To most in the US, this weekend was all about Easter. To those in Taiwan it was all about elections and both of those important happenings played a role in my weekend.

For once, my weekend began on a Friday evening with an invitation from a co-worker to join her for a Good Friday service at her church. Given that I rarely have the opportunity to interact with my co-workers, this was a welcome opportunity to participate in local culture with a Taiwanese. Rose, who unlike me is deeply Christian, was already planning to join me on Saturday and when she heard about the opportunity for worship on Good Friday, she decided to come over early. We joined a very spirit filled service which included wonderful presentations from Handel’s Messiah and original compositions from members of the congregation.

Well, that’s about it for the Easter ‘e’. It seems that Easter isn’t much of a celebration here. Well, there were also the eggs we saw in one of the local markets. They weren’t egg-xactly Easter eggs, but they were festive looking! (They’re duck eggs.)

Saturday, we were picked up by new friends who were taking us to visit the incredible National Marine Biology Museum and Aquarium in the southern part of Pigtung county. Afterwards, we toured Kenting.

We couldn’t leave until Suzie voted. This was election weekend in Taiwan. Residence have to return to their hometown to vote, unless they’ve lived in a city for more than 4 years and changed their registration. While we were in the museum, a Taiwanese gentleman began speaking to me in English. He wondered where I came from and what I was doing here, but his was the real story.

He came home to vote. He’s currently living in Toronto, but felt it his duty to return home. Realize please, there have only been 4 democratic elections in this country. Know that people here who are my mom’s age (she’ll be 80 on April) lived through the occupation of both the Japanese and the Chinese which included the longest period of martial law this planet has ever seen. They have lived through regimes which repressed the publication of newspapers and literature and they witnessed the 2-28 Incident. No, they wouldn’t miss a vote especially not now when one party wants to maintain and improve ties with China and the other wants to continue developing a national identity and independence.