Food I’ve Been Eating At Home

•September 20, 2017 • Leave a Comment

So a few students have asked about the food I’m eating here. One asked about common lunches and another asked about the food I really miss. This post will cover both of those. Now… as I’m sure you know… this is only a small portion of what I’ve been eating here. I don’t generally take pictures of my food and I’m certainly not inclined to take pictures of every single meal. But here are some things I’ve been eating at home. I encourage you to look them up online if you’re curious to know more. Or you can ask a question here or on my teacher’s Facebook page.

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Ice cream sandwich

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Chex cereal with fresh peaches and blueberries

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Portuguese kale soup & a grilled cheese 

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English muffins w/strawberry jam

Actually, I like my English muffins with cream cheese or butter and orange marmalade, but we didn’t have any at the time I took this photo. We do now though… 😉

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Grilled chicken salad w/mixed greens, fresh corn, and avocado

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Triscuits & cheddar

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Shredded mini-wheats w/banana and blueberries

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Takeout: Chessmen’s pizza

This pizza had an okay crust– crisp, flavorful, and a bit chewy. For the pizza on the left, we chose mushroom, onion, and Italian sausage. For the one on the right we chose spinach, tomato, and black olive. Unlike pizza in Taiwan, I was sure that they’d come with plenty of flavorful tomato sauce and they did.

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Takeout: Fried seafood basket

This fried seafood basket came with fried whole clams w/bellies, fried shrimp, fried scallops, fried haddock, onion rings, and french fries. It was garnished with lemon wedges and came with plenty of tartar sauce and cocktail sauce.

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Steamers, corn on the cob, and green beans

This is the first (of two) time we had steamers. They were so good that we got them again a few days later.

Steamers (both nights) – https://youtu.be/75S6MzZRm7g

Coming soon: a continuation of food at home… lobster!

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Americans Answer Your Questions!

•September 8, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Thank you everyone for your questions and interest! Yesterday we drove into Boston. I’ve really been missing the great sandwiches you can get in the US, so we stopped by a Cuban restaurant for a Cubano: a pressed plancha-grilled sandwich made with ham, cheese, roasted pork, pickles, and mustard on Cuban bread. We got ours with lettuce, too.

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We also had a plate of roast pork served with yellow rice mixed with pigeon peas and Spanish olives, and a side of “maduros” (fried sweet plantains.)
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To wash everything down, we ordered a tamarind juice and horchata, a Spanish and Latin American drink made of ground nuts, grains, and spices.

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Tamarind juice and Horchata

And although we were quite full by the end, we brought home one empanada filled with sweet, pink guava paste and cheese.

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Guava & Cheese Empanada

While in Boston, I took some time to ask Americans about some of the things you were curious about:

  • What do Americans eat for dinner?
  • Do Americans shower twice a day?
  • How often do Americans go to see a baseball game?
  • Are there many Asian students in high school?
  • Do  Americans consider Taiwan a country?

Find out their answers in this video on YouTube…

And a bonus! 
Can you guess which of these wild New England creatures I see at least once a day in Luke’s parents’ yard? Guess correctly and I will show you…

Lunch at Seth & Kate’s

•September 5, 2017 • Leave a Comment

One of my favorite students submitted an excellent request to see people’s shirts in Taiwan. I was sure to take a picture of friends and family while we were at Luke’s brother’s house.

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As you can see, we dress comfortably and casually!

In thanks for my student’s curious question, I’ve created a video (on YouTube, linked below) to share some of our lunchtime fun at Seth & Kate’s house. I hope you enjoy. Send more questions and comments for more videos! 😉

Or watch on YouTube. 

Plastic-Free July 2017

•September 2, 2017 • Leave a Comment

This year marked our second participating in Australia’s Plastic Free July. Last year I was surprised to see how participating improved our consciousness of our plastic waste. We committed avoiding single-use plastics (plastic that has a single, one-time purpose, such as plastic wrapping or a plastic soda bottle) and it really increased our awareness of straws. It was hard at first and we failed a couple times, but by the end, we were remembering to inform “不用吸管” when ordering a drink. And that’s how we ended up with these!

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This year, we signed up again, ready to see how another month of plastic-free consumption would further change us. We have found that avoiding single-use plastics is pretty damn easy and only requires a little bit of forethought or creativity. If we bring a old bag to the market, we can put our fresh produce in that. We bring reusable containers to buy bulk grains or protein. We bring our own utensils when we go out. And when we need something that comes in packaging, we choose the least plastic possible or refuse to buy it altogether. This is why, instead of choosing the individually-wrapped toilet tissue packs that are the norm in Taiwan, we buy these (far less common) unwrapped rolls of toilet paper.
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But in getting ready for Plastic-Free July 2017, I wondered if there wasn’t a better way to eliminate or reduce that packaging even further. And that’s how we ended up installing a toilet “bidet” spray hose!
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We. Love. It!

Of course, it also came wrapped in plastic and we still do use a little bit of toilet paper from time to time, but significantly less than before. Like… a 10th of the toilet paper. That’s a resource- and financial savings in-and-of itself! So after a whole month, this is our total plastic waste (new & old purchases) for the entire month of July:
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In the top left, you can see marshmallows, a Digestive wrapper, and a microwave popcorn wrapper from camping trips. Also used on camping trips, the ketchup packets were actually salvaged from friends who didn’t need them and would have thrown them out. I use rubber gloves for dish-washing but one of them got an un-repairable hole. I still use the other glove. I’ll be brainstorming alternatives in the future. There’s the toilet paper pack purchased prior to July; we’ve since used a single roll of toilet paper for the whole months of July and August. On the very first day of July, I absentmindedly purchased a plastic-wrapped head of lettuce even though there was a bulk lettuce option and I had already purchased other produce in my bags from home. Next are caps from aseptic packaging that is, technically, also lined with plastic and probably should be here. Plastic chopstick wrappers from a day when we did not think ahead! Continuing clockwise, 2-week contact lens packaging. Random ties. The plastic that housed the “bidet” hose we installed. One of our water filters (tap water in Taiwan is unreliably “potable” and I suspect has a high metal content.) Agar packaging purchased long ago.

I’ve resolved that once we run out of plastic filters, we will install a more environmentally-friendly filter to our sink. That and our bidet hose are the two newest positive commitments to come as a direct result of our participation in Plastic-Free July as we strive to follow Rethink > Refuse> Reduce > Reuse > Recycle, in that order. I look forward to growing our awareness and participation in a more sustainable world next year and maintaining our wise habits until then.

We’re still here!

•November 16, 2015 • Leave a Comment

A year later and we’re back to blogging. A lot has happened since the last post (about a year ago), but I’m just going to carry on as though we never took a break. I’ve finally got a smart phone so it should be much easier to take and add pictures in a somewhat regular basis.

Our neighbors, and good friends, Monnew and Isu, helped me make this sign in an effort to get my stolen garden tools back. It reads

Our neighbors, and good friends, Monnew and Isu, helped me make this sign in an effort to get my stolen garden tools back. It reads “please return my garden tools”. Im trying the polite approach, but the sign has been up for almost two weeks now so I’ve considered it a complete failure.

(It’s a MANGO.)

•August 18, 2014 • 1 Comment

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It wasn’t even the biggest one that they had!!

Táiwān zàn!! 台灣贊!!

•June 6, 2014 • 1 Comment

Last November, we were hired by a video production company to be in a promotional film for the Taiwan Tourism Bureau. It was one of 5 themed videos for foreign audiences. This is our 3-minute nature-themed video.
There is also:
A 30-second version: http://youtu.be/fl1AyV8La_A
A 60-second version: http://youtu.be/BVvhIZyB4Nc
A 10-minute video linking together all 5 themes: http://youtu.be/1U8fQBIITfU