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CHUZAI LIVING MOVED

January 30, 2015

chuzailiving

 

http://www.chuzailiving.com

 

Chuzai Living moved to a self hosted site. Please click on the image or link above to jump to the new location. Thank you!

Chuzai Livingは、セルフホストのサイトへとお引っ越ししました。上の写真またはリンクにクリックすると、新しいサイトへと移行します。今後とも宜しくお願いいたします!

Yilan Taiwan Part 3 ☆ Spring Onion Farm

January 26, 2015

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On the same day we traveled to Yilan, Taiwan from Taipei on a fast train, our friends, Josh and Kara, took us to a spring onion farm because Yilan is famous for spring onions. (Please give me a few more days to check the name of this place.) Kids got to wear boots and go pick spring onions. As you can see in the photos below, after picking some spring onions, they washed them and then made spring onion/scallion pancakes. Those pancakes were delicious!!! The crispy outside layer has a lovely texture and an accent flavor of scallions spreads in your mouth with each bite. We all scarfed them down.

My son who was 2 at the time was too young to go. Thus, I stayed behind with him. Can you tell he was envious? The spring onion picking only took about 10 minutes. It was really quick.

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I’ve got a comedian in my family.

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The main reason for our visit to Yilan was the National Center For Traditional Arts. Please click here for the post on the National Center For Traditional Arts. As for our accommodation, we stayed at Forte Dong-shan Villa. I recommend Forte Dong-shan Villa if you would like to visit the National Center For Traditional Arts with young children. Please click here for the post about our hotel in Yilan.

Yilan Taiwan Part 2 ☆ Forte Dong-Shan Villa

January 20, 2015

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Forte Dong-shan Villa

Hotel Forte Dong-Shan Villa was great for our small trip to Yilan, an hour train ride from Taipei. It is located in the same premises as the National Center For Traditional Arts which made our trip so much easier to access the National Center For Traditional Arts. For those who stayed there get some free coupons to do the arts and crafts which was a big bonus for our kids. As for the location, the hotel was about 15-minute taxi ride from Luodong Railway Station and the fare was inexpensive. On the second day we checked out of our rooms on the second day after having a breakfast and then walked to the National Center For Traditional Arts for the day filled with fun arts and craft.

Our friends, Kara & Josh, who live in Taipei arranged everything for us for this Yilan Trip. We were so lucky. The room we stayed was a Family Suite. There was a small living area with a sofa, chair and TV. Then there were two bedrooms. One room had a queen size bed and the other room had a bunk bed with a small attic type of space above the top bunk. Kids had a lot of fun going up and down the ladders. We got two rooms as we were two families. Our rooms were connected on the veranda and it was really convenient for us. We were able to play some games in one room after kids went to bed without worrying about our kids.

I don’t have a photo evidence to prove you, but my son drew on the white duvet cover on the queen size bed with a pink marker. I let my son play with a coloring book with markers. He hasn’t done anything too crazy prior to that point, so I didn’t even think to be with him when he was coloring in the bedroom. I was out in the living area. So was my husband. He was resting on a sofa and I was surfing on internet on my iPod Touch using free wifi. By the time my girls and I noticed that my son drew on the duvet cover, it was too late. He has done some pretty good damage. I immediately removed the cover and washed it in the bathroom, but the pink marker only bled and turned the sheet into pink on one side. I gave up and took it to the reception. I paid 500 Taiwan Dollar which is about US$15. At least it could be resolved by paying. There are worse things that could happen to us.

If you make a trip to National Center For Traditional Arts, I highly recommend Forte Dong-Shan Villa for your accommodation. I only brought 35 mm lens, which is not a great lens to take photos of a room. In case you cannot tell, the rooms were quite spacious and comfortable.

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Yilan, Taiwan Part 1 ☆ National Center For Traditional Arts

January 18, 2015

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National Center For Traditional Arts in Yilan was nothing short of an amazing and entertaining place for our kids. Thanks to Kara and Josh, we made a quick two-day trip to Yilan from Taipei. We got on a fast train from Songshan Station in Taipei and it only took us an hour to get to our destination, Loudong Station. The tickets were reserved and purchased by our friends in advance. Pretty amazing. From Loudong Station, a taxi ride to National Center For Traditional Arts, where our hotel was also located, took about 15 minutes and it was inexpensive.

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There were many activities for kids to do and our kids had a blast. When you explore their website, I don’t think you can tell how entertaining it is for young kids to be at National Center for Traditional Arts to do arts and craft. I find the photos on Tripadvisor explain well.

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We stayed at Forte Dong-Shan Villa Yilan, a hotel in the premises of National Center for Traditional Arts. It was a great choice. It made sense for our kids and us parents. I will write a post about the hotel later just so that you can see what the room looked like. We loved it.

We had dinner at a restaurant called Fan Ge Tian Weng Roast Chicken in Jar in Wujie Township in Yilan. Yilan is famous for chicken roasted in ceramic pots. I will write about this restaurant as well because the dinner at Fan Ge Tian Weng was quite an experience and the food was delicious! Even the vegetarian dishes were tasty. Thus, I think that Fan Ge Tian Weng would still be worth going for vegetarians. Thanks to our fabulous friends, Kara and Josh, we learned about Fan Ge Tian Weng Roast Chicken in Jar and I would love for the future travelers to know about this place although it already seems to be a very well-known restaurant as it was packed when we went there.

On the day we traveled from Taipei to Yilan, we went to a Spring Onion Farm of which I will also write about our experience later. It was a great fun for the kids. Yilan is known for scallion pancakes, so we had them at the farm. They were chin-dropping delicious pancakes!!! Just thinking about them made my mouth water.

The following morning, we had breakfast at the hotel, checked out from our room and left our luggage at the reception and headed to the National Center for Traditional Arts. All the photos on this post were taken on this day. We did two activities, had lunch and did one more activity and it was time for us to head out to the Loudong Station to catch a train back to Taipei. The day went by fast like it was a fast forward! The train ride home was very smooth and easy.

I can’t say enough good things about our experiences in Yilan. I think it would be so fun to have a place like that in Mumbai as well. I would love to do activities such as wood block printing, rangoli drawing or some other traditional arts from India.

National Center for Traditional Arts
No.201 Section 2, Wubin Road
Jixi Village, Wujie Town
Yilan 268, Taiwan

EMAIL: service@ncfta.gov.tw
TEL: +886-3-970-5815
FAX: +886-3-960-5237
Facsimile: +886-3-950-1177

Hours Please check this page on the home page for National Center for Traditional Arts

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XpatGirls Feature ☆ Fascinating India

January 15, 2015
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To Jump Directly to the Interview By ExpatGirls
Click HERE

My interview is featured under the Special Guest section on Xpat Girls here. Xpat Girls as its name suggests was created to be a hub for all expat girls around the world. The website also represents the voices of any individual who finds a home away from home, in other words, an expat life.

When I was first approached, I looked at the site and I observed that the target audience as well as the writers were younger than my age group. I didn’t feel that I would fit in the image that I thought they were looking for. I was afraid to make them disappointed, so I wrote back and turned down the request. Then I heard back and was told that it didn’t matter and what was more important was being young at heart. I thought that was sweet.

Xpat Girls had some interesting questions on the interview and I hope readers will find my answers somewhat interesting! The photo that was featured on the top was taken at Borobudur, Jogjakarta in Indonesia. Trip to Jogjakarta was one of the trips that I was so glad we managed to make before our departure from Jakarta, Indonesia. I find this photo quite symbolic of our recent expat life. Borobudur in Indonesia received a lot of influence from India through Buddhism in the 9th century. It’s a monument which was created by the two cultures, Indian and Indonesian, which happen to be the cultures that my family and I have lived in during the last 4 years.

I hope you will visit the blog to read my interview. There are other interviews by their Special Guests that are quite eye-opening and entertaining.

Thank you for reading!

Throwback Thursday ☆ Taipei In Instagram & 6 Impressions of Taiwan

January 14, 2015

These photos pretty much summarize our trip to Taiwan during this past winter break in 2014 and New Year’s of 2015. I have posted those same images of our family trip in Taiwan on my Instagram account as well as my blog’s Facebook Fan Page. I have taken some other photos with my DSLR in order to write our travel recommendations of Taipei, Yilan, a town an hour-train ride from Taipei and Pingxi, an hour-drive or two-and-a-half-hour train ride from Taipei in the near future. If you plan on going to Taipei, I hope you will come back to my blog to get some of the recommendations. I can’t take credit for them, though. They were researched by our friends, Kara and Josh, who have lived there as expats and they know the best places to visit for visitors.

Six Impressions of Taipei

1. Clean
The city looked super clean to me.

2. Biker Friendly
The newly developed area of Taipei had bike lanes next to the pavement which create a very safe place for bikers. I also read that there are bicycle trails all over the city. There were bicycle rental places everywhere.

3. Great Chinese Food
If you love Chinese food, Taipei is the city for you. I have been to Singapore and they also have amazing Chinese food, but they tend to be expensive unless you go to Hawkers markets. I hear Hong Kong has great food, too. If you want some top class Chinese food, though, Taipei is the place to be for its quality and taste without breaking your bank account, which is a key.

4. Safe
It felt very safe. It is a very safe city for women even after the dark. When traveling with kids, there is nothing better than going to some places that are safe.

5. Friendly
Taiwanese people are very friendly to foreigners. As a Japanese individual, I felt very welcomed. I find Taiwanese people are warm towards Japanese people and they are interested in the Japanese culture.

6. Convenient, Safe and Inexpensive Public Transportation
Safe and reliable public transportation made the sightseeing easy and pleasant. Taxis are also inexpensive, so in case of rain or going to some place far, it was worth hiring a taxi.

Taipei definitely made our New Year’s of 2015 special. The best of all, we were able to spend it with some of our great friends we’ve made and our kids got along and played very well. What makes us happy during the trip once kids come into a picture is different from what used to make us happy in the pre-kids time. Simplest things such as spending time with friends indulging in the food and company and seeing kids smile on our side are some of the best moments of our vacation these days.

I hope you will come back to read the recommendations for Taipei and other towns in the future!

All of the photos on this post were taken on my iPod Touch with VSCO Cam application.

Thursday Thoughts ☆ Welcome 2015 ☆ Being an Expat & Taipei Trip

January 7, 2015

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Taipei C Guest Bedroom Beautiful guest bedroom at Josh & Kara’s.

During this past winter break my family and I went to Taipei to see our 4 good friends, Josh, Kara, Sijen & Bryan, and their kids. Josh and Kara graciously hosted us in Taipei. They moved to Taipei at the same time as when we moved to Mumbai in 2013. We all lived in Jakarta for 3 years at the same time and spent a lot of time together during our posting there. They are the ones who offered to take care of my first daughter when my husband and I flew to Singapore from Jakarta to take our second daughter for her surgery to have a swollen gland removed in 2011. I traveled with Kara to Siem Reep, Cambodia and Ubud, Bali during our time in Jakarta, Indonesia.

As expats it’s lovely that we get to meet many wonderful people, but it never gets easy when we have to say goodbyes. The good thing is that we can visit each other in different parts of the world. The best part of traveling internationally to visit our friends is that we can benefit from our friends’ tour guide which is my favorite. Why? Expats know exactly what foreign tourists want to see. Josh and Kara are the best Taipei experts as far as I know. They know so many fun activities for kids to do and the best local restaurants to go to in Taipei and beyond. I will introduce a few of them to you through my blog. All I need to do now is to get myself organized enough to edit the photos.

As for 2015, this year will become a turning point for me.

I’m turning 40 (Not yet! In a half year)!

Many people have huge celebrations for their 40th birthdays. They make a big trip, scratch something off from their bucket lists, get a surprise party, you name it. When I was in Taipei, I asked Josh, who had a big birthday bash in Bali, Indonesia, why he thought many people would have grand celebrations for their 40th birthdays. To this question he replied “you have lived half of your life if you’re lucky.” That truth hits you hard, doesn’t it? When I was younger I never imagined that I would welcome the half point of my life this fast.

It seems to me that the world likes to focus on younger women. I, on the contrary, think some women in their 40’s are more inspiring and admire them. They make me look forward to the 40’s. Just to name one is Gwyneth Paltrow. I’m going to look at 40 as a rebirth. I’m not even born yet. Joke aside, I will be very grateful for being able to have my 40th birthday in 6 months. I loved and am still loving my 30’s because I gained so much more confidence in myself. My 20’s was awesome, but I remember feeling lack of self-confidence and constantly worried about the threats I imagined in my head. To be relieved from those self-created threats in my 30’s was liberating. Getting old is not a negative thing. If I don’t get older, I don’t get to see my kids grow up. Getting old means gaining wealth of life.

Speaking of a half point, we just completed the half of our tour in Mumbai. How could this be possible? I love our life in Mumbai and I want it to slow down a bit. I am blessed to have the life I have. My life is not perfect, though. I constantly think I could do better and need to make efforts. I sometimes feel lost. I often worry that I am not doing what I am supposed to be doing at this point of my life. I tell myself that it’s perfectly normal. We all have fears. Learning how to coexist with them in peace is the art of life.

All the best and a big heartfelt thank-you to all the people who come to my blog to read it. You are the reason for my motivation to keep blogging.

Here’s to 2015!

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