8 January 2010
The time here in Taiwan has passed quickly. After Masses on Sunday Ignatius and I went to Sun Moon Lake for two nights. Sun Moon Lake has a special place in my heart. We went down there the day after I arrived on my first trip in 2002 and again in 2008. It is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Except for excursion boats there is no recreation on the lake. No swimming, water skiing and, a fact for which one can only sing the Te Deum, no jet skis, the most appalling pseudoexercise noise-making machine ever invented. The weather ranged from spring-like to rather cool. After leaving Sun Moon Lake we went to the Jesuit retreat house (and former novitiate) in Chunghwa. After spending a night there we visited two of Ignatius’ seven siblings who still live in their home town, his mother’s grave, the town of Puli and a few other sites. The (long) day ended with dinner hosted by mutual friends.
I’ve taken over 900 photographs. One of the joys of digital photography is the ability to take many different exposures without the cost of processing. Editing the output requires discipline to say the least. I have to remind myself that I will be back in August and will thus has further opportunity to shoot.
The food, be it in the community, at the night market, in a restaurant, or, as was true yesterday at Ignatius’ brother’s house, has been fantastic. Much lower in sugar; many steamed dishes, and terrific flavor describes every meal I’ve eaten here. Absolutely no desire for a burger and fries.
Last night, Friday, I went to the theologate at Fu Jen Catholic University for dinner with Jesuit theologians from all over the world. One of the most exciting aspects of being a Jesuit is the international nature of the Society. It is not an exaggeration to say that I an go to any populated continent in the world and live with Jesuits with whom I have worked, studied, or lived. Someone once joked that the Society of Jesus is the largest Bed and Breakfast organization in the world if you belong. No reason to debate that statement.
Just figured out how to post photos which I will now do regularly. The four shown here are, from top to bottom, Longhshan Temple in the oldest part of Taipei. We visited there on New Year's Eve. The second is a black and white of the pavilion at the base of Ci-en Pagoda at Sun Moon Lake. The pagoda was built by Chiang Kai-shek in memory of his mother. The third is a view from the top of the pagoda while the bottom is a view of the pagoda (look closely at the top of the mountain) from our room at Sun Moon Lake. The pagoda is 1 kilometer above the lake. It was a quite a climb. My cardiologist would have been proud.
The photo below is from last night. Walking back to the bus at Fu Jen Catholic University with Fr. Stephen Law, SJ I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw the pooch dozing in the straw in the creche in front of the university chapel.
Will post the homily for tomorrow morning, Feast of the Baptism of the Lord later.