Saturday, May 14, 2011
So pretty, so strong, so unique.
I wanted one.
I chose my favorite.
How could I resist?
I asked the young female cashier about it's history.
My father made it from bamboo. My grandmother painted it. The Chinese words wish you luck and happiness. It takes a month to make one. These umbrellas are special and will bring you good luck.
The family run business is quite famous in Taiwan. It is one of the only remaining paper oil umbrella workshops in Taiwan, and perhaps the world. The Hakka people used the umbrellas in their everyday life. They are also used as wedding presents with parents giving them to their children on their special day.
In 1989, after watching his skilled parents make umbrellas, Lee Ming-Hsiang decided to open a business of his own. I am glad he did. You can visit the family run business's website here.
Meinong is about a 50 minute drive from downtown Kaohsiung.
You can buy your own oil paper umbrella from the Lee family store. Directions below.
Thursday, May 12, 2011
|Mmm, mangoes of all shapes and sizes|
I loved Morocco for the fresh fruit and vegetables, namely the mandarins and strawberries. Now, my favorite fruit, well, one of my favourites, is now in season.
I have wonderful memories of Christmas time in Australia. Buying mangoes by the boxful from the vans that stop on the side of the main roads. Mangoes with ice cream, mango smoothies, mangoes in salads, or just mango is it is, dripping down my chin and off my elbows. Yum!
Now I am so happy it is mango season in Taiwan. Mangoes are cheapest bought from the back of the small trucks, or 'moving markets. Otherwise, a grocery store or fruit store is the other option. 'There are so many types of mangoes here. Big ones, small ones, medium ones... I have tried them all and they are all delicious. They are juicy and sweet and ready to eat.
|I am not sizest|
In Taiwan I have had mango tea, mango juice and mango with frozen ice 雪花冰; a very popular dessert here in Taiwan.
Of course, I love mangoes a la Mark Darcy, just as they are.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Sunday, May 1, 2011
The past 2 weeks of Yoga Teacher Training have been very awesome. We hiked to the second highest peak of Shoushan Monkey Mountain, meditated amongst a maze of tree trunks, roots and branches, each student taught an hour and a half class - which included us taking 12 classes over 3 days, and today was the culmination with our RYT 200 Yoga House Institute Graduation and party.
|Enjoying the view|
It is difficult to imagine that 10 weeks, that's 200 hours of Yoga Training spread over 10 weekends, has come to an end. I feel that the Teacher Training has given me a purpose to being in Taiwan. I have met some truly wonderful, inspiring and knowledgeable people who have enhanced my experience in ways I only know. To be around such positive, kind-hearted souls, weekend after weekend, meant as much to myself as the Course.
I don't care what people say - tree huggers, vegis, hare krishnas, hippies, whatever. Who can possibly say that feeling and being healthy, happy, energised and strong is bad? Take it in. Try it. What do you have to lose?
Today's class, the last one of the course, was amazing. First, a student taught the class a variety of poses, calling from each of the groups - core, balance, twists, forward bends and backward bends. My flexibility and balance was challenged, even though I am mush stronger than I was at the beginning. Yoga is a continual practice with improvements being able to be made during every practice.
Secondly, another student-teacher taught an emotion filled class. She has recently learned that her father will be passing away in the USA in a few days time, while she is here in Taiwan. She was fortunate to be able to visit him last week and share with him some Ujjayi Pranyama. Her lesson was centered on opening the heart, spreading peace, love and compassion - and accepting them as well. Her poses called for strength and opening of the heart, connected to the breath.
Lastly, a very spiritual student-teacher taught the class heart opening chakras. We attempted to engage our Kundalini often referred to as the dormant serpent at the sacrum. We visualised different images as our chakras were engaged, seen and opened. Restorative postures ensured we remained relaxed and calm.
After a delicious pot-luck it was paparazzi time.
|Yoga House Graduates and Friends|
We then moved on to the emotional Graduation. Candles were lit amongst bright hibiscus bringing calmness and light to our ceremony. We were issued with a framed, signed and stamped certificate - the first of many for many of us, I am certain. Then came the emotionally awakening part of the ceremony. Chanting has been a part of our practice. It is a form of meditation - something to concentrate on and visualise. However, this chanting was different. We sang to each other All I ask of you is forever to remember me, by loving you. Oh, Kylie we love you, oh Kylie we love you. How powerful. How beautiful. How amazing.
|Michael and Sucharita|
I hope it is not the last time I will see my classmates from Yoga House. With so many experiences shared, it would be a shame to let friendships fall away. Through the natural course of life, I am sure some friendships will cease. However, I know that what I have gained will remain. For me and for them.