Happy Easter everyone! I have spent 3 months in Taiwan. I think I am now completely settled in this new country and starting to come to terms with the fact that it is home. Chinese lessons have been going really well. We are moving at double the speed of the other exchange students and I’m now able to wright down quite a lot of my vocabulary. I try to speak as much Chinese to my host family as possible. Our conversations are a mix of English and mandarin. Taking to them in as much Chinese as I can has really increased my confidence in speaking Chinese in public. I think it is the main contributor to my vocabulary.
School is going really well. I am starting to take part in more activities and have made a lot more friends (of course mainly through basketball). Recently I’ve met a couple boys on the bus ride home and we play basketball frequently as we live really close together.
Now I have many friends in Taiwan, who i spend time with often. We usually go to night markets, play basketball or go record/cd shopping together, as music is a shared interest of ours. Family life is also running very smoothly. I continue to have an extremely strong relationship with my host mother as I am always spending time with her. My host sister and I also get along really well. My sister and I often have dinner together, whether it be going out to a popular restaurant or eating takeaway at home, we always have a nice conversation about how things are going as well as a couple of good laughs. I think my relationship with my host father is also improving, and I am becoming more confident with him. Although he spends little time at home he is a very kind man and when he’s around we like to chat about his work, how I’m going with school etc.
My host mother, Italian friend and I
In the past month I have really started to discover the low-key side of Taipei. After thorough research, both online and through my exchange student and Taiwanese friends I now know where to find the types of clothes I like to wear, the best record/stores, the crazy hubs where you can buy just about anything and everything, as well as the places I can fulfil my hobbies (eg. basketball and playing music). It had taken me three months to find these places and i have a really long list of all the locations I want to go to. I’ve only explored a handful of what lies in the depths of Taipei city and can’t wait to dive in even deeper.
Vinyl store Taipei
In many ways it’s crazy to think I’ve been here for three months already. At first I am so amazed at how fast it has gone already. At the same time I think back to all the things I’ve done in this time period and realise that I’ve truly been so lucky to have done the many things I’ve done so far in this time frame. I honestly didn’t expect the start to go this quickly at all. I expected to miss home a lot more. I expected time to move a lot slower than it did. Most of all, I did not expect to want to stay here after barely three months of life here. I was talking with a couple friends recently and I said “at the start of the year I could never have imagined what has happened so far”. They told me it was just the tip of the iceberg.