Autumn Grab Bag

Autumn in Taichung

Someone celebrated another year around the old sun by flying her phoenix kite. It’s been a glorious autumn around here! The weather has been phenomenal since mid October – dry, sunny, blue skied with fresh clean air.

Green days

We call clean air days, “green days” because it means the particulate matter is under 50 PM 2.5 – and this free air app shows us a happy green face. When it’s toxic, it’s a red face with a mask. Anything over 120 pm 2.5 is too dangerous (to us) and we don’t exercise. Everyone seems to have their own cut-off. This just happens to be ours.

What is this PM 2.5 or particulate matter you ask?

Yea, we were clueless to this data until we moved here. It’s a term used for particles found in the air, including dirt, soot, liquid droplets… think cigarettes, forest fires, exhaust from cars, scooters, and coal plants. These particles are so small they can only be seen with an electron microscope. Of all air pollution, PM 2.5 is believed to pose the greatest health threat. Because PM 2.5 is so small, it can remain suspended in air for a very long time and be absorbed deep into the bloodstream upon breathing. It’s a killer and it’s worth paying attention too. Which is why when we read anything about U.S.A. investing in coal our lungs sob, and deeply (and btw, there’s no such thing as clean coal).

We really cherish our green days and this fall has been loaded with ’em!

Missed our old expat buds Al & Kev on this glorious day in Corgi Park.
A favorite celebratory cocktail named The Florence (which I was attracted to because that’s my Granny’s name). It’s rosy in taste and my Granny was a rose gardener, so a toast to her!

Temple bling is out

The local temple fired up their holiday lights!

Happy Halloween!

Found these masks in Japan last year, which made perfect French Toast costumes.
Brilliant Halloween cake (not made by us)
How amazing are these cookies? Also not made by us. We brought the cheese plate (cuz that’s how you make more friends).
Scott’s eclectic colleagues: How to Tame a Dragon, Fairy and French Toast. All great guys in my book!

The Spider Wasp Attack

The wild side of autumn goes to this! While I (Passionfruit) was innocently walking in the park, alone, on a path, I got a jolt of electricity to the ankle. After jumping 10 feet in the air and yelling some expletives I noticed a large wasp flying around me, aggressively. Wondering if it was poisonous, could I die, is a cab ride to the ER necessary, I decided I should film it for evidence. Wow am I glad I did because I witnessed this. I’m pretty sure you’ve never seen anything like this before:

Clearly I interrupted mama spider wasp on her mission to feed her offspring. Turns out spider wasps paralyze their spider prey. They drag it to a den and lay an egg inside the spider so its larvae will have fresh food when it emerges. Makes total sense.

I deserved it.

I made it home a-ok, all the while googling like mad and learned it is not poisonous, just painful. My prize? One week of phat cankle. Nature. It sure is amazing.

It itched like a mother &*%($

Pickles’ turn around the sun

This fresh monkey turned another year too. We celebrated with beer and tacos in the big city of Taipei because we read there are legit tacos there and we’re taco deprived. We will travel great distances for authentic Mexican food. It’s rare here so it’s worth a special trip.

We visited his favorite brewery, Taihu’s HQ
The Taihu Lab tour by Pony
HQ offers many experimental brews on tap, which we happily tried!

Taco Time

Shipping container food carts at Maji Square
Birthday wishes come true at Quantum Tacos
Pastrami sandwiches at Liquid Bread – OMG!

Chill ‘n

A large nest-hive thing made of bamboo at the Taipei of Fine Arts museum. We enjoyed an afternoon nap in here.
Birthday foot massages (ok, maybe more for PF’s birthday).


We love our friends here, but let’s face it, we are most grateful for cheese (which is a delicacy here). And no Thanksgiving potluck is complete without heart stopping mac ‘n cheese. It’s true! What casserole dish was gone first? Exactly.

Hosted by Patty and Matt (their last before they jet to South Korea).
The wee Swoosh expat community (Hosts Patty in yellow, Matt in plaid).
Matt’s has a special touch with the holidays

Back in the Saddle

It’s hard to beat mac ‘n cheese but the day after Thanksgiving we went on a bike ride (on the road bikes, not the upright cruisers). This is a big deal because 6 months ago Passionfruit got an MRI revealing a silly herniated #4 lumber disk. Not keen on surgery she went to rehab every single day (except Sundays) in July and August, then starting strength training in September and gosh darnit… it’s working. IT FELT SO GOOD TO BE CRUISING AGAIN, TOGETHER!

And that’s a wrap on our autumn here. Despite the 6,000 miles separating us from you, we’re grateful for you… our family, our dear friends and your expanding families (Simone, Sylvia and Elliot). We think of you often. Seriously, we do.

This Thanksgiving we raise our glass to: you, health, love, clean air and mac ‘n cheese.



Pickles & Passionfruit (PF)

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One thought on “Autumn Grab Bag

  1. I like the Florence cocktail. You look great too!!! In fact I’d like to make a couple of them up in Naya right now- I suspect you may have the required ingredients-which are????? Also that Cheshire Cat was super too! DYI recipe???Good seeing Scott’s work crew! Looks like you are having fun! ❤️ Also like the work buddies in costume!

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