Happy Birthday to Me! - 生日快樂!


Zhù nǐ shēngrì kuàilè
zhù nǐ shēngrì kuàilè
shēngrì kuàilè shēngrì kuàilè
zhù nǐ shēngrì kuàilè

Look at that, you're on your way to becoming fluent in Chinese! haha... Chinese was only 1 of the 6 languages that I was sang happy birthday to this year....I'd call that a success!

Since my birthday fell on a Monday this year, and I had to administer oral English assessments all day at school and then take my final Chinese exam for the semester in the evening, the bulk of my celebration was pushed up to the weekend before...but you know, when you claim your whole birthday MONTH...it's all the same anyways!!

Saturday morning Tory & I headed to the county directly south of Hsinchu, Miaoli County (another one to check off my list now!) and met up with Tina & Rebecca at Shei Pa National Park. We walked around a bit enjoying the views, and then we got down to business...STRAWBERRY PICKING!

Seriously the views here were Amazing!

So I'm not going to lie, I'm that odd person who absolutely loves snow, if I could have it my way I'd have that fluffy white stuff on the ground from November until mid March without a complain in the world. Well, living in Taiwan, clearly that dream went out the window and 2016 made the record for the warmest birthday I've ever had! (I'll take a 72° day in January!) so naturally knowing that strawberries were recently in season, we took full advantage...and when I say full I may be referencing us after our strawberry gorge!

We spent a good hour (ok honestly I don't know I was too happy to watch the time!) picking & eating warm strawberries from the field, and then the reminder of the afternoon each devouring close to 2 pints of strawberries each {not the most recommended diet of choice but lordy were they good!)

Part way through our strawberry binge, we decided  we needed something a little more sustainable and we stumbled upon a road-side restaurant serving chicken, the whole chicken, and nothing but the chicken! No, but really! They brought the thing out whole (like hello chicken head & feet at the table) and then handed us gloves and expected us to rip it apart. After a few awkward seconds of staring at the bird and the gloves the waiter got the hint...we aren't about to rip that apart...luckily he was kind enough to do it for us!

After lunch we enjoyed some drinks in the national park {hello no open container laws!} & then boarded a bus headed for the mountains making stops at all the natural hot springs along the way. Oh my goodness it was wonderful! The views from the hot spring hotel was beyond beautiful & being able to soak in the hot water while breathing in the cool mountain air was exactly what we needed  for our relaxing girls weekend!

After we were sufficiently soggy from soaking, we grabbed a quick bite to  eat at a chocolate restaurant (we decided it was time to leave when they lost power!) & then grabbed the 10pm bus headed for the train station & our warm beds!

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I thought the bulk of my birthday celebrations had ended  there, but when a  friend visiting from the US called with news of a plane cancellation due to snow, I decided a girls gotta eat and called up some local friends for birthday party part 2!

Tuesday  night a group of 8 of us from both Hsinchu and Miaoli met up in Hsinchu at Din Tai Fung (an amazing soup dumpling restaurant)  for a birthday dinner, and after stuffing ourselves with more dumplings and wantons than what is probably, we sufficiently filled in the cracks with ice cream from the shop next door (buy 2 scoops get 1 free was clearly a sign from above!)

Until next year folks! Another year older and maybe only a few days wiser!