My friend and I had the pleasure of being invited to eat dinner with our Taiwanese friend and her family. Since it was so short notice, we had assumed it would be her parents, siblings, and us, but… Well, as you can see from the photo above, it was a bigger affair than we’d realized.
It started off when, during the day, Akane (as she likes to be called) received a phone call from her mother, inviting us to have dinner with them. It was a bit unexpected, but we thought, “Well, why not? When will we get another chance to dine with a Taiwanese family?” So we headed out of Taipei City to Taoyuan (maybe? close to Taoyuan?) via the train, and arrived around five or six at Akane’s home, where she lives with her mother and grandmother. Also joining us were Akane’s brother and his wife. We left for the restaurant and then appeared even more family members! Two aunts, and uncle, and Akane’s cousin, I believe. I may or may not be totally clear about everyone’s relation, but in any case, it was a large family dinner at a fairly nice-looking restaurant.
We were surprised by how big a deal this dinner was, when we were only expecting a small meal in Akane’s home, but we were certainly thankful! We got to try many delicious dishes that we normally wouldn’t have been able to try. That’s the great thing about family-style eating. Instead of being limited only to the dish you ordered, there are a variety of dishes that you eat a little bit of before moving on to the next dish.
Have I made you hungry? If your answer was no, there’s something wrong with you.
Afterwards, Akane’s aunt apparently also takes the train back to Taipei. She’s quite a spunky older woman–if you look in the photos, she’s the one in the blue sweater with the koala pin on her scarf. When we were buying tickets, instead of just using the ticket machines, she told us to wait in line at the counter. There was another fellow there with some problem, and it seemed to be taking a while, so she asked if we could go first. I heard the man say to her, “They can just buy tickets at the machines.” But then she replied very matter-of-factly, “No they can’t, they’re foreigners; They can’t read.”
When we were boarding the train, as well, she rushed for a seat. My friend was able to get one as well, but there weren’t any others. Then Akane’s aunt got up, gave the seat to me, and went to one of the seats reserved for the elderly. What a cunning lady, eh?