I’m now, believe it or not, 5 months and 10 days into my Taiwan exchange. School has finished for now as well as Chinese class and I am well settled into my new host family. I’ve lived with them for about a month and a half now and it is such an unbelievably different experience to my life living with my first host family. While my new family is more strict, they are very traditional just as I thought they would be, and so far I have been indulged in their very cultural lifestyle. They try to immerse me in every way they can, from cooking lessons from my host father to not letting me whistle at night (Due to the fact that it would attract ghosts). I am particularly close with my host dad, as he’s a very funny, cool guy and we’ve had some great laughs. Although in the beginning it was quite frustrating at times, and it would sometimes out me into a bit of a mood, I have gotten used to their fun and strange traditions. They have expressed to me that they want me to get the best out of my time with them and Its nice that they care so much.
My Host Dad and I Having a laugh
Host Dad and I Cooking
As of yesterday, all of my winter exchange student friends have left Taiwan. For me this is pretty sad as they helped me so much during the first half with anything from Chinese to showing me around the city, and we became such close friends so quickly. I think it may be difficult on my own for a while, but Im sure i will do many amazing things during the summer and the next group is coming in a couple months anyway. I look forward to being a senior student and mentor to the next generation of Taipei exchangers! I can always keep in contact with my friends, and I know they will be my friends for a really long time despite living on the other side of the world.
Exchange Friends at Resort in Canding
The Boys and I During Our Bus Trip
During the summer I have a couple plans to keep me occupied. I am going to continue to study Chinese on my own and with my host family. I believe I will improve heaps during this period as i will be spending so much time with my family. Since they don’t speak a word of english, I feel like every moment I spend with them my Chinese improves. Imagine 2 more months! I have a lot of new Taiwanese people I’ve met along the way so far that I would like to catch up with, including Spock, a boy who is currently staying in my Australian home and will return to Taipei in a couple days. Moreover, It is the perfect time to discover interesting new places, which I am eager to do with anyone I can. I’ve got a list of some cool places already, and by the end of the year want to have a massive one of all the coolest places in Taipei to chill at.
In their lifetimes, Taiwanese people have a bucket list with three things they would like to do before they die. These consist of climbing Jade Mountain, bike riding around the entire island and swimming across the famous “Sun Moon Lake”. By the time I leave, in a way finish my Taiwanese life, I would like to complete all three. I am on my way there, already having climbed to the peak of Jade Mountain and currently in training for the Island bike ride. A couple months before I left Australia, before i knew where in the world I was going I made a list of three goals I wanted to accomplish by half way through my exchange. It should be mailed to me a week or so not so far from now. Admittedly, the three things I wrote on that list were pretty boring and probably the exact same as what everyone else in the room put on theirs. Having thought about this recently, I would like to put this new Taiwanese bucket list feat at the top of my goals for this year. Very little would make me more accomplished than completing this, and it gets me excited just thinking about it. Wish me luck!
The Peak of Jade Mountian
70km Cycle Training for the Around Taiwan Cycling Trip
This month my district also had another bus trip touring Taiwan. This was amazing and is definitely one of my biggest highlights so far. On the first day we traveled by high speed rail to an East-Coast city called Hualien. Here we explored local night life and a beautiful national park. For the remainder of the 7 day trip we traveled around the south end of the island doing activities such as go karting, white water rafting and driving ATV’s. It was crazy how much the district fit into the time we had, and as well as providing us with insane amounts of fun, i think we all got so much closer. Every day was filled (but not too jam packed) with activities, all enjoyed to the max. Yet another awesome, unforgettable experience in Taiwan.
Seconds Before the Go-Kart Race Began
The last month has been crazy, filled with, as usual, millions of things i’ve never done, new friendships, a pinch of sadness and discovery. But being here for almost 6 months, I’d never expect less.