Friday, October 17, 2008

A Quick Update

Hi, here it is the middle of October and it's still warm as snot out. Frank and I have been having adventures. The Internet connection at home has been out for a couple weeks, and it will be a couple more before the cable guys can sync up with my schedule to come to the house and figure out what the problem is.

Where to begin? I took Frank to an Obama fundraiser in Taipei a few weeks ago at a El Gallo, a new Mexican restaurant in Tienmu, the trendy neighborhood where all the foreigns go. It was definitely the most white people Frank had ever seen gathered in one place in his life. He had a great time, ate his fill of burrito and then three or four different kinds of home baked desserts, including a beautiful cupcake with the Obama logo on it. We met a coworker from my school there, as well as Michael Turton, another American Expat and the mind behind the fantastic View From Taiwan blog. When Frank and I got back from the buffet line, we discovered that two beautiful reporters had joined us at the table. Frank's got good taste in women....just like Daddy.

After we loaded up on gear and enthusiasm, we set off into the night towards our hotel where Maggie and Gretchen were waiting. There was a heavy wind-driven mist falling, a precursor to the typhoon which was striking the south of the island at that very moment. By midnight, the wind was turning violent. We decided to cut our trip short and head back to Taichung the very next morning before the HSR was shut down for safety's sake.

We took another trip to Taipei this past weekend to celebrate 10/10 with a trip to the zoo. Unforunately, at least 50,000 others had the same idea and the zoo was a madhouse, but to go after the end of this month will be even worse when the pandas arrive from the mainland. A rain shower may have chased about 10,000 people home, but we waited it out with ice cream, coffee, and hot chocolate and moved on to see the elephants after inserting the kids into their rain gear. Gretchen alternated between being carried by Mom, then by Dad, then walking, then back to being carried by mom. The last time at the zoo, Gretchen was in a stroller, and it was quite cold and the rain never ceased, so all in all, this time was a success.

This picture of the two of them holding hands is a favorite of Maggie's. She thinks the kids will look back at this in the future and remember that they are really good friends and look out for each other.

Frank had a good time, and we bought him an inflatable zebra to take home with him. Gretchen got a tiger. On this trip, Frank fed the train tickets into the right slot and did a good job holding on to subway tokens, holding them tightly in his hand and putting them in the box at trip's end. He set a good example for his sister, who by Sunday was doing the same thing.

A trip to Page One at Taipei 101 netted Franklin 3 Clifford books, including Clifford's Manners, which has become a smash hit. In the week that we've been reading it at bedtime, Frank has been very aware of his own manners and no longer needs to be reminded to say please and thank you. This makes his dad extremely happy. We're still working on the sharing part, but we're getting there.

Oh geez, I almost forgot. Halloween is right around the corner and I had been hoping to send Frank to his kindergarten Halloween day as a Chicago Cub with his hat, and a batting jersey. His favorite team, after all, is the Chicago Cubs, and will be as long as I have anything to say about the matter.

However, we received word last week that students attending the Halloween party next Saturday at school would all wear THE SAME COSTUMES! WTF? Well, at least the students don't have to wear uniforms to school every day in kindergarten, but it is a little stifling to the originality of the parent to make them all wear the same masks. We'll see how it goes. I'm taking the day off.

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