I live on the beautiful island of Formosa, otherwise known as Taiwan. Some people say it's an independent nation, others say it's China. While I certainly have my opinions on the matter, I will not be using this post to voice them. Consider this an introduction to Formosa, my home!
This is a picture of Taipei 101 from the rooftop of my apartment building. It used to be the tallest building in the world!
Sunset from my rooftop.
Later sunset from my rooftop.
A view of Taipei from 貓空 (Maokong). Taipei 101 towers in the distance.
Although people in Taiwan experience a great amount of religious freedom as far as government is concerned, most people are Buddhist or Taoist or actually a sort of combination of the two with a healthy dose of Confucianism mixed throughout. There are some Christians, but not many within the working class of Taiwan. If someone becomes a Christian, they often experience a tremendous amount of opposition from their family. This problem is magnified if the person who wants to convert is an only child, because the parents are worried that they will have no children to worship them when they die. In the picture, notice that someone offered a bottle of water to the god. I saw this at the top of a mountain that I had just hiked up, and I was so thirsty that I was seriously tempted to drink it!
Here's a woman worshiping a waterfall. This isn't to say that every Taiwanese person goes out and worships waterfalls, but I just want you to get a sense of the breadth of religious practices here.
A Buddhist monk collecting money.
A gateway to a temple in Southern Taiwan.
A typical Taoist temple.
This is a Taiwanese cemetery. You can see that they have tombs so that they can go and light incense for their relatives.
Now, away from religion and on to food. Chicken feet is a favorite snack of many Taiwanese people!
In Taiwan, vegetables are often eaten in a sweet form as a dessert. You may have tried Asian desserts that are "red bean" or "green bean" flavor. While I'm not a fan of those snacks, I am a fan of this -- sweet beans and sweet corn over shaved ice!
And if you ever decide to come and visit me, I'll take you to a night market like this one. It's a great place to experience what I would call the "real" Taiwan -- crowds, tasty food, bright lights, dodging scooters, and most importantly, interaction with Taiwanese people. From the food vendor to the Buddhist monk, to the family eating dinner. They all matter, and they all have an interesting story to tell -- so different from my own. There's so much to learn, it's overwhelming and beautiful and fascinating all at once. This is my home, Formosa.