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Friday, January 27, 2017

an old scoot adventure with a new twist

Yesterday, I woke up early to take Bubu for his ritual morning walk, and the second we stepped outside into the bright, warm sunlight, I knew: it was the perfect day for a scoot adventure.

Scooting through the mountains of Taiwan has become my favorite hobby ever. Luckily, my scoot buddy is still in town over our winter break from school, so I instantly went home and sent out a feeler: do you have free time this afternoon? One thing I love about this lady? She is always up for a good adventure, even if that adventure means scooting up into the mountains of Taiwan with a lady who's 6 months pregnant.
So of course that's what we did! We left with our cameras and a destination: Beipu.

We've both been to Beipu countless times, but this time was going to be different because the purpose for our scoot adventure was to take some maternity photos.

I am 6 months pregnant, and up until yesterday, I did not have a single picture of my swelling bump. This was partially because of how busy I've been with school and Bubu and being pregnant. It was also partially because I hadn't picked up my camera to take a single photo all semester. Well, except of my dog.

I knew in the end I would be sad if I had no photos to look back on, and really, I was starting to wonder if people back home really believed I was pregnant because they have not gotten to experience a single day of my pregnancy with me.

Now, there is one universal truth about my life: I cannot take a normal picture to save my life, especially in a photo shoot situation. As we scooted through the mountains, I reminisced on my last photo shoot, which was for my high school graduation. I am pretty sure the photographer was like: when can she leave because this is painful?!

Before we left for Beipu, I put literally no time or effort into scouring Pinterest for maternity shoot ideas. This was for one main reason: I was pretty sure the shoot would be a complete disaster! I told myself I would be happy if I came back with just one decent photo that I could show my mother and hang onto as a keepsake.

My friend, however, did spend time scouring the Internet for ideas because she is just that kind of person, and I am so thankful because after everything was said and done, I could not believe how many awesome photos we got!

First, we scooted to Beipu's main street, which has one of my favorite temples in Taiwan. It's kinda silly to say that because most temples look exactly the same, but this one just feels different. Beipu is a small, photogenic village, and this temple is along a cobblestone street that is converted daily into an open air market. At first, I felt really weird taking photos. It's not because it was a temple. I have taken a gazillion photos of this temple (and so have countless other visitors). No, it was because people were looking at us, and I am pretty sure I even caught someone take a picture of us taking pictures. People look for two reasons: we are waiguorens (foreigners) and my belly sticks out like a sore thumb and everyone's eyes gravitate to it.

Truth be told, I got over feeling awkward and silly really fast because I was actually having a lot of fun! I am so glad I asked my friend to take these pictures. She is just as silly as I am and we had a blast romping around this village striking poses!
After the temple, we wandered around Beipu's old, dilapidated streets. We found the perfect alleyway for photos, which isn't really an amazing feat because Taiwan is one giant alleyway. We found a working water pump, a cat, and beautiful, old homes. One flummoxed elderly Taiwanese man ran into us as he was leaving his house, and after exchanging a few ni hao's (hello's), he just wandered away and left us to our silliness.
After leaving the alleyway, we decided to scoot to our favorite cold springs, which is a five minute drive from the village. On the way, we got a bit sidetracked. My friend found a perfect little bridge with a perfect view of the mountains. After using some interesting methods to take some pictures on the bridge, we finally made it to the cold springs. The water level was super low, but we still managed to snap some shots.

All in all, it was the perfect scoot adventure/maternity photo shoot.

I got home and could not believe how great the pictures turned out, especially because I did zero preparation. I didn't even buy a special outfit. I didn't think for more than five seconds about where I wanted to go. I wanted a place that shouted: Taiwan! Beipu seemed like the perfect place, and how lucky we were that it actually was! I love that these maternity photos are so Taiwanese. It makes them feel a little more special and true to the story that is about to unfold: Jackie & Sean becoming parents as expats living in Taiwan.

I will certainly be asking my awesome friend to take more pictures as I get further along so Sean and Bubu can join me in some of them! Hopefully we will get just as lucky then as we were on our scoot adventure to Beipu!

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  1. You look great! I love that you did a maternity photo shoot. I didn't and sort of wish I did, but I do have photos.

    1. Thanks Elizabeth! I have been reading your blog like mad because I know you had your son in Lithuania and it has great advice on expat parenting!