Goodbye Miaoli!

It was a busy few days as we ended our time in Miaoli, wrapping up our weeding, harvesting, and juicing before leaving the farm behind.

We stumbled across the village community center during one of our last evenings and caught a lesson on traditional shoe making with our housemates. The art of weaving sandals out of rice reeds was once known all around Miaoli, but these days, fewer and fewer people remember how. To keep the tradition alive, one local woman holds occasional lessons for others in the community, and Erin was lucky enough to get to try it out herself! We’ll need a little more practice before we level up from straw pinwheels!

In an earlier post, we mentioned that Ghost Month recently began in Taiwan, and our last day of work happened to fall on the height of the monthly celebrations, Ghost Festival day. Tables of food and incense offerings were left in front of every house, and the sound of firecrackers tore through the village every few minutes as we watched our final sunset over Shiqian Village. Shu-Huei’s family prepared a special final meal for us and, through Jeff’s translation, we were able to say goodbye and thank each other for a great month.

We ended up putting off our trip down to Kaohsiung for one last day of fun and friends on Wednesday, and chatted with our new friends from Lao Jia all afternoon over coffee and tea. At the end of the day, we even discovered a little haven of Italian food for dinner called Cafe Mia! That’s right, real pizza in the heart of Taiwan! The food was delicious and we couldn’t help but be reminded of home as we dug into rich, cheesy pastas and risottos. It was all vegetarian too, a rarity during our time here and a relief to all four of us vegetarians. The owner of the restaurant is a piano teacher and was kind enough to give us a performance as we finished our meal (and Erin even gave a shot at showing off her rusty piano skills). We finished off the night with a night market, and even got to help celebrate JeanPaul’s birthday before we left!

But finally, we said our goodbyes to our friends in Miaoli before boarding the train to Kaohsiung. A last minute change of plans meant that we won’t be able to meet up with Erin’s friend there anymore, but her family kindly offered to host us and show us around the south side of the island.

We just spent the first day of our last week in the country on a long and scenic train ride down the coast, and adventure waits on the horizon. We can’t wait to get to know a whole new side of Taiwan!

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