Hello Everyone! This is Jarrett, on behalf of the Ulmer boys here in Taiwan.
A little background. Our family moved to this beautiful country back in 1998.. 16 years later and I continue to be amazed at the place the Lord has allowed me to call home each and every day.
This edition of "Summer Land" will be told through the voices and lenses of my brothers Gabe (older), Zach (younger), and myself (shout out to middle children!). Taiwan means so much to each of us individually and we each love it for our own special reasons. Enjoy!
Taiwan is an island that is roughly the size of Florida, without the panhandle, and is home to almost 24 million people. As the population continues to grow, so do the numbers of high-rise apartment and office buildings, but tradition and culture can be seen very clearly in everyday life.
There is beauty in the contrast of old and new scattered all throughout Taiwan's cities.
One of my favorite things when I lived there was the view. Every day the sun would set right outside my window. It was awesome to come home and see the city silhouetted against the sky. The city waking up as the sun goes to sleep, so to speak.
This was taken from the 85 Sky Tower in Kaohsiung (at the time of it’s completion in 1997 it was the 5th tallest building in the world). We lived in Kaohsiung for the first 7 of my 15 years in Taiwan, and it’s cool to see how much it has grown. I took this from the 74th floor observation deck and I think it really captures the city coming alive at night.
This was also taken in Kaohsiung, in an alley near the train station. One of the things I love about Taiwan is that there is always something to find. One of my favorite things to do my last few years on island was to just explore. You’ll see a lot of things like this in the city, just a person selling food or other merchandise out of a cart. These are most often the best places to eat!
This was taken on a street in Taipei, the capital city. I like it because it captures the hustle and bustle of city life. There’s always a lot of motion. People are always trying to get somewhere, and it can seem pretty chaotic sometimes. I especially like this picture because of the couple you see in the middle. In the midst of all the motion their faces are in focus and you’re reminded that the chaos is made up of real people, each with their own stories. That’s what makes this country great, is the people.
Back when the Portuguese found the island that is now Taiwan, they gave it the name “Formosa” - Beautiful Island. Living in a city of upwards of a million people, it’s easy to forget how much natural beauty there is on this island. It really is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Just outside the massive concrete jungles, you have places like Sun Moon Lake, where you can get away from all the chaos of city life and just soak in the beauty of God’s creation.
If I could sum up my love for Taiwan in two words, it would be: Food and People. If you know me, you know that I am always down to go eat food pretty much anywhere at anytime. Taiwan is known for its great food, and I want to share with you some of my favorites:
Assorted Breakfast foods. Conveniently available at anytime of the day (pictured: dumplings, fried radish cake, and a bun filled with meat and vegetables).
Beef noodles. I wish that this picture could do justice the the greatness that is Taiwanese Beef Noodles.
Last but not least, Mango Shaved Ice. Nothing says summer eats in Taiwan like freshly cut mangoes topped with shaved frozen milk covered in sweetened condensed milk.
Typical Night Market scene.
The older generation of Taiwan can always be found congregating in the local parks just kicking back and relaxing.
Let me take a minute to brag on Uncle Rock. It is guys like him that make me love Taiwan more and more each time I come back home. On a late night adventure Zach and I took we happen to stop at the restaurant he worked at. For no other reason than that we were American, Rock sat down and began talking with us, telling us about his family and the best way to eat the dumplings you saw earlier. When I asked him for a picture, he wholeheartedly agreed. I love Taiwan.
When Abbey asked me last month if my brothers and I would be interested in helping her out with her "Summer Land" project (which, by the way, has been incredible), I could not have been more excited. Taiwan is an incredible place that holds a special place in the hearts of the Ulmer family, and I love that we have had an opportunity to share it with you all.
(abbey now!) thank you so much Jarrett, Gabe, and Zack for being a part of this! i have no idea why but i kept crying reading this! your love for your country is so evident and this was just a beautiful time seeing your city! what did you guys think? maybe we should explore Asia more?!
also Jarrett that is a hideous shirt you have on in that last picture. (wink wink.)