Also known as 台灣, 臺灣, Formosa, and “Beautiful Island”
I’ll try to show why
Northern Taiwan with it’s many faces
A short story about a country that has become so much to me…it was my home, and the people were my good friends.
I’ll make it really brief because it’s about a period of over 9 months. I won’t include all but I still keep all the pictures I took.
I still remember the first day I arrived.
It was a dark evening in Kaohsiung, the weather was hot and it felt quite different from what I left behind me. I was going to stay there for 1 year during my internship and I had to adjust to everything as fast as I could. I got picked up by AIESEC and it was a nice experience coming back to Taiwan again. Really exciting…thanks 😛
Next day I went to my workplace where I met Frank. He was staying with me at the dorm at Daliao. I got my welcome party and I got some nice reception events in the beginning of summer. I was still expecting the serious work to start pretty soon
Later on I met SYLCs trainees – Flo and Conrado, and they were kind enough to show me around and I stayed with them for a month in their apartment right in front of the Kaohsiung 85(great location by the way). I also met Max who had his internship in Taiwan, but unfortunately it got cancelled. He was looking for a job but in the end he went back to New Zealand. Now he’s in China doing his second internship.
There was an AIESEC summer conference in summer and it was my first National Taiwan conference. I couldn’t stay the whole time because I had to work on Monday and on Sunday they spend the whole time speaking in Chinese.
We managed to spend a few weekends with Pauline exploring Kaohsiung and the area and taking lots of pictures travelling with my second-hand scooter 😀 Actually Summer was the time with many of events going on. Kaohsiung was the host of the 2009 World Games and I managed to see the opening ceremony.
Typhoon Moracot was the thing that changed so many things. Apart from devastating southern Taiwan it destroyed many homes and after that a lot of elementary school students moved in to our campus. I was lucky I could volunteer with Andre and Kevin to help clean the damages from the typhoon. Having those kids was also an opportunity for me to teach English. However, at the beginning of September I had an accident that changed everything and September 2nd was the last day I saw Cishan in 2009.
Nothing really interesting happened on October since I had to recover. Later on I sold my scooter(or what was left of it), settled everything and on a sunny Sunday morning I got the bus to Taipei. Fortunately it wasn’t the last time I saw Kaohsiung.
I started my third internship on November 16th. I met Yule at the bus station and he took me to that hostel where we picked Su Ying, Mei Ling, Shereen and Shi Wei. Then we left to Yilan and stayed in an orphanage for 2 months. Next weet Jomel, Natalie and Fannie arrived and we formed our happy family. The first weekend we had our welcome party where we met the rest of the AIESECers. It was a very nice event meeting new people. Oh…and I had my birthday two days after I arrived at Yilan.
For those two months we managed to visit many places and I am happy I finally went to Taroko and Hualien. I was nicely surprised by the beautiful environment of the area, but also a bit disappointed by the continuing rainfalls.
I already explained in details about life in school so I’ll just skip to the last part: Malaysia and Singapore
Today is cloudy and rainy and the forecast said it’s going to get worse. We are leaving Yilan next Friday and I feel so sad about that. I got used to this place and I really like working in school here. I don’t know how to explain the feeling, but it’s something I felt before when I was about to leave Taiwan but this time it’s much stronger and it won’t be easy.
After the Hualien trip I knew it was the last week of my stay at school and I was really confused about that. We had classes on Monday but it wasn’t so busy and the weather was still really cold to move around and do anything. Our classes were with the 7th grade so it was supposed to go smoothly
Tuesday came really quickly and we had to go shopping for food in the afternoon because our cooking session was next day on Wednesday. In the morning before lunch time we had some classes and we had to present Christmas to the students and the way we celebrate in our own countries. I am not sure exactly how much they understood from what we’ve told them, but I think they got enough. I also learned a little bit more about Malaysian Christmas as well. After lunch we went to Carrefour where we got our food and came back to school for 1 class and left to Foguang University after that. It’s a Buddhist university and it’s located on a very special location in the mountain. That place was really beautiful because I could see all the valley and the ocean from there.
It was one of the busiest days during our stay here in Taiwan. After we went to school in the morning we had to prepare for the speech at 10AM. I tried the Santa suit and put some clothes under to look more like the real Santa.
My fake beard left traces and wasn’t very convincing but it was OK. We got the schedule for the celebration and at exactly 10 o’clock we went out where all the students were gathered. The thing I was really surprised for were the Christmas cards we got from the students and the writings inside. After that the principal gave us certificates of appreciation about our internship here in Kai Syan Junior High School.
We also had the time to sing a song and then we had to go to the kitchen where we cooked for lunch. Shereen made curry chicken and I made fries, and eggs with sausage and peppers. I don’t know how good it was for the Teachers but I hope they liked it.
In the afternoon all the 8th graders had drama competition and we went to watch them. Their performance was really good and we took so many pictures. After each class Shereen and I were taking pictures with each group. When the last performance finished we had to vote for our favourite and we put a red dot for the class we liked the most. That marked one of the most amazing days in Taiwan and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. And that’s not all. Around 5PM after school Susan took us for barbecue and that place was really nice and I can say it was a great finish to a great day.
It’s the day before Christmas and tomorrow is our last day in school. I still feel sad that I have to leave. We had classes with the students and some of them were surprised that we are still here because the farewell party was on Wednesday. We taught about Christmas back home and everyone enjoyed the presentations. After school we went back again and packed our luggage.
It’s Christmas and our last day at school. I feel so sad that I have to leave now. School was like my home and I can’t imagine going away. I kept changing living places in Taiwan but I think I enjoyed my time here the most. We had presentations in the morning and we took so many pictures with classes.
Now we have to take the other pictures and I don’t want to say goodbye. I’ll just say “see you again”.
That’s what I wrote just a few days after I arrived in Taiwan..somewhere on Dec.3:
“Hm..how to start describing such a different experience?
Just a week ago I was sitting in my room watching the bad weather outside. That day I hadn’t the slightest idea what to expect once I arrive in Taiwan. I was supposed to be somehow excited of the fact, but it was a very distant thought in my mind. Right now it is as if everything I expected was so different from what it is in reality…but let’s go to the very beginning.“
I’ll try to explain as well most of the details about the trip and about my stay in here as well….just cause I get too many questions ;). I kept track on what’s really happening but I was somehow lazy to post it before.
“Day 1 Departure
Sunday…somewhere at noon..I am thinking of totally different things and I have no expectations, whatsoever about the forthcoming trip. I just said to myself “I’ll leave it all to chance”. I didn’t want to make big plans, not because they were likely fail, but because sometimes that’s the good thing about life – surprises( even sometimes being bad)
Around 10 hours later I was on Terminal 3 at the airport and everything looked much different. The majority of people traveling in the airplane to Hong Kong were Asian – not that it was surprising in any way, but it was something noticeable compared what I’ve experienced in Canada. That made me feel somehow strange, because for the first time I really realized that I am going to a country that speaks very different language from my own and my knowledge might not help me in every situation. Looking on the positive side I just told myself “whatever” – that’s how we learn – by experiencing things.
15 minutes after midnight, as scheduled, myself and around 300 others embarked on a long 15 hours journey across the Pacific.( Actually the longest part of the flight was passing through the arctic and then through mainland China so at the end the plane was not going the way I thought it was.)
On the Airplane: Everything about it was pretty much perfect – the service was good, food was delicious, even though right now after what I’ve eaten for the last few days it just seems a little dull. I am just thinking they know pretty well how to make successful business, unlike Air Canada or some other European air companies. After all there was electricity on the plane, phone, catalog with endless titles of movies, music and television. First class was just… WOW. I have no words to describe that. I always thought traveling first class is a waste of money but in this case I can make an exception.
Day 2 To Taiwan
The airport in Hong Kong looked nice, even though there were few people that had arrived at the same time as me and most of them seemed very tired. After an hour spent at “arriving” level I decided to move toward “departures” on the next level. It was significantly better on the next floor –all stores were open, and most of them were selling some of the most expensive brands in the world. I had no idea exactly who was going to buy anything from there, because it was probably really expensive. I just decided to spend my money for something else(but right now I think that I won’t really spend a lot in here)
We departed to Taiwan 1 hour after that. The flight was serviced by Dragon Air which wasn’t exactly as good as Cathay Pacific. The service was similar to the one I got on the way to Poland the first time I went to Canada, but at the end the flight itself took only about an hour and a half. For one hour they gave me food and AIR Stupidiy(ahum..Canada) don’t give anything on the flight to Mexico unless you order it(and pay for it).
When I arrived at the airport I still had no idea what’s going to happen soon. The only thing I hoped for at that moment was to see some familiar faces once I go out through the doors – and that’s exactly what didn’t happen…there was no one there waiting for me, just some people wandering around. I circled the area three times, but still no one was paying any attention to me. After I almost got desperate I decided to check if there is wi-fi at the airport and the only thing that crossed my mind was to send an email.
After around half an hour I finally met the AIESECers and an hour later everything seemed much better.”