Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sunday, December 27, 2009

So this is Christmas...

Merry Christmas from the Far East!

Christmas here in Taiwan has been very different than any Christmas we've ever celebrated. Though some stores decorate and have holiday sales, the majority of the Christmas celebration is limited to that of the English schools; which is little more than an opportunity for students to show their parents their English skills. Due to the lack of festivities and my Scrooge attitude, my wonderful husband created a Christmas tree to display our gifts under...

(yes, you're seeing it correctly! That's a poncho on a broken coat rack with tea bags hung on it!)

Though we had to work on Christmas, we were surrounded by holiday cheer from one another and fellow co-workers. We spend Christmas eve with a group of ex-pats (mostly American and Canadian) enjoying cheese and wine. Then finished the night together opening gifts and calling home. Christmas day we went to our usual Friday morning breakfast and received another gift - free breakfast from the owner! It was a pleasant surprise that cheered me up! In the afternoon I found that classes had been canceled and was able to enjoy some relaxation with Dan before we put on our costumes and became "Mr. & Mrs. Clause!"

Saturday morning I had to work, but we had already planned on heading out of town for the weekend so when I was off, we hopped on the next bus and went downtown to catch the train. We had a beautiful weekend in Tainan and enjoyed relaxing together.

All in all, it was a great Christmas weekend despite not being with family - we miss you all so much!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Here in Taiwan, when you buy something, anything, the receipt has a lottery number on it. It's part of the Taiwanese governments attempt to get companies to keep better records. Every two months the lottery numbers are drawn and everyone sifts through their literally HUNDREDS of receipts. The winnings vary depending on the amount of numbers that match. When speaking to locals, they tell us that it's apparently very difficult to win very much from the lottery; but Dan was confident that we'd win. So we saved every receipt and it paid off!!!

There are two sets of numbers drawn each time; the regular lottery, where you match the last three or more digits, and the grand prize lottery, where you must get all numbers correct. This website explains all about it and even posts the winning numbers each time. We ended up with three winning tickets. Two tickets were worth $200NT (having three matching numbers) and one worth $1000NT (which had four matching numbers).

In order to claim your prize you have to bring your winning receipts to the post office, or a participating bank. There you have to fill out some information about yourself (you must have a valid visa in order to claim a prize). If your winnings are over $1000NT you have to pay a small tax...our tax was only $4NT for out $1400NT winnings.

We decided to use our winnings to join the recently opened Costco. We've been a few times with friends and co-workers, but decided that the convenience of having our own membership was totally worth it.

Bring on the cheese, crackers, orange juice and chocolate!!! As well as many other indulgences I'm sure we'll enjoy over the course of the year!

For those of you living in Taiwan, keep saving those receipts (or send them our way!) never know when you might be a winner.

Cai Guo-Qiang

This weekend, Daniel and I visited the Taipei Fine Arts Museum which featured, almost solely, the works of Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang (pronounced Tsai Guo-Chiang). We learned about the exhibit from our friends Suzannah and Aaron who checked it out a few weeks ago. Having already planned to visit Taipei on Sunday, we decided to stop by.

Known most recently as the mastermind behind the Footprints fireworks at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, his art has been drawing a bigger crowd everywhere he goes, as he often creates a new piece in front of a live audience at the featuring venue.

His exhibit at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum includes installation art as well, gun powder paintings, and a visual biography of his life and achievements. All of his works have some sort of political or social commentary, which makes the whole experience that much more interesting.

Check out this video of one of his gun powder paintings.

Also, those friends located in the Philadelphia area, he has a solo exhibit that just opened at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Fabric Workshop Museum. Definitely recommend checking it out.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Take a minute and vote for our blog as one of Taiwan's Best Blogs of 2009. Check out this site and search for "Ankney." Click on our listing then click the plus button next to our name. You can do this every 24 hours between now and December 20th!

謝謝 !