Friday, June 27, 2014

Exploring Taipei- Longshan Temple and Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial

Over Memorial Day weekend we hopped on a plane with our friends and headed west to Taiwan. Honestly, before we moved to Okinawa I knew nothing about Taiwan. I had heard different people mention it was a perfect place for a weekend trip, so I did my research. Taiwan may be a tiny island, but it is filled with tons of beautiful places to see! I was overwhelmed by all that there was to see and I knew we could never do it all in one weekend.

On our way, excited for Taiwan

It is kind of funny because there were tons of other service members and their family on our flight. There were more Americans than anyone else. Everyone seemed to have to same idea for the long weekend. Once we arrived, we decided to check into the hotel and then explore. The first thing we did was grab something to eat at random noodle shop we found while wandering around the streets, which turned out to be pretty good. We quickly learned that Taipei is a very vibrant and busy city. It was also fairly clean compared to some of the other cities we have been in, like Bangkok. After lunch we headed for the subway. I think subways are so interesting and love figuring them out.

We headed a few metro stops away to Longshan Temple. It always interests me in these Asian cities that there are big beautiful temples right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city. Longshan temple was so colorful and intricate, complete with a waterfall and fountain.

Our next stop was Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial. As soon as we got there, it began to rain. Thankfully, there was a cute covered outdoor cafe at the national theater that we sat at until the storm passed. We then headed up the stairs to the memorial and were just in time to see the changing of the guards. This is about the time we realized that Taipei was even more hot and humid than Okinawa.

Next we headed to Taipei 101, but I will save that and our experience at the infamous Din Tai Fung for next post!


Thursday, June 19, 2014

First Time Snorkeler

It's hard to believe that I have lived on a tropical island known for it's snorkeling and diving for almost a year and I had yet to snorkel. It is not completely my fault, jelly fish and cold water were a problem. But I do have to admit, I have a slight fear of being under water. I don't fear the crazy things lurking in the water like most, I fear not being able to breathe. I guess it comes from years of dealing with asthma. I snorkeled once when I was younger and I hated it, so I was very hesitant about trying it again.

Last weekend we decided to spend the day and camp out on one of the smaller islands you can drive to. We got our gear and some friends together and headed out. Even though it has been so rainy here, the day was gorgeous. We spent the day laying out, snorkeling, playing volleyball, grilling, and chatting around a campfire. Snorkeling wasn't as scary as I thought it would be and after a few minutes it felt very natural. I think we will be doing a lot of snorkeling in the future!

It was such a fun day! It was nice to finally spend some time at the beach and hangout with awesome friends. Hopefully the rain will decide to go away for good and we can get more beach days in!

Monday, June 16, 2014

I owe you an explanation

I'm still here, despite my unexpected hiatus. I kept telling myself that I don't need to apologize or give an explanation because this blog is my own space. But that isn't true. I do owe all of my readers and apology after they have been so dedicated to this space of mine. The explanation is pretty easy. My life got very hectic and this blog seemed more like a chore than something I enjoy. I was coming home at night exhausted and it would take a lot of effort to even cook dinner and keep the house somewhat clean. Those teachers out there will probably understand, teaching can be a very demanding job, and the situation I was in didn't make it much easier. I was loving it and had great comfort in knowing that teaching really is my calling, but I struggled to balance life for awhile. Balancing a busy life is a hard thing, and sometimes things get put on the back burner. In my case, many things, like exercise, cleaning, and this blog.

The main reason I stopped posting is because I promised myself when I started this blog that I never wanted to force anything. I wanted to want to post every time I posted. I wanted to only post when I had an original idea or felt like I had something worth sharing. For a long time, especially when I wasn't working full time, I always felt like I had something to share and inspiration was flowing. Once I started working, my creativity, inspiration, and passion was going towards a new outlet. Whenever I would sit down to write a post, I would be at a loss for words. Slowly, I stopped even sitting down to write.

Well, now it's summer and my hectic life has somewhat slowed. I am excited to get my life back into a normal, working order. I have resumed my normal workouts, the house is starting to look like civilized human beings live there, and here I am posting on this blog. I'm not sure what exactly the future of this blog looks like, but I know I will be stopping by more often than I have been. I still want to document our life here and I especially want to document our latest and upcoming travels. I feel like I have so much left to share and hope that Bell Bliss continues to be the space that I always wanted it to be. So here is to a new chapter in the life of Bell Bliss. Hope you stick around!