Black and white photo from Taipei 101

Trip to Taipei & Homework Overload (Tainan Week 5)

Chinese homework overload
Chinese homework overload.

Given the already intense level of this program, of course we could not have had a trip to Taipei without also having a crazy amount of work due upon returning. This week has been quite hectic in terms of just the sheer number of assignments, including a presentation on four people we had to interview over the weekend about social media usage, an essay on globalization, language tasks requiring us to ask locals what their dreams are, a draft of the next oral presentation due next week—all in addition to the usual workload of preparing for daily quizzes, doing readings, completing worksheets, AND attending weekly cultural workshops with their own assignments.

But hey, at least we got the chance to enjoy the weekend in Taipei.

Rest stop view on the way to Taipei
Rest stop view on the way to Taipei.

Despite taking a bus to and from Taipei (about four hours each way), I had a blast finally getting to go out and experience Taipei nightlife with friends. We ended up going to three bars and one club, then returning to the youth hostel in Shilin around 4 a.m.

The day had already been quite long, after spending hours at the Dharma Drum Mountain Nung Chan Monastery, then going to Taipei 101. I have no pictures from the monastery for various reasons, but I do respect the modern architecture used—it’s just that the extreme tropical heat and the fact that we unnecessarily spent so much time there as a group (remember I hate tour groups) made me completely disinclined to take photos—that is, until Taipei 101.

Fortunately, Sunday was our free day, and especially given the night we had before, it was a nice change to take things much slower in the big city and just chill. Since it wasn’t my first time in the city, I didn’t feel the need to rush to see as many things as possible. In fact, while my friends were recovering, I spent my morning starting on some homework at a café, then spending most of the rest of the afternoon walking around, which I find myself doing incredibly often in Taiwan overall. Sure, the heat wasn’t the best companion, but it still felt nice. Plus, I used getting a pedicure as a way to interview two of the four people needed for the weekend assignment.

Staying so close to Shilin Night Market meant that most people did go on Sunday night. In terms of an exciting atmosphere, this time was much better than when I went for the second time before this program started back in June, when it felt too empty to really soak in what a Taipei night market experience should feel like.

LOL. The person who took this photo says that guy and I have the same expression.

The morning of our departure on Monday, we visited the National Palace Museum, which felt a lot smaller than it is because we had less than two hours to see one section and that section only.

After the nice three-day weekend, the consensus among the group was that we wish we were studying in Taipei instead! It makes sense, given how much more convenient and generally cool the vibes are, compared to the slower-paced Tainan. Still, I appreciate life in Tainan, and fewer distractions can only be good for such an intensive program, right?

As usual, I’ll end with the rest of the photos from this past week (note the captions!):