Taipei Travels: Our adventures in the land of street markets and night lanterns

Unlike our Tokyo vacation of 2016, our itinerary for our Taiwan trip was rather vague and open-to-change. We figured that, since the boys were not coming along, we had more freedom to flex and make up plans along the way. I had gotten some recommendations from friends on places to visit, since it was my first time to Taiwan, and hubby had only ever been there on business trips before. Thanks to their suggestions, and the invaluable GoogleMaps, we managed to navigate ourselves around the city pretty smoothly for first-timers. 😉

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Taipei Travels: On separation anxiety

A couple of years ago, the hubs proposed the idea that we would take an us-only trip for a change and leave the boys behind. Back then, the boys were both quite young, and the mere thought of leaving them on their own – granted with loving grandparents to care for them – made me tearful. The idea was swiftly passed on by… but earlier this year, as we reconsidered the option, we both felt that perhaps it was time to try, with the boys a bit older and our parents willing and able to help us look after them. This year, we celebrate 10 years of marriage too, so we thought it would be a fitting milestone trip to make as a couple – kind of like a “second honeymoon”!

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I’ve got you

Forever-And-Ever-I-am-With-You

Ten years ago, a group of us were invited to attend and lead worship at an international missions conference in the region. As I was serving in a music ministry at the time, it wasn’t an unusual request or the first time that I was part of such an event, but it is only years later that I am beginning to understand what a truly watershed experience it was for me.

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Hurray for long weekends!

It has been a wonderful few days of just spending time as a family, meeting up with family and friends over delicious meals, and so much laughter and fun moments to remember! Oh, for sure, there were the usual fights to break up and grouchy kiddos who skipped naps, but I think we’re getting a lil better at rolling with the punches when it comes to festive seasons like this. 😉

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The Real Gift

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On Christmas Eve, the hubs and I were rummaging among our disorganised boxes of CDs for some nice music to play (Frozen/Pentatonix/Budak has been on repeat mode at our house these  holidays), and we found this. A blast from the past! But that wasn’t the big surprise…

At first, I thought it was MY old CD, the one I’d bought at a ForeRunner concert back in 1994. I was in Sec 1, and it was my first Christmas in youth. Coincidentally, it was also my first Christmas after becoming a Christian, since I had personally received Christ at the youth camp earlier that December.

Then I noticed the name on the inside CD cover. The CD was autographed to Melvyn, aka my hubs.

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I yelled for him to come, and asked him if this was his CD.

“Ya, they came to our church that year. Why?” was his usual laid-back reply.

Ok my hubs is not one to get very excited about things like this, haha, but man, I was speechless.

Back in 1994, he would have been 19, and I was 13. So, we BOTH watched a ForeRunner Christmas concert “The Real Gift” that December – on different nights for sure, but in the same month – and we BOTH liked them enough to buy a CD and queue up to get it autographed.

We didn’t meet until exactly 10 years later, through (surprise surprise) a ForeRunner concert where we BOTH performed in the same band. It’s a long story, which I think I will definitely share here sometime. But basically, I was working in ForeRunner by then, a music ministry of Cru, and he volunteered with us for that particular gig which was at his church. Now, my church.

Oh, the goosebumps just thinking about it!

Truly the best Christmas gift I  have received this year. A gift of the assurance that He has been so much a part of our lives all these years, the amazement that He has woven the fabric of our lives so beautifully together, and we only see it now. The gratitude for all the years that ForeRunner (and Cru) has been a vital part of our lives.

The Real Gift for me this Christmas didn’t come packaged in a pretty box under the Christmas tree (although there was that too!), but in a filling of my heart with love, joy, peace and hope.

Engaged, and on our first mission trip together to Japan, 2006
Engaged, and on our first mission trip together to Japan, 2006

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This is my #40 post for One Little Word