Spring is definitely here.  Everyday seems a gorgeous day to me with temperature ranging from lower 40s to upper 60s degrees Fahrenheit (roughly between 4 degrees and 20 degrees Celsius).  You cannot ask for more than that.  Every morning, I am woken up by birds’ singing.  I thought that they were nightingale birds but they were robins instead.  Both birds look very similar and sing the melody like music to our ears.  However, nightingale birds live in Europe in the summer and Africa in the winter.  Seeing birds flying around our house is really a magnificent view.  I have seen blue jays, orioles, cardinals, robins, sparrows and some birds I cannot even identify.  Cardinals are my favorite.  I like their bright red colors.  My husband likes them for their connection to the baseball team he likes the most.  He has lived in St. Louis too long not to love the team.  

 

We are so lucky to have found this sanctuary.  It is such a tranquilizing place to live in, surrounded by the wonder of the nature.  We have watched from our windows a little fox turning into a teenage fox, turtles planting their roots at our backyard, tree frogs jumping near our pond and even into our great room, woodpeckers pecking at our house siding, owls turning their head 360 degrees resting on the tree, raccoons fighting with the dogs, chipmunks, squirrels woodchucks and moles digging holes on our lawn, mother deer playing with baby deer, ducks and geese families fighting on the pond for territory, and male pheasants extending their colorful feathers competing for female attention.  It is just like a zoo out there right in front of our eyes.  Not to mention all kinds of insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, cicadas and etc.  The nature’s symphony is playing right at our backyard. 

 

You might wonder where I live.  It is not in a remote area or anywhere near a farm area or countryside.  Our house is about 5 minutes drive away from several clinics, a supermarket, a Target store, a fast food restaurant, Walgreens, and various stores.  Our house is located right next to a nature-preserved park and our backyard extends into the park.  Yet, it is secluded enough that people from the park cannot access to our house.  It is wonderful and educational for our kids to grow up in this environment to learn all the nature around them.  One precious experience my son had was seeing a mother turtle laying eggs just right outside his daycare center.  He has also gone on some bone scavenger hunts with our neighbors.  

 

Most Taiwanese cannot understand why I prefer living in Minnesota, a state with winter more than half a year.  Actually, I like the crisp in the air.  It feels so refreshing.  Winter can be bitterly cold.  I always advise against people visiting Minnesota from December to February.  January and February are the two coldest months in the year.  It can drop as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit below zero or negative 46 degrees Celsius.  How can I bear it?  I would like to say that I am used to it.  However, I do bitch it all the time.  When it gets to that cold, it is deadly to stay outside even for five seconds.  Anyway, living in Minnesota for so long probably builds up my immunity to the cold.  I am so used to it that I cannot stand the heat and the humidity of the tropical countries.  I cannot imagine living in Phoenix or Dallas in the summer, let alone in Taiwan.  My last trip back to Taiwan in the summer was somewhat ruined by my intolerance to the weather.  I just cannot bear the heat and the humidity in Taiwan.  Anyway, my love for Minnesota is none other than this sanctuary I call home and the simple lifestyle its people lead.  I don't think that I can survive living in a metropolitan city such as New York City or Taipei, so highly commercialized and polluted with people so conspicuously indifferent.  By the way, there are fewer temptations here, a perfect place where I would like to bring up my kids. 

I have just taken a few pictures last weekend to share with you my sanctuary.  The last five pictures are the ones I took last weekend.   Please see link to the pictures.  http://elisaenglish.pixnet.net/album/set/15536694

This is the one I like the most.  My daughter was wearing a bike helmet.  This is our backyard.  There is a small pond where you can find geese, ducks, frogs and turtles. 

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