Mason's Top 10!

Holy moley guys do I have lots of blogging to catch you up on! In the past 14 days I had not only my dragon boat races and a long weekend, but also one of my longtime friends came to visit, I logged a good 35 miles of walking during a weekend at Taroko Gorge, and I took a quick hop, skip, & a jump and landed in Tokyo for a short trip!

I'll start with Mason and fill you in on the rest over the next couple days (ok, and maybe after a nap or 2 as well!)

Top 10 of Mason's visit {if you know me well at all you probably know of Mason as well lol. We started at St. Pat's in kindergarten together and were in the same class for 9 years though 8th grade and we've stayed close ever since!)

The top 10 of Mason's trip:


I finished Chinese class!

So this probably isn't on any of Mason's top 10 list for his 10 days here, but it was such a relief / sense of accomplishment / pat on the back / and stress off my back to finish my second class. Am I fluent, haha NOT EVEN CLOSE! Can I introduce myself, tell you a little about me, order food and give my taxi driver directions; heck yes I can!


Night markets galore

If you've been reading my blog for more than 5 minutes you know that I LOVE food and have fallen head over heals in love with the night markets here in Taiwan. So, naturally, when Mason came to visit, I had to give him the tour...I think we made it to night markets 4 different days while he was shame, no shame!


Meeting my friends!

It worked out perfectly that Ruth's birthday was during dragon boat weekend and she decided to postpone celebrating until we were all back in town. So, lucky Mason {hmm I don't know if he considers this lucky or not lol} got to spend an evening hanging out with and meeting my little Taiwan family that has helped to make this first year abroad absolutely unforgettable!


We pigged out for 10 days.   

Haha, if I think I can put down food, Mason beats me, about 10 needless to say, between the 2 of us, we did some major eating while he was here! Lucky for both of us they only weigh your luggage when you leave and not the rest of you as well! ;) Mason had his list, and I'm not sure that we left any Taiwan dishes on his list un-touched.


Mason's birthday

Not that this was necessarily in the plans, but it worked out PERFECT! Mason got to spend his 27th birthday here in Taiwan {shout out to Josh for my 1st visitor also having their birthday over here!} Although I had to work Mason did not and decided to spend his day in Taipei. I met him in Taipei after work and we spent the evening climbing Elephant Mountain and stuffing ourselves full with dumplings from Din Tai Fung!


6th grade graduation (times 2)

My babies are gone. Both Xinfeng and Fu Long held 6th grade graduations while Mason was here. We graduated around 150 students at Xinfeng and 8 from FuLong and I'm not sure it will ever matter how many years you teach, telling your students goodbye at the end of every school year is always an emotional roller coaster.


Elephant mountain 

As mentioned above, Mason and I climbed Elephant Mountain for his birthday and as always, the views were BREATH-TAKING! They have to be hands down the best views you can get of Taipei and to make matters even better we were there around twilight time giving us an amazing lighting show as the sun slowly slipped behind the buildings.


Dragon boat races & Dragon boat after party

Due to some unforeseen circumstances I was unable to row on competition day for the dragon boat races, but it worked out for the better as I was able to pick Mason up, watch the races leisurely {aka go home when the temperatures reached 450 degrees!} and take quick naps before heading to the "after party". What a way to throw Mason into Taiwan on his first night here. 100 Taiwanese people in a small rented room eating, drinking, and celebrating to their hearts content and handing out awards to anyone with 2 legs that could blink an eye...needless to say I received an award!


Hiking Taroko

The way the days worked Mason was only actually here one weekend, BUT, I didn't have school Thursday & Friday prior so we had a 4 day weekend to explore! After the races Thursday we left to Hualian Friday morning and spent our day exploring the city of Hualian. Saturday we headed up to Taroko Gorge where we proceeded to walk 15+ miles through the gorgeous landscape! Sunday we took it easy and found a small Cathedral for mass and then headed to check out the ocean before calling it a day and catching dinner in Taipei at the Shillin Night Market. 


One of my longest time friends made it to Taiwan

I knew heading to Taiwan for a year that I was guaranteed one visitor; I knew Mason and his love for all things travel would make it out and he didn't prove me wrong. Our 21 years of friendship have literally taken us to the other side of the world and back now! Thanks so much for the visit and the memories Mason!!!