Last P-day was super fun! Elder Huntsman’s taxi driver friend took us all the way over to this awesome place called JiuFen that’s about an hour away by car. Basically, JiuFen is a small village located on the side of a hill with a large cultural past.
Today’s history lesson –
The historic village of Chiufen (JiuFen) is located in the north of Taiwan, near Taipei and Keelung Cities, in the Northeast Coast National Scenic Area. This small village is situated within hills, next to the mountains, and facing the ocean. Due to its unique location, JiuFen is known for its foggy weather condition. It was once the gold mining center of Taiwan, but today, the main industry is tourism.
There are amazing views of the coast, and, of course, JiuFen Old Street. There are tons of shops down this one road. We spent several hours there and basically looked at every shop (not EVERY single one, but I’m pretty sure we got through most of them).
Chiufen village had very humble beginnings, and got its name from the few residents (nine families) who lived there during the Qing Dynasty. Before the development of Chiufen, there was a lack of transportation which made trips to the market difficult. Legend has it that whenever one family went grocery shopping at the market, whatever was purchased would be divided into nine pieces…one for each family. “Chiufen” literally means “nine pieces” in Mandarin. Gold was discovered during the Japanese occupation in 1893, which quickly developed the town. Many of the buildings are unchanged today, displaying the Japanese influence on both the culture and the architecture.
Besides the main roads, there are many small alleys and lanes that twist through the area…and some even run beneath buildings! This once gold mining mountain town was used as the setting for the Taiwanese film, The City of Sadness…and after your visit, you might end up feeling Spirited Away (it was also used as the model for the Japanese animated film).
We’ve also got a baptism coming up this Saturday! She’s the American girl – Taylor – that we’ve been meeting with for a while now. Sorry, no recent pictures to show (since you’re probably going to read this, Taylor, we have to take a photo sometime soon!). 😅 She’s going to be leaving Taiwan most likely in a couple weeks to go start college in the US, so we’re going to be sad to see her go (but happy that she’s going to college obviously!).
This transfer I’ve been teaching the advanced class in English. Since the advanced class manual is pretty old, and we don’t really like it, we just make up all of our own materials to use during class time.
We pretty much use English during the entire class time since all the students in the class have a fairly good command of English – they can at least understand a majority of what we’re saying. We choose a new topic for each week and focus all of our new vocabulary and other learning exercises on that topic. It’s going well!
The English class advertisement video has also gone really well! It’s already got over 21,000 views on Facebook and 3,000 on YouTube (President Jergensen was happy enough that he texted me to let me know)! Plus, this is without the new English class tracts (flyers) being printed yet. The new tracts have a QR code on them that goes directly to the English class video. Taiwanese people scan QR codes all the time since it’s super simple, so once those tracts start being used by missionaries (they should finish the printing process this week), we’re expecting a lot more views since then we’ll actually be “advertising” the video.
On a brief side note, we also stopped at Dairy Queen this week! Our area is one of the few spots in Taiwan that has one. This is probably due to the fact that most foreigners live here in Tianmu and that many of the richest people in Taiwan live here as well…which explains why this is the most expensive area for missionaries here in Taiwan! There’s lots of shopping malls and businesses that you would recognize from the US.
As usual, we still haven’t planned out what we’re actually going to do today on P-day. P-day probably ends up being our most exhausting day since we wake up at 5am to get emails all done before study time, and then we try to do as much as we possibly can before our time is up. Anyways, time to go back outside and enjoy the sunny, hot, humid weather (aka highs in the 90s and lows in the 80s with lots of humidity everyday)!
– Elder Austin Simonson
PS – “Jiu Fen is Fun” actually rhymes since “fen” in Chinese is pronounced very much like the English word “fun” 😉