Final Days Abroad

TISLP 2017 302


As I sit in the corner working area of this small but nice capsule hotel in Singapore, reflecting on the wild last week+ in Taiwan, I just remain forever in disbelief not only at how fast these past eight weeks all went, but also at how much I was able to learn and experience.

To think, earlier this year, I had nearly stopped blogging because I had felt so directionless in life. I didn’t think that even living in California or traveling throughout Europe and Asia were worthy of blogging, because there had always been that mental block that told me none of it meant much if it weren’t directly for some tangible, career-oriented goal. It was a weird, tough period, but this program in Tainan has revived my energy and purpose to aim for more in life, more than just being in different places in hopes of finding happiness and escaping Real Life, but rather finding specific experiences to make life more worthwhile and, critically, productive.

I ended my last post right before spending the day checking off almost everything else that remained on my Tainan list, including going to the Chimei Museum, eating an oyster omelette, finding out what color salt my birthday is at Salt Mountain, and going to Chikan Tower. Save for the omelette, I unfortunately cannot recommend going to these places. Luckily my friend who took me had a car, so it made traveling to and from these places much more convenient, but I otherwise would not think that trying to go to these “attractions” without a car would be worth it, especially as the attractions themselves are already not worth it.

What was very worth checking out was the Guosheng Lighthouse Beach, which had the most amazing view of the sunset, and I am just so happy my friend had such a nice DSLR to take photos of me—and the sunset 😛 Afterward, we drove to Huayuan Night Market, one of three in Tainan that I had been wanting to go to for weeks after hearing about how much bigger it was than Dadong. While a cool and necessary experience, I would still rather go to Dadong to avoid the overwhelming crowds at Huayuan.

I spent that Sunday at Kaohsiung, first checking out a super-packed shopping mall and then my first-ever Taiwanese baseball game! The energy at these games is simply admirable, given the summer heat. Oddly enough, no one drinks beer or much of any liquid, really, which makes the whole experience feel even more intense, since I found it hard to believe, as someone who doesn’t follow sports of any kind, that people genuinely care so much to come regularly in this scorching tropical heat to dance and cheer for their respective team. You can’t go to a Taiwanese baseball game and not cheer loudly or dance.

After such a weekend, the final week was spent reviewing for the final written and oral exams, while stressing over the fact that my teacher asked me to host the closing ceremony immediately after the oral exam. While my stress levels were record-breakingly high, I somehow survived. Here are some pics from a photoshoot earlier in the program, our Taiwan Night, and the closing ceremony.

Immediately following the stressful closing ceremony in which I hardly ate, I had to run and miss the opportunity to take photos with my friends and teachers, since I had planned to take the high-speed railway to spend the night in Taipei, before flying to Singapore for two nights. Like, talk about stress and terrible planning.

More photos from the final week in Tainan:

But you know, I ended up having an amazing night in Taipei, and while I hate that I couldn’t take final farewell selfies, I feel so grateful for everything.

Now in Singapore, I am mentally forcing myself to adjust gradually to the fact that I indeed am about to begin yet another chapter. Tainan has distracted me from the other pressures of Real Life, particularly graduate school, but I of course know that this will be yet another adventure full of experiences I won’t forget.