Another birthday away from friends and family back home. (*sigh*) Oh well, I suppose my attitude towards my own birthday (one of neglect or cultivated disinterest) means that I don't really miss out on much by being here in Taiwan; it's possible that I have better birthdays here because here I have someone to organise something on my behalf with the friends that we do have. But I know it's different for Andrea: if she were home her birthday would probably mandate some kind of family event with generations of relatives coming together and no small number of people involved. I feel that a birthday in Taiwan is altogether less meaningful for Andrea than what she could expect back home in Canada. However, that doesn't mean that we can't have fun and that we don't have friends here!
Andrea blows out the candles ... candle on her birthday cake. In an age of resource conservation the consumption of excess candles on birthday cakes seems a departure from the proprieties of good consumer behaviour. I can report that this particular cake was bought by none other than my wonderful self from none other than that wonderfully cakey bakery, Glory Earth, purveyor of cake to the moneyed masses of which I am one in the scheme of Taiwanese things. This particular cake was covered not in icing or cream but in raspberry jam which attempted to cling to anything it could besides the cake itself. It was a very tasty cake. To Andrea's left you can see our friend Tim looking on intently while sipping on a large ice-tea and tending to his swine [look harder].
After the proper rites had been enacted (eating cake) we played a game of Bite the Bag. I had never played this game before. The only person who knew the game was Andrea and she seemed to lose interest not long after we started (she was quite tired). However the rest of us kept at it for what must have been an hour. Bite the Bag involves picking a paper bag off the floor using only your mouth while touching the floor only with your feet. A round consists of every participant attempting to bit the bag and pick it up with their mouth. When everyone has had their turn the bag is made shorter by cutting a strip from around the top so that it gets progressively shorter each round and, depending on the limberness of the participants, is inevitably reduced to only the base of the bag. This photo above describes Megan's method of achieving the pickup. The bag is about half its original height here.
James tackles the bag with only a centimetre of bag wall left.
I wouldn't have thought I was physically capable of this feat of flexibility but I surprised myself. I can't tell you who won but it was a great game to play for the first time and made Andrea's birthday a memorable one.