Sunday, September 30, 2007

JADE & FLOWER MARKET AND SNAKE ALLEY

Here are some pictures from our trips to the Jade & Flower Market as well as Snake Alley Night Market. The only way to describe these places is to call them GIANT Flea Markets, but with nicer stuff. It's just row after row of tables of Jade and then the same with the flowers and plants. The orchids were so pretty and SO cheap...too bad we couldn't bring some home with us. One of the main reasons I wanted to go to Snake Alley was to get a scroll done for Brady and we accomplished that task and it's so pretty!! Several of the other blogettes had this same "scroll guy" do scrolls for their daughters as well, so he's kinda famous in the bloggette world!! : ) As for pictures of snakes, I don't have any because most of the stalls that anything to do with snakes had signs posted saying you couldn't take pictures.









The picture above is of the Jade part of the market.









The picture above is of the flower part of the market.









The picture above is the scroll guy writing the message.









The final product, which says; love, happiness, forever, Chen-Yu.

LUNCH 9/30

Today for lunch we went to DIN TAI FUNG which is famous for it's Xiao Long Bao, or dumplings that are filled with pork and juice. This restuarant was recommended by a friend of the family who warned us that there would be a wait, and boy was he right!! We waited about an hour before we were taken to our table, but the wait was well worth it!! I highly recommend it to the bloggettes that are waiting to travel!! The first two pictures show all people waiting out front. The 3rd picture is what we were all waiting for and the final picture is of us enjoying our lunch. The fried rice is also a top choice but we forget to order it!





















TAIPEI 101




This morning after breakfast we ventured over to Taipei 101, which happens to be the world's tallest building at 508 meters or about 1,500 feet and 101 stories!! Some other interesting facts about Taipei 101 are:




  • the world's biggest passive wind damper, with a diameter of 5.5 meters and weighing 660 metric tons, was made at a cost of NT$ 132 million.(this is what keeps the building steady)


  • the foundation is fortified by 380 piles driven 80 meters into the ground adn 30 meters into the bedrock.


  • the building's glass curtain walls can sustain impacts of 8 tons.


  • the building's structure has been designed to withstand the biggest earthquakes in a 2,500 year cycle.


  • Taipei 101 can withstand gale winds of 60 meters per second.


Needless to say, it was pretty cool and the views were spectacular. The bottom several floors are a shopping mall and there are also several restaurants so I'm sure we'll be making our way back this week. Here are some pictures.



Saturday, September 29, 2007

We're in Taiwan!



GOOD MORNING!! We arrived late last night and were met by our driver, Mr. Yeh and his son, Alex. Very nice, but they don't speak a ton of English, but between Alan's limited Chinese and their limited English we'll be just fine. They had an itinerary all planned for us for the week, so that was nice to see. They will be picking us up later to take us to the Jade and Flower Market and then after that we'll go to Snake Alley Night Market. This morning we're going to get some breakfast and then explore the area around the hotel. I've included pictures of our hotel room.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Appointment Confirmations

I think we're all set at this point. We are scheduled to pick up Brady Monday October 1st at 2pm, which is Sunday 2am for anyone on the east coast. Our AIT (American Institute in Taiwan) appointment is scheduled for Wednesday October 3rd and that's when we "apply" for Brady's Visa. We may or may not be asked some questions and we may or may not be asked to produce any or all of the MOUNDS of paperwork that we have to take with us. The following day we go back to AIT to pick up the Visa. We will be doing some sightseeing while we're there as well. I've contacted the driver that all of the "blogettes" ahead of us have used and just mentioned a few places to him. HOLY COW, I almost forgot....we're actually getting some money BACK!!!! Because we are picking Brady up two days "early" we will get $57 back!!!! I think I'm still in shock! We have a "travel talk" scheduled for later this afternoon with our caseworker and the gentlemen that runs the Taiwan program so I'll post again if I learn anything spectacular. Now it's time to get back to getting ready!! : )

Monday, September 17, 2007

Brady Video and Itinerary

Here's the lastest video of Brady...this is the most he's "said" in any of the video's we've gotten!! We've spent the better part of the day trying to figure out our travel arrangements and we're finally done. We were able to use frequent flyer miles for the domestic portion so we saved a little bit of money!! Here's what we're doing:

Depart TPA Friday September 28th 10:50am

Arrive DFW 12:30PM Friday

Depart DFW 1:30PM Friday

Arrive SFO 3:15pm Friday

Depart SFO 6:20pm Friday

Arrive Taipei 10:00pm Saturday September 29th

Depart Taipei Friday October 5th 11:30pm

Arrive SFO Friday October 5th 7:30pm (it's weird to do part of the day twice!!)

Depart SFO 12:45am Saturday October 6th

Arrive DFW 6:00am Saturday

Depart DFW 6:50am Saturday

Arrive HOME 10:10am Saturday


video


Sunday, September 16, 2007

LEAVIN' ON A JET PLANE!!!!!





Well, we got THE CALL!!! I'd love to say that the call went like I had imagined it would, but it didn't. As most of you know, we just returned from a cruise and when I got off the boat this morning (in Miami) I had 2 voicemails. So, I called my voicemail and got VERY excited when I realized the call was from our agency, but my excitement quickly changed to panick as I listened to the message. The first message went something like this..."I sent you an email yesterday with some very important information and I need you to contact me as soon as possible".....the tone of her voice was more important sounding than happy news sounding, so I was panicking a bit. Then I hear the second message and it's more of the same plus I realized both of these messages had been left on a Saturday so I REALLY started freaking out!!! Not to mention that we wouldn't be able to check email until we got back to Tampa in 4-5 hours!!! So, I decided to call some friends and have them check my email for me and guess what....NO EMAIL!!!!(THANKS Jim and Sherry!!!) So, now I'm even more frustrated by the whole thing because we realized that she must have only emailed the info to Alan's work email!!! So, we finally got back to my parents house and I log on to check my email and so did Alan and at the same time my mom was playing back their phone messages from the week and there was one from our caseworker since they are listed as our "in case of emergency" contact, and I'm carefully listening to the message until I hear Alan say "Suan Final Ruling"!!!!! With that, I'm up off the chair and peering over his back in no time!!! So, needless to say, it didn't happen how I had imagined, but WHO CARES since Brady is NOW OFFICIALLY OURS!!!! We are to pick him up on or before October 3rd so that we don't have to pay any extra foster care fees (we paid for 6 months up front). We're going to try and use frequent flyer miles but we can't do any of that until tomorrow. We're thinking we'll leave here around September 28th and return October 7th or 8th, assuming there is availability. As soon as I know our itinerary I'll post again. We can't wait to pick up this cute smiling face and finally be a family of 3!!! : )

Thursday, September 6, 2007

NO NEWS.....

YET!!!! Well, we didn't get our call yesterday, but I'm still holding out hope that it will be sooner than later. Our caseworker who has worked with us since the beginning left our agency to move to Canada for another job, so we now have a new caseworker, which is making me a little nervous, just because we're soclose to the end at this point. I did get in touch with her yesterday to make sure she had the right contact numbers for us and to tell her that while we're on our cruise next week she needs to call Alan's phone since mine won't work. I was a bit relieved when she made a comment referring to the fact that we're waiting on our Final Ruling, so at least she seems to be up to speed and our file isn't sitting in a pile on a desk. I really liked our other caseworker so I'm sad to see her go, but she's gotta do what's right for her.

I'm trying to not jump every time my cell phone rings, but that's REALLY hard to do at this point. I'm off to run some errands in the hope that my mind will stay busy with other things.... it's doubtful, but worth a try nonetheless!!!

Stay tuned for the good news.....and hopefully it will be sooner than later!!!