the engagement

YuHong and Cindy were engaged on Sunday. This is an official event in Taiwan between the betrothed’s families.

Cindy & Yu-Hong's engagementLawrance's parents with one of the wedding photos at the entry

There are few different ceremonies preformed at the engagement. One ceremony is the presenting of gifts. Here are the “gifts” given from The Wu family to the bride-to-be.
Cindy & Yu-Hong's engagement

Then Mrs. Wu helped to place the jewelry on her newest daughter-in-law, and Cindy’s mother placed her gifts to her new son-in-law on him.
Cindy & Yu-Hong's engagement Cindy & Yu-Hong's engagement

Like at a Taiwanese wedding, the bride and groom to be are presented with their parents to all present.  This is an opportunity to thank the guests who came as well as offer a toast.
Cindy & Yu-Hong's engagement

In addition there would be a tea ceremony. (But Lawrance didn’t get any photos of that since he was a participant.)  I’ll ask Lawrance more about this, and write about it later.  I’ve actually never seen it done before, only read about it.

And, there is also an entire banquet feast as well.  But, the groom-to-be’s family slips out before the dessert is served.  Neither Lawrance nor I know why this is the tradition, but it is. :)
Cindy & Yu-Hong's engagement

And, there is dress changing, toasting table to table, passing out of candy from a basket by the door as well–just like at a wedding.
Cindy & Yu-Hong's engagement Cindy & Yu-Hong's engagement

Since Cindy’s family is in Taipei, both sides of Lawrance’s family together took a charted bus to the north.
This is how we get there ; )

Newly engaged women also give their friends and family members (on her side of the family) a box of cookies or cakes to help announce the engagement. Here are Cindy’s cakes:
Cindy & Yu-Hong's engagement

And, here is Lawrance with the happy couple!
Cindy & Yu-Hong's engagement

Since traditionally the engagement is hosted by the bride’s family, Lawrance and I didn’t have a Taiwanese style engagement ceremony.  I actually think that is one of the reasons why Lawrance’s parents so freely let the two of us get married in my hometown with my friends and family–in their minds it was similar to the bride’s hosting of the engagement ceremony.

holding hands

Engagement PhotosAfter dating for nearly two months, Lawrance had still not held my hand–or even really touched me for that matter.  I knew he had drawn the line for physical touch for pre-engagment at only holding hands.  And, I knew that our first kiss would be on our wedding day.  But, what I didn’t know is when he’d actually start holding my hand.  So . .  the story below takes place after we’d been “dating with purpose” for about a month and a half.  I wrote it originally as an email to my mom, sister, and a few close friends right after the event.

Sunday night Lawrance and I went on a picnic with Gilby.  We went to a park near my home right at sunset.  He found a place to eat, and we sat there for a long time.  Eating and talking.  Gilby was getting anxious, so we stood up and got him to some grass.  Finally, he (Lawrance, not Gilby) asked if I’d like to walk along side the river that runs into the harbor.

When he first suggested this park earlier in the week I actually thought that this would be a good time to hold hands. And, I’d even thought about telling him that he didn’t have to “trick me” into holdinghands (like his brother had suggested); all he had to do was ask for my hand, and I would give it to him, but that I’d wait till he was ready . . . he would have to be the one to initiate.  I’d even practiced this little speech in my head.

So . . .we walk.  I make sure that my hand next to him is free (leash in other hand, purse on other shoulder).  We walked this way all the way to the end.  For, oh, about 30 minutes.  He kept taking his hand in and out of his pocket as we walked.  When we turned around at the end I thought “ok, I’m ready to give my speech now.”  I didn’t want to pressure him; I just wanted him to know it was ok with me–hoping to take away some of the pressure.

So, we reach the end, and as I’m switching purse and leash (to once again make sure the hand next to his is empty), I look down and he offers me his hand.  Before I took it, I looked at him to double check if it was ok.  He just smiled, and I took it.  I can’t tell you how sweet it was.  So gentle of him to do it this way.

I told him I was about ready to tell him he could have it if only he’d ask for it.  He told me that he’d been thinking and thinking about how to do it and when to do it and where to do it.  He wanted it to be just right.  Well, if I do say so myself, he did a good job of making it “just right.”

Later, as the evening came to an end.  He told me, “today is a big day.”  And, I was like “really?  why?”  And he said, “because today is the first day I held your hand.”  It was so sweet.  He is so sweet.

So . . . a month and a half into dating, and he finally holds my hand.  Although not easy, it was worth waiting for.

making pizza in taiwan

"Homemade" Pizza in Taiwan
wuhoo! it's wu family pizza :)

If anyone asks Lawrance what his favorite food to eat that Amanda makes is, he answers enthusiastically “pizza!”

Taiwanese people who hear this answer assume it would be a common answer since of course all Americans eat is pizza and hamburgers.  But, the looks on some of the American’s faces have been precious. Most assume he has misunderstood the question since it would seem very difficult to make pizza in Taiwan. Then once they realize he totally understood, and I do make pizza here, they want to know how.

Actually making pizza in Taiwan is quite easy. I get both my pizza sauce and crust at a “local” bakery supply store called Wang Lai; it is about a 45 minute ride from our home by moped. I’m sure other bakery supply stores probably also sell pizza sauce and crust–I know the “pineapple man store” in Kaohsiung does too. The small jar of sauce pictured below is our favorite and will cover about 10-12 small pizzas.

The pizza cheese (mozzarella) can be found at the bakery store too, and sometimes we are able to find it at our local grocery store as well. It’s not cheap, but frozen the cheese will keep awhile and this one bag will last us about 16 small pizzas.

My creation
products we use to make our pizza

In addition to the cheese, we top our pizzas with ground beef or pork that I have seasoned generously with Italian seasoning that we can get at Costco (thanks Larina!!) and Tony’s that I carry back from the States. We also typically top it with yellow and red peppers, onions, and for Lawrance’s pizza frozen corn (that I purchased at the bakery store too–just for his pizzas).

I then bake them two at a time at 160c for about 10 minutes on our nifty pizza pan that was wedding gift from Sarah and Kevin (thanks guys!!).

"Homemade" Pizza in Taiwana sprinkle of cheese, then they are ready to be baked

Like the Americans who hear Lawrance’s answer, I had always assumed that making pizza (in Taiwan) would be hard. I guess if I had to make the crust and sauce from scratch that would totally up the difficulty factor making it a very special, rare treat. But, the way I do it right now takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish–that’s faster than ordering from Pizza Hut!

I know it is no culinary masterpiece, but I share this here because I am constantly searching for how to easily make things both Lawrance and I enjoy eating, and I thought others who live in Taiwan might be too.

"Homemade" Pizza in Taiwan"pizza without corn just isn't real pizza" --Lawrance

be an advocate for marriage

heart 2And to those of you who are happily married, I encourage you to be an advocate for marriage.  There are four ways off the top of my head I can think of that would be a great way to be an advocate for marriage.

1. We hear so many people griping and complaining about marriage–the very gift extended singles are longing for.  We need to also hear validation from those who’ve already been given the gift of marriage that it is indeed a good gift.  Of course, this must be done with care and sensitivity–but I don’t think in all the years I longed to be married that seeing couples in love and enjoying their married life ever hurt, not once.  It might have increased the desire, but it always served to push me closer to the cross.

2. In addition, you can explicitly encourage those who aren’t longing for marriage, to consider marriage and maintain hope.  I had a very sweet friend who was also an extended single that emailed a year into her new marriage and asked me how I was doing in regards to desire for marriage.  At that time my desires for marriage were just beginning to surface, her questions and encouragement had perfect timing.  Her love story, her love for her marriage, and hearing her say “you know it’s ok to admit you want to get married” were SUCH a blessing.

3. You can also explicitly encourage those who think they are unsuitable to be married for whatever lame lie(s) they are believing, to consider  marriage.  Just like Corrina did for Lawrance–he thought marriage was a slight possibility for him but a LONG way down the road.  He had no idea what God had in store for him.  Even if you don’t have someone in mind for that person, I still think challenging that kind of person to reconsider and encouraging them to consider marriage is a good thing. Lawrance would totally agree. ;)

4. Ask for permission to prayerfully “be on the look out” for your single friends, and then don’t be afraid to prayerfully and wisely offer suggestions for matches.  Because we are so thankful for what Corrina did for us, we often ask our single Christian friends if it would be ok if we helped them be on the look out.  We’ve even tried to set up double date–with permission from both sides, with all parties knowing what’s going on.  We’ve not “made a match” yet, but not once has ANY of our single friends said “no, please don’t help me look.”

matchmaker wanted

After writing yesterday’s memory, I just wanted to encourage those of you who are in the midst of extend singleness and longing to get married to consider asking close friends and family for help.

Let them know of your desires to be married, let them pray with you and for you, and let them keep their eyes open too.

According the National Marriage Project:
The most likely way to find a future marriage partner is through an introduction by family, friends or acquaintances. Despite the romantic notion that people meet and fall in love through chance or fate, the evidence suggests that social networks are important in bringing together individuals of similar interests and backgrounds, especially when it comes to selecting a marriage partner. According to a large-scale national survey of sexuality, almost 60 percent of married people were introduced by family, friends, co-workers or other acquaintances.
I know I didn’t ask and wouldn’t have asked anyone and everyone to help me find a husband.  But, if you have godly friends who love you and love the Lord, ask for help.  It is not shameful to get help in finding a husband or wife.  And, if that is the way God chooses to bring a marriage partner into your life . . . it will be an amazing blessing to both you and to them!

Candice Waters has this to say about giving others criteria for what you are looking for when asking others to “be on the look out for you” as you search for a marriage partner:
. . . the point is that having someone ask questions on your behalf ahead of time can go a long way to saving you embarrassment, guarding your heart and protecting your time.
It’s a concept similar to the pre-screening efforts used in business settings — especially employment placement. It’s simply a matter of helping someone who wants to help you have a better sense of what’s really helpful. Rather than mumbling “ah, great,” when someone says, “I have the perfect person in mind for you!” — especially if that person doesn’t know you that well, or you them — you can feel confident letting them know more about what your hopes are.
If they really want to help you, ask if you can give them more detail — a better sense of what God is revealing to you to look for in a mate. If they’re on board, be willing to let them know what your “must-haves” are (e.g., must be a believer), down to your “nice to haves” (likes to play board games, etc.). Friends and family members who have this kind of information will be empowered to “pre-screen” any potential candidates for you. You’ll be helping them move from good intentions to being an informed advocate.
It’s also a way to remove any sense of obligation you’re tempted to feel when friends and family share leads. What you need are opportunities, not more dead ends. Once they have an objective standard to go by, they can help discern if “good leads” really are.
With some well-informed help from your advisers, and a lot of bold prayer, you’ll be a lot closer to marrying well. . .
Waters has an entire chapter talking about needing a network in her book Get Married: What Women Can Do to Make It Happen.  I highly recommend the book.

the other blog owner

a-039Hi, this is Lawrance Wu, the other owner of this blog. I wanna say hi to every one here. Sorry for being so late to say hello.

Well….my sweet wife, Amanda is going to America. I am a little bit sad (well….sad a lot in fact), but I am also happy that she can have time with her family, enjoy her favorite Mexican food…etc.

OK….I wanna say…………..Amanda, I LOVE YOU and I’LL MISS YOU here………..

two years ago

Two years ago  . . . on January 15, 2008  . . . a very dear friend of ours, had lunch with Lawrance and asked him to consider asking me out.  That night he did.

We know that our Loving Heavenly Father is the ultimate matchmaker, but we are BOTH so very grateful to our friend Corrina helping (ok, begging) Lawrance to consider Amanda as a potential partner.

You see, Corrina was special.  Unlike many other people I’d share my longings to be married with, Corrina wouldn’t promise me that “one day I’d find someone.”  She never spouted out trite phrases in an effort to comfort me and then change the topic.  Nor did she, as some actually did, tell me that I was better off single because I had more freedom and could do as I pleased.

Instead, Corrina would look at me and say, “I want you to be married too.  Marriage is so good.  You’d love it so much.”

She delighted in her own marriage and felt free to share that delight with me a hurting single.  It wasn’t bragging.  It didn’t hurt me more.  In fact, it was truly comforting because she was longing for me right along side me.  Empathizing.

After one night of some deep empathy and tears, I openly asked Corrina for help.  “If you know anyone who you think might make a good husband for me, please introduce us.”

Her reply that night (Jan. 14, 2008) was “Amanda, I think you need to go to a bigger church.  Go out, meet more people.”  But that night after I left, her heart was heavy as she prayed to God for me asking for wisdom in how to help her friend.

The next day . . . totally unplanned, she bumped into and then had lunch with Lawrance, and half way through, she suddenly thought “ah ha, it’s you!”

The rest is history.  Blissful, beautiful history. :)

Banquet (115)Us with Corrina, our matchmaker, after our Taiwanese ceremony

offensive toothpaste

Anyone who has been in Taiwan (and several other Asian countries) for any length of time has seen “Darlie” toothpaste, which is still named “black man” in Chinese (hēi rén, 黑人).

It used to be named “Darkie” in English, but when Colgate acquired the company in the mid-80’s, after protests from civil-rights activists, they changed the English name to “Darlie” and the face of the man on the front changed as well, but the Chinese name remains “black man.”

Darkie Toothpaste Over the Years by sinosplice on flickrDarkie Toothpaste Over the Years by sinosplice on flickr

This is a very common and well-liked toothpaste brand in Taiwan.

So, when Lawrance and I were out looking for a souvenir for me to take home to our sweet nephews I didn’t think twice when I first saw the pencil case below.  There where all kinds of knock-offs of different bottles and tubes–toothpaste, ketchup, chocolate, and so on–that had been converted into pencil bags with pencil sharpeners hidden in the caps.  So creative!

darkie toothpaste knock off

But, when I looked again at the Darlie knock-off I actually gasped.  Do you see it? The character has been replaced with a photo of Obama and Darlie was changed to “Change.”  Lawrance tried to get a photo while I talked to the store owner and actually took a video, so the photo is captured from a cell phone’s video, so it is a bit unclear.  But, on the actual pencil bag the the image is clearly Obama.

I was shocked and speechless.


Lawrance, Apo, and MeUs with Lawrance's Apo

A-Po and LawranceLawrance with Apo

I’m so used to using the euphemism “gone to be with the Lord” to talk about someone who has slipped from this world into eternity, and it pains me that I can’t to described a loved one’s recent death.  The sad reality is that when Lawrance’s grandmother, his Apo, died Wednesday she didn’t know the Lord.

This my first time to deal with the death of a loved one who didn’t trust in Jesus for salvation. The hope I can usually cling to at times like this is strikingly absent.

We went back to the homestead yesterday to the viewing (which will take place all week), and Lawrance will go to the funeral next week on Tuesday and Wednesday (without me since I’ll be in the States).  The funeral will most definitely be very religious and full of worship but none to the most high God.  Please pray for Lawrance and his family too.

Most funerals in Taiwan use white as the color of death, but for Apo they are using red since she died at 88 years old (89 by Chinese calendar).   Red at a funeral signifies that there is joy that she lived to such an old age.  Five generations (her and her husband count as the first) are listed on the red death announcement that will be given to friends and family.  She has lived a very hard life and worked very hard for her family.  She lived her entire life in Meinong, and in those 88 years witnessed much change to her town and her country.

She deserves to be remembered, respected, and honored but not worshiped.  Again, I ask that you pray for Lawrance this week as his family gathers to worship their deceased loved one.

laura story

Laura Story is a new-to-me artist, and I am loving her Great God Who Saves cd.
In addition to loving the style of music she writes and plays, perhaps another reason I like it so much is that I can relate SO well.

In fact, I think Laura has been peaking into my journal!  I mean seriously!!  The lyrics in her songs often capture EXACTLY what I’m thinking and feeling.

Here is my current favorite song that gets played over and over:
My heart is so proud. My mind is so unfocused. I see the things You do through me as great things I have done. And now You gently break me, then lovingly You take me and hold me as my Father and mold me as my Maker.
I ask you: “How many times will you pick me up, when I keep on letting you down? And each time I will fall short of Your glory, how far will forgiveness abound?” And you answer: ” My child, I love you. And as long as you’re seeking My face, You’ll walk in the pow’r of My daily sufficient grace.”
At times I may grow weak and feel a bit discouraged, knowing that someone, somewhere could do a better job. For who am I to serve You? I know I don’t deserve You. And that’s the part that burns in my heart and keeps me hanging on.
[Chorus] +You are so patient with me, Lord!
As I walk with You, I’m learning what Your grace really means. The price that I could never pay was paid at Calvary.  So, instead of trying to repay You, I’m learning to simply obey You by giving up my life to you For all that You’ve given to me.
You can hear several of her songs on her MySpace page.

another wedding

No, no, not another one for us.  We’ve already had two–that’s enough for one lifetime! :)

YuHong and CindyYu-Hong and Cindy

Lawrance’s brother, Yu-hong and his long time girlfriend, Cindy are tying the knot before this Chinese New Year.
We’ve been encouraging them to get married for a long time–they started dating a few years before us.  Within the last week they’ve planned to have their engagement ceremony on Jan 24th and their wedding ceremony Feb 7th.  Lawrance’s mom was like “what is up with my sons and their fast weddings?”

We took three months from the time we decided to get married to the time we actually had our wedding; they are doing it in just weeks.

Two major ceremonies in two different cities, hundreds of guests and less than a month of planning!  Plus all the other details that must be attended to to make both families happy.  Wow . . . I don’t envy them at all.  However, I am SO happy they have decided to get married.  They make such a great couple.

In fact, Lawrance and I were so confident that one day Cindy would be family that I invited her to be in our Taiwanese wedding even though I didn’t know her very, very well at the time.

Yu-Hong and Cindy at our Taiwanese Wedding

Why the rush for before Chinese New Year?  Well, it’s more auspicious.  You see odd numbers are bad for marriage–everything should be even (2, 6, 8–but of course not 4, a homophone for death).  Even numbers are good for marriage–even numbers symbolize that the two will stay together.  After Chinese New Year, Yu-Hong will be considered 29 and Cindy 31.  29 is especially bad (as are all years ending a decade).

There are so many levels of culture to this that would make a non-Taiwanese person’s head spin.
  1. YuHong is actually, right now according to his date of birth and Western counting, 27 (an odd number).
  2. His birthday is Dec 25th.  So, he will not be 29 according to his date of birth until Dec 25, 2011.
  3. But, you have to factor in an extra year for time spent in the womb.
  4. Then, you must remember that you get a year older during the Chinese New Year–not on your birthday.
Years ago, I would have thought and thought about this, and the illogicality of it all would have bothered me, but now I think “well, I’m happy for them.  Marriage is good.”

The only sad part of this good news is that . . . I won’t be there.  I’m leaving a week from today to head back to America for three weeks.  So, I’ve instructed Lawrance to take lots of photos for me. :)

Update: Yu-hong and Lawance’s grandmother passed away on Jan 12, so Yu-hong and Cindy’s wedding will be postponed.  To counter the “bad luck” of getting married in a bad year, they had to consult with a fortune teller to help them pick a very, very auspicious wedding date. So, the lunar calendar date of Feb 2nd was chosen–2/2–a good day for couples.  Ironically this is April 4th–4/4–on the Gregorian calendar.  Ironic not in an amusing way, but in a sad way as it reveals just how futile man’s thinking can be.

welcome to our new blog!!

Lawrance and I are excited about our new blog . . . well, at least I am.  I’m sure he wishes I’d take care of the ever growing mound of laundry rather than mess with plugins and widgets.  :)

I think that I have nearly all our boxes unpacked at our new home here on the world wide web. :)

There are still a few things I need to do after I’ve finished grading finals and tackled that mound of laundry:
  1. delete some of the imported posts
  2. clean up some of the important imported posts that came over with funky formatting
  3. on important posts fix the links that point to the old typepad blog
  4. create our about pages
  5. clean up the categories
  6. bring over the rest of our engagement/wedding blog stuff before our typepad account closes
But, most of the pixels have settled, and we are ready to start blogging from our new home.
Thanks for joining us!!  And please remember to update your links and grab the new feed!

a new year, a new blog

Lawrance and I have started a new blog called "Wuhoo!"  Lawrance picked out the name, and I love it because it includes our last name as well as incorporates a feeling of joy.

Before my year-long contract finishes with Typepad in mid-January, I thought I'd move all 920 blogs and 2745  comments to our new blog. I know that means I lose lots in the realm of being connected and seo-whathaveyous, but since that's not so important to us, that's ok . . . and, currently, all internal links are broken because they will soon point to a soon to be missing blog.  So, some maintenance and tweaking is still needed.

I love the concept behind following an unknown path, and I've loved having this little corner of the web to myself, but it's time for a change.  So . . . we're making a change.

The wuhoo! feed is new, so if you'd like to continue getting updates from us in your feed reader, you will need to visit us at wuhoo! and grab the new feed.  We would also appreciate you updating any links to us you may have on your blog/site.

And, of course, even though we aren't quite settled in yet and even though the pixels are still flying due to us still being the process of "setting up house," we'd love to have you come over, take a look around, and say hi at our new "wu family blog"--Wuhoo!! 

Go to Wuhoo!

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