Taiwan

Boy, I’ve neglected my blog for awhile and it isn’t that I haven’t been doing anything interesting, it is just that I have had no time to write about my experiences! For the past week I have been in Taipei. I was unable to blog there because I decided to leave my laptop in Hong Kong. It was nice to take a break from my laptop, something I am so dependent on a lot of the time.

Two days before I left for Taiwan, I fell sick. It wasn’t too bad, and the day before leaving I felt a lot better after visiting the doctors and resting all day. However, going away to Taiwan changed it all for the worst. Basically, I went from better, to worse, to much worse. That really made my trip to Taiwan a little less than ideal because there were many things I couldn’t do in Taiwan. I couldn’t eat all the oily/fried good night market foods, I couldn’t go clubbing with my friends, and I couldn’t stay out too late before my body felt terrible. Despite all that, I still had a lot of fun!

Here is the breakdown of some of the things I did in Taipei:

Elephant Mountain

I hiked Elephant Mountain which has a beautiful view of Taipei once you reach the top. Getting there is definitely a workout though, it is legitimately about 20 minutes of straight uphill stairs. If you have been to the Culver City steps in LA, it is waaaaaaay harder than that.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Night Markets

I visited the Shida Night Market as well as the Shi Lin Night Market on separate nights. I was unable to try a lot of the delicious looking street foods, but I did get my hands on a nice bowl of beef noodle soup, a piece of my friend’s fried chicken (which is apparently one of the most popular at the Shi Lin Night market), a twisted potato chip stick thing, and a huge thing of street noodles. Oh, I did some shopping as well!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Tam Shui / Bali

I visited Tam Shui, a place filled with street vendors with Taiwanese style goodies / street foods. I had this Taiwanese hot dog, which is basically a pork sausage in glutinous rice. They are to die for. From Tam Shui, I took a boat to an island called Bali, where I road bikes all throughout the island. It was cool because the biking path took us through all parts of Bali, some parts were super indeginous looking, while others were completely modern and even contained a Four Seasons hotel. It seemed like the perfect get away from the busy city lifestyle.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Cat Village

One of the days, my friend’s mom rented a car to take us around the city. When I asked where we were going, they didn’t quite describe it to me, so it felt like a mystery drive for over an hour to an unknown place. When we got close, my friend told me that we were going to a Cat Village. I was instantly filled with excitement. They had no knowledge of my obsession with cats, and just happened to decide to go there. That place was so fucking cute, and I took soooo many pictures of only a few of the dozens of cats that roamed the area.

IMG_2421

One of the coolest things that happened to me in Taiwan is that I met an Australian guy at the airport when I was standing in line to buy a phone card. We had bonded over the ability to speak English, and proceeded to try to help each other navigate our way to our respective living accommodations, him to his hotel and me to my friend’s place. I found out that he had come from Hong Kong on the same flight as me, and that we were both people who were born in Hong Kong, but had moved to different parts of the world at a young age. We had a lot in common. We didn’t end up hanging out during our time in Taiwan, but we coincidentally had the same flight back to Hong Kong so we met up at the airport. Our flight got delayed, and although we are still pretty much strangers he offered to buy me lunch at the airport. We exchanged WhatsApp info and hopefully our paths cross sometime in the future.

More incidences like this one is what I am really looking forward to as I continue my travel adventures for the next few months. It is so much fun meeting people while you are abroad, and listening to all of their stories of where they are from, where they have traveled to, their opinions on things, ect. I can’t wait!

PCTYSD

I don’t think I could have asked for a better first CTY experience. My kids were great, my coworkers were even better. It’s crazy how quickly you form bonds with the folks at CTY. Even though I am completely exhausted with our 9-3PM and 7-9PM schedule every day, I would not have taken back my CTY experience for the world. I don’t know how else to describe my experience besides saying that as well as 2014 has been treating me, these past 3 weeks have definitely become one of the biggest highlights of the year thus far. IMG_4666 I miss my kids already. I miss seeing how they develop from super shy kids in the beginning of the session to outgoing, talkative chatterboxes in the end. There is this one boy in my class who confessed that he was too embarrassed to raise his hand in class because he felt that his English was not good enough. By the end of the session, he was actively participating and making jokes every day. I miss being emotional about how proud I was of my students’ accomplishments. I can think of several occasions where I was almost brought to tears as I watched them give an amazing presentation about their work, or make an incredible point in a discussion. I miss their randomness. There is this girl in my class who, in the middle of doing one of our assignments said to me, “I feel like being a sausage today. Elaine, do you want to be a sausage with us?” before she proceeded to roll around on the floor with one of her friends. How fucking precious is that. image I miss my coworkers too. I think I have PCTYSD, Post-CTY Stress Disorder as one of my friends call it. I miss complaining about our kids with them. I miss gossiping about CTY drama with them. I miss going to the sea bay to enjoy a few beers with them. I miss going to McDonalds after a night out with them… Damn. I think I’m going to pay our sea bay in Kennedy Town a visit soon because I am having serious withdrawals.

I feel that CTY has been a turning point in my life. I’ve met so many people so passionate about all the different things they do. I’ve heard all about their amazing life experiences that make me yearn to have similar ones of my own. I’m starting to feel as if I’m figuring out what I want to do with my life. I know that I’m a Business Economics major who should probably pursue a finance/consulting/entreprenuerial path, but honestly, I’m really starting to discover my passion for teaching. Maybe that is the path that I am supposed to pursue.