Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

How did we celebrate Christmas in Taiwan?

-Sharing the nativity story with our students for Christmas Eve classes
-Giving homemade fudge to our neighbors and new Taiwanese friends
-A spaghetti dinner on Christmas Eve, followed by a midnight service at our church
-A Christmas morning show put on by Kalan's kindergarten students
-A quiet afternoon at home, opening gifts from our families and each other
-A very "British" Christmas dinner with our cell group, including Christmas pudding and mincemeat pies
-A day-after Christmas brunch and white elephant gift exchange with other foreign friends

Friday, December 10, 2010

Lottery Winners!

Yes, the rumors are true.

We won the Taiwanese lottery this week!

Now, before you get really excited (or concerned), let me explain.

Every time we purchase something in Taiwan, we receive a receipt with a number on it. As an incentive for stores to give out receipts, the Taiwanese government releases a list every two months of the winning receipt "lottery" numbers. If you have a receipt with three matching numbers in sequence, you win $200 NT (about $6 US). The more matching numbers you have, the more money you win. The grand prizes are actually quite substantial!

Well, one night this past week, we sat down with our huge box of receipts and went through them all...and we found some matches!

Our winnings came to a total of......drum roll please......

......... $600 NT

...........or $19.12!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Deck the Halls

A few days ago, one of my friends warned me that "very cold" weather was coming to Taiwan this week.

"It will get down to 10 degrees!" she said. "You better go buy a hat and mittens." Seeing my incredulity, she whipped out her phone to do a quick conversion to Fahrenheit.

"That's 50 degrees Fahrenheit!" she exclaimed, certain I would be impressed.

Needless to say, we won't be having a white Christmas this year.

But that hasn't stopped us from welcoming the Christmas season! Thanks to our awesome families, we have received several thoughtful packages with Christmas decorations and gifts.

Kalan and I have had fun sharing traditions from our families while developing some of our own.

We decorated a mini Christmas tree and hung stockings from our Wisconsin family.

We hung advent decorations from our Colorado family. Every night before dinner, we sing a Christmas carol and then open that day's note and corresponding gift.

Each day I am overwhelmed by all our blessings. Thankfulness seems to be our theme this season.

We hope you are also enjoying the advent season.

Oh...and enjoy the snow for us as well!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Giving Thanks

Last Saturday, we celebrated Thanksgiving at the Spencer household.

During the day, we hiked up "Elephant Mountain" with our friend Audrey.

From the top we enjoyed a spectacular view of Taipei and a picnic lunch. The huge building you see in the picture is Taipei 101 (second-tallest in the world). Oh, and Kalan and I practiced our "karate kid" moves. :-)

That evening we had dinner at our place with our American friends. Kalan was a cooking machine, creating all sorts of delicious dishes. My favorite was sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows "toasted" on our frying pan. (We tried using chopsticks to roast them over our stove, but the flame is too intense).

Here's a short clip from dinner:


The past couple weeks we have both been overwhelmed with thankfulness. We are so thankful for our marriage, our families, our friends--new and old, our jobs, our church, and the opportunity to live adventurously.

"Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!" (Psalm 95:1).