Paula, Outbound to Taiwan

Hello, these 2 months have been very wild. When I came to Taiwan I wanted my exchange to be upwards and never downwards but just when I thought I had become stable in Taiwan my backpack got stolen. To me it was like someone just took my soul because that backpack had my two phones, my credit card, my resident card, my student card ,my easy card (that is used for the MRT) my keys and some of my Rotary money. I was kind of sad because now I have to re-make all this paperwork to get new cards, need to buy a new phone and kind of build a new foundation over the destroyed one that was pretty much shattered.

The months have also been very busy. Rotary pretty much takes all my energy out of me. There are endless events, places to be, people to meet and volunteering to do. Literally Taiwan has been the first place where I needed a calendar. When there is a new event I always remember how in Florida the Rotarians told me to never say no to any event, and I never say no unless I have school or if I am sick (which I have been 3 times sick and it sucks). That tip has literally made me so much more outgoing and made me experience things that I would have never said yes to in America just because I was lazy or because there was a new video game I wanted to finish.

In December there was a talent show that had to include something in Chinese. I made a song. Obviously I can't sing but I don't have any talent so...yeah. It went well, didn't win but I became more brave so that for me counts as a win. There was also another talent show but this time in my school. The other exchange students in the school and I decided to sing and dance Chinese Christmas songs. We made a nice choreography and on the day that we had to do the show one of the exchange students was unable to come. It was very suspicious because the reason that he gave was not believable. I totally knew that he wouldn't come because he did not practice at all and did not know the songs. So I started to make the arrangements to make the dance and the songs without his presence work with the students that where there just before the show. Somehow it worked and we did an awesome job without him. The teacher was kind of impressed because instead of giving up and not going we managed to use quick thinking and work with the problems.

Christmas was weird. Here people don't celebrate it. The shops have Christmas gifts and decorations but only the young give presents to other people. Most of the older people don't bother. I totally did not mind not having Christmas but the other exchange students were frustrated because the wanted a free day on Christmas and to not go to school. My perspective over all of this was that this is a different culture and we have to adapt to it instead of change it into ours. Our goal as exchange students is to blend and become like the Taiwanese people and not to expect special treatment because we are not from here. The exchange students pressured so much the Rotarians that they made a little party for us. At the party the exchange students weren't happy because they said it was not a party kept complaining. I saw that there was free food so I was happy. The Rotarians made us sing a song and after that everyone left.

I changed to my second house recently and I am enjoying it. They are nice and they help me with my Chinese so far. They play video games with me and they have taken me to eat outside very good meat and I love meat. I hope we get along well. They have a cat named Hanbao (hamburger) he is pretty cute but badly behaved.

The Chinese new year was very fun and interesting. I saw how the Taipei 101 threw a bunch of fireworks and had a countdown of the time. I was with my new family, some exchange students and some family friends on my new house enjoying the fireworks on the roof and eating hotpot. 2018 has started and I will try to make the best of it.

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