Sunday, 13 May 2012


We are in the midst of preparing to move to a new neighbourhood. The preparations are more mental than physical because we have the luxury of professional movers.

Physical preparation for moving
1. We have put up a huge to do list on the wall. My husband and I make notes and take pleasure crossing things off.
2. He has started throwing things out. The rest of us 'rescue' some things.
3. We talk about our new place.
That's about it. Yes, we are not a very physical family.

Mentally, we prepare to close Part I of our lives in Taiwan.
Neihu has been our neighbour for the past three years. My husband and I knew immediately that we  wanted to live here the moment we saw the place. We saw the little park, the path that winds up the hill and the 'woods'. We fell in love. We didn't see beyond that to be honest. The actual apartment was nice enough but the green right at our doorstop made it irresistible. We will miss that.

Beyond the green is a school where we get treated to a full view of sports day, concert rehearsals, political rallies, fire safety training and the Taiwan national anthem sung every Tuesday. Every morning, from as early as 4AM, locals enter the school grounds - legitimately and do their rounds around the field. The rain does not deter them. They walk / run with their umbrellas. Sometimes the rain is so fine, we cannot tell if it is raining. We look towards the school field - walkers with umbrellas ? Children playing ? We will miss all these.

Once, when the school children were rehearsing for a drum performance, we had to put with with the boom boom boom every afternoon for weeks. It woke my babies up and annoyed me. The voice of the teacher who directs the sports day is rough and loud. She barks all instructions to 1000 ? students with a haler. Argh ! But she had my sympathy when she nearly lost her voice after all those practises. These I will not miss but I will remember fondly.

And far beyond the school, on the left, stands the famous landmark of Taipei city - Taipei 101. Each new year's eve we got full view of the fireworks display from the iconic building. We never had to brave the traffic jam or crowds to see the spectacular show. One year, we even saw the fireworks in Danshui from our place. We reluctantly give up our free tickets to the show.

Friday, 11 May 2012

The Sprayers

One day, on a whim, I filled a sprayer with water and a couple of drops of red food colouring, for Ae to take to the park. I thought it would keep her amused while I did some exercise. She was entertained. She sat on the walkway and sprayed all around her. She sprayed on the white tree bark that was falling off the trees. She sprayed on bird shit and stones. It was fun for a while and then she got bored.

The sprayer then sat unused on the shoe rack for a few weeks. Her brother asked about it when he came home from school but he didn't try it. Suddenly, we are hit by sprayer fever in the house. They both want the sprayer. "Oh ! Let it be a lesson in sharing and taking turns.", I thought. But reminding them to share was disrupting my peace in the park. So, we ended up asking by mother for her 'bug sprayer' from the balcony.

The second sprayer is opaque so I didn't fill it with colouring. It is bigger and initially neither of the kids wanted it. So, back to sharing and taking turns. One day, I mentioned to Ew that it had a shooting mode. Now it is the sprayer of his choice.

So what are they learning from using the sprayer at the park besides the abandoned lesson in sharing and taking turns ? Plenty !
1. They are building up fine motor skills to help with their writing.
2. They are improving coordination.
3. They are learning that red colouring only shows on lighter coloured objects like white bird poo but not on mud.
4. They are learning amidst my shouts of "No!" that spraying on the winged termites damages their wings and they can't fly. But if their mother stops them in time, and the bug does not shed his wing and it has a chance to dry, he can fly again.
5. They are learning that you need to stop and let some air into the big sprayer or it won't spray - Bernoulli's principle.
6. They are learning which people to avoid because they will get yelled at for spraying on plants.
7, 8, 9, 10.....