Sunday, February 26, 2012

(A building just a metro ride away from my place - a lot of the buildings here light up. It's a lot like Disneyland)

So now that it's been almost a year - let me catch you up.

I am currently in Taiwan, yes, studying dance. I am attending the university my Mentor and Professor attended. She asked Karyn and I to be the first ones to go. We are the guinea pigs, and this is how this trial run is going.

After a very long plane ride, with a stop in Hong Kong, I arrived in Taiwan. When the plane flew below the cloud cover, I could hardly believe my eyes. It was like I was flying into the jungle - No joke, with colorful, crumbling buildings all around. It was beautiful, just not what I was expecting. I think I thought this would be like Hong Kong, very industrial and flashy.
I figured that this must just be the rural area where the airport was located. Once in the terminal, I noticed the very strong scent that is Taiwan. It's musty and wet, and reminds me of mushrooms and foliage - it was so strong and prominent. I immediately loved it.

(Karyn expressing joy in front of a tree at the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial - A huge happy hello!!!)

There was this Japanese girl on the flight who gave me an evian water because her sister was one of the flight attendants and she thought I was a cute little american. So I drank it to be polite, but I had already gone through so much liquid prior to this that I was in desperate need of a bathroom. However, when I found the bathroom in the terminal, I was a at a loss, and there was a line forming behind me. The picture and the video more accurately describe my reaction.

Unfortunately - I can't embed the video, but you know how it goes. I was awkwardly letting people go in front of me, and hesitating. Finally the one stall with a normal toilet opened up, and I found relief. It wasn't until I got onto campus that Karyn taught me how to use these toilets. Now it's totally normal and I don't feel strange about it at all.

The city is so incredible. It's so rustic, while being metropolitan. I have hardly seen anyone that isn't Asian, and it's so cramped and chaotic. I absolutely love it! The buildings are old, colorful and falling apart. What I would consider the ghetto in America is the heart of this big city - but I feel so safe and these crumbled buildings are beautiful to me.

Campus is GORGEOUS! And it is so nice to be at a University solely dedicated to the arts. There are murals, statues, fountains all over campus, all the students dress like rock stars (but that is how most of the citizens of Taipei dress), and we all have this common ground called the arts.

The food is out of this world. Although I think I am going to get so fat, because they fry everything, use copious amounts of oil and all the food is fatty. Already I am becoming best friends with gym. Oh and not to mention that all the dancers look as skinny as professional ballerinas(Most of them are that good too). Asian metabolisms. No wonder they can eat like that. However I am keeping a food diary - or more like a photo diary to record all the delicious good eats here. The food is so cheap - the below is a handmade waffle cone with fruit and ice cream. I thought it was going to be the size of a small cone. Oh was half the size of me, and it was a little over $2.00 in USD. Karyn and I have to eat out every meal since we are living in a dormitory, and we can get a huge meal, typically for about $1.50 (Large bowls of dumpling ramen....mmmmm!). The below are some of the delicious things Karyn and I have eaten so far.

The Ice Cream

Chocolate Cake


Ramen - Best ever!

Strawberries with sweetened condensed milk -my favorite dessert right now

Baozi - (Pronounced bowdza) Steamed bun with meat inside. It's what they eat for breakfast over here, and it is my favorite!!!

So here is the day I left Cedar City - Some of the dancers brought me an ice cream cake as a goodbye!

Miss my Gracie and Park!!!

I spent the night in Las Vegas, and the next day when I checked in at the airport really early for my flight, my dad surprised me by flying into the Las Vegas airport and we had Valentines Day Dinner together, before I left for Taiwan. Best Valentines Day Ever!!!!

So long story short - I love Taiwan! It's so fun and interesting, exciting and energetic. The language barriers haven't been a huge problem, just frustrating. Most everyone can speak a little english, and often they're really good. I just really wish I knew Mandarin. But in all - Taiwan is wonderful!