Monday, November 30, 2009

Day 5-The "Famous" Scroll Guy

Our final stop on Day 5 was to head back to Snake Alley to have our scrolls made. Pretty much everyone from our Yahoo Group gets one of these scrolls and we have one for Brady so it was a "MUST DO" this trip!!!

I was originally hoping to get a gold scroll done for Emily as red and gold are good luck colors (and red does NOT go with her room colors), but he no longer carries gold ones...bummer! So I then decided on white, but he didn't have white in the usual small size, but he did have the bigger one, so we went ahead and got that for Emily. Like Brady's scroll, it says, "Love, Forever, Family, Yi-Han" and I think it turned out just perfect!!!

This time we also got a scroll for our front entry way and another one for a Christmas present!! As luck would have it, we had just enough, I mean just enough money for the 3 scrolls!! I think we spent a bit more money than we anticipated at the Jade Market and because we were leaving the next morning we didn't want to change any more money so we just went with what we had on hand. In our defense, we would have had a bit left over, but Emily's big scroll was more expensive!! ( I had a moment there, when I thought we were going to have to ask Mr. Yeh for a loan!! LOL)

working on Emily's scroll

the finished scroll!!

working on the "Christmas Present"

our scroll, which says "Happiness, Longevity, Family" with our family name "Suan". This is by far, one of my most favorite "souvenirs" that we've gotten in Taiwan!!

He made this fan for us, free!! Alan says that literally translated, it says, "Beth loves Alan Suan" LOL!!! Appropriate though!!

Day 5-Lunch, Yamingshan National Park and the Jade Market

As you can see from all of these "Day 5" posts, we were very busy on our last day!!! It was already going to be a packed day, but once we decided we were leaving 2 days early, we had to squeeze a few things into the schedule!!!

We stopped at this little hole in the wall place for lunch for "cat's ear" soup!!! I was a little worried when Mr. Yeh, Angel and Alex were first talking about it but then I found out the "cat's ear" is just a noodle in the shape of a cats ear!!! SHOOOOO!!!! The soup was very very good!!

Mr. Yeh holding Emily so Alan and I could eat

the cats ear noodle

Angel and me enjoying our soup

Alex finished first, so he took Emily outside....he is SO good with babies, especially for a teenage boy!!

Next we went to Yamingshan National Park. This place was so so pretty and we had awful weather so I can only imagine how it must look in the Spring!! (So, those of you who will be traveling in the Spring make this a MUST SEE!!!)

I have no idea if there is a "story" behind this giant clock, but it sure is cool!!

a food cart in the park...Alex bought himself stinky tofu and a tea egg.

we also did a quick drive by of the springs

We then made a stop at the Jade Market, which was a lot of fun. I do find the whole place a bit intimidating, but it's still fun. We managed to find some cool gifts for us, the kids and friends and family so it was a productive excursion!!

these are pictures of Alex stringing a kids sized bracelet for us!!! The booth owner only had one and I needed two, so Alex got to work!!! ( I have no idea if he knew this woman or not!!LOL)

Day 5-Chiang Kai Shek Shilin Residence

Next up was the Shilin residence of Chiang Kai Shek, which has beautiful gardens. I can only imagine what it looks like in the Spring!! Even though there were lots of people there, it was oddly peaceful, which was nice.

there weren't many roses, but the ones that were there, were beautiful!

I thought this was kinda cool!!!

These next few were all taken in the Chinese garden.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Day 5-Grand Hotel

Next up was a stop at the Grand Hotel, which is a sight to be seen!! The word is that this is "the" hotel in Taipei, which I'm sure it is. The lobby is just beautiful, so I'm curious what the rooms look like.....maybe next time!!? LOL

the ceiling in the lobby

WOW, this orchid was beautiful!!

just a pretty lantern

Me, Alex, Angel, Alan, Emily and Mr. Yeh

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day 5-Martyr's Shrine

This morning we started out at the Martyr's Shrine to watch the changing of the guards. It was quite a "show"!! Emily didn't think much of it though because she slept through the whole thing!! LOL The grounds are also very beautiful!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day 4-AIT

This morning we headed out to AIT to apply for Emily's Visa. We got there a few minutes before our 8:30 appointment time but were allowed to go upstairs anyway. We checked in Mr. Fu and had a seat and waited to be called. After about an hour or so ( I think) he called us to the window, asked us a few questions and then said that we could come pick up the Visa on Monday or have it couriered over later tonight or Saturday. We opted to pick it up Monday because, God forbid, the courier lost it, or someone at the front desk at the hotel did something with it, you can't be too careful with these documents!! Then I headed downstairs to pay the $400 fee and back up I went and checked in with Mr. Fu again. Then we got to wait some more before being interviewed. After a little while a woman called us to the window and pretty much asked us the same questions Mr. Fu had, but we answered them anyway. The good news is that she said we could come back today and pick up the Visa!!!!! So Alan went back and picked it up at about 3pm.

SO, this means that we don't have to stay til Tuesday anymore!! Alan called Un*ted and lo and behold they have business class seats for us on Sunday!!! So, we're heading home 2 days early which will be nice for lots of reasons: we save money on the hotel, we only had one more day of sightseeing planned anyway, we get to see Brady, (MAN, do I miss him!!!), we'll have a whole week to get time adjusted with my parents there, and I'm just ready to go home!!! The good thing about our seats being booked with miles is that there was no change fee, so that's a double bonus!!!

Tomorrow we are scheduled to go to the Gr@and Hotel, M@rtrys Shrine, the CK$ residence and to Y@mingsh@an N@t'l P@rk, but we're going to ask Mr. Yeh if we can change it up a bit. I really really want to get to the jade market (we had planned on going on our own Sunday) and we MUST get back to snake alley to see the scroll guy. I'm sure Mr. Yeh won't care, we had him booked for pretty much the entire day anyway!! I'm excited to get home to Brady and see how he does with his new little sister!!!

Here's some bonus pictures of Emily from this morning in the hotel room!!!
the jeans she is wearing are a size 3-6 months and they are big in the waist!!!

a little morning nap!!

hanging with Daddy!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Okay, here are the photo's!!! The drive to Taichung was very uneventful and in fact we had to waste time at the rest stop because we were about an hour ahead of schedule!!! Mr. Yeh picked us up a little bit earlier than originally planned because he thought there would be traffic on the highway due to the rainy weather, but there was absolutely no traffic!!!

So we arrived at TWCA (the Taiwan Agency/Facilitator) and met with Samantha for a few moments. We then drove over to the foster mom's house and this is when we were told that Emily had been living with the same foster mom that Brady had!!! We were SO SO happy to hear this!!! Not only is it a link for Brady and Emily, but we think Brady has turned out just wonderful (so far LOL) so we figured she must know what she's doing!!! (as an aside, all of the kids I know that have stayed with Ms Liao seem to have the least amount of transitional "issues" and most, if not all of them are very good sleepers and eaters!!) We were "warned" that Emily is shy and that she would probably cry!!! Alan and I both greeted Ms. Liao with a hug!!! We went into her house and Emily was on the floor playing as she had just finished her bottle and was getting ready to take a nap. We knelt down and talked to her and then I just went in for the scoop!!! She didn't cry at all either!!! In fact she is mostly quiet, unless she is crying, and that only happens when we're doing something wrong!! LOL. At 6 1/2 months old she is sitting up, rolling over, and FAST, pulling herself up to sit and pulling herself up to a STAND!!!! YIKES!!!! Ms. Liao said she was also walking along her couches!!! So much for me thinking I'd have at least a month of "easy baby parenting"!!! LOL She is a busy little girl that's for sure!!!

Okay, so after we left Ms. Liao's house we went back to TWCA to meet with the birth mom and her sister!! Wow, was that emotional!!! I won't tell the whole story of what happened and I won't post any pictures, but I'll give a glimpse as to what happened. We exchanged gifts and talked a little bit. Emily's mom was looking through the Virginia book we gave her and she came to a picture of snow and asked if it was snowing now. We explained that we usually don't get snow until January and/or February. We told her that we do plan to come back to Taiwan someday with both kids and she said she would be open to meeting us at that time, which is totally fine with us. We talked a lot about Brady too and that Emily would have a big brother. Of course the most important thing we got was all of the pictures!! Oh and her mom made us a CD of pictures that includes the pregnancy and sonogram pictures!!

Once we were finished visiting with them we headed downstairs to sign paperwork and then we headed back to Taipei, but first we stopped by Emily's birth city and were able to take a picture of the hospital she was born in!!!

We got back to the hotel a bit later than we thought so Emily was a bit behind on her schedule so last night was a bit trying. After a couple of hours we finally got her settled down enough to fall asleep and once she was asleep she did great!!! All in all, it was a great day!!!

Emily was playing when we got there. Apparently she loves this Patrick balloon, so Ms. Liao gave it to us!! LOL

the "handoff"

Our first picture with Emily!!! (funny, this is about the exact same pose as our first picture with Brady!!)

she likes to be held up in the air!

Mommy and Emily at the baby store!

Daddy and Emily in the car!!