Sunday, September 25, 2011

Our “Non-Mission” Friends and Neighbors in Taichung

We wanted to devote this blog to the many wonderful people in Taiwan who have treated us so kindly. 
Each morning as we go out for our walk or exercise we pass Liang Ma Ma who is our apartment neighbor.  She doesn’t speak a word of English (well maybe bye bye is her only word), but we stop and talk to her anyway.  Ron nearly always sings her a song (Oh what a beautiful morning, Oh what a beautiful day…).  She shakes her head at him like she is embarrassed or telling him he needs to be hitting on his wife and not her.  But, we know she loves it.  Her health is poor, but after she tells us a sad story, she always smiles and laughs reminding us that life is still very good.  Our apartment security guards are also our friends and we have made our way slowly into their confidence.  We live in a nice and safe apartment, for that we are very grateful.
Liang Ma Ma, our neighbor
Our morning walks bring us into contact with many other walkers.  Ron has made a good friend named Hugo, a teacher at the technical and engineering university in Taichung.  He has studied in the U.S., and loves American music, which he listens to until Ron comes along to talk with him.  The two of them look like “mutt and jeff.”  But, they are good friends.
Ron & Hugo
We have introduced you to our exercise Christian Sisters who we dearly love and feel their love for us.  They teach us new Chinese words nearly every day, and laugh at our attempts to get the Chinese language tones correct.  Several of the women speak fairly good English so they help us get to know each other.  They offer prayer with us before our exercise music begins.  We hope they ask us to pray sometime.  They pray using the native Taiwanese language, so we really do not understand that at all.  We remind them that prayer is from the heart, and they understand we are okay.

Our Tai-Chi exercise group

To and from our work at the office we pass by and wave at many friends whose names we do not know. The lady who cooks in the Tempanyaki restaurant, the vitamin store couple, the optometrist, the juice vender and the breakfast vender, the great couple who lives three doors away and give us fruit several times a week. 
Our good neighbor who gives us fruit.
And of course, we cannot forget our little substitute grandchildren.  Ray On is about age six or seven and is a great little dancer and gymnast.  Her brother, Yo Een, is about five, but has the athleticism of an eight year old.  We stop and say hi every night.  Sometimes we skip the rope with them, play soccer, or just watch them ride their oversized bicycle up and down the narrow walk in front of our apartments.  Their mother is a wonderful woman who runs a second hand clothing store next door to our apartment entrance.  We dearly love this family. 
 Ray On and Yo Een

Elder Liston & Yo Een playing soccer
We attend church in an English speaking branch composed of about six mixed nationality couples  (mostly U.S. and Taiwanese).   There are some Philippine, Mongolian, Mainland Chinese, and others who attend.  We also have as few as four and as many as twelve single American English teachers who are here teaching on short term contracts.  They add a great deal to the strength of the branch.  Attendance at church ranges from 25 to 45.  Ron serves as a counselor in the branch presidency and Lola teaches Relief Society.  However, Ron has also conducted sharing time in Primary three times.  Something  very new for him, but he has greatly enjoyed.
Primary kids in our branch after a sharing time that Elder Liston taught.

Wu Quan Branch Picnic

When we first arrived in Taiwan we started looking for a barber/beautician.  Ron got his hair cut once at a barber shop less than clean and orderly.  Lola put her hair cut off as long as she could.  As we walked into several salons we failed trying to explain how Lola wanted her hair cut.  We even wrote down words in Chinese to explain.  Some of the words must have been a few clicks off plumb because the two people reading them started to laugh.  We left with our heads (with long hair) hung low.  We actually prayed about finding a place to get Lola’s hair cut.  (No reason to pray about Ron’s lack of hair)  We went into the next salon and met Alan and Savian.  They have treated us both like we were celebrities.  Alan wanted to see pictures of Lola’s hair so he could cut her hair right.  He does a great job on her hair. 

We have made many friends at the various offices we go to representing our mission.  Sandy works at the post office a few blocks from our office.  She loves Lola to come with Ron and always states how happy Sister Liston looks.   Ron has made friends at the two banks he does business with.  Between his broken and bruised Chinese, and their English in similar condition, they do just fine.  There is no doubt the good senior Elders who proceeded Ron laid a great foundation.  Our contact at the Immigration office (we call him Smiley) has been a great help to us, and is very friendly and courteous as we bring in “mounds” of Alien Resident Forms for him to process.  Taiwan is a wonderful country.

1 comment:

  1. I'm pretty sure I would want to bring one of those adorable kids home with me. What fun pictures. I'm so proud of you and the work you guys are doing. You couldn't be in a better place right now.