Happy Year of the Sheep

Happy Chinese New Year!

We got 6 days off for CNY this year (4 days off from work with a weekend), but time sure flies when one’s having fun! It was hard to go back to work after, but thank goodness for the 228 long weekend which offered a nice 3-day buffer before returning to the 5-day grind next week.

CNY is a pretty big deal in Taiwan and it’s equivalent to Christmas in the West (Taiwan celebrates Christmas too, in a superficial, Christmas-tree-and-gift-exchange kind of way). It’s all about family time during CNY! Here’s a quick recap of what I did:

Day 1 (CNY eve) – CNY lunch.

Grandma's amazing cooking

Grandma’s amazing cooking

It’s all about the food for CNY. It is tradition to eat family dinner on the eve of CNY, but we usually celebrate over lunch instead. Grandma and uncle’s family flew back from Beijing for the holiday, so it felt extra festive in Taipei! It was almost a complete family gathering minus my aunt, who unfortunately had to work.

Grandma and my baby cousin Howard

Grandma and my baby cousin Howard

Family photo

Family photo (minus my aunt, who unfortunately had to work)

Day 2 – Hiking with Xiao Wu

Zhongzheng hiking trail

Zhongzheng hiking trail

It was a day for getting lost. Xiao Wu and I had planned to hike the Zhongzheng hiking trail near Beitou, but we got lost and hiked some nameless trail instead! We did not encounter a single living soul along the way, and my cellphone was running out of battery (I rely way too much on Google map), but we still managed to find our way back to the city!

As the saying goes, it’s the journey that matters and not the destination. I want to get lost more often.

Day 3

– Karaoke day with mom and sis.

It was my first time going to karaoke with my mom and sister, and we had a great time. My mom is a great singer and she almost entered a singing competition after graduating from university, but life forced her to be realistic and find a job instead. I wonder if her life would be different if more people had heard her sing?

– “American Sniper” with mom, sis, and CY

I have mixed feelings about the movie. On one hand I think the movie is great in showing us the dilemmas faced by a sniper and for not glorifying America’s role in the war against Al Qaida, but on the other hand it also felt like propaganda. I don’t know if I agree with the Oscar nomination.

Day 4 – Day trip to Shiding with Family.

Nature hike

Nature hike

Tofu pudding in coconut milk

Soy pudding in coconut milk

In Shiding, we walked my dad’s favourite trail and ate the local delicacy: tofu. I want more soy pudding!

I went for dim sum with WY in the evening. It’s been a long time since I last had dim sum, and the place we went to actually used the traditional carts on wheels to push around the snacks (at Brother’s hotel in Taipei). Even though they don’t take reservations so it’s almost always going to be a wait, I have definitely added it to my pocket list.

Day 5 – Mage war with WY

I lost again; no surprise there. 2 games in 4 hours this time – a big improvement from our 7-hour game the first time.

Day 6 – Shiding with WY

We visited Qiandao (thousand island) lake. Words can’t describe what a beautiful place it is! It was quite different from my Shiding trip two days ago. Both were nice though, in different ways. I am so thankful to WY for taking me out on so many adventures; my world is growing with every new place that I visit.

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And that concludes my 6 day Chinese New Year break. Eventful, exhausting, and full of memories.

Happy Year of the Sheep!

聚 – A Gathering

I went out for lunch with my uncle and aunt-in-law today because they’ll be flying back to Beijing on Tuesday. We had hot pot at 聚, another company owned by 王品集團. So far I have been to 4 of 王品集團’s restaurants (王品, 原燒, 陶板屋, 聚), and they have all been great! My favourite part is that it’s one price for the meal and you get the whole set: appetizer, main, drink, side dish, dessert, another drink at the end…

聚is a hot pot restaurant that uses Japanese kelp soup base. I chose the milky kelp broth and it was so good!


It was really nice to hang out so much with uncle this time, because in previous years, I hardly ever got to see him seeing that he was always working in Beijing and I was studying in Vancouver. Having family feels awesome. :)

On a side note, I have to attend an awkward lunch tomorrow. Dad thought that it’d be hilarious to play matchmaker, and arranged for our family to go have lunch with a family that he met through a lady that sells sweet potatoes downstairs. Anyway, they have a son who’s not married. Dad likes him because he has a PhD. It’s going to be an interesting lunch… I can’t wait.

New Year Lunch with the extended family

Today I visited grandma for New Year’s, and to wish our new aunt-in-law a very happy new year. :) The weather is so lovely today too. At first mom wanted to go to the zoo to visit the baby panda, but it’s already 2:30pm and the zoo closes at around 6pm, so we’re probably going to watch a movie in theatres later (maybe “Jack Reacher: Shadow Recruit”).

Happy Chinese New Year from my family to yours. :)