Hanbok and Bipimbap 

Recently, a reader from Germany checked in to see if we were okay after the typhoon. Firstly, I didn’t know anyone from Germany reads my blog. Secondly, I’m actually quite flattered that you would assume I was dead before assuming that I was lazy and just not updating this blog. Thanks for the vote of confidence guys! 

Actually, I’ve just been super stressed and super busy lately. We just came back from Korea where we visited the Taiwanese embassy and started the process of applying for our ARC. Technically, we were given our resident visa from that embassy. But now we have to take that visa to the immigration office here and turn it into our official ARC which will make our lives infinitely more convenient here in Taiwan. 

The stress of that trip and everything it entailed shot my immune system down and led to one of the nastiest colds I’ve had since coming to Taiwan. So last week, my life was basically spent trying to recuperate before our trip. Lots of sport’s drinks, popsicles, chicken noodle soup, and movies. All in all, pretty uneventful. 

Around that time, there was another massive typhoon that pummeled Taiwan and caused some prettty extensive damage in the surrounding area, which we witnessed on a scooter ride the day after the storm. But once again, nobody was harmed. 

Before that, however, we took an unassigned territory trip to the small city of 內門 where we preached for a full day to people who rarely have a chance to hear our message. It was a really hot day, and most of the local population only spoke Taiwanese, not Chinese, so it was a little difficult. But our car group was good fun, and we laughed and joked our way through the “feels like 100” degree temperature, while drawing connections on the fact that we all turn into babies when we’re away from home and sick 😂

The inevitable afternoon heat coma

We had a really nice time. When we returned, the typhoon hit us and the cold hit me, and by the time I recovered we were on a plane to Korea!

Korea was simply fantastic. We spent three days in Seoul where we visited the branch office and toured the city, all the while trying traditional Korean dishes like bipimbap (which is really spicy, by the way!)

Bipimbap – veggies in a pot of hot rice filled with herbs and spices 

Ok, so we were a little more than thrilled to find that they have Dunkin’ Donuts in Korea 😅

Apprently, we had to go all the way to Korea to try Australia’s famous Lamington dessert that we have drooled over since we first came across it nearly 10 years ago. It’s a sponge cake covered in chocolate and coconut shavings. Simple but delicious! 

The branch was about the size of Japan’s, roughly 400 family members. But they are simplifying as well, and they will soon be stopping all printing (except for things like the posters that go on the carts). They had a beautifully touching exhibit in honor of the 18,045+ Korean brothers who have served time in prison because of their neutrality. 
Older prisoner uniforms worn by our brothers

From afar, this piece of art, though beautiful, does not look like anything extraordinary, but…

Up close you will find the names of each and every brother imprisoned for their neutrality up until the year 2014

The current uniforms worn by our brothers. 

A model of a typical prison cell. As many as 16 brothers may live in one together. 

A record of some of the letters that were sent to our brothers in prison from friends around the world.

A very important department that is working on freeing our brothers from prison, and stopping this injustice once and for all. This department and our brothers could really use our prayers. 

Some of the props used for previous sign language videos

A detailed model of the branch’s HVAC system 

Our sugar-sweet tour guide who used to serve at the Hong Kong branch, but was moved back home to the Korean branch with her husband.

The Korean people were so warm and friendly. If you locked eyes with any stranger on the street for longer than three seconds you were sure to get a quick smile in return. I can’t remember the last time I’ve experienced that! Not even in Taiwan! The city was clean, and full of exciting sights and smells, including a Hanbok festival that we accidentally stumbled upon. The weather was also cool, dry, and comfortable…much to our relief. Oh, and side note, the people were seriously good-looking and had incredible fashion sense. And brushing shoulders with strangers who smelled lovely…I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed the smell of perfume and cologne in a country that doesn’t believe in them…yes, I’m a little vain. 

We spent our nights in the hotel room watching K-pop competitions 

​…and trying Korean face masks. We really know how to have a good time…am I right?

Before we knew it, our time in Korea was over and we were heading back home to Taiwan. 

We’ve returned to Taiwan with a new “to-do” list – including completing the ARC process, taking the scooter licensing exam, and looking for a new apartment come November. 

We also started school two weeks ago. There’s really not much to be said about that, except for the fact that you can see why our organization discourages higher education. There is nothing that you will find beyond those university doors that Jehovah can’t give you. In fact, it’s quite sad sometimes. When you think about all the kids there, being told that this is it. This is the best time of their life. They will go on living their entire lives longing for the days they spent in college. What kind of life would that be? To realize that the most meaninful thing you’ve ever done is already over at the young age of 22. That nothing you do after this will compare. And for some of them, it’ll probably be true. This is the time in most kids’ lives when they’re full of optimism, constantly being told that they have “so much potential”, being made to believe that they could truly do anything on this earth that they put their mind to. And the unfortunate reality being that most of their lives will be a far cry from that dream. Being in this environment has actually motivated us to look for opportunities to preach to these young ones. 

Next Sunday we’re hosting our biggest gathering yet and I am already stressing over it. 😖 Since we’ll be moving in November, we wanted to take advantage of our apartment complex’s inground pool. So we invited all of the young ones in our congregation to come over for a day of swimming, board games, food, and KTV. But there’s always so much pressure when it comes to planning these things, you know? And my intent was just the opposite, haha. I was hoping that this would get my mind OFF my stress and onto something light and fun. 😉 Oh well, it’ll be fine.

…I hope 😖

PS: if you’re ever bored on a rainy day, take out your dusty “Guess Who?” board game and play “The Other Guess Who” where you ask questions based on lifestyle and personality instead of physical appearance. I promise you won’t regret it.