Monday, February 7, 2011

Trains, Faster Trains and Mountains oh my!

There has been a lot going on these past days, and most of them out of my control and scheduling... so the kids have been taxed to their limits and rarely gotten naps (and when they do, they are about an hour at most!) but really, under the circumstances, they are doing fantastic! Chase's picky appetite really hinders him here, he takes one bite of something, spits it out and says 'All done!' And then won't eat anymore of what is being offered... so he has been eating crackers and peanut butter, popcorn and chips for WAY more 'meals' than I would like, but when he is hungry and there is absolutely nothing being offered that he will even try, it seems better just to get at least something in his stomach before bed :(

Because of the infringement on naps, lack of Chase-type foods, tons of walking, and meeting so many new people, Chase has started getting a bit of an attitude at times. It is hard for him, and it is hard for me to have to handle him in these situations, since I know that is not his normal self. On the other hand, even with all of the craziness going on, and people swarming him in public (because they think he is a cute little girl) I really feel like he is doing well with all that is being put on him and expected of him, while being hungry and tired. He is really smart and is figuring thing out pretty quickly... he has figured out 'Shea-shea' ('thank you' in Mandarin) will earn him a smile and a laugh, and just about whatever he wants from the extended family.... including candy (geesh, at least they only give small things, and they are usually less sugary than American candies).

Ami is doing really well also, with basically no sacred nap times in the last few days, she has been a trouper... sleeping in the Ergo carrier, in Nai-nai's arms and on couches for as long as she can tune out the noise... and then crashing at about 7pm for the night. She recently tried to say 'Ai Lau' back to my dad when he told her 'I love you,' and has done it a few times since, though I haven't heard it myself. And just today while playing peek-a-boo with my dad in the car she said 'A boo' back to him when he stopped for a minute... I am pretty sure she said it at least 8 or more times during the rest of the ride.

What the last few days have looked like:

Feb 5 & 6: We took the subway with 5 pieces of luggage, one back pack, one camera case, two purses and a diaper bag with a baby in a Bjorn (on Baba) and a toddler in an Ergo (on Mama), and six adults a handful of stops to the High Speed train station. Took the high speed train an hour and a half to Tainan, took a van with all of us and our luggage an hour or more through the country side that had tons of rice fields, then up a mountain, on twisting and turning roads that sometimes double backed upon themselves, and to a resort town know for it's hot springs: Guanzihling.

(Chase looking out the van window on our way to the mountains)

Jeff's grandparents bought a house up there about 20 years ago, and since their passing Jeff's father, aunts and uncles have been caring for the place. We stayed at the home (circa American 1950's styling), and walked into the town a few times. I stayed back at the house quite a bit more than the rest to have the kids nap when I could, so I missed out on eating out a few times, and going on a few excursions... bummer for me, but the kids were SOOO much better after the times when I could get them in a bed! The house was cool, but needs quite a bit of repair (as in, there was no hot water, and we couldn't figure out how to make it work so none of us took showers during our stay there, a leaky toilet, and just old house maintenance type things), and since none of the children live close, it is hard for them to keep it up... they are probably going to have to sell it which is such a shame, since it is in such a cool location, and really a pretty cool house... but being over an hour to the nearest kid's residence, when they all have their own homes must be a bit taxing.
(305 TSAI, Guanzihling)
(Inside the addition)
(Original part of the house: kitchen/dining and stairs to the upper level)
(Living area with bedroom behind that cabinet wall, and view into the addition... oh yeah, and my mom, hehee)
(View from the second story 'hall' that looks into the loft bedroom and opens into the two story living room)
(View down from the hall balcony, Mom, Dad and Ami are hanging out)
(View from the 'Japanese' room, where the walls/doors slide and you sleep on the floor. This was Mrs. Tsai's room since she didn't mind sleeping on the floor)
(The cool vintage light fixture hanging in the two story living room)
(Family portraits and memorabilia fill the lower part of the addition of the house)

(Looking out the window to see my neat mother in law bringing Chase back from a walk around the gated neighborhood)
(Funky fireplace, cool floor tiles, and Chinese house slippers)
(A garden table and stools - all natural boulders/rocks)
(Baby orchids hang from the front tree on panels of Snake Wood)
(Baba taking Chase for yet another walk around the neighborhood, this time to see the mountain view with Mama)
(One block away from the house was this gorgeous view, palm trees, elephant ear plants, flowers and mountains ... and a bit of trash, but that can be overlooked when compared to the rest of what you see)
(Jeff and Chase against the setting sun and palm trees)
(Flowers were in bloom in the tropical climate... so warm and wonderful)
(A view of the street with the neighbor's hedges and walls... pretty cool to my western eyes)
(Mrs. Tsai on the porch swing with Chase... he loved it)
(Jeff's Grandparents were both born in the year of the Rabbit... so since this is the year of the Rabbit again, they would have turned 84 this year. Also notice the strange 'bobble head' crustacean thing in the lower left... it was pretty weird ;) )
(Hanging out on the porch)
(Chase playing on the vintage floor)

On the 6th my parents, Jeff and I went into town to a hotel that had private hot spring tubs and got to spend an hour there. It was really relaxing, and I got to spend a little time away from the kids... they were both napping on couches in the lobby while we were in the hot spring tub. That afternoon Jeff's cousin Tiffany, her husband and little girl Ya-ya stopped by the town on their way back from the New Year holiday. It was great to finally meet some more of Jeff's relatives, and Tiffany was especially fun to meet as she is close to our age, has a similar aged child, and studied in the States so she knows English really well and I could actually talk to her! It was so nice, and she was super nice too... maybe she is on facebook so we can keep up with each other :) .. we will see.
(Chase fell asleep at the hotel while we took hot spring baths)
(Jeff and his Steelers garb in rural Taiwan... I doubt anyone else there would even know what football is)
(Nai Nai holding a sleeping Ami at the Hotel)
(Chase got a treat from his second cousin Ya-ya, she is 18 months and they are about the same size)
(Ya-ya trying to open some tea... something she probably wasn't supposed to be doing, but I didn't know)
(Cutie pie Ya-ya playing on the stairs)


Danielle said...

thanks for the update! SO COOL! missing you guys :)

Constance Bovier said...

Mel, I pray safe travel for you and yours. May you know blessings each day