Welcome 2014

Some of the New Year's cards my students made.

(That is, Happy New Year!)

I can't believe it's already 2014! Time certainly goes fast, I'm quickly heading toward my second year in Taiwan. These days my schedule is packed, so because I was exhausted I decided not to venture far from my apartment this year. Therefore, I didn't go any where near Taipei 101.  My prediction last year was right; I didn't want to brave the crowds again.  Nonetheless, I fun making new years cards with my students and enjoying myself close to home.

Last Friday, my students were all given blank cards from Christmas to decorate. The school provided me with glitter, stickers, and other supplies for them to use.  Needless to say, they enjoyed the activity and it was awesome to see their creativity (even if some of them did go a little overboard!).

Cards made by the younger elementary students
I suppose this kid was looking toward the future...
he wrote "2104" haha!
When the kids were all done, I made a card myself.
What do you think?
On New Year's eve, I started the day with a long walk to muster up some strength since I've been sick these days.  I walked all the way to Bali (八里) a township part of New Taipei located across the Danshui river from where I live. I went early in the morning. The weather was great, albeit misty.

Looking at Danshui from Bali.
See those four tall buildings close to the center?
That's 摩天31 (Motian31 or Towering 31/ 31 Skyscraper...something like that...)
It's a set of four 31 floor apartment buildings close to where I live. 
I bought these from a famous bakery in Bali.
They're called 芋泥餅 (yunibing; fried cookies with taro paste in the middle).
They're clearly not healthy at all, but I love to indulge once in a while.

The rest of my day was routine. I did some school work and chores. In the evening, I remembered to watch 
紅白歌合戦 (Kohaku Uta Gassen), the biggest New Year's show in Japan which has been televised for decades. I tell myself every year that I'm going to watch it, but rarely have I gotten the opportunity to in the past because of the huge time difference between Tokyo and Houston.  But now that I'm just one hour behind Japan, I thought I'd tune in through a live online stream.
Dreams Come True!  I love them! They did a great job!
(Does Miwa ever age?!)
The moderator and host for the Red Team.
I didn't really like either of them...they could have gotten people
with more character, I think.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu!
Over the top, of course.
They did a brief live conference with people in Taipei at the
Taipei 101 concert!
Chris Hart and Seiko Matsuda (who also does not age!)
did my favorite performance of the night, it was a beautiful duet.
I made some 湯圓 (tangyuan; soup balls) to enjoy as I watched.
Unfortunately, I tuned into Kohaku about 40 min. late and missed sakanaction.  I really wanted to see their performance as bands like their's aren't usually invited to Kohaku.

After the show was over (the White Team won!), I decided to head to 和平公園 (heping gongyuan; Peace Park) which is situated on a small mountain to take some pictures of the fireworks in Bali.

My camera.
My settings were so messed up, haha.
But I thought this shot came out pretty cool.
All in all, it was a quiet New Year for me.  I'm looking forward to doing/seeing a lot in this new year.  I don't have as many resolutions as I did last year, but I want to tackle a few left over from last year:

Draw more.
I love to draw, but I'm at the point where I don't even remember what the last thing I drew was!  I think that's terrible.  I used to draw every single day.  This has been on my mind for a while. I even brought my art supplies to Taiwan, but unfortunately, they've been sitting on my bookcase ever since. I need to change that!

Read more.
One of my majors in college was Political Science, and I am now in grad school.  Needless to say, I read frequently.  However, I hardly do any pleasure reading anymore. There are several books I want to read, and like my art supplies, I brought some books with me to Taiwan but haven't touched them.  During Chinese New Year break, I want to start reading them!

Travel more.
I traveled a lot in 2013 - Hong Kong, Macau, Alaska.  I want to continue to travel in 2014.  I will probably (98.9% sure) will be visiting Germany and France this summer (excited!), and I'd like to go somewhere this winter break, yet my plans are not clear yet.  I want to see more of the world!

I hope everyone reaches their goals and have a pleasant year!

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