Amazingly, August has already arrived.
By month’s end, instead of rooming with a local graduate student in Cheng Da’s student dorm, instead of either sweating bullets under the burning tropical sun or shielding myself from torrential rains while walking to and from classes, instead of waking up at 5 a.m. to memorize an oral presentation in Chinese followed by hours of intensive classes—instead of all that I have come to love and hate over these weeks in Tainan, I will be living solo in a studio in Virginia; welcoming the incoming cool Mid-Atlantic autumn; likely feeling overwhelmed while admiring my new and very accomplished classmates, professors, and faculty at Georgetown; and hopefully embracing what will be yet another start of a new chapter.
This past weekend, Tainan got hit with two storms in a row, cancelling our originally planned weekend living with host families and even classes on Monday. Not one to follow warnings to stay indoors and live off instant noodles, I ended up doing more than I ever thought I would, refusing to stay in my dusty dorm room. Plus, this wasn’t my first time experiencing a typhoon, which happens so regularly this time of year on this side of world that these storms shouldn’t cause too much worry.
After having a dinner with my language partner and her friend, who then went to show off his amateur guitar skills at a random guitar shop on Friday night, the next morning, a classmate joined me and my language partner at a temple housing Yue Lao, the God of Love and Marriage, who is rumored to be VERY helpful in helping singles find a partner. The entire process made the experience that much more exciting. As per post-prayer Instagram post:
This Tainan brunch restaurant takes latte art to a whole other level, surprising each customer with a unique drawing. ALSO TODAY in Shit Sonia Does Over Summer in Taiwan~~~ Woke up early on a Saturday to bike to a temple to pray to the God of Love with my language partner, who literally wrote me a script so that I could pray in Chinese with VERY specific details, including my lunar calendar birthday, Tainan dorm room location, US address, and what exact conditions I would like in my “other half.” Afterward, I would keep a small red string in my wallet and pat “wishing powder” (aka sketchy white substance) on my face for the next three days, while waiting for Yue Lao to “hear my prayers” (when my red string “disappears”), and VOILÀ, boyfriend! 😂😂😂 I WILL KEEP ANYONE INTERESTED UPDATED ON THIS FABULOUS ADVENTURE. *Effectiveness rate apparently vouched for by said language partner, whose friends she brought all got boyfriends SOON afterward.
So that was my Saturday morning.
Sunday was then spent walking the empty streets, while occasionally feeling somewhat fearful of the strong winds, before settling down at two different cafés to do work.
While I personally didn’t experience the knee-deep floods that others spoke of on Monday, I did witness serious flooding when classes resumed on Tuesday. Photo below courtesy of a classmate (I myself was too preoccupied with avoiding puddles while rushing to class):
In other news, we had even more work to do this week, which meant waking up at ungodly hours to attempt to finish it all (not and never have been a night owl). Luckily (and I mean, I guess through hard work), I managed to perform well for our second and final oral presentation. Of course, there is still the final exam with an oral section, but right now, I can rest slightly easier knowing that I likely redeemed myself from my first oral presentation.
To end a long and particularly tough week, I had to treat myself to a $40 gel manicure. #NOREGRETS
And finally, for those of us who still wanted it, host family weekend has been rescheduled to this weekend! While some lucky folks will be going to other cities, I’ll be staying in Tainan.
More on that next time.