Two weeks ago, I met up with some of the ETAs to make egg tarts at Willie and I’s apartment. We were happy to have visitors and the smell of delicious egg tarts (dan ta) wafting throughout our apartment all day. We ended up using about 16 eggs total, eating a lot of egg tarts, and saving a good number as well.
Left to right: Salwa, Tamar, Lynna, and me
I introduced two of my favorite restaurants in Fengyuan to everyone – a small place in the back of an organic supermarket and a beef noodle joint with the chewiest and freshest noodles! In the evening, we watched Trevor Noah’s standup comedy, which was incredible (highly recommend!) The following week, we shared our extra egg tarts with our school administrators and LETs. I was pleased that my LETs, principal, and administrators were so excited about the homemade egg tarts I gave them! It reminds me of how universal small gestures like giving homemade baked goods can be.
Last week, I visited Lavender Cottage in Xinshe with two ETAs, Salwa and Lynna. One of the other ETAs, Tamar, had raved about Lavender Cottage (she has visited twice) so we thought that it would be worth the trip. It was definitely out of the way to get there! We drove about 70 minutes on our scooters from Beitun District to get to Lavender Cottage (this of course excludes the time it took for me to go from Fengyuan to Beitun and back). We passed Dakeng Mountain on our way there; most of the drive was in the mountains, and it was really steep at parts! Despite the winding curves and steep inclines, the drive itself was pretty pleasant. I led the way on my scooter, and because I was the one with the GPS and carrying a second person (Lynna), I drove pretty slowly. But then again, since my (mild) scooter accident last semester, people complain that I usually drive “like a grandma” on the road (much to my mom’s relief/satisfaction).
Once we finally arrived at Lavender Cottage, we took in the sights – the quaint wooden structures of miniature houses and forest creatures, the lush canopy of the treetops, the pastel-colored mountain vistas, and the tranquil field of lavender.
We sampled some delicious, creamy lavender ice cream, lunched on fresh, roasted veggies and warm lavender lattes, hiked through the verdant forest trails, wrote our wishes on small paper leaves to add to a sizable collection wrapped around a tree trunk, wrote postcards to loved ones back home, smelled lavender oils, soaps, and perfumes to our hearts’ content, and took plenty of photographs.
Before we knew it, four hours flew by, and we were on our way back to the city. It felt so surreal to go from the peaceful Lavender Cottage to the winding mountain roads, to the traffic circles in Dakeng Mountain, to the bustling city streets and car horns in the course of one hour. Our visit to Lavender Cottage was certainly a much-needed respite from the busy city life. I’m glad we took the time to visit, because I don’t see myself likely making that trip all the way on a scooter again anytime soon!
There are still so many places I want to see in Taiwan, although I’ve covered a lot of ground thus far: Taipei, Kinmen, Miaoli, Hsinchu, Taichung, Changhua, Chiayi, Nantou, Tainan, Taoyuan, Kaoshiung, Kenting, Yilan, Taitung, and Green Island. At the least, I’d like to visit Alishan, Taroko Gorge, and Penghu before I leave.