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Monday, February 4, 2013

Super Bowl Sunday

The photo above of my daughter was taken earlier this week as she was on her way to the school bus stop. As you can see, we've had some snow recently. Yesterday, we received another dusting to the extent that Amber used some of her birthday money to buy a round plastic sled in anticipation of the snow staying on the ground. Unfortunately, the best laid plans don't always work out. Even though it snowed again this morning, and the temperature hovered around freezing all day, the snow already on the ground decided not to stick around. Mom wasn't about to let Amber slide down a muddy hill, so our little one will have to wait before trying out her new sled. The forecast is calling for snow tonight and later on in the week, so hopefully she won't have to wait long.

So instead of sledding, we took a Sunday drive along Highway 50 west into Virginia's horse country. We stopped to have lunch in a town called Middleburg, founded in 1787 and boasting a population of under 700 souls. Like many scenic American small towns, Middleburg has found a nice niche for itself. In Taiwan, this would mean converting its storefronts into snack stands and souvenir shops. In the U.S. (at least in the former colonies), it means lining the main street with antique stores, art galleries and British-style taverns. Both are equally fake, but walking along Washington Street (aka Highway 50) with snowflakes blowing all around is an experience that can never be replicated in Taiwan. The number of real-estate agencies in Middleburg suggests that many people are buying homes in the area in either a bid to escape D.C.s spreading suburbanization (though unintentionally encouraging that very process), or perhaps as retirement homes.  

Amber poses with a friend looking on

Amber had her first taste of licorice, purchased from a gourmet grocery store. She pronounced it "delicious", but her mother disagreed, describing it as "plastic candy".

No American small town would be complete without a water tower

At one point, we took a walk through Sharon Cemetery. Amber enjoyed reading some of the gravestones, but my Taiwanese wife was clearly uncomfortable being there, to the point of feeling "creeped out", an expression that my daughter found highly amusing.

On a cold and sometimes snowy Super Bowl Sunday, traffic was understandably light

On our way back to Falls Church, we stopped at another small town along Highway 50, Aldie. Aldie is less-developed as a tourist attraction than Middleburg, but it does boast some history, being the site of a few skirmishes during the Civil War. 

The most-noted historical attraction is the Aldie Mill Historic District, centered around a mill built in 1804. The visitors center was closed for the season, but Amber and I could still take a walk around the buildings and the surrounding area. Mom stayed in the car: 33°F (0.6°C) still takes some getting used to.


  1. hi Jim. your post reminded me of the blissful ignorance i can enjoy here in Taiwan, without having to hear anything whatsoever about professional sports (they could all disappear from the earth and i wouldn't notice). i only learned of the SB a few days ago when someone mentioned it on Twitter. one of the things i like about Taiwan.

    i don't want to nitpick but you meant 33 degrees, not -33, which would really be something to experience!

    is Amber's snow sled one of those round saucer things? i would have enjoyed seeing her going down a hill on it.

    take care Jim.

    1. That was supposed to be a hyphen, and not a minus mark. I didn't even notice it until you pointed it out. I'll replace it with a colon.

      Yes, Amber has the saucer. Unfortunately, the predicted snowfall didn't happen last night, so she's going to have to wait to try it out. Snow is called for this Friday, so we'll keep our fingers crossed.

      I didn't pay much attention to the Super Bowl myself, and I'm glad the Washington Redskins didn't make it, as the hype in this area would've been unbelievable. Although Taiwan doesn't get excited much over professional sports, you couldn't have missed all the excitement there in recent years over athletes such as Wang Chien-ming and Jeremy Lin. Wang I could understand, but I found the whole Lin phenomenon to be more than a little disturbing. The guy is as American as you and me, but because he has so-called "Taiwanese (or Chinese) blood" in him, he became one of "us" ("them"?). There was something more than a little unsavory about it all (through no fault of his own, I might add).

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  3. Jim,

    whenever i see something about sports on TV, my eyes glaze over. my ears stop themselves up when i hear sports stuff, lol. last year we sent back our MOD box because we weren't watching it. when my wife called to tell CHT to come pick up the box, the woman from the company gasped "you mean you aren't watching Jeremy Lin on the MOD?" Hui-chen quipped "no, why should we?" i nearly died laughing, lol. i did hear about Wang, and as far as i'm concerned, he's just another cheating husband who's sorry now because he got caught (i'm looking at you , Tiger Woods!) but by and large, it's very easy to ignore Western stars of music and sports, which is a great relief to me personally :). i couldn't tell you what teams those 2 players are on, nor can i tell you what teams were in the SB. i honestly couldn't care any less about it.

    i hope it snows again soon so Amber can use her new sled! it must be agony knowing that she just missed it! that would be a great blog post!