several international media outlets, including CNN, who have proclaimed it a must-see event….

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People can go at anytime to buy a plain lantern, write their wishes and prayers, and send them heavenwards, but even more spectacular are the 3 occasions when the New Taipei City Government organizes a mass launch, and the one on Saturday was the second of these, when 1,950 traditional lanterns were released in 10 sessions….

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People had been registering all morning to take part, everything was incredibly well-organized and worked like clockwork.  The first launch was just as it got dark….

The second was for VIP guests, including none other than Taiwan’s President Ma and lots of foreign dignitaries who had also come along to write their wishes and launch the lanterns….

When the lights went out and the 200 lanterns were launched, the sight was so amazing ~ and the collective gasp of awe from the crowd showed that everyone had the same experience, truly awesome!

May Almighty God hear our prayers, and grant us peace and love in this dark world….

Yuan Zai 圓仔 Baby Panda ~ so gorgeous (and awake!)

Taipei Zoo’s baby panda Yuan Zai 圓仔 is charming the whole country, but she doesn’t half like to sleep ha ha!  Queues and queues of people (limited to 19,200 per day) have lined up to see her for 10 minutes of viewing time during the Chinese New Year holiday as she made her public debut, and there she is (or not, if she’s often hiding) fast asleep….

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Taipei Metro kindly shows the current panda viewing times and available tickets on electronic noticeboards on some of its platforms around the city – and so there it was that I came to be in the zoo on Saturday afternoon especially to see the baby panda, and with only 5 minutes to wait to see her…. (unlike morning visitors who had to wait 2 hours!)

Zoo entrance fee is only NT$ 60 (about £1.20), well worth it to see a baby panda, who people say, wakes up in the afternoons – and YES she was wide awake and sitting on the top of a tall branch smiling at us all and moving around, while mother was wandering around below…

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Not easy to get a decent photo, but she is just sooooooo cute and gorgeous – if you have a chance, you just MUST go and see her!

 

Chinese New Year 2014!

And what a New Year it was!  The best weather ever ever ever, certainly ever since I ever remember – it was wonderful!  Praise God YES!

Started with the New Year’s Eve Banquet just up the road at Shuang-Lian Senior Care Centre, invited by my good friends Rev. and Mrs. Hsu.  Definitely the in-place to be on the night!  Over 100 tables, over 1,000 people, whole families of 4 generations, delicious food and red envelopes for all the residents – fun!

Then on New Year’s Day (Friday) to Taichung by High-Speed Rail – not easy to get a ticket, but we did! Stayed on the 8th floor at St. James’ Church, guests of Rev. Charles Chen and MaryJo and their family.  Hospitality of the highest degree.  Even spent the afternoon at Ji-Ji in Nantou County, famous for its railway station which was destroyed in the 1999 earthquake and has since been rebuilt….

Yummy yummy food food food, we ate and ate all the holiday!

In between-times, visited all my friends from past and present.  Great to see everyone! One of the highlights was joining up with my former fellow-student Fr. Joy for a special lunch with our former Chinese teacher and her daughter. Hadn’t see each other for years and years!  Another was meeting up with Rosie and her family, she had come to St. James with CMS for 6 months to replace me in 2001 while I went on home leave to the UK.  She’s still here in Taichung all these years later, married to a very handsome husband and with a gorgeous little girl and a baby on the way!  She came to the English service at St. James’ Church where I was doing the sermon….

Ah yes, and not forgetting 2 lovely families both surnamed Lai, plus church members and colleagues, past and present….

Ah, so many friends, so little time – see you all next time!

And eventually back to Taipei – spent yesterday on an outing with the SJU staff fellowship to Taipei Zoo (no time to see the panda cub, but we did see big daddy!) and MaoKong Cable Car, lunch (with a very descriptive English menu!), tea plantations and cherry blossom….

Thanking God for His many many blessings over the New Year, including sunshine ~ Happy Year of the Horse everyone!