Will, Outbound to Taiwan

Has it been 6 months already? I’m losing track of time here. I don’t even know where to begin, probably should begin with saying sorry to RYE Florida for forgetting to update my blog for 5 months.

There has been so much that has happened in my time here that I definitely don’t have the room in this bio to say everything. In my time in Taiwan, I have seen things and met people, the likes of which I would never have imagined before. I am currently more than half way through my stay with my second host family, which has given me many opportunities to learn more about the culture of Taiwan.

Probably one of my biggest challenges when I arrived in Taiwan was the food. I don’t know if I just have a weaker stomach than most but for a while some of the foods here legitimately terrified me. Bird’s spit soup, chicken hearts, chicken head, duck tongue, and a plethora of bizarre looking fruits and vegetables haunted my dreams. Now though, I seem to have gotten used to it, eating duck blood without flinching, that is one area where I know I have improved since coming to Taiwan.

Another area where I have improved is my Chinese. While I still have a long way to go with the language, I am able to converse with my family and classmates, albeit with a little bit of help from Google. My Chinese has been especially improving over the winter break, which just ended. Winter break in Taiwan stretches from the middle of January to the middle of February, and encompasses all the festivities for Chinese New Year. Over the break I spent a lot more time with my host family, and talking with them of course always improves my abilities.

Chinese New Year was a blast. Going with my family to buy ingredients for dinner at a market for New Years Eve dinner, an amusement park in Taizhong, trying to communicate with Taiwanese (very different from Chinese), and many more things. I think one of the things I will remember most vividly though is the ceremony at midnight in XingTian temple, watching the front door of the temple open (a very big deal), crowded in with hundreds of people to this small temple. Back to back, and the air is completely silent, in the middle of Taipei. The next day saw me going with my family to a huge temple in my host dad’s home town, with even more people, and watching a procession between temples, which was crazy.

School has started back up again, so I’m back on the grind, but it’s good to see my classmates again. While I am starting to go back to how things were before the new year, things are still changing every day. I just learned earlier today that I will be participating in a traditional lion dance next month, and I have four practices to learn how to do that, so that should be interesting.

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