Friday, January 22, 2016

Concluding Adventures in Taiwan :(

Above on the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial one last time
Ladies and Gents, before I tell you how awesome my time at Taiwan was, let me first tell you to study abroad once you get an opportunity or are considering. No matter where you go in this world, know that every place, and every person you meet, there is a story to tell and create with. It is a vast world yet it is also a small world (much thanks to technology). Not only have I travel while studying a foreign language (Mandarin Chinese) , I made wonderful friends I have never thought I would share a kindred spirit with in a distant land that most people hardly hear of. Contrary to my or anyone else expectations, studying abroad here in Taiwan would blow my mind on what I only heard of. Taiwan is not just another island inhabited with Chinese or Taiwanese people. It is a diverse place with many opportunities to grow as a scholar, travel, experience different cultures, and be embraced by the warm hearts of its local people.

Riding through Taroko Gorge in Hualien county
 When I first came to Taiwan, I had many expectations. I had thought it was much like a Taiwanese drama with beautiful actors and modern skylines. It was to some extent, but it was quite different. It was a modern yet old metropolis with wide roads but with more condensed older buildings. The garbage truck played Fur Elise like a Ice Cream truck coming down the road, and the traffic was more than just cars as mopeds, motorcycles, and bikes competed for the road. In the beginning there was heat, and a lot of it. And did I mention rain? A lot of that too...

On my own for the first time, I attended National Taiwan University (a most prestigious university located in the heart of Taipei) and conducted my studies on Chinese language and international studies there. While there, I made friends quick and developed a bond with them as we traveled and tried our best to master Chinese together. Among this university, I met people from all over the world. Don't be afraid if you will stick out as the only foreigner there. Believe me, Taiwan is very hospitable and the school is filled with Taiwanese students that are eager to make friends.

With friends waiting for the Ali Shan Express

My roommate from Hong Kong, Felix "the cat"

Food and lodging is affordable here. As well traveling from place to place is both affordable and convenient thanks to the efficiency of Taiwan's High Speed Rail, Taipei Metro (MRT), and local train networks. Getting from my school here in Taiwan to the central business district where Taipei 101 is located is an astonishing rate of 25NTD, which is practically less than $1 US dollar.

But I prefer my bike... just kidding I don't own this one unfortunately

Oh I'm going to miss the convenience of high speed service in less than half-an- hour per city

As to the last events of my travels in Taiwan, I have done much since my last postings. Besides meeting my heroes in a Taipei downtown cafe from my favorite YouTube channel, Wong Fu Productions , I had the pleasure of hiking and riding through Taroko Gorge, seeing millennium old trees and scenic spots at Ali Shan, visited Taiwan's beaches, boated through the tranquil ambiance of Sun Moon Lake, and even got a chance to see the new Star Wars movie there.

Hiking through a perilous bridge!

The beach at Hualien

Behold my power!
This tree in Ali Shan lived during the time of Christ! It's over 2,000 years old.
A proposal from my friend

Sun Moon Lake

Yups... I met them, West and Phil from Wong Fu!
I got to see some Star Wars fans right before I saw the new Star Wars movie here... I was so happy!

 Of course, what I will miss most about Taiwan is the well-prepared and affordable food. I swear, there are so many dishes I can choose from and the best thing of all it doesn't burn a hole in my pocket.

Barbecuing all I can eat! Unlimited  meat and drinks, and includes desserts! All for $500 NTD or $15 USD!
That is one fancy Loco Moco!
The best event however that had best concluded my trip was seeing the new year open with fireworks among crowds in the vicinity of Taipei 101. My friends and I had a picnic as we count down to the new year. We made new year resolutions to see each other again someday.

It was magical....
In my last week in Taiwan (just one week before HPU started class mind you), I said goodbye to my friends and we had our last get-together dinner after our exams. After of which, I looked back at how far I had come and the people, and culture I have encountered. It was a great adventure and it was a great study abroad experience. I can only look back now.... it was worth it and something I will do over again if I can.

Saying goodbye to my dorm (my other home)

(At the Peace park)Goodbye Taiwan
(At the thermal springs) Goodbye Taiwan

To all those who have followed me, be sure to contact me if you have any questions studying abroad or wish to travel to Taiwan. My email:

zàijiàn 再見! (farewell and let's meet again)

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