Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Attempt to make this not just a travel blog

Glancing quickly at my few posts, one would quickly find there is not much variety. I question what I should do to make this not such a travel blog? Well what are good mormon girls my age blogging about? their weekend trips with hubby, their 'new' style of jewelry, their child's dissipated 1st birthday party, their favorite great-grandmother's sugar cookie recipe, and their crafty beyond craft crazies.

Inspired by them, I baked a cake (from scratch- and loved doing it) for our roommate Callie's birthday and I've decided to post about it!

I'll be first to admit this is not an inherited recipe that's been memorized and perfected, it's google.com born. It was such a quick find that I noticed before putting it in the oven that the directions failed to mention how to include one of the listed ingredients.

With a little help from Megan to fluff up the grainy sugar powder (that's how it comes here) frosting, and Brandon as my 2:00 AM baking and music provider sidekick, the cake turned out excellent and everyone enjoyed it (at least that's what I was told)!

It's not nutritious but really delicious. It has the perfect amount of moisture, spice, and sweetness. Give it a try!

2/3 c. butter
1 1/3 c. sugar
1 c. milk
3 eggs
1 tblsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

*Mix the dry and wet ingredients separately. Add the flour mixture slowly (dry) to the wet. Bake for the 30 minutes @ 350 F. Top with your favorite frosting recipe. (I made a buttercream vanilla frosting, baked two cakes separately and placed strawberry jam between the layers, garnished with chocolate shavings, syrup and strawberries)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Only some things I’ll never understand

They have no “sense” here. Oh I am sorry, I meant to say “cents”. Their money consists of only dollars. It gets confusing but at least there’s no sales tax to worry about!

Maintaining open windows at all times (and refusing to close them) of an all cement building with no central heating (that’s our house and school) in 30° F winter weather. BRRR! I don’t understand.

Cram schools replacing parents, i.e. Lego Cram School. Come on! Just hang out with the kid and teach him how to build his own lego land.

Don’t know what a Cram school is? Well, the Taiwanese, and many other nationalities from Asia, believe they should send their children to all sorts of “cram” schools in order to compete against other talented Asian children. A parent often works for many hours a day to afford their children’s (usually 2 kids max) academic education. Therefore, students in Taiwan are often attending a plethora of different schools until very late in the evening.

Instead of “there’s an app for that”,
 In Taiwan I prefer “there’s a Cram school for that”.

When you try and carry a tune in Chinese, You can’t really sing pretty and make complete sense of what you are saying. It’s a tonal language.

Since when was putting your entire family on one scooter intelligent?

I have incredulous thoughts about the police driving BMWs. Do they really deserve those vehicles when they are only involved with high-speed freeway chases?

The acrid smell of ‘stinky tofu’ or ‘thousand-year old egg’ would and should deter anyone and everyone. Why did I not realize that before hand?

Is it necessary to think:
bad things will happen to you if you write in red ink?
And does the number four really sound like death in Chinese? –Aha! That could be the reason why they placed the American residents on the fourth floor.

And what is with that pinky fingernail? -huh, wisdom for the family?

Or how about that fountain of mole hairs?

Drinking warm or hot water during the cold winters could actually be somewhat logical.

The whiter the skin, the better! If only everyone could universally agree that was true than I would believe it too. I am sporting the natural skin color this winter season, not that you can ever tell but I usually don’t do that.

Well if I were in love I would like both… Taiwanese don’t usually say they love each other like Americans do. They show their love by their actions.

Much to my chagrin, live turtles and fish are played with for a night market game and children’s wrists are wacked with disciplinary sticks in school.

scooter scooter scooter scooter scooter, scooter, scooter, bus, scooter, scooter, scooter, oh a car, scooter, scooter, scooter, an American on a rusty bike (me), scooter, scooter, train, scooter, scooter, scooter, scooter

Did you ever think cleaning up your own dine-out table was a pain? Well, in Taiwan you must separate all foods, plastics, papers, etc. into five or so different garbage cans before you leave the area.

On the subject of garbage! How bout that musical garbage truck that we first mistook for the ice cream man. Boy were we disappointed.

No need for wit, just be extremely silly and you’ll get them rolling for quite some time.

If you know me well enough, you know that I wish all toilets were replaced with these squat toilets.

Mom, you would love this. The swimming pools here have over 30 different spa pools in one room with different jets for almost every part of the body. You name it they’ve got a jet for it… and I mean anything.

Instead of a glass of water the drink accompaniment is usually soup.

Women here will do anything to avoid muscle definition on their legs.

Did you know tofu, taro, and other vegetables could resemble so many different types of meat? Taste, look, color, you wouldn’t believe what they could make at the many vegetarian restaurants dotting the streets.

Ummm…I can’t be for certain but did I see that the third level of McDonalds has a floor dedicated for merely studying and nibbling on food?

In aggregate, this is a very short list of the observations I've noticed in my 2 1/2 weeks. I'm sure there will be more to come!