Merry Christmas from Taipei-
Christmas is less than one week away and we've spent the past week recovering from scarlet fever and strep. Yes, Matthea was the winner for the diagnosis of scarlet fever. The rest, except for Marcus, had strep. Somehow he managed to stay healthy despite everything. I won't bore you with all the details, but after a a few visits to the hospital we were able to get all treated and started on antibiotics. Although Marcus wasn't diagnosed, he still got to take meds with the rest of us.
But, considering this we look back at the year and are still amazed at what blessings and works He has done in our family. This time last year we were only four and sitting on a beach in Hainan Island with friends. Then a few months later we became five, when Megan joined the crew. And boy, has that been a great addition to this family. If we ever thought that we were bored before, that is not the case anymore. She is quite the entertainer and brings laughs to our lives.
In the spring we got Megan's citizenship in Hawaii, where we spent a week with the Lam family. It was nice for Uwe to hang out with his grade school buddy and for me to hear more stories from the "good old days". We left Hawaii and began the packing of all of our belongings to move from Wuhan, China to Taipei. That period of time was really a whirlwind and I get dizzy when I think about all that went on the last few months/weeks in our house. I do remember how hard it was to say good-bye to great friends.
The summer took us to the US, where we had a conference, doctor appointments for Matthea, and Uwe had a class in England. We had time to catch up with my family, which was really nice. We had a time of testing of my faith with my visa for Taiwan, which came through with less than 24 hours before we were to be on the plane headed to Taipei. To say the least, we learned that God is more than able to do anything. But, I'm sure we'll come around to that lesson again, as we are human and always need to be reminded of this.
The end of the summer we arrived in our new apartment. We spent the first few months getting to know the area and the people at the school. We began to broaden our boundaries of the city and ventured to the zoo. Then a protests against the Taiwanese president started, so our boundaries were readjusted again...but only around the govt. buildings where they were being held. Then Thanksgiving came and all was quiet again in the city. We had a few days off from school, so friends came to visit and we took them around the city seeing Taipei 101 and other fun places.
Then after Thanksgiving, the city livened up again with campaigning for city council and mayor. I have to write about this, b/c we've just spent the last 10 years in a country where voting from the population doesn't happen. To say the least, I was having some culture shock from all the campaign signs, cars driving the streets with their promises blaring out of a speaker, and in the end each politician had their own parade of about 6-10 cars, trucks, and taxis parading the steets. It was a little too much for this girl to handle, and was glad when they finally ended!
During this time we have been having therapy for Matthea. This has been one of the best things about living here. She has really done well and progressed a lot. Right before we started, her attitude seemed to change to wanting to walk, talk, etc. So the timing was just wonderful~ The speech therapist works with her on making sounds and obeying commands, as well as telling us what she wants more. The OT and PT are working on standing without support and walking. She has been walking on a tread mill every week. It is really funny to watch. She has handlebars to hold onto as she walks for 10 min. or so.
As the Christmas season is approaching, we all have enjoyed just sitting and watching the tree lights, reading stories, drinking hot chocolate/coffee, and just taking time out for each other as a family. Uwe and I have had fun watching the girls watch in wonder at the tree and all the wrapped boxes underneath. They love to read the Christmas books that we have and to find baby Jesus. Marcus made us laugh the other night as we sat around watching the lights and drinking our hot chocolate. He sighed and said, "I love this time of the day when the girls are asleep and we can sit and look at the lights in peace."
I'll end with that. We hope that you have times of peace during this season when things can get quite hectic with all the paper, trees, shopping, and possibly runny noses....
Love you all!
Uwe, MaDonna, Marcus, Matthea, and Megan
ps. You can check out the Christmas pic of the kids that is attached!