Category Archives: friends

Breakfast all day, Stammtisch is your way! 

Feeling like brunch, I promise you won’t be disappointed at Stammitsch!

I often wonder how do people find these kind of curious, special places. In my case, one of my friends too me there. It is a little far from where I live, but driving to get there was worth every second.

Here is where you will find it:

小聚, No. 124, Section 2, Shulin St, West Central District, Tainan City, 700

TEL: 06 213 9798

Opens from 9am to 5pm, except on Sunday, cause they close at 3pm.

Be careful with the map, because it marks another place, which is just not Stammisch.

Go though the alleys and on your right side, you will see it.

During weekdays, they will take reservations, but on weekends, you gotta get there and cross your finger hoping that there will be a table for you.

It is a cozy little place where you wish you could stay all afternoon. With home baked bread, real cheese and different especial types of coffee you feel more like in northern Italy than in Tainan.

I delighted myself with bombón coffee, which was bitter and sweet. Bitter because I could taste all the hues of the excellent coffee they have,  but with a touch of condensed milk. It was delicious!!! Try it!

They have English menu and English service.

Eating in here made wonder why didn’t know it before. Brunch was exceedingly great.

The SunShower rating is

4.6/5

Please, you have to go there and tell me what you think!!!!

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Origin Denomination – Delica

Girls niiiiiight!!! What do you do? Get a white wine, of course.

Jessie and I were just looking for something nice and joyful to drink, and this was exactly it. Not to sweet and not too sour. Double layer only, grapes and some guavas right before the finish.

Continue reading Origin Denomination – Delica

99 is just a Number, but this Place will Relieve your Hunger. 

Only the most special cakes and the very best of drinks. The name is actually Noventanove, which is “99” in Italian, and it was named after it’s address:

ZhongShan St. No. 99

Here is where you will find it:


It is located in the heart of the city, so getting there should be easy, weather it is by scooter, train or simply walking, but I would not recommend car, as the centre is always crowded.

Continue reading 99 is just a Number, but this Place will Relieve your Hunger. 

Shiraz – Yellow Tail

I remember when they first introduced this brand in Taiwan, the Kangaroo you see in the picture was everywhere and there was even a man in a kangaroo costume, as if wine was something meant to for children. After a while the fuzz went down and you could only find it in the supermarkets. I heard people talking about it, and I had always wanted to try it.

Continue reading Shiraz – Yellow Tail

Merlot – Casillero del Diablo


Before I start I want to thank Grexxen and the Jessie, for getting me this piece of art for my birthday. Your friendship is the greatest gift.


In English, the Devil’s Cellar.

I first heard about this wine, when I was a child and saw and advertisement on TV. It told the story of the name was chosen. It had dark, mysterious effects and it was neatly narrated, to the point that I can still recall the voice and the story.

Continue reading Merlot – Casillero del Diablo

Origin Denomination – Marquis Du Village

This was not specifically wine night, but it was “Black Mirror” night. We started this series while drinking Cuvée Pierre – Minerva. But it was not possible to finish all the seasons in one night. For installment 2, we were accompanied by Marquos du Village, a satisfying origin denomination.

Of dark color and deep smell. Very similar to a shiraz merlot, but fruitier. There isn’t too much to say, but that it was a good companion for the night as it was smooth and soothing.

Fruitiness: 4.1/5

Sourness: 4.0/5

Tannin: 3.6/5

Style: Light – Medium

The overall SunShower rating is

3.9/5


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You may also be interested in these ones:

Origin Denomination – Norte Sur

Origin Denomination – Pierre de Montmaurels

Eurovision 2017 – Second Semifinal (Quick Note)

The opening

Out of nowhere one of the hosts gets a flute and other other an accordeon. It is hard to top Sweden when they have presented such great musical numbers the last two times they hosted the Eurovision . So, to start the second semifinal with a compilation of some of the past Eurovision hits, but with Ukrainian instruments and dance moves. Beautiful start. These are some of the moments where you can see all the people involved in this event and how much the care about the details. Personally this begging got me thrillied ’cause the play my favortite song and the one that got me involve in this, Fairytale by Alexander Rybak, Norway winner of 2008.


After that amazing start let me five you the highlights


Romania – Pelasurable exccentricity

The name of the song is “Yodel it”, and it is a rap. Guess what? A ras never won. But I guess, that is not the point. This song is a compilation of so many sounds. It’s is one of those things that you can’t either love or hate, it just gets you a smile out. Listen by yourself! If you it got you a smile and rise your eyebrows in amazement, then you are feeling exactly the same as me. But, 12 points for Romania

Croatia

Opera and pop, this is usually a nice combination, but all sang by the same person….. ehh.. changing back and forth from deep and high pitch voice. I get that he guy has a talent, but people should understand that it is not a talent show and it is show that is solely at trial here.


Bulgaria
Sometimes it is the show and sometimes it is the eccentricity that get them tot he final, but in this case, it was a good song. As it should always be, eh!


Here are the other countries

1. Serbia – She has got a hot dancer with her, maybe she will deserve some points because of that.

2. Austria – Awwwww.. Cute. He young red headed Shia Lebouf

3. F.Y.R. Macedonia – Alright, very energetic, but she should learn some better dance moves.

4. Malta – Years back they used to have better song that were nice to listen and catchy… but it appears that last year failure was not a one time thing.

5. Romania

6. The Netherlands – destiny’s child?

7. Hungary – One of those classics that just want to show some folklore. But that is not enough, they gotta mix it with rap. Why?

8. Denmark – ok, nothing special.

9. Ireland – She has a hot air ballo… sorry I mean He has a hot air balloon… but it feels like he is the missing member of a 90′ boy band.

10. San Marino – Finally something nice.

11. Croatia

12. Norway- Disco time???

13. Switzerland – Pink and Yellow, pink and yellow… She might get to the final, but not win.

14. Belarus – folklore, folklore, and more folklore in white.

15. Bulgaria

16. Lithuania – I can only see more 90’s style. Am I watching the right show?

17. Estonia – Love her voice, hate his. Please, go get lost in Verona.

18. Israel – I still wonder why you guys are in the Eurovision. But with hot guys like this I feel alive.


This is the list of the contestant that passed and will be in the final

Eurovision 2017 – First Semifinal (Quick Note)

Even when it starts at 3 am in Taiwan, it is a show that I love to watch.

The Hosts

This year it is being hosted by Ukraine. Some years the hosts are really lame and they make the show terrible. Sweden has had the best hosts I have seen, but these Ukrainian guys aren’t falling behind. Nice, charming and witty.

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Kinda hot, if you ask me. I wonder if they are straight.


Highlights

Sweden!

So they decided to start the show with this absolutely outstanding handsome guy! Mans did a great Job two years ago, but I would not mind going back to Sweden AGAIN for him.

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Montenegro

A highlight? Yes! Not because he was good, but because he was a living braid helicopter, look at him! Then you wonder why the Eurovision is eccentric!

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Portugal

What a lovely song! Sweet, calm and it sounds so romantic. I am pretty sure he will not win, but it would be lovely if he does!

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The Other Songs

  1. Sweden
  2. Georgia – Beautiful voice, nice dress.
  3. Australia – His voice is too mature for his young face. I hated his background. Next time Aussies.
  4. Albania – Nothing special
  5. Belgium – I am surprised by her deep voice. Not my favourite, but the song is not bad.
  6. Montenegro
  7. Finland – it’s ok. Nothing more to say
  8. Azerbaijan – Not very good. I remember this country as having nice, well polished songs with classy performance. I think they are absobing the eccentricity from other. I, personally don’t see them in the final. But maybe if they buy it, of course.
  9. Portugal
  10. Greece – Nothing special
  11. Poland – Ehm… next.
  12. Moldova – They make think of Ed Sheeran… but, don’t misunderstand me, no nobody compares to Ed’s talent
  13. Iceland – a cape???
  14. Czech Republic – soft song, that is it.
  15. Cyprus – I actually enjoy this song. Very nice and the guy is good looking. Hope he makes it to the final.
  16. Armenia – Interesting hue
  17. Slovenia – Doesn’t he look like Robbie Williams?
  18. Latvia – Why??? are you the Miley Cyrus of Europe?
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Slovenia’s Robbie William

 

And if you are curious about Latvia

 

AN UPDATE

The countries that made it to the final are (in the order they were announced):

  • Moldova: Hey Mamma by Sunstroke Project
  • Azerbaijan: Skeletons by Dihaj
  • Greece: This Is Love by Demy
  • Sweden: I Can’t Go On by Robin Bengtsson
  • Portugal: Amar Pelos Dois by Salvador Sobral
  • Poland: Flashlight by Kasia Moś
  • Armenia: Fly With Me by Artsvik
  • Australia: Don’t Come Easy by Isaiah
  • Cyprus: Gravity by Hovig
  • Belgium: City Lights by Blanche

Ok, with Armenia, Greece and Poland, I  think they were just filling the remaining space. As these songs were not special at all.

I am also pretty sure Azerbaijan and Australia, pay quite a lot of money for this event, so even though they are not in the Big Ones, they always make to the Final.

Moldova, wasn’t a complete disaster. So altogether with Cyprus and Belgium, they are fairly in this list. Hope they do good in the final. and by this I mean I hope they do not end up last. I simply do not see them winning.

Sweden and Portugal. As you read before, they are some of my favorites. It would be very hard for me to have to chose between these two countries, but although the Swedish is hot, I think the Portugal guy has more talent.

As he did not needed much in his performance to make the audience vote for him. He did not even had to sing in English. His inicial introduction was so cute and not show off as others. It was only him in libraries and reading in the tram. He looks like a nice, well-hearted guy, with not only sweet voice but knowledgeable brain.

12 points for Portugal.


I hope you liked this quick note on the Eurovision.

I have watched the Eurovision for 8 years. Yes, sometimes it is disappointing to see get too political. But every year the show is espectacular, they put a lot of effort in the details and many of the performances are high quality. The songs feel fresh from what there is always on the radio. It can be quite weird sometimes, but it is entertaining. In short words, I love the Eurovision.

I will post again for the second semifinal and the final

Why don’t you subscribe and I’ll see you in the next post.

Cuvée Pierre – Minerva

Movie afternoon with Grexxen and SaltyAvocado went from great to amazing with the mind-blowing series “BlackMirror“. Even though this is not about the series, I seriously recommend it. It is full of unexpected twists and exploits different futuristic and technology situations. Some of them in the far future, and they might feel like impossible situations, but they leave you thinking when you realise that it might already be like that. Some other episodes present situations, somehow technology-related and that they could happen now or at any time. If I had to rate this series, I would say that the SunShower rating is

Continue reading Cuvée Pierre – Minerva

Bordeaux – Saga

RED WINE NIGHT! That’s what it was meant to be. Mainly because of two big reasons:

1. We have been having whites and recently roses

2. When I was in Dominican Republic, I brought back a curious magical bottle for Grexxen. It has roots and other twigs. The very first time, you are suppose to fill it with a red wine and leave it for 1 week, after that that you can fill it with any other types of alcohol and get shots every 3 days. We have to try it, right?

Continue reading Bordeaux – Saga

White Zinfandel – Beringer

It was not only wine night, but specifically Rosé wine night. I had never tried one of these before so it was a new experience. However, while writing “Why do white wines are better when chilled?” I read a few articles about how rosé wines are made and so I was expecting a perfect intermediate between whites and reds. What I did not have in mind is that the selection of the night would be a Californian Zinfandel. I was perplexed when reading this word, as I had not heard it before, but I discovered that these grapes are distinctive from California.

It was a delightful night, as we made our own tiny Europe in Tainan. My friend Grexxen chose this Beringer, which was a very pleasurable and enjoyable choice. Jessie, had the idea of accompany it with cheese and bread. And I provided some of the details, glasses and corkscrew.

Perhaps my perception of this wine will be a little subjective influence by the lovely evening with wonderful friends but I am trying my best to give the most accurate review.


The smell was sweet but not too much, lightly fruity and if I compare it to human life, it would have the maturity of a 23-year-old person. And its color was somewhat dark pink, a kind of color that looks beautiful in the glass.

Upon tasting it, it felt as a brand-new taste and not the intermate of reds and whites. It was sweet, but not too much and it had a little glimpse of sourness. It was a steady taste but the finish was probably the best part. I personally enjoy very much bitterness, and this one had a tiny little hue of it.

Regarding its characteristics:

Fruitiness: 3.9

Sweetness: 3.7/5

Sourness: 0.8/5

Style: Light

Found in: Carrefour, 7-11

The overall SunShower Rating is:

3.8/5

Click this link to read more about the Wine Ranks and Specs


Thank you for reading!

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Moscato – Italian Botter

Alright, since i have been rating the Moscatos all so high, I think we can all agree that I really enjoy Moscatos. My favorite being Frontera, but this one, gave quite a surprise.

Judging by the bottle, you may think that it is giggly, naive and perhaps inconsistent. We had serious doubts when selecting it, but since it is a Moscato, we decided to give it a chace. And I am really glad we did so, cause it was certainly a surprise.

And guess what? It is bubbly, almost like a sparkling wine.  Perfect for sharing with friends and spending and easy going afternoon.

It hasn’t many layers but it isn’t flat and the finish is simply charming. Leaving your lips satisfied and with a smile but naughty enough to leave you wanting for more.

Of light color and sweet pineapple-ish smell. I may even dare to say that there was a taste of peach right before the finish.

Sweetness: 4.6/5

Fruitiness: 4.6/5

Body: 4.0/5

Found in: Simple Mart

The overall SunShower rating is

3.8/5

Click this link to read more about the Wine Ranks and Specs


Fun Fact: Did you know that Moscatos are one of the hardest wines to make? because of it’s sweetness and lack of sourness bacterias are more likely to want to like in this medium, so winemakers have to add extra sulfides to it, but being careful not to saturate it.


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But before you leave, check out this other two South African Moscatos, Cape Elephant and my close friend’s favorite, Obkiwa.

 

Penghu Island – Return to the Wilderness

It was what I call ADVENTURE and it was AMAZING.


Meet the crew:

Karl, the Estonian Captain; Bats and Yann, the dynamic French crab hunter and cook master; and the amazing blogger and one of my closest friends, Grexxen, the Australian… I mean the Austrian.
The plan was to camp, so we had a tent, sleeping bags, rain coats and a load of enthusiasm.

This was some-of-us first time camping in the real wild. I had done it before, but it was in a place well prepared, with a place to get food, showers and all. This time it was for real and we were on our own.

Continue reading Penghu Island – Return to the Wilderness

Moscato – Frontera

The Ballerina Wine


Many of my friends mentioned how much they like white wine and how they preferred it over red ones. However, every time I tried one, it wasn’t as satisfying as I was looking for.  Until one day that was in Carrefour and as I was trying to decide which new wine to try, I got a call from a close friend and he said:

– Go for a Moscato. – He sounded so sure about his recommendation that there was no room for doubts.

– Would a Chilean Moscato work? – I asked.

Continue reading Moscato – Frontera

Fo Guang Shan  – Dual Growth

Say good words – Do good deeds – Thinking good thoughts

The first time I went to Fo Guang Shan was in the Summer of 2013. Dad was visiting me in Taiwan for a few weeks and I wanted to make his stay unforgettable. While I was looking for places that we could go I remembered that a few friends had shown me some magnificent pictures about this place. I have been in Taiwan since 2009 and I wondered why I did not hear too much about it before and as it turned out, it was new!!! It opened in December 2011.  Well, at least the Memorial Center did. The monastery was built in 1967, but until recent years they decided to be open for the public.

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Buddha Memorial Center
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Main Shrine at Fo Guang Shan Monastery

I have experience the temple in two different ways, as a tourist and as meditation practitioner.

  1. Discovering with Dad – Tourist

Of my first visit I remember being dumbfounded by the vastness and beauty of the place, there is no denying of that. But I also have a strong memory that it was sunny and very hot. What I am trying to say is the real reason I enjoyed that day was not because of the place but because I was with dad and we were both excited taking pictures at the details. Here are some pictures of things you perhaps did not notice.

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However, something happened that day, that without knowing at that time, changed my life. Dad and I were exploring the main temple and we noticed that at entrance on the right side there is a table with some brochures, candles and other paraphernalia on it. Behind it, there was a smiling venerable. (a “venerable” is alike a monk, but they do not use this word, so I will be refereeing to them as “Venerable”). She saw us and with a friendly tone started talking to us with her best English. Small talk at the beginning and the then she handed me a brochure of information of a monthly retreat for foreigners. I did not pay much attention, but dad seamed to encourage the idea. I left the temple with a “maybe I will come”.

The coming months I forgot about the temple but the idea of going back and experience that retreat lingered in my head. Then it happened, one of my best friend told me he found about this activity and, from one day to the other, decided to join. He told me all about it and I was fascinated with his experience. I had to go. Without hesitation we signed out for the next one, which would be held in March 2014.

  1. Re discovering of the temple  – Meditation

For three days we experience the monastic life. Waking up at 5 am and then quickly getting ready for joining the morning chants in the main temple. There was a sea of people, but it did not matter because everybody moved in order and being mindful of each of their movements. When the chants were over, we were directed to the main dining room, where more than 2000 people could fit, however that morning we were no more than 300. Everybody entered in order and in silence and at 6 o’clock they served the breakfast. For 15 min nobody spoke and just focused on the first meal of the day. At 6:15 everybody was finished and in less than a minute everything was picked up and cleaned. Impressive.

All the meals were served and carried out this effective and thoughtful manner. Every course was vegetarian, needless to say, and it was deliciously well done.

During the morning, we shared the temple chores with the venerables. We got simple things like planting flowers, so it was a beautiful task. In the afternoon and before dinner we were taught meditation, starting out from the most known one, sitting meditation, to walking meditation and even meditation white drinking tea. We laughed, we learned, we grew, we became better. No one told to me change religion or to forget mine, or that I was wrong, we were there to experience and learn just what we wanted, or let’s say, what we needed, and they respected that.

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Flowers at the Temple
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Helping plant flowers at the temple

 

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Sitting Meditation

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Meditation while drinking tea

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Discussing, learning, asking questions, experiencing life at Fo Guang Shan
  1. Breathing – Meditation

What can I say? Once was just not enough, so on December of the same year, I joined my second retreat. This time, it was more focused in developing meditation skills and instead of doing so many activities, we mostly stayed in the meditation hall.

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Meditation at the hall, keeping silent for 3 days

This time we were asked to remain silent and be truthfully mindful and aware of everything we were doing. This time we went meditation in different parts of the temple. I do not remember the names of all the places, but here are some pictures for you see.

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Meditation at the Buddha Land

It was beautiful, I felt so much in contact with nature, with trees, with the birds, with the wind and of course, in contact with myself. Remembering to breath, being aware of the involuntary movements of my body, realising that I am in control. Relaxing, letting go, breathing, seeing life from a different angle, living, existing, breathing. Yes! Breathing, it is amazing how we can easily forget to properly do such simple task. Realising that we are all connected, that this blog is here because you would read it, and because you would read it, I sat today to write it, and so you affected me and I have affected you.

  1. Chinese New Years – Tourist

The experience was life-changing and mind opening. I am not changing my religion, but I adopt what is useful for me from other beliefs. The next retreat I was able to join was the one held for Chinese New Year in 2015, the year of the lamb. There were less teachings and close to no meditation activities, but the temple offered a big meal to celebrate the new year and there were, parades and lanterns all over. Definitely a hectic time for the temple. Also, if one was able to visit all the key places of the temple, they would give you a temple souvenir, which I still keep very dear.

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Lanterns, Parades and other activities during Chinese New Year

After that, I was convinced that the best way to spend CNY for foreigners, was to go to the temple. So next year, in 2016, the year of the monkey, I took mom, who was visiting me, along with two other friends to Fo Guang Shan. I was finally able to tell mom all what I have seen and explain all what I have learned.

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Discovering the temple with Mom
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Chinese New Year Dinner with mom and a few other friends

We walked around the temple more than once and experience the greatness of the place. Then, at night, fireworks. Do you think the temple is beautiful? Now imagine it being illuminated with fireworks! It is simple breathtaking. The newest part of the temple was recently completed, so we were able to take pictures from this new angle.

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Buddha memorial centre from newly open area

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The retreats were an amazing experience and I wish I could do them again, but the temple has stopped doing these activities for foreigners. It is only held once a year during the month of July and it lasts for 1 month. It would be a little hard for me to join, but I will never forget what I lived and learned.

  1. One more time – Tourist

Now it is 2017. I was happy to hear that some of my foreigner friends were looking forward to go, and without thinking too much I joined the group. We were a big group, we were 22!!!

It felt good to see all those places again. The memorial center is impressive, but my favorite part is the monastery, after all that is where I spent most of the time during the retreats. I remembered doing meditation in the Buddha land, the mesmerizing morning chants in the main temple and the secluded little shrine on the top of the hill. I hadn’t been to that little shrine since the first retreat. It is a little far away and the road is a little steep. When I finally reached it, the venerable there, offered me and my friend who was walking with me, water and candies. She even turned on some relaxing music, just for us. The 10 minutes that I spent there brought back flashbacks not only of my experiences but also of the lessons learnt.

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I am sure you have probably seen that Fo Guang Shan is a must-see in Taiwan, but if at the time you read this the retreats are being held again, Fo Guang Shan is a must-experience in your life!

 


 

Thank you for reading, here is an origami crane for you

 

An Undying Christmas Spirit.

Seven years in Taiwan certainly change one’s perspective and feeling towards this beautiful holiday. I have always love and enjoy Christmas, from my point of it is the merriest season of all. It is all about hope, family and a spark of magic. I simply love it. Yet being away from home for so long, and living in a not-very-Christmassy country makes me stagger sometimes. Until now I have manage to dismiss the Grinchy-ideas surrounding me, but how long until I give in and allow the Christmas spirit to perish?

To try to understand why Christmas perishes and why and how I dismiss those feeling by trying to keep the spirit alive, it is important to first define the meaning of this holiday.

Definition and History

For Catholics, Christians and any other type of Christ-believers it is the remembrance of   the birth of Jesus-Christ. Quite enough reason to be joyous and grateful. It was passed on to the world as a reminder of sharing noble feelings, such as compassion, love, caring, forgiveness, etc. In the hope of some reflecting and introspective development. But let us take a further look into Christmas. As my good friend and blogger Grexxen mentioned, Jesus was not quite born on December 25th.  Yet, since the beginning, it was set to be celebrated on the already pagan holiday. Throughout the years is has further been changed, influenced by many different cultures and reinvented to modern times.

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Yes! it is profoundly commercial, it increments sales, influences the market and has strong impact in the economy. At micro and macro scale.  Complaints are that Christmas was turned into a ferocious season of shopping and honouring a gift-bringer whether is baby-Jesus, the three-wise-men or most popularly known, Santa-Claus. Are these adjustments and incursions the blameable factors of the perishing Christmas?

Let us take a look into the blameworthy suspects:

Presents

Besides Christmas, when do you consider giving somebody else a present? Birthday perhaps, sometimes not even there. Would you even consider wasting your time, money and energy trying to get something nice for someone you don’t really like? I think not, unless is your boss, but not even there. Gifts are a little way of saying “I care for you”, ” you are important to me”, “I hope to see you smile with this”, “I think of you”, “I rather invest my effort in you than in anybody else”, etc. And so much more. So even in the commercial side of Christmas, it provides an excellent opportunity to say something meaningful to someone important. So, no! Christmas does not perishes because of presents. At least not because presents are given, but perhaps it has something to do with how presents might be received.

Christmas presents piled underneath a christmas tree.

I realised a little too late, that part of the culture here in Taiwan is to refuse gifts a few times before it is accepted and sometimes they even criticize it. It is a way of being polite and to allow you to get to know them better. It is strange, but hey! I am not in my country. And so I had so learn how to give gifts here. As the years passed, I got better at giving gifts to Taiwanese and I never gave up, there is always a way into their heart. Luckily, I have always had friends to share Christmas gifts without having to change my traditions. I simply go frolic about presents. It is not receiving them that makes happy, it is the reaction I see in my friends when I give them something they’ll enjoy. Seeing my friends and dear ones happy, because of what I did for them is far more valuable than any gift I could get. But I also won’t get angry if you get me something nice. haha

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Actual picture of 2009 Christmas – first year in Taiwan

Decorations

Do we really need them? Probably not, but they are a way of materializing our thoughts and feelings towards this holiday.  Nativities honour our religion, reminding us of the gift of hope. I personally rejoice when I see mine. It is tiny, for it is impossible for me to keep a big one, but I get a sense of peace when I see the angel and when I finally place baby Jesus on Christmas eve.

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My tiny Nativity

 

If a Nativity does not means this for you, then take a look at a Christmas tree, if you had one as a child then it is a reminder of the kid in our heart, with big eyes, full of wish, expectation, dreams and a little bit of magic. And who doesn’t like magic?

Christmas does not perishes because of ornamentation. But it does if all the decorations lack of meaning and sense behind it. For there is not use of a gorgeous Christmas tree, if it was done reluctantly and then left there to dust through out the year.

The year that I came to Taiwan, things were very different. Now there are a lot of ornaments and very easy to find. Seven years ago there were not enough.  I searched restlessly for Christmas stockings, and they were no where to be found. So, I made them! Went to the store to get some cloths, thread, needles some bells, and spend most of my free time of my first December sawing them.  I still have them and place them every year. Shortage of decorations will not get my spirit down.

Self-made Elf Boot

Friends

Now this is a less materialistic part. We are getting to a deeper meaning of Christmas. Friendship, how wonderful is this girt. Not a gift, more like a treasure. We are humans, we are social by nature and friendships are meant to be nurture and kept. It is a blessing to spend a Christmas surrounded my people who mutually enjoy each other’s company.

So how can friends be a liable for the perish of Christmas?

During all these year, I have met many people, I have become friends with some of them and with some we have created unbreakable bounds that will last forever. The hard part, is that I have also seen many of them leave. The first few years I spend Christmas with about the same faces, but then they started taking other paths. Gladly, new friends came around, and then I found myself with a new group of people. And then they also left. And it has been like that for a while.

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Christmas 2012

I am blessed that every year I have had good friends to hug merry-Christmas. And every year it is a brand new experience. For the good friends that have left Taiwan and that are in another part of the world, well, there is always internet. Letter and postcards are also a magical detail. I feel joy and excitement when I write them and send them, hoping that my friends feel the same when they get it and read it.

For all my friends, those who are here and for those that aren’t:

Thank you for having crossed roads with me. You are a blessing. And I hope the next year is full of joy and success. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

With love, 
Adriana

 

Family

Probably the deepest meaning of Christmas. It has been 8 years! 8 Christmases away! It is one of the seasons that make me regret a little of my decision of being here.

I was one of the lucky few that was always able to convince the professor to not have test or academic activities on the 24th or 25 of December, but I know of many who had to spend their Christmas eve studying. I am also lucky to be working at a good company that is sensible enough not to make work on Christmas. So I am lucky. But nothing nothing can match the infinite euphoria of being with my family on Christmas. I hope destiny does not takes to long until it allows me to be there.

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One of the most recent picture with my family. Just dad is missing in this picture.

So? how do I dismiss the boundless yearning? Remembering good times, knowing we are bless to have each other, even in the distance, hoping to see them soon, praying and Video Cam!

Nothing could be the same as physically being there, but the camera helps. To see my mom dressed beautifully and being accompanied by my handsome dad. See my nephew’s eyes sparkle with the twinkling lights.   My little niece get excited to see everybody together. Share a good warming talk with my beloved cousin. Hear my aunts and grandma’s voice. A simple web cam chat makes my Christmas complete.

Dear Family, 

I miss you, I miss you more with every passing second and for Christmas, I miss you hopelessly. But I love you and I know we are together, and we will always be. Thank you for the unconditional support. You are the biggest blessing and the only gift I want/need. 

With deep love,

 

Mom, 

I am sorry for leaving and making you spend all these Christmases without me. Ever since I left there has been a Christmas tree in the house. You don’t know how much your sacrifice mean to me. I promise I won’t be too long now. I love you. I miss you.

Merry Christmas! 

So with all of this I refuse to be sad on Christmas. I dismiss the idea of letting my Christmas spirit perish.

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Even Jupiter enjoys Christmas!

 

It is hard being away for Christmas. but if you are in the same situation as me, don’t lose hope! don’t you even dare to feel down on Christmas! Don’t give up! Christmas is so much more, and you can find it in the little things around. And you can find it in your heart.

Merry Christmas to all! And a very joyous and prosperous new year!

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