Browers Invade Taiwan: Excerpts From Mom Brower

Yo yo yo! Time for a new blog post. As some of you may or may not know, we’ve been busy with visitors! Sarah’s Mom, Dad, and younger sister came to Taipei to hang out with us and get a window into our lives over here. What a great week it was. Taiwan is a place The Brower’s had never even thought about before and us living here gave them a great excuse to come check it out. I think it’s safe to say that had an amazing, eye opening experience as they lived our life for a few days.

With that being said, Mom Brower kept a daily journal and documented their everyday travels, sights, smells, and tastes. I thought it would be fun to change up this blog post…this post will be excerpts taken from Mom Brower’s journal to give you a different and new point of view of what it was like to be in Taiwan.

So from the eyes of Mom Brower:

Day 1

Slept like babies and ready to see the city! Ready to set out for our first MRT ride to Tea Mountain. Rode the gondola up, up, up to Tea Mountain! The weather was a sunny 90 degrees…beautiful weather! The views on top were beautiful! We enjoyed vanilla milk tea at an outdoor tea garden overlooking Taipei.

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After a bathroom break back at the apartment, we were headed to Houshanpi to experience the crazy streets of Taiwan and a hike up to Tiger Mountain. Spectacular views on top of a cliff with no fences! We ended the night strolling through Raohe Night Market and then headed to 737 for steamed dumplings and soup. What an eventful first day!

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Day 2

After a smorgasbord of pastries from the local bakery, we headed out to the coastal town of a Danshui. We shopped, embraced new adventures, foods, and people. The first “new taste” was bubble tea! We liked it….but what are those little black balls really? After exploring and walking for hours, Hannah got a little hangry (hungry and angry). We were vey indecisive about where to eat, so we ended up going for “gas station” chicken at 7-11 🙂 We regrouped and headed for new culinary adventures. We sampled fried squid and Taiwanese ice cream cones. The area offered a beautiful view of the water, city, and a little tranquility.

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After Danshui we headed to Shilin Night Market and it was BUSY. We got sucked into the crowds as we passed booth after booth of food, clothing, and more food! Well, we did it! We all tried the infamous stinky tofu. Final analysis of the tofu…Some almost threw up and no one needed a repeat…But we were all feeling proud for trying it.

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Day 3

He is Risen! Great devotions on this Easter morning. We headed out to their familiar and our unfamiliar surroundings. Bought some baked goods, bubble tea, and slushies from the different day markets. Got some anti-itch cream for Dad…lots of walking 😉 Picked up some fruit and found a table at tranquil Bihu Lake for a nice brunch. Such a gorgeous place in the middle of extreme busyness. Definitely a place that was needed after being surrounded by throngs of people. We then went down to downtown Taipei, the “Michigan Street of Taipei.” High rises, business district, upscale shopping, and many restaurants are all here. We all went to the top of Taipei 101 to take a look of Taipei from up high. Amazing views from the observatories!

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Day 4

Sunny and 90! Took MRT to the end of the green line and boarded an extremely crowded bus up to Wulai, Taiwan. Standing room only, hairpin turns….very, very scary ride. Body to body we mosh pitted all the way up the mountain.

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Finally, we made it to our destination. What we found was beautiful Xindian River, suspension bridges, and mountains. Absolutely gorgeous! We walked through the old street and sampled meats, fish patties (ew), noodles, bamboo rice, and others. We hiked to a waterfall and took an old logging train back down. We finished the day trip with hot springs along the river…what an experience that was. Lots of older Taiwanese people soaking in what seemed like, “their” pools. We got lots of stares as we were the only 5 Caucasian people around. We were able to jump into the river to cool off and get back into the hot springs. What an awesome day trip! On the way back, we stopped at Kyle and Sarah’s night market and ate fried rice and beef noodle soup…delicious and exhausted.

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Day 5

MRT to Chiang Kai Shek Memorial. There we viewed the beautiful temple-like theaters and monuments. We met an English speaking tour guide who singled us out and gave us special spots for viewing the changing of the guards at the memorial. Very similar to the Lincoln Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Very interesting.

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We ate at the infamous 3 story KFC for lunch per Hannah and Kyle’s request 🙂

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For supper, we roamed the area looking for a good place to eat. Couldn’t find anything everyone agreed on. Finally, stopped at a little night stall and ate a delicious version of beef noodle soup…Yum!

Day 6

Today we visited the pandas and the other animals at the Taipei Zoo. As Tea Mountain is at the same MRT stop, we decided to ride the gondola up for a second round. Sampled some black and Oolong tea at a tea house. For dinner we went to one of Kyle and Sarah’s favorites…Korean BBQ for a 2 hour dinner. We LOVED this meal. All you can eat and drink! It was here that Kyle sparked the thought provoking conversation of “biggest surprises, best/worst, and what can we learn from this experience?” Honest conversation over a great meal.

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Day 7

Took a hike to Dahu Park that was “just around the corner.” Everything was always “just around the corner” here in Taipei. Lots of good walking! Viewed the nature, greenery and the waterfall. While the kids were working, we went to Miramar, another upscale shopping area, to ride the giant Ferris wheel. For dinner, we headed to Kyle’s all time favorite restaurant, Toasteria. Delicious sandwiches. Exhausted after another great day.

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Day 8

Wufenpu shopping! Consisted of thousands of street booths with inexpensive clothing for sale. Couldn’t believe the narrow alleys with all the scooters and dogs 🙂 shopped the morning away! At night, we headed to Kyle and Sarah’s night market. This was our true window into their lives for the past 8 months. It was here we met their “family.” Being an observer, it was clear that there was a bond between our children and the night market family. Despite our obvious language barrier, they would bring us different foods and drinks to cheer with. We were glad Kyle could interpret and dialogue for us 🙂 They noticed I liked tea, so they brought over tea after tea and even gave us lessons on the tea culture in Taiwan. Kyle and Hannah took a crazy scooter ride home from the locals to end the night. SO MUCH TEA 🙂 I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t stop thinking about this night. No words to describe how God had blessed our children by providing them with people to sit with, learn from, and just bond with. Proof that with a language barrier, a smile is universal 🙂

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Day 9

This morning we observed Teacher Kyle and Teacher Sarah’s school! Played some games and had an Easter egg hunt with Sarah’s class. We walked through some markets on the way home and ate some pastries. We headed back to Miramar so the boys and Hannah could hit some golf balls at the city driving range.

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At night, we went to Ximending to eat at Modern Toilet…Hannah’s pick. We ate some familiar pasta and poop ice cream 🙂 Lots of rain, lots of people, and lots of umbrellas!

Day 10

Last day in Taiwan 😦 Today we went to the 737 day market to shop for some souvenirs. We walked around the day market and looked at the different fruit and clothes stands. For lunch, we enjoyed a local “box lunch.” After packing back at the apartment, we went back down to the Taipei 101 area to soak it in one last time. We ate at the Taipei 101 mall and had a delicious mango shaved ice for dessert!

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Closing thoughts from the Brower family.

“Goodbye Taiwan. You have allowed us to embrace your culture, amazed us with your crowded streets and busy markets. We have been impressed with the refreshing bubble tea, multiple bakeries, and tried many of your “interesting” foods. We have ridden your MRT and dodged the thousands of scooters. We have been in awe of the beautiful mountains and waterfalls. You have made our world smaller as we came to realize that, despite the differences, you love and treat your families just like us. We all appreciate our new understanding of people, and although the language is a barrier, we realize more than ever, that a smile is universal.”

I hope you enjoyed the different view of Taipei from Mom Brower. We had a fantastic week showing them around Taiwan. We are so thankful they were able to experience this amazing country with us for the week.

Until next time!

Kyle and Sarah

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