This weekend I went to my host mom’s uncle’s house in a small suburban town in the center of Taiwan for the Mid-Autumn Festival.
It was my first time staying in a rural town in Taiwan. Oceans of rice plants and tons of little animals everywhere. This rabbit was caged in Uncle’s garage. It stood on its hind legs whenever I approached so it looked really human, which made me feel bad about it being in a cage (funny how that works!).
Uncle took us out at night to walk along the narrow streets that had deep gutters on both sides that bordered the rice fields. He brought a flashlight and we looked for fish, shrimp, and birds in the gutters. Most of the fish and shrimp only come out at night. When the flashlight shone on them they just stood still in the water. I amazingly didn’t get bitten by any mosquitoes even though I was always slapping at my neck and legs.
A flattened snake (we’d brought a walking stick along just in case we saw a live one that wanted to attack):
Over the Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節）I went to my host mom’s brother’s house in the middle of Taiwan (台中). He is a textile factory owner and has lived in a suburban town (pop. 70,000) called 大甲 for most of his life. He (Uncle) gave me a detailed demonstration about the zodiac and also told about me some zodiac-related rules that should come in handy later in life.
Uncle first drew on the back of a calendar the twelve Chinese zodiac animals. I was born in the year of the Rat (鼠）. Challenge: Can you find that character on the paper?
I learned that drawing the zodiac animals on your hand (like the photo below) is a good way of learning of the pairings:
I also learned of two things to pay attention to when interacting with others:
1). The Six Groups: Rat(鼠) is paired with the Ox(牛), Tiger(虎) with Pig(豬), and moving to the index finger and pinkie finger, go upwards and pair the animals directly across from each other. End with the animals on the middle finger and ring finger (Horse(馬) and Sheep(羊)). These pairs are compatible with each other for business or marriage.
2). The Four Groups: So Rat (鼠) would be paired with Dragon(龍) and Monkey(猴). These three are also compatible.
He said people born in the year of the Horse(馬) are easily scared of people born in the year of the Snake(蛇).
I really enjoyed staying overnight at Uncle’s house because the surroundings were really peaceful and different from the bustling city.
Sigh… Because of the sun in this photo, I’ll have to say: #nofilter
This was the view of a rice field from the bathroom window.