Living in the Taiwanese Countryside is truly something I wouldn't exchange for the big cities here.
This afternoon 17 or so neighborhood kids came over to my house for an English lesson in two separate classes. I open up my 1st floor on Saturday afternoons to neighborhood kids (plus a few parents) as a means of sharing the love of God in Jesus Christ in a practical way with no strings attached.
Amongst the kids today were several who were new. Today we spoke in a little more depth about American Thanksgiving, sang a song, read a story book on an unrelated topic, and played more Simon Says. One of the kids was really disappointed I didn't visit their breakfast shop again this past week, so first thing in the morning that is where I want to go.
After the informal English classes ended, I chatted with my neighbors on the left hand side, who just moved in about a month ago. It was the first extended chat I've had with the wife, who works with pigs when they are sick.
After that, I drove my friend and neighbor Mr. Wu on the back of my scooter over to a small shop across from the town temple which specializes in venison (they only open in winter). The venison noodles as well as venison hot pot were both very delicious! We were disappointed that another friend as well as Mr. Wu's family were not able to join us (he forgot to tell them this morning before he went to work not to eat dinner). However, now we have an excuse to go back again very soon!
Coming home, I chatted with my neighbors on the right hand side for about 15 minutes before declining an invitation to go with them to the night market in BeiGang.
From there, I helped my neighbors and good friends 5 doors down (the Dings) install an old scanner I gave them earlier in the day. Mr. Ding, a wood carver by trade, only has an elementary school education, but he is very intelligent. I enjoyed some good guava and pear while we chatted and learned how to use the software.
Finally, coming home and having shut the steel door, I looked at the answering machine to see I had two calls. They were from my neighbor's 20 year old son three doors down, who works in a seafood restaurant across from the temple. He had dropped by a half hour or so earlier to tell me he's been told he will go to Chiayi on Dec 12 to start his mandatory military service.
Sakray wanted to come over and chat in person, but I told him I was about to turn in for the night. I'm looking forward to a good time of catching up with him tomorrow in the late afternoon over in the seafood restaurant, or in the evening when he gets off work. The boss's wife at the restaurant, the mother of one of our English students at Four Lakes Elementary School, has been hospitalized for over a week so I'm also hopeful to have a chance to visit with him as well.
Would I have had so many chances for spontaneous, friendly interaction with so many neighbors in Taipei, Taichung, or other larger localities where most people live in apartments? Not likely at all. This Thanksgiving weekend, I thank God again for all the interesting people and friendships He is giving me in this neighborhood.