Mommy Growing up: November 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

University Lake

Our campus lake at daytime
At early evening (photo credit)
at late night.. simply beautiful.. 

Our university lake (Jhongshing lake), found at the heart of our campus has always been an attraction to the students and the local community alike. It's a man-made one, the shapes of China (big lake) and of Taiwan (small lake).

Top view: the shape of China.
Top view: the shape of Taiwan. So cool right?

Being surrounded by green trees, flocked by different kinds of birds (yes, it's a bird sanctuary), a home to geese and ganders, ducks, swans, turtles and fishes, it's definitely one of the best places to relax. People can just come around and relax, feed some fish and birds, do some taichi and yoga or simply enjoy the cool breeze. The first time my daughters came to Taiwan, I never failed to tour them around and took few photos of them by the lake.

The first time Aron came here last February 2011:

My pink baby by the NCHU lake! 
Feeding and playing with the geese.
Feeding the fish and turtles.
Enjoying the panorama.
Me and my baby! So glad to be reunited with her again!

The first time Joey came here two years ago:

Can't believe how small she was by then. Indeed time ran so fast!

And the first time I came here four years ago:

Me with a good friend.
and with another good friend, August 2007.

My, I just realized the coincidences of me and my little girls wearing pinks the first time we had photos with the lake lol. More of our campus lake...

At our graduation day.  
With our good friends.

Indeed, a lot of good memories happened in this lake. The face-bashing-with-cakes birthday surprises and the late night  hang-outs with good crazy friends that were such good stress relievers will surely be missed.


Shotgun Proposal

Married? Tell us the story of how the question was popped.

Wooh! Such meme from Mama Kat suddenly transported me back ten years ago at my engagement moment. So how was the question popped? Sorry to frustrate you guys but our story was not that romantic. For starters, I'm not even sure if the question was popped at all. I think it's kinda funny. The question should be, was the question popped? Hahah, please read on.

I was on my sixth year with my veterinary medicine course when I found out I was two months pregnant. Yes, two months pregnant at the beginning of my senior year. How great was that. Pregnancies out of wedlock are frowned upon by our society. Our parents and families would surely be devastated. I was beyond horrified. Confused and scared, I informed my boyfriend of my scary condition. His answer was simple "then let's get married!" That was a declaration! He didn't even pop the question. He didn't even asked me if I wonna marry him. It's the feeling of having a shotgun pointed at your face and you have no other option but to accept the proposal.

See? Told yah, not at all romantic.

With his statement, the more I got scared. I'm not yet ready. I love him but we're still kids ourselves. However, my soon-to-be-hubby was sure of his decision. He was to marry me if that's the right thing to do. He's kind of mature beyond his years. Our friends used to tease him that such was his strategy of not losing me, hmmm.

But hear me out. The problem then was how to divulge such news to our parents. A role model daughter as I was, I was scared to break the forbidding news. So I left the noble task to my poor hubby. For three days I was gone for a field trip on an island with my colleagues, an overnight ferry ride away from home. He was left to resolve our grave problem alone (he's the sweetest and obviously I'm the meanest haha). When he told his parents about  our serious problem, surprisingly, they took the news calmly and understood our situation.

Then they visited my parents and dropped the bomb themselves. Imagine how my mom reacted. She was hysterical. My father was speechless. I can't imagine how awkward the situation might be. It's their first time to meet each other and what a great way to finally meet, huh? However, my parents managed to survive the blow. They believed that everything will be alright. That their daughter will surely finish her studies and become a veterinarian someday. That we will survive such sudden transition in our lives. Knowing what everybody had gone through (and I was a coward), I was really touched and kind of felt at peace with the situation and less scared of getting married too soon.

In our Filipino culture, we have the stage before marriage called "pamanhikan", where the groom-to-be formally asks the hands of his wife-to-be from her parents for marriage. My boyfriend's family and relatives invaded our home few days later and the wedding date was set. Hence, we were officially engaged. I was then 21 and hubby was 22 years old. The wedding was held two months later in our city's cathedral  followed by a grand reception at the hotel. And the feeling? I was like floating all through out in the midst of a whirlwind, from the wedding preparations to the wedding ceremony. I survived.

Overall, though the marriage proposal was not at all that romantic, we ended up so inlove with each other. We made the right choice. And now, we got two beautiful daughters who further strengthened the bond. Though our relationship has its ups and downs, we worked it out and maintained the romance in our lives. Last month, we celebrated our tenth year wedding anniversary. Yes we did it and pretty survived the odds. As for the romantic part? I'm still waiting for my diamond ring, wondering when my husband can finally afford it lol.

This post was inspired by the fabulous Mama Kat's meme.

Wordless Wednesday: Strawberry pickers

My little ones. Harvesting, eating and playing.

The Pagoda

Located up high on a mountain (Mt. Sha Ba Lan) and around the picturesque Sun Moon Lake (the only natural big lake in the country), the Cih-en Pagoda stands mightily at 46 meters high. It's an octagonal building with a total of 12 floors. The first three stories were neatly painted in snowy white while the upper 9 stories with golden red. This lovely tower was built  by Taiwan's former president Chiang Kai-Shek in 1971 in honor of his mother. Cih-en Pagoda overlooks the spectacular scenery of Sun Moon lake and the panoramic Lalu Island.

Three years ago, I and my friends rented two vans and traveled around central Taiwan. We invaded one of its  famous landmarks, the Cih-en Pagoda.

Hail the beautiful pagoda in a glorious weather! base is blindingly white!

More from the escapade...

Friends having fun! 

Two beautiful ladies and both my good friends on the topmost floor of the tower (left: Ms. Bolivia & right: Ms. Romania), enjoying the gorgeous mountains. 
On top of the world. Running out of breath after climbing the steep staircases, we were then greeted by the breathtaking views of the lake and the mountains. The gushing strong chilly wind further gave us the taste of an amazing top-of-the-world adventure lol.
The  group on our way to trek the 700 meter track towards the Pagoda and enjoying the refreshing sights of trees and flowers along the way.

Most of our friends on this photo already graduated and left Taiwan for their home countries. Those fun-filled days and good memories shared together are truly cherished! The beautiful Cih-en Pagoda (postcard perfect) will surely be missed too.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Orange Animals at Taipei Zoo

Yes, orange animals. Okay, some with at least orange hues. Visiting Taipei Zoo with my family two months ago treated us with beautiful animals of different types and different colors from Africa, Australia, Asian tropical rainforests, the deserts, temperate zones, and Taiwan. Taipei Zoo is the largest zoological garden in Asia and covers about 165 hectares of land, with around 90 hectares open to the public. Without further ado, some of the orangey animals my kids adored:

Meet the beautifully striped orange Bongo from Africa. 
Aren't they attractive? 
Meet the Bactrian camel from the steppes of central Asia/deserts of Mongolia and China. Notice the two humps they have on their back, as opposed to the kind found below.  It is now considered as critically endangered species
My baby was so excited to see one.

Meet the dromedary or Arabian camel from  the Middle East or North Africa. Notice that it only has one hump on its back in contrast to the Asian camel  (Bactrian camel) on top.
Beautiful, aren't they?
Meet the cute gemsbuck from Africa.
My daughter wonna ride one lol.
Meet the famous tallest land animal, the giraffe, a native from Africa. My kids adore them.

Meet the Bengal Tiger, a native from Indian subcontinent. It is now considered an endangered species. 
The Orangutan (on top, sorry my camera is bad), a native from the rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia. It is now an endangered species. This one is quite old and we think he's so lonely back there.
The famous hippopotamus or hippo from sub-Saharan Africa. Their pool was drained this time thus exposing their fatty bellies hehe.
My baby is eaten by a hungry hippo!
Meet the Przewalski's horse, a subspecies of wild horse  native to the steppes of Mongolia and China. It is also considered an endangered species. 

We realized that most of these animals are actually endangered species. If their existence will not be well-taken cared of, who knows if the future generation can still witness such nature's amazing orangey creatures. My kids love all of them and they had so much fun!

Me and my kids inside the zoo surrounded by the green forest.

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