The delegates from Hsinchu County arrived on a hot summer morning to the Village Hall in Westmont to a waving & welcoming crowd that included the mayor of Westmont Ron Gunter, local politicians, police, fire fighters, & many other workers and folks from the community. They wanted to offer a similar warm welcome some of them received in Taiwan earlier this year when Westmont sent delegates to learn & participate in a cultural exchange as Sister Cities.
I was able to participate with my family as a host family for the group of Taiwanese exchange students that came last November and was excited to be invited to capture this week as the delegates learned more about life in Westmont and shared about their culture and lives. Few things have blessed my life as much as cultural exchange and learning so capturing these moments and spending time eating, laughing, and learning from these new friends from across the world was awesome.
Magistrate Chiu came on behalf of his community in Hsinchu County, Taiwan and led the group through their week here in Westmont. His contagious smile spoke so much and through a translator he often spoke of the continued welcome our community has in his home country.
Mayor Ron Gunter and Magistrate Chiu presented and received many gifts of behalf of their respective communities.
A huge highlight of the week was The Taste of Taiwan booth at the Taste of Westmont. The group traveled with a local chef who made Taiwanese inspired small plates so those here could taste some of the street food dishes of Taiwan (I highly recommend the bubble tea & rice noodles!).
Many local politicians came out to welcome and the delegation from Taiwan always had gifts to go around for everyone.
The pork buns & the homemade pickles were pretty amazing!
The chef encouraged everyone to try the spice blend they brought from Taiwan on everything (i highly recommend it!)
Six members of the Ju Meng Dance Troupe came as part of the delegation to perform at the Taste of Westmont as well as a concert Saturday afternoon open to the public.
A traditional tea dance was performed and members of the troupe presented Taiwanese tea to members of the audience as part of the dance.
Their performance Saturday afternoon was entitled Hospitable Hakka, Charming Hsinchu and was a beautiful mixture of costume, dance, and visual media artistic presentation focused on culture and traditions of Taiwan.
I am grateful to continue to partner with the Village of Westmont & Hsinchu County in their ongoing relationship as Sister Cities.