The Lab Experience:
The first week in my lab was interesting to say the least! My professor and lab mates were extremely welcoming. I had lunch with members from my lab and some other students from KMU. We talked about the differences and similarities between Taiwan and the United States. As for the actual food, we had an assortment of dumplings and they were delicious! In Taiwan, the symbols for dumplings are “水饺.” We ate beef, beef and leek, pork, curry, and vegetable dumplings—my favorite was the pork dumplings!! Pork was one of the most popular meats here in Taiwan and a majority of the meals offered in restaurants, and from street vendors, was some variation with pork. After we finished our meal, we returned to KMU campus. I had expected the afternoon to be rather relaxing since it was the first day in the lab, but I got to start right away! I learned how to do the saliva protocol—which is essentially extracting DNA from saliva. I hadn’t done this procedure before, so it was fun to learn. I even got to use my own saliva! The main research topic in my assigned lab was the investigation of oral cancer cells and how plant extracts can induce apoptosis of harmful cells through antioxidant activity. This was all brand new to me, so I knew being in this lab would offer many new experiences. So my first day ended quite productively! 😊
As for when we got off work… we explored! One of the days that stood out to me was when we went to Dream Mall, which has a ferris wheel on the roof— which adds more to the already immense height of the building. Of course, we went on the ferris wheel. Looking down, it felt like we were in Jurassic Park since we saw animatronic, plastic dinosaurs. Apparently they were building a dinosaur-themed minigolf area. Our carriage was made of transparent plexiglass, so it added to the floating effect. The view was amazing and I enjoyed seeing a sky view of Kaohsiung!
On a side note, I’d like to highlight the sheer number of crane games at the MRT(metro) station. It was amazing! The stuffed animals were adorable and over the course of our stay here, I’ve collected many, MANY cute stuffed animals. Of course, with their own names. One of Edgar’s roommates, Allen, was an expert at winning items at crane games. I was very happy since Allen gave me a penguin stuffed animal! I named him Jeffrey. I took him with me on my adventures and Jeffrey was in many of my photos. Here are a few!
All of the previous pictures (that include Jeffrey) were taken at a beautiful, ecological area called the Dragon and Tiger pagodas. These are actually temples located in a body of water called, Lotus Pond. The size of the “pond” was so big, I’d consider it to be more like a lake! Anyways, the Tiger and Dragon pagodas were located in the Zuoying District of Kaohsiung. You’re supposed to enter through the dragon’s mouth and exit from the tiger’s mouth. If you do this, supposedly you’ll remove all of your bad luck. There are various signs indicating you should enter through the dragon’s mouth, just in case you happen to forget! I’m enjoying and learning more about Taiwan each day that I’m here.
Below, you can find the mascot of Taiwan: Taiwan Bear! I even included Jeffrey in the picture 🙂