Saying Goodbye to Taiwan
It’s difficult to admit that I’ve experienced my final moments here in Taiwan. Time flew by quickly and I feel as though I’ve just begun to become accustomed to life here. Customs that were once different, became second nature to me. Without realizing, I stand on the right side of the escalator. I don’t say “bless you” (or something along those lines) after someone sneezes. Even seeing scooters driving on the sidewalk seemed “normal!” It’s going to be difficult to adjust to life back home.
On one of my last trips, I went to Tainan. One of the KMU students we met, Ma, was happy to guide us. His home is close to the area we wanted to visit, so his family offered to cook us a meal. We arrived to their home and Ma’s family was incredibly kind. They had made traditional food from Southern Taiwan that included a lot of sea food. Of course I was really happy because I love seafood! They had grilled shrimp and miniature squids, along with tofu and corn soup. I think I ate ~10 of those squids… they were so good!! To make us feel more at home, they also prepared spaghetti with chicken nuggets. I guess American food is synonymous to something deep fried. haha 🙂
Anyways, we went to the Chimei Museum and to the Tainan Huayuan Night Market which was one of the largest markets I had been to! It was actually the largest night market in this city. There were so many stalls. They had everything; food, clothes, toys, electronic accessories, and there was even an arcade/gambling section. Combined with the sheer amount of people attending, it was very hot inside the market! I appreciated that there were so many bubble tea vendors since that tea is what kept me hydrated in this intense humidity! haha
Tamsui District of New Taipei
For my last day in Taiwan, Edgar and I visited Tamsui. It was a gorgeous city that was right next to the river. On the train, we passed by an ecological reserve and we saw birds flying along the water. Once we arrived in Tamsui, we had lunch and visited Tamsui Old Street. The road is lined with food stalls and other vendors. We walked around Tamsui Old Street and we were right next to the water. It was incredibly relaxing. You could choose to walk by the water and relax, or go towards the stalls nearby that sold snacks, souvenirs, and clothes.
Train Ride back to the Hotel
I also had a heartwarming experience on the train ride back from Tamsui to Taipei. While we were on the train, a little girl was with her two friends (a boy and girl). She was staring intently at us. Edgar smiled at them and that immediately triggered a conversation with the three kids.
The boy began the conversation and asked where we were from, and what are names were. He introduced himself, his younger sister, and his friend. His friend had incredible English pronunciation and comprehension, and she was only 10 years old! She was very sweet and bold! haha She asked if we were a couple and when we replied no, she asked if we were related!! She made little jokes and I couldn’t stop smiling throughout the train ride. She grabbed my arm and told me I was beautiful. I couldn’t help but blush!!!! It was such a cute moment. She also said that Edgar was very handsome. They told us they were also visiting Tamsui and that their home was in Taichung. They told us they were going to an amusement park in Taipei the following day. At their stop, they introduced their mother and the little girl said, “Isn’t our mother pretty? How old do you think she is?” I couldn’t believe how bold she was!!! haha Of course, we said the mom was beautiful and young; the mother smiled at us and said goodbye as they all left the train.
It was incredible to see someone so young go back and forth between English and Chinese. I hope to never forget this experience! 😀 The Taiwanese were considerate people and I felt they tried to accommodate us, to make sure we didn’t feel uncomfortable. Taiwan had just begun to feel like home. I had created a routine and it seems as though I’m already heading back home. I was able to have more genuine interactions with the people of Taiwan in the last few weeks I was here. I won’t forget their kindness and the way they are hospitable to foreigners. This was a life changing experience! I’m sure that once I go back home, I will miss many aspects of Taiwan, like the food and seeing the green trees along the mountainside. My experience in Taiwan has opened my eyes to a different perspective of how to face life and obstacles. I’m thankful to have met people who’ve supported and guided my journey in this country. I’ve made friendships that I plan to continue even when I go back home. Thank you Taiwan!!