Kelsey Breen
2009-10 Outbound to Taiwan

Hometown: St. Johns, Florida
School: Nease HS
Sponsor: Southpoint Jacksonville Rotary Club, District 6970, Florida
Host: Sanyi Rotary Club, District 3500, Taiwan

Kelsey's Bio

My name’s Kelsey Taylor Breen. I’m 15 years old born on June 17, 1993, and I am a sophomore at Allen D. Nease High School in St. Johns, Florida.

Facts about me

I love warm weather (This is a reason I think Taiwan is perfect for me).

I can’t stand the cold. My dad says I’m cold blooded because every time I’m over at his house I’m wrapped in blankets complaining saying “are you trying to freeze me out of the house”.

I spent most of my weekends at my godmothers’ house on the beach growing up.

Moved from Jax to Orlando with my mom for two years, 7th and 8th grade. Then I moved back to Jax.

I lived with my friend Jamie and her family for a month. I worked at their Thai restraint a little also. (Orlando)

Over in Orlando I did competition cheerleading

I was in a beauty pageant. Ms. Teen Orlando.

I got to sing with the Nease choir at Epcot Dec. 28 for candlelight.

I used to go to John Robert Powers acting agency. They even got me an extra part in Ace Ventura 3.

My favorite color is pink.

Interests

I love acting and singing.

I love reading (If you look in my room you’ll find books everywhere - under my bed, in my drawers, in the closet, I even have some just randomly on the floor).

I love Disney princesses except Snow White.

I own every Barbie movie that is currently out.

I like anime and manga.


Family

My mom is Wendy Cruff.

Older brother Christian Breen (18)

Boxer (dog) named Brandi

My dad is Patrick Breen and my step mom is Holly Breen

My cutest little brother in the world is Charles (4)

Jackrussel named Jackson

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pop-a-squats....EVILLLLL

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Kelsey's Journals

August 22 Journal

My start to my exchange was what I’d call a half empty half full kind of thing. I almost missed my flight and they said I was too late to check in my luggage. So I have only 2 outfits till my mom can ship over my bags. But I’m trying to see this as half full - I mean I made it on the long boring uncomfortable plane ride and I get money to go shopping with my host sisters. See: half full. The brighter side.

It was so funny when I met my family at the airport. I myself looked like a zombie having just slept 16 hours in the most uncomfortable position. My face was red, my hair was messy, and I’m pretty sure I had imprints from the pillow on my face. But my host sisters were smiling and giggling and said I was pretty. I was so touched. I just wanted to gobble them up because they were so cute. My host brother was so sweet - he handed me the most beautiful bouquet of flowers and didn’t laugh at me when I tried speaking Chinese which I might add I am no good at just yet. We took lots of photos and then we went to a noodle shop. Okay so the food here in Taiwan isn't what I’d call delicious. It wasn’t nasty either. Their soda was really tasty though. When we went into the little noodle shop I felt like I had a huge sign on my back saying I’m a blonde American so stare at me lol. After dinner my host brother took me next door to the 7-eleven it was so CLEAN … Americans beware: once you step into Taiwan gas stations, you’ll never wanna go back to your own dirty smelly ones.

So my room is on the third floor and it is huge and it’s got pink everywhere. It’s like it was made for me lol. I went to take a shower and I must say I was very surprised at their showers. It’s actually a spray shower head in the corner of a bathroom … there is no tub or anything. There was so much more room than there are in our tubs.

So after that I forced myself to go to bed at like midnight and then I woke up at like 7, wayyy too early, so I decided to start my first journal to kill time till my host sibs wake up which should be any minute now. So I’m going to go now. I’ll write my second journal once school starts.

September 22 Journal

OK let’s start from my last journal and my family waking up…. That day they took me to Llan Ho Da Xie (national united university) for an awards thing because Rotary had to do weekend lessons on how to be a host parent and there I met Nicky who went to Florida 2 years ago (woohooo go Floridians) … then I went shopping for clothes since my luggage hadn’t come yet (but it’s here now) …. OK time skip - I met Nicky and his cousin Kevin again on Tuesday which was my first Rotary meeting. Ok so Kevin went to New York two years ago also …. he and I went around San Yi the next day.

During this past month or so I did something every day but I think you’d get bored hearing it all so ill only say important stuff…

In my second week, I hung out with my brother and his friends a lot and they took me to play basketball and I was awesome at it …. I stood at the free throw line and my teammates kept passing me the ball and then I’d shoot and score so it would be our ball again so they passed it again and I shot again…on and on…

And also in my second week my host cousin and his two friends took me to the movies and then we went to my cousin’s school and I met some of his classmates and then when I got home I was rushed out with my mom and lil sis betty (15) and we did this belly dancing kinda class. It was so fun.

Now down to the important stuff. I’ve finally started school and I hate my uniform - it’s so ugly…yellow shirt and hot pink pants (PE uniform). I like the pants but not the shirt …and then our nice one is red skirt and white nice shirt … I saw a pink uniform shirt like light hot cherry blossom pink and a pink plaid skirt I must say I was very jealous … I want it… I love pink …… OK now back on topic - I’ve made a lot of friends but I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to all the stairs and stares lol … everyone stares at me, it’s embarrassing … and my school is 7 floors high and there are 3 buildings … I’m on the 4th floor … so tiring …

I went out my 3rd weekend here with my classmates for their birthday (the twins in my class). We went to hot pot, then I went with my cousin and his friend Shane to the night market (which I’m in love with). I really love my school food because there is a convenience store connected to it =]…. I don’t do much in class but sleep, study, sleep, listen to music, English, and sleep … but the good part is the teachers come to us not the other way around … soooo nice

So 2 weekends ago I went to Nan Miaol with my friend Emma (she from New York) and we had so much fun …. We went to McD and these 14 year olds came in and bought me ice cream and were like nice to meet you, you’re very pretty…sooooo sweet.

So here is my warning to all people that are thinking about Taiwan for their place if you wanna do youth exchange … you will have to walk … a lot … also you will be taking busses everywhere … and trust me I’ve barely figured these busses out … so hard … tears =[… so be ready to be lost at least once.

Here is some randomness for you readers

The garbage trucks play music (Beethoven that du-nu-nu-nu-nu-nu-nu-nu song)

They don’t flush toilet paper

We had a wild dog come into class (it just walked through front gates and up the stairs into my class … weirdness)

They stay in school till 5 but they have nap time after lunch

Everyone LOVES studying (OK not everyone but a lot)

My sister Betty left about 3 weeks ago … I miss her (she went to Germany)

They don’t have air-conditioning in school

You may get stalked and stared at here (cough cough) so get used to it if you come here

They have camera paparazzi everywhere so get used to taking pics =]

There are metal rainbow shaped poles here that are on the ground that are waiting to trip people … things to block cars and bikes from going that way… (it really just popped up and tripped me … it laughed at my misery)

Also a clock fell down from my wall the 3rd week I was here and glass cut my foot.

Oh and also 2 weeks ago I cut the side of my foot on the door because I accidently closed it on the side of it … it bled … a lot

END OF RANDOMNESS (read next month for more)

OK so here’s my last thing to write about … I started Chinese lessons at National United University and it is HARD!!!! But I’m improving ie dien dien (a little) … and I also am in chorus with Emma at NUU … It’s hard singing Chinese songs that are written in characters not pinyin…

November 13 Journal

As of right now I’m in the beginning of my third month here in Taiwan and it feels like time is passing by in the blink of an eye. I just wish I could have a remote control on life to rewind my time here and do it over and over so it never ends, but time doesn’t stop for anyone, so all I can do is keep going and try to make as many memories as I can here.

So many many things have happened in this past month. But my most accomplished moment of this past month is when I went shopping with my friend Emma. At 8:30 in the morning I took a bus to the train station and even had a short Chinese conversation with my bus driver. Then my friend Emma met me at the train station and we walked around that area for a few hours, then we walked to her house for lunch. After lunch we walked back to the train station and took a bus to Nan Miaol and shopped around there. After shopping at about 3:45 we started walking from Nan Miaol to National United University where we take chorus together and went to our chorus class. After that Emma stayed there and I got a ride from my Chinese teacher’s friend to the Nan Miaol bus station where I took a bus home … I must say that day made me feel very accomplished.

My school life is finally starting to get interesting. I embarrassed myself in front of the whole 1st year grade at my school. My school was having a singing competition, and the night before it, my class told me I would be singing a solo … in Chinese … so that’s about 16 hours to learn the song … IN CHINESE. So of course I did just that and memorized it. But when I got on stage everyone started screaming and there was no accompaniment so it was a capella and I just couldn’t think with all the screaming, so I forgot the tune which in turn made me forget the words … SO EMBARRASSING. But then everyone did the sweetest thing and sang the song with me … it was sooooo sweet and my class tried to cheer me up after =] I love my class.

After the singing competition an officer at my school asked me to join the flag team for the sports festival on the 21st and of course I agreed =] so now I’m a flag girl. And all last week I stayed after school with my class till 8:30 making a traditional Chinese dress by hand…from scratch…..which means me, Ms. Clumsy, dealing with needles and thread…it was not pretty but it was fun haha…and lastly my classmates used me as a model during art class which was sooo fun =]

Actually right now I have half days Monday thru Thursday. Fridays are my only full day at school. On Monday I leave at noon to go to a college for Chinese lessons and Tuesday I go to a kindergarten in the morning to teach English as an assistant teacher and to learn Chinese at the kindergarten. Then I come to school at noon. And Wednesdays I teach English at a junior high in the morning and come to school at noon. And last on Thursday at noon I leave for the collage again for Chinese lessons....I have to take the bus sooo much.

10 random things in Taiwan

Students here think it’s normal to stay after school till 8:30 to study

They have school here on the weekends

Elderly people ride electronic wheelchairs here in the streets….as cars

There is a convenience store connected to my school

Teachers come to you in school so you never have to leave your classroom unless it’s for an elective

McDonalds has pictures of healthy food all over the walls…like pics of apples and salad and water and healthy veggies and fruits…..but we all know…. it’s…… a….LIEEEEEEE

They have 12 courses in their meals here

So I’m at a wedding and sit through 12 courses of dinner and finally I think it’s time for cake but then nope… nothing ever goes the way you want it to… guess what everyone gets up and leaves…reception’s over, time to go…NO CAKE FOR YOU…they didn’t cut the cake in front of us or share it … tears =[

If you have a cold or cough or sneeze they ask “are you okay??? You should go to a doctor.” And if you have a blemish they ask “what happened” like it’s a cut or bruise or something - sooo embarrassing.

THERE ARE NO TAMPONS HERE

WO AI TAIWAN

December 26 Journal

聖誕快樂 (Merry Christmas)

I can hardly believe that just this time last year I was finding out that I would be going to Taiwan and now here I am in my 4th month over here in Taiwan. It’s scary how fast time flies by.

Over this past month I’ve been feeling a tiny bit homesick because Christmas was coming up but my host family quickly diminished that feeling with all of their kindness and love. They made me really feel like it was Christmas in Taiwan. My family told me they would like to do gift exchange with me and that they wanted to celebrate Christmas for me even though they're Buddhist. so for Christmas I first went to school and brought Christmas stickers to school and randomly sticked my schoolmates with stickers haha … then my class and I played secret Santa and my Santa got me a beautiful red Christmas scarf ( I also got lots of candy and these cool basketball wrist bands that were pink).

Then at lunch time the Canadian teacher put on an inflatable Santa suit and we went to every classroom in the school and threw candy to the students. Haha it was so fun. After school I went to KTV with my mama, meimei, gege, and my gege's friends. It was so much fun. My gege Bill dressed up as Santa Claus and passed out presents, then we played a game where Santa asked a question (in Chinese) and if we answered right we got to pick a card out of a bag and we got the present with the number it matched. I got a watch. We stayed till 11:00 but I got tired and fell asleep on a couch at 10. But privately my host mom got me a beautiful sweater and my host brother and cousin got me a pink scarf <3 so sweet. My other host cousin got me candy and a cool phone case. I got my mama and my meimei matching scarves, my brother new earrings, my cousin a hat, and my other cousin candy.

The junior high school I assist teaching English at also did a Christmas party and gift exchange. It was so funny because the students who guessed wrong had to do some crazy thing like break-dance or pushups. haha

On the 16th of December I went with 3 of my classmates dress shopping for the 18th's dance. Before dress shopping, though, they somehow convinced me to try stinky tofu - it was so-so. And then we had this liquid drink with these little jubies in it. It was delicious.

On the 17th of December I went and watched the Riverdance with my host family. It was so cold but it was also so cool.

On the 18th or December I went to a Christmas party at a Pacific American school which means ENGLISH AND DANCING. My friends host brother invited us. It was so much fun. I bought a pink dress for the event and went with 4 other RYE girls. We danced till we couldn't dance anymore. haha. The boys were shy so we would hold hands and circle a shy looking boy and make him dance haha. There was a little girl problem so me and my friend Rachelle had to run out in the middle of the dance to a 7-eleven in cold weather in dresses and heels. So funny. What was not funny was taking a train in a fancy dress....way too many people staring. But Rachelle’s host mom got us professional make up for the night, so nice.

And last but not least there was an earthquake rated 6.4 on the Richter scale. It was so cool but my little sister came into the computer room scared. She was sooo cute.

Now it’s time for everyone’s favorite part of the journal

Randomness in Taiwan:

Taiwan’s weather is almost as bipolar as Florida’s

Shopping is AMAZING AND CHEAP <3

The weekend hi-life bus stop is a 20 minute walk from my house

Commercials here are hilarious

You eat these rice balls with red bean inside during New Year’s which means you've grown a year

You get red envelopes at New Year’s

Most everyone is friendly here and shy

There are more motor scooters than cars here. haha

Everybody Loves KTV

Yes! Teas creamy milk tea with brown sugar and jubies is delicious <3

January 29 Journal

Five months. My half past point. There’s many good things about now being here in Taiwan for five months - for example my host parents allow me to go outside to different areas of Taiwan more with my friends, I’ve learned to get by in Chinese and not be completely clueless, and I’ve made many, many strong bonds. But the downside is that in only another 5 months I’ll be packing my stuff to go back to Florida. To all the 2010-2011 youth exchange students: make sure you make every second over in your new country count. To all 2010-2011 Taiwan students: if you have any questions you'd like to ask about Taiwan send me e-mails and I’d love to answer at the best of my abilities all of your questions.

So the month of January has been....very very packed with things to do. For new years I went to Taipei 101 with 8 of my classmates and friends. Taipei is very crowded on new year’s but the show you get to see at Taipei 101 is a once in a lifetime experience for RYE and I recommend to all you Taiwan students next year to go see it.

My host dad’s been gone in China a lot for business but he came home for new year’s weekend and we went bike riding with the family in memorial park and went to Tainan to visits my mom’s family for new year’s and Christmas and we went ...BOWLING. It was so amazing I can't even begin to tell you how much I’ve missed bowling with family.

My host mom’s birthday was on the 16 of January and I got her chocolates but instead of spending time with the family she went to a hot spring to relax. ahhh I was so jealous....buuttt the next day I went strawberry picking with my friend Emma and her and her host mom took me on my very first trip to the hot springs. It was AWESOME. My skin came out so smooth and silky.

Then the next Wednesday me, Emma, and David went to my little sister’s school camping trip... at an elementary school haha it was pretty boring but we managed to not bore ourselves to death somehow ^^. The next day me and Emma decided to cut our hair and Em got her curly hair straightened and bangs and I got mine cut and curled...it’s so short I’m no longer Rapunzel as my friends say haha. Then that Saturday all the 3500 RYE gathered in Tainan and we WENT.ON.A.BOAT...I’m on a boat was our theme music for the day. It was awesome. We also went to a market and made spin tops and got food yummy yummy food.

I’m officially on winter break now which means no school for a month. I’m kinda sad because I’ll miss my friends but we are going to hang out outside of school as much as we can ^^

Coming up … February fourteenth is NOT Valentine’s Day but Chinese new year’s. Which means red envelopes, lots of food, family gathering and dragons at temples, also make sure to stay awake to midnight so that the monster doesn't get you and to put red envelopes up all over the house.

To all 2010-2011 RYE here’s my last piece of advice for the month of January. When you pack, pack light and pack stuff you don’t care about. Because your stuff will get ruined here. Your sisters will steal your shirts by accident, your brothers will take your girl boxers by accident cause your mom won't know whose clothes are whose, so make sure all you have in your new home is stuff you will not miss. and also you’re going to want to shop a lot so make sure you have room in your suitcases to bring your new belongings home a.k.a. you should leave one suitcase EMPTY.

Now for everyone’s favorite

Randomness in Taiwan

Taiwan has a delicious restaurant called Modern Toilet where all the stuff is shaped as poo and bathroom stuff.

In Taiwan there's Chinese, Japanese, and American haha, so if you're white, they think you're American … good luck European countries and Canada

Taiwan doesn’t give money tips

Taiwan has no tax

Taiwan men love to dress as women and dance to wondergirls’ song nobody

Taiwanese LOVE karaoke and beer

Taiwan has the best tea ever....yes! Tea is creamy milk tea with brown sugar...yummmmmm

Taiwan girls are sooo small and cute...so don’t expect to find much clothes that fit you here

Taiwan shopping...is....cheap ^^ so perfect for us broke RYE students … and you can also try and make price lower and sometimes they agree $$ CHACHING

April 9 Journal

I know I know 2 months with no journal….SORRY….. (insert super juniors song “sorry sorry”)

So the last time I wrote was in the end of January and now it is April. Hmmm where to start? Well during February we had the biggest event of the year, Chinese New Year. I was still at my first family for the new years. Chinese New Year is celebrated over a one week period. There are fireworks, lots of food, money, temples, and family. During the New Year my parents took me to Taipei to see a Van Gogh and a Da Vinci art exhibit. They also took me too central Taiwan in the mountains to see snow and play in it and I can say for sure that I could not feel my fingers after 5 minutes. During new years there were many dragon shows and fireworks. At the end of the New Year I moved into my second host family’s house.

On a side note….let’s take a second to talk about the wonders of trains….the things you can do on a train while you are alone in a car with only your friends…..imagine a whole car to yourselves…well you could

Sing loudly

Hang upside down on rails you hold onto

Dance

Pretend to be meditate

Act crazy and race along the area

Take crazy pictures

All of the above (I choose this one - which do you choose?)

At my new family’s house I have two brothers in their 20’s and a mother and father. When I first came to this new family I was very scared seeing as I had just spent the past 6 months at my first family’s house and was very much attached to their children and very comfortable in their home. But soon I became accustomed to my new life and new home. There are some conveniences that are, well, more convenient here in Tounglo where I now live. Like for fact I’m only a 5 minute walk from the train station or that there’s wireless internet and even a real bathtub/shower. Lovveee itttt. But the bad part is that the place is even smaller than Miaoli and the mosquitoes here in Taiwan are on steroids. But luckily they’re more attracted to my friends than they are to me.

Around the end of February there was a festival called the lantern festival going on. My family took me to Taichung to see the lanterns. This year was the year of the tiger.

After that there wasn’t much going on until March when we had a 3 day trip to the east. It was very fun, we went to Hualien and Ilan. While there I saw an old woman sewing Haka attires. And we went to coal mines with beautiful scenery and we went to museums and to a swinging bridge I thought would break that led to a temple. At night we were free to go anywhere so the first night we went to a beach and bought fireworks and lit them off and we sent a huge lantern into the sky that we got to write wishes on. On the second night me and my friends went to the ilan night market and ate dinner and walked around. I learned that I am very good at the claw games.

At school I have many friends and right now my class is planning our garden party which will sort of be like our sports festival but more fun. They want me to dance in it…..the Macarena….HECK NO!!! And there’s also a school dance coming up. I am very excited for both of these things and will take lots of photos.

This is my advice to new students coming to Taiwan and even to other countries. A great way to learn the language is by watching their soap operas (Taiwanese have the best) with subtitles and the speakers turned up so you don’t miss a sound.

Now I know you all have been dying for the best part of my journals….randomness in Taiwan so here it is for you

There’s a Casco here….YES!!!

They have no spring break in school =[

The American book prices are jacked up way too high

They think it’s abnormal to have 2 dogs….it’s either 1 dog or 3 and more, never two.

I saw a Ford truck here!!!! The first real truck I’ve seen in 7 months.

The best drink in the world is still jenju nai-cha but seeing as it's not made in Florida I'm learning to make it.

Couples here wear matching outfits and sometimes have matching hair colors…like per se purple….it was lovely.

Buses and trains hate me.

My iTouch broke and they only have retail iTunes stores here, not the real stores…also they say it's unfixable so I have to buy new a iTouch … mine was only 7 months old but they already have a new generation out so they stopped producing the one I have … but I only have to pay 95 American dollars for the new one.

Taiwan smells bad!

I LOVE BADMINTON! At my school there are 5 sports you can play. Swimming (seasonal), basketball, volleyball, badminton, and pin gong. Also if you’re lucky there is sometimes a 6th called dodge ball which I have only had the honor of playing once in my 7 months here.

Reading dismissed. That is all!

June 1 Journal

The month of May was probably one of the best months of my life in Taiwan so far.

May 9th was my school birthday where every class was selling something. Be it food, drinks, games, or art. It was all fun. My school sold hand drawn bags (my bag was horrible but my friend still bought It anyways. Bless her kind soul). I bought this drink with some kind of carbon ice that makes the drink all smoky like a witch’s cup. I went to a haunted house that didn’t scare me until the end where somebody grabbed my leg (evil friend). I also shot cans with a big shooting gun thing. It was like a machine gun but with pebbles. It was so much fun. At the end there was a school dance with some famous Taiwan rappers rapping at and some pretty cool dancing. Two of my friends came to it. We got a lot of attention because we actually know how to dance. I had 4 boys ask to dance with me ha-ha.

May 13 through the 22 my mother came to Taiwan for a jam packed full of crazy traveling nine days visit. I picked her up from the airport at 6:45 (she was 35 minutes late) and from there we stopped in Hsinchu for breakfast and bubble milk tea which she gasp did not like. I just don’t know how I can call her family anymore. Trust me it was really tough after that. Then my host dad took us to a temple and to lunch at a beautiful place called green arc. We then went to the hot springs and after had dinner. My mom couldn’t believe how much they could eat here. It was very funny to me. The next day we went and saw my school then went to Sanyi which is famous for its woodcarving. For dinner we went to a Rotary meeting where I showed my mom the Sorry Sorry dance and the Nobody dance with all the Rotary people. And my mom kept having people toast her and drink. She was very confused for a while ha-ha. Here you can only drink alcohol when you toast so the people just kept coming up to her to toast her.

The next day was Saturday and we traveled to Hsinchu for my speech contest and then we took a fast train to the very south called Kaohsiung. The next day we traveled to a beautiful beach called ken ting for 2 nights and 3 days. On the third day we then went to Taichung which has an amazing night market. We stayed there for one night. The next day we went to Sun Moon Lake and about 4 temples and Old Street and a wine factory all from 9:30 to about 4. We traveled that night to Taipei and had dinner at a restaurant with my host brother called Modern Toilet where everything is shaped as bathroom things. It was very humorous for my mom. We stayed in Taipei for 3 nights and 4 days. We went shopping, saw a movie, ate sushi express, and went to a temple and a zoo. On the 4th day I took her to the airport where I sadly had to say goodbye.

On the 28th of May I moved back to my first host family and on the 29th I went to a Rotex meeting in Hsinchu where pp.ent gave us all our MONEEYYY oh how I love money.

Randomness in Taiwan

My mom doesn’t like bubble milk tea

My mom doesn’t like stinky tofu

My mom loved my host families

My mom loved the countryside more than the city

I got my mom to say I’m stupid in Chinese ha-ha

Everyone thought my mom was my sister (which I quickly fixed)

My classmates made a beautiful book for my mom with notes to me inside and photos.

It’s so much cheaper to travel in Taiwan than it is anywhere else.

My mom loved the umbrellas in wine bottles in Taiwan

My mom is a camera-holic

My mom asked me to translate the craziest things into Chinese.

My mom said she thinks she’ll need a vacation after her vacation

We noticed that every house had water tanks on them in Kaohsiung

The gods couldn’t hear my mom

The gods can’t speak English mother.

The gods heard you this time mother congrats ;]

On June 17th I WILL BE 17 =]

Thank you for reading the month of May’s journal.

August 6 Journal

I’m no longer the foreigner. Now I’m just Kelsey. And I’m no longer the “special girl”.

I have now been back in America for about a month and It just doesn’t feel real. I feel like when I wake up in the morning I’ll be putting on my uniform and hoping on the bus to school.

Though I miss Taiwan I have learned many things on this once in a life time opportunity. I feel that I have grown up. Even if only just a little. I now have friends and family across the world and have formed bonds that will last me a lifetime.

I would like to tell about my last 2 months in Taiwan. In June it was my birthday and my classmates threw me a “surprise party”. They aren’t really good at the whole surprise thing but it was very sweet and made me cry on the inside a little bit. They hand made me a cake with an elephant decorated on top. My class is the art class after all. They got me beautiful presents like hair ties, key chains, earrings, my name on a traditional Chinese stamp, and even a cover case for my iPod that they bought on their trip to Japan. They then shoved cake on my face and tied me in ribbon and made me hobble around school all day. Supposedly its tradition….yippee. I hand-made a shirt that day that said 17 on the back and on the front it said in Chinese characters “give me birthday a.) Hugs b.) Kisses c.) Presents” many people were surprised that I could write in Chinese ha-ha. My host mother got me the most beautiful bracelet from Swarovski and my second host mom got me a beautiful necklace. My host brother and cousin got me a music box and my little sister a cute teddy bear. It was my most happy day in Taiwan. I had a dinner with a lot of my friends and brothers friends at a hotpot place and was very very very happy.

On the last day of school in June my classmates threw me a surprise goodbye party and I went to the city Hsinchu with my best friend Maggie. I was extremely happy. And I miss my best friend very much. But we call and text every day. We even got best friend matching rings that say forever friends on the outside and Kelsey & Maggie on the inside.

In July I was leaving. And for the last 10 days I stayed with my third host family. They were so kind and took me to night markets and got me a traditional Hakka parasol and a beautiful lantern. I spent my last days with my family and my best friend. For my last dinner we all went out to an American restaurant. we then after went to the night market for the last time. And that night my best friend and I packed about 3 times before we got my luggage perfect….she’s not the best packer ha-ha. It was very sad at the airport but my family was there and so was my best friend and we had bubble milk tea. I will never forget my life in Taiwan. And I promise to go back as soon as possible to visit.

Thank you for giving me more loved ones rotary. They are not my “Host” family they are my family.


Things that weren’t left behind in Taiwan:

1.) Throwing my toilet paper in trash can….my dad’s not too happy with that habit I got from Taiwan

2.) My love of bubble milk tea

3.) My best friends best friendness. We are still best friends even if we are on opposite sides of the earth.

4.) My knowledge of the trains and busses and all of Taiwan

5.) My awesome Taiwan clothes and jewelry

6.) My Chinese skills =]

7.) My hatred for vegetables and healthy food

8.) My love for Taiwanese soap operas

9.) Wearing masks when sick

10.) Wanting to eat with chop sticks

11.) Wanting to take my shoes off outside

12.) Saying “wei” whenever I answer the phone

13.) Saying “niga” which means UMMM whenever u don’t know what to say.

14.) My HATE of pop-a-squats!!!!

15.) MY LOVE FOR TAIWAN!