Sunday, August 7, 2011

Day Forty.

Forty days have passed now and I am beginning to settle back into things. I started back at work on Monday, and it definitely was a welcome change from sitting around at home and wishing. I have a new roommate to spend time with at home, and things are going well. Forty days at home seems simultaneously like forever and no time at all. So much had happened after forty days in Taiwan and it felt like such a long time. Everyone I see at work now asks me about it. It is always the same two questions, and I always give the same two answers. "How was it?" Beyond anything I ever could have imagined. "Would you do it again?" I'd leave tomorrow if I could.

It feels strange to try and look back on the person I was before I left. While outwardly I appeared to have it all together I was such a mess inside. So much, in fact, that I even did a good job of masking that from myself. I learned a very important lesson: It's not about forgiveness, or giving someone a second chance. It's about letting it go, and continuing on to make something better. Taiwan has give me so much that I feel I didn't give it back enough. Taiwan returned my father to me, my family--it gave me a happiness like I have never felt and erased the heaviness I have been carrying in my heart for so many years. It gave me love, friendship, and hope. Taiwan gave me life. Now I'm going to live it, regardless of where I lay my head at night.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Day Eighteen.

It's been eighteen days since I left Taiwan...and I must admit I feel like I left a part of myself behind--my heart. I know there are people who would tell me I am lucky to live where I live, but then again, the grass is always greener on the other side.

I won't say the transition has been easy because it hasn't. It has, however, taught me a few more lessons about myself. When I arrived home, I felt very much alone, however when I left a few days later to visit my family, being around people bothered me. I returned to my apartment a week and a half later, a little better, but the silence was deafening--again, I felt alone. The people I loved and missed were halfway around the world and I had very little access to equipment at the time to be able to contact them. Thank goodness for 3G on my Kindle and the emails I received that made everything all better. The silence may be burdensome and the bustle of people too loud, but the lack of people makes you appreciate them just as the presence of the people makes you appreciate the silence. All is One.

Every day things get better, easier to handle. I still feel like something's missing, but here I have things that I did not have there. I have my family, my job, my schooling. That something, I fear, will always be missing, but hopefully I can find things around me here that make me just as content. Of course, as soon as I do, my two years here will be up and I must leave yet again. Life never stops to wait.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day One Hundred Thirty-Two.

My last Thursday.

These last few days have been a little uneventful. I don't know what to do now that I only have a few days left. I spent the day sleeping and watching TV--it is too hot outside to do anything! Still, I'd rather sweat here than cry back in the States.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day One Hundred Thirty-One.

My last Wednesday.

I played ninja with the men's dorm leader today; he may have won the round, but I ultimately won the game.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day One Hundred Thirty.

My last Tuesday.

Goodbye girls. Thank you for all of the shopping and the goodbye birthday cards and gifts. I will never forget you.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Day One Hundred Twenty-Nine.

My best friend at home broke his ankle. I wish it didn't take something this extreme to make me want to go back to the states, just for a little while.

Today I learned a very valuable lesson about patience and decision making. While I may not yet be completely comfortable putting it into practice, I will try my best. All we can do is give our best.

More shocking news to make the agenda tonight: Liferan is getting married! Best wishes to my friend and his soon to be bride.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day One Hundred Twenty-Eight.

This is probably my last night with internet as well as my last night with a roommate. On the plus side, I feel like I have a stress fracture in my left foot and each day I have to climb the stairs to come home or leave, it feels fantastic. Oh wait, that's not a plus side. Somehow, I feel I would rather feel the physical pain than step on the airplane next week. Unfortunately, I have to do both.

I applied for a new job last night. Cross your digits.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day One Hundred Twenty-Seven.

It looks like I have the privilege of living in my dorm room alone for a week...with no internet.

Sounds like a party.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day One Hundred Twenty-Six.

My roommates packed up almost everything in the room today. The desks look so barren and the beds are empty; things are packed into large bags, ready to leave. I am somewhat doing the same, preparing my things to move downstairs for my remaining days. I have a good start now, just clothes and electronics outside the bags, save for my day to day toiletries which I can carry downstairs separately.

I'm not ready for this...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day One Hundred Twenty-Five.

I've been busy preparing to move to the new room. I guess it shouldn't be that difficult since I never really unpacked, but I have to figure out what I'm keeping and what to give away or throw away, etc...

I don't want to go home.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day One Hundred Twenty-Four.

I can't describe the feeling that rockets through my body when I'm standing somewhere far above a city and looking down upon its twinkling lights. No sounds but the sweet chirping of crickets accompanies my thoughts high on this rooftop overlooking the city that has taught me so much. Taipei, the city that has given me everything I've ever wanted and so much more.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day One Hundred Twenty-Three.

I feel at peace with myself and with the world.

Only twelve days remain.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day One Hundred Twenty-Two.

Today was a day of wasted time, cleaning out memories and letting go of all that once haunted my waking existence.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Day One Hundred Twenty-One.

Today I dipped my feet into a stream and found it to be almost boiling hot. To put things a little more into perspective, the temperature outside was in the mid-nineties and I was looking for a refreshing dip in the cool waters to make the heat a little more bearable. Thus you can imagine my surprise. The sensation is quite similar to picking up a nice transparent beverage that you expect to be water and drink up, to find that it's really Sprite. First reaction: Repulsion. Followed then on by realization, adaptation, and then, hopefully, pleasure. I was no exception to this chain of thought.

I'm home from travelling many days sooner than what I would like to be, but unfortunately, life cannot be one long series of consecutive weekends without the in-between. Thirteen days remain.

Families enjoying the hot spring stream.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

Day One Hundred Nineteen.

I am leaving for my law final soon. It is the last thing I have to do for school here at Ming Chuan University. Regardless of how I could spend these last few moments reflecting on my time here, my mind is instead thinking ahead to where I will be this evening.

Destination: Unknown.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day One Hundred Eighteen.

I've spend the last two hours peering over my law professor's class notes, attempting to study. No matter how interesting I find this information, 72 pages is a little much right now when my mind is exploring the possibilities of tomorrow after the exam.

I'm almost finished.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day One Hundred Seventeen.

Seventeen days remain.

I feel strange as I see the people I've known for so long beginning to pack up and return to their homes. Somehow I feel like I'm staying...I guess in a way I am. It's all about perspective.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day One Hundred Sixteen.

Dukkha muccantu.
May all be free from suffering.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Day One Hundred Fourteen.

I played host for a beach trip today--the first years are here from WVU. It was the first time I was surrounded by only Americans since I left the states and I couldn't handle it. Things are too different now. I feel sick at the thought of immersion into that culture, surrounded, inevitably, by those same people. I'm afraid.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Day One Hundred Thirteen.

I have drawn for so many hours, my hand has begun to shake
and holding my Sharpie steady is nigh impossible. The result is worth it.

Day One Hundred Twelve.

I just woke up today, and I feel very strange. A combination of the knowledge I am going home soon, my dreams last night, and the person who usually comforts me not physically being here has left me with this 很奇怪的感覺. It's a very odd feeling to simultaneously want to stay in a place, and return home; if I think it through, I can name every single thing from each location that I miss now and will miss when I am gone. Unfortunately, combining the two is impossible. My life is set on a very particular path, crazy and winding. If someone had described this path and this self to me as a sort of "lingering after effect" per say of this trip, I would have laughed in their face. I think, because of these changes and this path however, I am ready to go home. I have achieved more here than I ever expected, reaching above and beyond the goals I set for myself prior to departure. With the way things are going recently, who knows what else I will accomplish in the 22 days that remain. I have started looking back at the days already expired and counting down to Day One. The corresponding day for today (22) is quite uneventful, however I remember exactly what I was feeling on this day and why I wrote it. Quite frankly, looking back on it all, I was so childish to consider what happened to cause this "worst day ever" a tragedy. As proof, I don't even talk to any of those people regularly anymore and I was letting them control my moods and my thoughts on the day. I wouldn't change it though...even if I had the chance to tell myself not to waste my time, I'd just sit back and watch myself blunder through the dark and laugh every time I stubbed my toe.

You run the gauntlet and come out beaten, bloody, and stronger on the other side.

Today is my last class ever here, a makeup from last week's Law class. All that is left is for me to take the finals for Law and Marketing and I will be finished.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Day One Hundred Nine.

My days and nights are spent slaving over this Law Thesis. It looks like there's a light at the end of this sewer tunnel however: it will most likely be over tomorrow. Then all I have left is class on Friday AND Saturday, before going to the beach in DanShui on Sunday with the WVU summer exchange first year students. Marketing Final approaching on the 8th....and I have no idea when our Law final is. Everything truly is coming to a close. Today was the last day of my Chinese class and Liferan leaves tomorrow afternoon for home.

All I can think about is how I don't want this to end, but simultaneously I want it to so I can finish what I need to do and return here. Such a bittersweet ending...

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Day One Hundred Eight.

It's truly great to have friends that are willing to help you when you're in a bind. Friends who can be on the other side of the world and will stay up all night helping you research and write a paper for class that is due soon. Friends who will give you the pizza they just got because you were leaving to purchase instant noodles because you need to study and don't have time to get real food. Friends who will let you nap in their apartment when you're too tired to walk up a trillion stairs to get home in the middle of the day. The list goes on...

Tomorrow is one of my good friends' last day in Taiwan. I'm going to miss you so much Liferan! Don't worry, I'll see you again.

Tomorrow is my last day of Chinese's so strange to think it really is all coming to an end here.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Day One Hundred Seven.

When I need you most, you're never there. By definition, you're supposed to support me and encourage me to do whatever I want with my life. You're supposed to smile at me even when I make mistakes and let me learn. I want to have a relationship with you, but you're making it nearly impossible. Every time I open up, you simply add more poison to my happiness; you rub sand in my wounds when you're supposed to bandage them.

All along I thought it was me who needed to grow up and realize things, but truly, it's you. When you're ready, I'll be waiting. Until then, I'll be living my life--I don't need you to encourage me. I know what I can do...pretty words are just words in the end.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day One Hundred Five.

Went to 101 last night just to hang out. I can't believe Liferan is leaving in a few days...or that I only have two days left of Chinese class. Finals week is looming...I can't believe school is almost over. I guess the difference from this and a faerytale is that, when I go home, I'm at least taking some part of it with me. Although, I do dread the feeling of waking up when I land in Pittsburgh.

One month remains.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Day One Hundred Four.

I spent all day working on this stupid law thesis, and already my footnotes outnumber the actual paper. It is due next Friday and I can already tell I am going to have to write much more than my share.

le sigh.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day One Hundred Three.

The scales are tipping; I'm off balance. I feel like I'm gasping for air, and all that fills my lungs is water.

Holding on...tomorrow is a new day.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day One Hundred Two

I was up late working on my final presentation for Chinese class and forgot to post.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Day One Hundred One.

This is my last week of Chinese class and I have to make my final presentation this Friday, ergo I'm working on my presentation for that. Furthermore, I am an incredible procrastinator and have yet to begin writing my Law Thesis for trade regulations class...and that is due on the third of June, just a little over a week away. Yet again, it seems it is crunch time. Time to buckle down and get to work.

My Chinese class traveled to Jiu Fen today, just to peek around and try new things. The market there was beautiful! I will post photos later.

Monday, May 23, 2011


I have to rest. I will edit this post to say all of the things that are on my mind tomorrow when I have more time. Don't'll be special.

On a brighter note, vacation is fun, but it's nice to be back in Taipei with my friends and loved ones. Oh how I missed you all!

Day Ninety-Nine.

I think it goes without saying that, if I haven't really been in the sun for a year and I go to the beach for a day, that I look very similar to a lobster right now. At least I'll be tanned in a few days...very tan. owieeeee...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day Ninety-Eight.

There's something about the ocean and seeing the stars mapped out above it that makes one feel incredibly small. With no lights, and no people, the world feels so large it could reach out and swallow you whole and no one would ever notice. Standing on the edge and letting the tide wash in around my feet, hearing no sound but the waves, it is so easy to fall into meditation. Breathing with the push and pull of the water, the rushing sound falls away. I don't know how long I stood there, but I had sank pretty deeply into the sand. Such a beautiful feeling, to have an awareness of the world going on around you, the earth doing it's own thing--so alive. I felt simultaneously a part of it and disconnected from it all.

all is one. one is none. none is all.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Day Ninety-Seven.

We arrived in Kenting around five today, but it's raining. Regardless, the beach is still beautiful, and the ocean fantastic. Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow! Ian wants to run the 13 Km to a different beach in the evening...and I think I'm going to give it a go with him. Everyone else is taking scooters there, but I think I want to make the run. Wish me luck!

Aku kangen dia.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day Ninety-Six.

I experienced a few things today I never expected to experience in my life. Even now I feel strange, marked by the experience, but I definitely learned something about myself. It's a good strange...I enjoy the alien feeling of it, of the new experience.

I leave for Kenting tomorrow right after class. I don't know if I will be able to post while I am there or not, so please excuse the possible absence.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Day Ninety-Five.

Nina bo bo...oh, nina bo bo...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day Ninety-Four.

[This is real life.]

Lately, I have lost the need to spend time writing down what I did during the day, and instead I feel the need to use that time living. My remaining time here is short, but my supply of words is shorter. In one way, I want to go as quickly as I can, so that I may return sooner. In another way, I want to live in these moments for as long as I can make them last because I'm afraid something will happen and cause me to lose this forever.

It's invigorating to finally live my life the way I want, instead of making decisions based on what others will think. I'm doing this for myself because it makes me happy. I know during these last ten days or so I have caused many people to be upset with me, but for the first time in my life I don't care. Letting go of the weight I had been dragging around has given me such a vast inner peace with myself. I have faced many of my fears and dealt with them. I am new. I am whole. I am alive.

When my friend Jess told me about reverse culture shock, I shrugged it off as no big deal. Now just imaging myself at my apartment in Morgantown, or at work, makes me feel like a fish out of water. However, it must be done. I will adapt. I will survive. I will patiently and diligently bide my time until I can return to where my soul feels at home.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Day Ninety-Three.

The sky is still weeping for a reason I do not know, weeping giant tears that spash in puddles and catch a ride on pant legs as people go on living their lives. The sky is gray and bleak, unrelenting, refusing to open up and share its secret.

Sometimes I wish the sky could speak, to tell me why it cries.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day Ninety-Two.

Something about the rain, and today, that brings things a full circle for me. This is the first time in quite a while that I have been unhappy about something. Something isn't right. I just can't figure out what it is.

I'm homesick again.


The world has been righted once again. My little slice of home has returned to me.

Fear not, for I am with you always...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Day Ninety-One.

Blogger messed up and deleted my posts...I don't know how to get them back. So lame.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Day Ninety.

Blogger crashed and deleted this post.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Day Eighty-Nine.

And through it all, there is a balance of good and bad. If there were not two sides of the coin, the coin could not exist in this world. Ignoring the other side is ignorance; it will be your downfall. Acknowledging it, preparing for it, and being fully grateful for the side that you have chosen will lead you to happiness.

Yin and Yang.
Black and White.

We all live on.

I promise I'll never let you down.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Day Eighty-Eight.

For every door that closes shut, another opens ahead.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Day Eighty-Seven.

I cannot explain in words how clear it all is.

This is it. This is what I've been waiting for.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Day Eighty-Six.

I had it all wrong.

It was never about the music.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Day Eighty-Five.

I'd like to start this post with "don't freak out" and "everything is fine" for those of you (Mother) who have already spotted the photograph at the end of this post and are currently hyperventilating your way into a rage of worry. I repeat: Everything is fine.

Today, I was once again blessed with the evidence of how wonderful my life truly is. I have the most amazing friends in the entire universe. I am incredibly lucky to have met these people. People who will drop whatever they are doing and help you find a hospital when all the nearby clinics are closed for holiday. People who will smile at you and rub your back, let you rest your head on their shoulder and just breathe to stay calm. People who will schedule your second appointment for you, and vow to bring you back until you're better. People who will take you by surprise. People who will wait outside the hospital for you to be released and make sure everything is okay. People who care. People who make you eat your porridge, and will even taste-test it for you to show you it's okay to eat. People who remind you to take your medicine. People who teach to you play cards as they wait and watch over you to make sure the medicine isn't having strange side-effects. People who walk you home after dark to be sure you make it home safely and have the strength to climb all three hundred stairs.

I love those people more then they can ever know. Those people are my friends.

Thank you, Tommy, Julianna, and Liferan.

Everything is nothing; nothing is everything.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Day Eighty-Four.

Parents were never a problem for me in the US; after my first encounter with a set of parents that didn't like me, I set about learning what makes parents happy, both for my own mother's benefit as well as a person benefit of having my friend's parents like me as well. For the past four years I haven't had a problem relating to my friend's parents; I can carry on a conversation and actually become very good friends with them. I love adults because of the amount of wisdom they possess, and love hearing their stories of how they grew up and earned their current status. In short: Parents are my thing. It seems, however, that I've finally met my match, and not in a positive way. Without ever knowing anything of me other than my nationality and my name, I have been blacklisted. She even went so far as to not answer her son's phone calls after mentioning me. The irony is that I have a great deal of respect for this woman, even after this "shenanigan" due to what she has experienced and done for her family. Even funnier is that she's probably right. So, in less time than it has taken for a scratch to heal on my hand, a friendship has blossomed and gone. How can you miss someone you don't even know? I guess the same way that watching the stranger who sat next to me on the late-night MRT disembark makes tears come to my eyes because I know I'll never see them again. My heart has connected itself straight into the soul of Taiwan and the thought of letting go scares me. I have less than fifty days left here, and I can't imagine myself anywhere else in the world. Graduate, then return you say? So easy, but not a complete solution to the problem. When I leave here on the 27th of June, it will be the last time I see all of these people together in one place. I may never see some of them again in my life. When I return--I know I will--It won't be quite the same. My friends and loved ones that make this place even more special will be gone, all returned to their homes around the world.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Day Eighty-Three.

This fevered madness has me imagining things that could never come to be, either that or this shortened proximity had driven me insane. I sleep, I dream, I wake, I dream, I sleep.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Day Eighty-Two.

I guess this is where things start to get interesting.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Day Eighty-One.

At last my Marketing presentation is over. I finally caught up on Chinese homework from this past weekend. I ran 2K, barefoot in the rain, in less than 7 minutes. I'm making new friends, and keeping the old.

Life is good.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Day Eighty!

If, at first, you don't succeed. Try. Then Try again.

I made a new friend tonight at the school football matches; I guess that's one of the perks of not being afraid to speak to strangers. It's so strange to think of who I was spending time with when I first arrived and how that group of people is so incredibly different from the one I have now...and how different that group will be when I leave...I hope the group is only larger and not lacking of any of the beautiful souls that I have met on this journey.

55 Days to home, and I want to walk backwards in time.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sunday, May 1, 2011




Saturday, April 30, 2011

Day Seventy-Seven

I stayed up all night...I guess not having to go to sleep caused me to not remember to blog. >.<

Friday, April 29, 2011

Day Seventy-Six.

I've heard that you need to lose a few battles before you can win. This strategy isn't faring so well for me.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Day Seventy-Five.

Walking home tonight, a leaf flew out of a tree and landed on my head. It made me giggle--it was such a big leaf. I plucked it from my hair and walked with it for a bit, just looking at it and feeling its soft fuzzy underside and the veins in the top. I held it up to let a street light shine through and smiled at the beautiful pattern that traced its way throughout. I was in the right place at the right time for the leaf to find a new perch upon my head. At least I know I have one thing right.

Something clicked for me today. I don't know who flipped the switch, nor how, but at last, I found myself speaking Chinese without thinking about it. Everything makes sense now. Reading can still have its difficulties, and my writing is definitely improving, but, at last...I have my voice. Look out, Taiwan; I'm going to use it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Day Seventy-Four.

Some walk, others run. I'm breaking down my walls and I refuse to settle for less than what I can achieve. I will run until I can't take another step--it's one of the few things that remains to feel correct in my life. Tonight, however, proved that I could run forever if I were to try. Twenty laps at a steady jog, sprinting two, then walking three only to jog two more, and walk the last three laps. Thirty laps total. If my calculations are correct and each lap is 200 meters, I ran a total of six kilometers tonight; for those of you at home that's just shy of four miles. Now it's time to rest up and see how far I can go on Sunday. I refuse to let Ian get the best of me this time.

I. Will. Not. Stop.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day Seventy-Three.

And when all material things seemed to no longer matter, I have been brought back to Earth like dove falling from the sky, having taken a shot through the heart. A pattern of bruises have formed on my left arm, all below the elbow. They begin as small knots I find under the skin, and when I rub them out, they blossom into dark contusions that leave me without answers. I'm worried. When, at last, it seems my body is fit and able to run for a seemingly endless period of time, my muscles are tight and my body seems healthy, why this? What infirmity plagues me now? I am tired of these games that never lead to higher understanding before they simply disappear as if they never were. All I can do is hope and pray this isn't the one that brings me down.

Jesus, please heal me once again.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Day Seventy-Two.

I'm afraid today's post will be a little inconsequential compared to yesterday's. Nothing out of the ordinary occurred. Oatmeal breakfast, cafeteria lunch, steak dinner. What was I expecting? To wake up in an entirely new world? Maybe. Did I? Yes and no. It is the same world that I have always been living in with the same possibilities and opportunities, however now that my caerulean eyes have been opened, the world sparkles with new life and colour. Every day is a new day to start fresh and explore; every mountain that I tumbled down previously is ready to be climbed. I may not have walked on the moon, but I can certainly try.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Day Seventy-One.

"The great source of both the misery and disorders of human life, seems to arise from over-rating the difference between one permanent situation and another. Avarice over-rates the difference between poverty and riches: ambition, that between a private and a public station: vain-glory, that between obscurity and extensive reputation. The person under the influence of any of those extravagant passions, is not only miserable in his actual situation, but is often disposed to disturb the peace of society, in order to arrive at that which he so foolishly admires. The slightest observation, however, might satisfy him, that, in all the ordinary situations of human life, a well-disposed mind may be equally calm, equally cheerful, and equally contented. Some of those situations may, no doubt, deserve to be preferred to others: but none of them can deserve to be pursued with that passionate ardour which drives us to violate the rules either of prudence or of justice; or to corrupt the future tranquillity of our minds, either by shame from the remembrance of our own folly, or by remorse from the horror of our own injustice." -Adam Smith

I can not articulate how much this experience has changed my life. Today is day seventy-one, but I feel much more than only seventy-one days the wiser. My mind has expanded with the possibilities, both real and synthetic, of happiness, hope, and plans for the future. I am humbled by the sheer greatness of life itself, and am growing ever more conscious of how I choose to live it. This is more than just an opportunity; this opportunity changes everything I have ever known about life and humanity. Growing up on a farm in rural West Virginia did not exactly expose me to a variety of cultures, but it prepared me for life in other ways. I have a deep love for nature, family, and friendship. My mother taught me to respect my elders and give credit where it is due; my teachers worked over hours to explain topics that interested me. My friends were kind and selfless and taught me lessons that neither my mother or teachers could. Every lesson was valuable in itself, but nothing, it seems, prepared me for this literal tearing down and rebuilding of my 'self'. This then raises the question: If my 'self' is new, a different 'self', then who is the old 'self'? Can we each be simultaneously one and multiple selves? If not, then what have you to do with the memories, thoughts, and feelings of the old? If so, then what keeps us from reverting to our old selves, thus causing the paradox that we have not created a new self at all, but rather a new layer to our old selves like putting a new layer of paint on an old house. But truly, am I still the small child that sat in my father's hand as he lifted me into the air? Am I still the teenage girl who melted into the church pew at her best friend's funeral? Am I still the same naïve girl who stepped off of the airplane only seventy-one days ago? Or am I only those people in my memories? When I close my eyes to dream, how can I adequately re-experience my memories if I am observing them from a different angle and point of view?

What I do know is this: satori seems a little far off, but I have found my own epiphany on life and will continue to strive for understanding. I am here for one reason, and many reasons all at once. I have my own personal agenda and one that was handed to me the day I was born. I do not plan to forsake either in this journey. Life is beautiful. Thank you to everyone whom I have recently and not so recently met that have brought me to this point--my past teachers, and current muses alike. Adam Smith also stated that we should never complain of that which it is at all times in our power to change. Life is so much more amazing when you let go of the trivial things and just realize that, through second guessing every action one has ever made, one is constantly reliving the past instead of actively participating in creating the future. My time of walking backwards and seeing everything in retrospect is over.

Hello, beautiful World. Happy Easter.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day Seventy.

Some mysteries are better left unsolved.

I went to the movies today with Herb to see Source Code. Great movie. While there, I discovered something about Taiwanese "fast food" dining: most is not fast food. You get a legitimate meal on a plastic plate. I had chicken and vegetables on a nice rice pilaf today. It was delicious and a reasonable price. Upon further investigation, the only fast, fast food places I discovered were of US or European origin. Interesting....

Maïa's birthday party at MiCasa was awesome last night. It was my first time out to a club here and two of my friends were having their parties there at the same time. It was great to see my classmates in a new element and get to know them a little better as well as dance a little...or more than a little. The lady at the door looked at me a little oddly when I produced my US driver's license as proof of ID, but other than that, the night went flawlessly. Well...almost. Did I mention I left my cellphone in the taxi I took home? Don't worry, by some method I still have not discovered, my friend Jeannie now has possession of it. The idea of this still boggles my mind. Let me lay this out for you. MiCasa is 25 minutes away by taxi with some traffic or so, and there are thousands of taxis in Taiwan. Jeannie had not left the club yet when I arrived home. So the question still lingers of how did she find MY taxi and MY cellphone? I almost don't want to know, but I do. What happens if the truth isn't as miraculous as I've chalked it up to be? Maybe some mysteries are better left unsolved...

Tomorrow at 3:30, I am meeting some new friends to run in the park. I am definitely looking forward to new people and running buddies. Running alone here on the track gets boring and I don't keep as good of a pace as I should; I can't push myself without a pacer there to urge me on. I'm curious to see how well my training has prepared me to run with real runners--cross your digits that I don't die.

Bedtime. Peace out, cub scout.

[In real news, two great photographers were killed in an attack between the loyalists and rebels in Libya. One of the men recently produced the fantastic documentary "Restrepo." Their work was life-changing and they will be remembered.]

Friday, April 22, 2011

Day Sixty-Nine.

So many things.
And Right.
If you could only see me now.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I finished writing my report! 969 words!! I'm so happy!

I have started a bit of a routine in the mornings. I get up at the same time, I shower, get ready, leave, stop at 711 and buy the same thing for breakfast, go to class, get lunch after class with a friend, and return home every day around the same time. I like it.

After coming home today, I took a nap to catch up on the sleep I lost again last night (Darn Kitty!). Herb woke me with a text saying he was out of class and on campus, so we went to play some ping-pong and then he introduced me to tennis. In case anyone is wondering, I was not born for this sport, but by the end of the lesson, I could at least serve and volley with him for a while before I hit a terrible ball that went flying off to chill with Pluto. I mark that as a success. I really like it, to be honest, but it's going to take hard work and many hours of practicing--I think that's just what I need.

I treated Aileen to dinner tonight for being such an amazing help with writing my speech. Without her, I don't know what I would have done. I finished writing and editing by myself tonight and I believe it is ready to hand in tomorrow. I just need to print it out and I'm all set. That is one less thing I have to worry about. Next on the list: Marketing presentation on May 4th. Ew.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Day Sixty-Seven

The internet in the dormitory has been exceptionally flaky lately and I have not yet discovered the cause. I had class from 9-5 today and slept after since I didn't get much rest last night. I did actually get some work done tonight though; Aileen helped me with my speech. 800 characters about Alice in Wonderland? No problem.

Yesterday we played frisbee again and I met another American. They keep popping up! Where do they come from!?! Well, this one is from Alabama. Introducing, Herb. He seems like such a nice person; I am definitely looking forward to getting to know him.

Caleb was on the radio at 2Am last night...and of course, I had to stay up and listen. Their band is actually really good. If his appearance on TV and the radio two days in a row isn't enough to get him a new girlfriend soon, he's a lost cause. [That's right, Caleb. Now America knows too.]


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day Sixty-Six.

Internet went to crap tonight. I'll update later.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Day Sixty-Five.

Tonight was Linda's last night in Taiwan; tomorrow she returns to Bangkok for school. I am going to miss her so much! At least we made some great memories, and I know I will see her again. Fun photos to come soon of us together tonight--no worries.

I taught the girls how to play Frisbee tonight and it definitely was interesting. They picked it up so quickly that Caleb and I separated forces and we played Ultimate with them. Yvonne's extremely good at it--it's awesome. So for a last game, Caleb and I joined forces with Yvonne to take on the other 6 girls...and we won. Epic win with a long distance throw caught by yours truly. That's right, Taiwan; it doesn't get any better than this.

Tomorrow the magic ends and I have to come back to reality with school. This week is going to be a hard one with all of the work I need to do, but I am ready to take it on. At last I am clear of mind and ready to take on any task set before me. I am not here to do just enough to get by--I am here to give it my all and squeeze every ounce out of this experience. Let's do this.

But first, sleepy peepy time.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Day Sixty-Four.

Rainy, rainy day.
Baozi and salad dinner.

I have to say, though...God has blessed me with the best of friends, both here and at home. I don't know what I would do without my beloved Yvonne, Aileen, and Joanna here to cheer me up and remind me that I'm not alone. Thank you guys!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Day Sixty-Three.

Another outfit-coordinated dinner with my American friend. The people of Shilin aren't going to know what to do if they keep seeing two matching, tall blondes out and about. One is a phenomenon, but TWO? The outfits just make it even funnier.

Today, was terrible...except for the one hour of dinner, I want to erase it from my mind. *zoiiinnkkk* gone.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Day Sixty-Two.

[This was written last night, but apparently I was so asleep I didn't post it. Sorry, everyone!]

I released the URL to my new website today, if you haven't seen it please check it out here. It is flash based, so if you are running on a slow connection or are reading from an iPhone, you will not be able to access it. (Sorry, Mom!)

At last, it is Friday. Midterms are over. It's the weekend. For me, this is such bittersweet news. On Monday I wished for Saturday to arrive; now that it is here, I'm not as happy about it as I thought I would be. I have more homework than I thought, including the discovery of an assignment I've had since the beginning of the year for Chinese class. I have to prepare a 15 minute speech for next Friday's class on top of the usual homework. Also, the Marketing presentation is much, much closer and my group hasn't even started on it. I have a bad feeling I am going to prepare the entire thing and just tell everyone what to do. Last Friday my law professor gave us our thesis assignments and I have to prepare a 30 page, fully researched thesis paper within a few weeks. I feel like, all of a sudden, I am drowning in work again. I don't know how I am going to finish all of this. Jesus, help me.

In case anyone has been curious about an American's day-to-day clothes in Taiwan, a quick study today revealed that the normal American, male or female, tend to fall back on ripped denim jeans, a light gray v-neck t shirt, and aviator sunglasses. The footwear varies by gender or depending on the weather, either sandals or Chuck Taylors. No. I'm not kidding. I called Caleb today after class to tell him I was finished so we could meet and walk over to hot pot and meet everyone. He comes downstairs wearing exactly what I am: gray v-neck, ripped jeans, and aviators. Completely unplanned. Slightly awkward, but hilarious. We walked into hot pot looking like two tall, pale, blonde twins. Don't think for a moment that I didn't get so much crap from the girls for it later either. I have been brutally teased, so no worries. Hot pot was phenomenal, just as expected. I got to meet Linda, a cousin of one of the girls. PSA: She's awesome! I wish she studied here; I'm pretty sure we'd be best friends.

Frisbee was cancelled for the night, but I'm hoping to make up for it tomorrow night. I think I'm going to hit the books and try to get some of this work out of the way tomorrow. By evening I am definitely going to need a rest. Even now I am emotionally and physically exhausted.

Time to hit the hay.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Day Sixty-One.

I want to start by thanking Rob for reminding me to blog tonight. It's been a long day.

At last it seems the people in the area know me. I get smiles along with stares, "hello's," and waves. I even had a man whistle at me today to get my attention...and then he waved. Sorry Mr. Dumpling Cook, I didn't mean to forget to wave at you today! The weeks are flying by; I can't believe tomorrow is already Friday! I have a nice Hot Pot lunch planned with a group of friends to celebrate the end of midterms week, but really, I just wanted a reason to go to Hot Pot again. Who am I kidding? I don't have midterms.

I also created a new photography website today. It's flash-based just like the other. I even used the same basic template, but the two are very dissimilar. As in, this one rocks out loud. I need to refine my portfolio and switch out the stock photo gallery for my own and then I will launch the website and release the URL to the public. Please stay tuned!

Today wasn't particularly eventful...went to Shilin tonight with Jay and Andy for dinner and a little shopping. There seems to be an increasing number of foreigners inhabiting the area which sort of creeps me out. I've made it into a hobby to walk along with my friends and point them out while speaking Chinese. The locals love it and start laughing with us when they hear and see us 'also-foreigners' calling out the others. This was great until I ran into two guys from Cleveland, Ohio. I have nothing against Ohio--I was born there. I have a problem when the inhabitants of the state don't know of the existence of other well-known cities in their own state. They also asked me where I was from. Did I mention I was wearing WVU sweatpants? Yeah, the entire left leg is inscribed with "West Virginia" in Old Gold on Blue. Sorry pal, I'm from Texas. Not.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day Sixty! (Already?)

I can't believe it's already been sixty days! I feel somehow it has been simultaneously more and less than that amount. It is amazing how comfortable I feel here now; I feel like I am home. I have friends that I care about dearly, who make me laugh and I can call when I am sad. People on the streets recognize me now and say hello. When I think of the future now, I see myself here working, learning. I can't get enough.

I registered for classes yesterday at WVU. It is so difficult for me to think about not being here in the fall...I am most definitely going to try to return next summer for a while, and recently I have been thinking about graduate school here. The life is amazing! I have so many opportunities here. Let's see where I can go.

I awoke this morning to the sound of my cell phone was my classmate Koek. The time was 10:30 AM. I was late. Very late. I was, however, very comfy in my PJs in class after running from MCU main all the way to JiHe in less than 6 minutes. I'm not sure if my alarm didn't go off, or I simply slept through it, but let's just say I have three alarms set for tomorrow. Hello, 7:45AM. I will definitely be seeing you soon.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day Fifty-Nine.

I finally received the package my grammy sent a few weeks ago! I am very pleased to receive her letters and candy! It definitely brightened up my dreary afternoon. A random text message prompted me to take a spontaneous trip to Yang Ming Shan while in the middle of doing my homework--wonderful food, sights, and company. Now back to studying for my test tomorrow!!

I am so tired. Guh.

Also, registered for classes. I'll explain everything tomorrow.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Day Fifty-Eight

Sadly, the end of my relaxing weekend is drawing nigh. I've finished all of my homework except the work that is in the's a little difficult to do it when I don't have the book. At least I finished all of the vocabulary words, the essay, and the workbook--not too bad. I finished in time to go to hotpot tonight with Caleb and Peter. I'm pretty sure I'm going to explode--my head from the atrocious country songs Caleb decided to sing and my stomach from filling it with so much food.

I think I need to sleep now...I can't believe it's class time yet again. Let's hope Friends in Low Places doesn't haunt my dreams...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Day Fifty-Seven

[The first night I've been here that I missed a blog.]

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Day Fifty-Six.

It's interesting when your mind goes from missing home to thinking "foreigner" when you see someone that doesn't belong. I realized I had flipped this mental switch when riding in the car last night with Caleb, Canle, and Stanley and we pointed at the one Caucasian guy walking through the street. I wonder how many people see me and think the same--I'm going to prove them wrong.

It seems like so much has changed. At last, I've found myself.

To recap the last few days:

I finally got the change to get out and do things. Chinese class is under control, and I'm making so many new friends. I'm sorry again that my last few posts have been lack luster!

Tuesday- We went to the study hall after lunch and worked on homework; I finished my essay and my vocabulary words in around two hours. That is definitely a record time for me. Study hall = magical. I went back to the dorm and received an IM a little later about dinner, so I headed out again to eat noodles. They were delicious! We found some milk tea and went to sit under the MRT track on some rocks and talked half of the night about culture, life, language, and everything in between.

Wednesday- After class I had lunch with Joy, Jun, and Jay again, and following our routine from the previous night, bought some tea and went to the park to talk. It was a beautiful day and we all sat in the grass and just goofed off, taking silly photos and whatnot. Everyone had homework to do, so we went back to JiHe and found a classroom to work in and received night-altering news: The Manchester United vs. Chelsea Premier match was at 3AM that night. Making the decision to attend, we went to grab a quick dinner then everyone went home to try to rest.

Thursday- The game was amazing as you saw from my post. What was NOT amazing was being incessantly flirted with by a drunken Englishman for most of the game. A group of Europeans walked in and one of them saw me, pointed, and said, "HEEYYY!!!!!" I was thoroughly confused and thought maybe I had met him previously or something so I laughed and said hello. Worst mistake ever. He spent the rest of the night trying to buy me a drink and talking to me during the match. I wanted to punch him in the face so badly. When I finally made it VERY clear I had no interest in him, they left. Sheesh. The game ended with Man U up 1-0 and we caught a taxi home. I made it to bed by 5:20 or so and was back up at 7:45 to shower and go to class. Did my homework during the second hour of Chinese in around five minutes and handed it in (I told you I'm getting better! Got it back on Friday, 100% correct). I got lunch with Ilya since I hadn't spent time with him for such a long time and had a great time laughing over the silly things that have happened since the beginning of break. After arriving home, I had a nap and then grabbed dinner, milk tea, and MRT tracks to sit on the rocks and talk again. Needless to say, it was a very long day.

However, out of all of that, I still have to give first prize for Best Day to Friday. Let's hope I can keep having better and better days and continue to trump my "Best Day."

Friday, April 8, 2011

Day Fifty-Five.

At last, the weekend! Long day today with the usual 9-5 class time. I had lunch with Jay and Peter today and put on a bit of a show in the park near campus afterwards. It felt wonderful to sing praise and worship songs in English and Peter and Jay in Korean--definitely something to see and hear. After class I went for tacos (finally!) with some of my classmates then met up with Justin (henceforth Caleb) at the MRT station to spend the evening with him and two of the guys he teaches English to. We went to a spectacular restaurant where Caleb had worked previously and I ate once full! Canle and Stanley are amazing people! I definitely am looking forward to hanging out more, getting to know them, and practicing my Chinese.

I have a fair load of homework to attend to this weekend, but it shouldn't be too bad. Since I've been using Chinese more outside of the classroom, it is becoming much easier to speak, use, and understand. At last, I feel like I'm home.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Day Fifty-Four.

Game. Was. Amazing. I have to much to say, and no time. It's 3:40AM (Friday) and I need to sleep. I'll put everything in tomorrow's blog to make up for the lack of information over the past few days.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day Fifty-Three.

Going to bed. Meeting friends at 2AM to watch the Manchester United vs. Chelsea game at the Brass Monkey....tomorrow is going to be a very long day...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Day Fifty-Two.

Best night ever.





more food.




and origami.

I think I'm going be just fine.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Day Fifty-One.

It's amazing how one little slice of home can literally change everything. Until now, I've just been going through the motions, trying to get a grip; I hadn't found my niche. Tonight, after Pokémon and The Walking Dead I have to say, I'm starting to feel like I'm home. Taiwan has been here all along, waiting for me and at last I feel like I've taken root. Now all is left is to dig in and grow.

Justin, Fiona, Fantasia and I went to Ji He this evening, found an empty classroom, and watched Pokémon on the overhead. So awesome--I felt like a child again. After Pokémon, we decided to go for the full effect, and turned on The Living Dead. Lights out in an empty classroom, empty building, sitting on the edge of our seats, we peered though the slits of our fingers as they covered our faces in anxious horror then laughed as we jumped at the slightest thing. It was definitely a humorous sight, and a wonderful way to spend the evening. Thanks, guys.

I must confess, even now I am procrastinating. I have not yet started my Chinese homework for the weekend. I have ten words to define, and a 220 character essay to write on top of studying for my cumulative exam that will take place first thing Wednesday morning. It is my hope to get a rough draft of the essay finished tonight and have a friend look over it tomorrow and help me to fix it. However, as it is 2:40AM, I feel that hope fading in place of a more urgent hope: sleep. I must rise in the morning at 7:45 to shower, then I am meeting Jae for lunch. Who knows what the evening will hold? Let us hope it holds the completion of my homework and a good night's rest.

Farewell for now.

Day Fifty!

My apologies for lack of a grandiose entry. I decided to spend the day relaxing and did so without hesitation. I believe it is time again to sleep. Tomorrow the work begins.

During my leisure time, I found my deskspace to be depressing, ergo I decorated it with drawings of paper cranes and made a model to match. Yes, that is Shel Silverstein's "Where the Sidewalk Ends" scribbled in the corner. A nice touch if I may say so myself.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Day Forty-Nine.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, I didn't end up going to Yang Ming Mountain. Regardless, I had a pleasant evening being geeky and teaching Taiwanese people to speak hick with Justin. Nothing makes me laugh harder than "mayonaisse alotta people round these here parts" coming from my Taiwanese friend's mouth. Almost brings a tear to my eye...I'm not sure if that is from the ridiculously bad grammar or from the humor of it all. I'll let you pick.

Goodnight, World.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Day Forty-Eight.

Today, I said "howdy" for the first time in eons. I had lunch with two of my new friends, John and Jay, and ended up running into Justin (so many J's!), the full-time American guy from South Carolina. After a wonderfully eventful lunch at my favorite Thai restaurant near campus, the boys were nice enough to keep me company while I waited out the rest of the time before my two o'clock International Trade Regulations class. As you can see, we were a little bored and began taking random photos. Yes, that's a banana peel on John's head. Their dorm leader walked by and gave us each a "mountain" banana...I don't specifically recall the difference, but it was delicious. The peels also gave us 30 minutes of fun as well, but that's a different story. As usual, it ended up with lots of random photos, and John went home bleeding from the foot. Don't worry, Mom. It wasn't my fault.

At last, Spring Break is here. Four days to relax, hang out with friends, annnndddd study for my unit exam on Wednesday. I am meeting some friends at the entrance to MCU tomorrow at eleven so we may embark upon our epic journey to Yang Ming Mountain. I googled it--it's gorgeous. Let's hope I'll capture some nice images to post!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day Forty-Seven.

Today is a great day of discovery. I discovered a microwave on the 6th floor when I was doing laundry. There was also a toaster. I discovered the university sends me an email when I get mail in the post, then consequently discovered the mail room, and my giant package from BEST FRIEND EVER, Rob. I discovered my roommates are shy, but a taste of American candy is a good bribe for them to talk to me. I discovered the two quiet ones are actually really nice too. I discovered TWO of my three US television shows air on Wednesday night and are always waiting on me when I get home from class. I also discovered a direct correlation between not speaking to a certain person and the height of my mood--that is to say, I'm happier now that I've been since I arrived. Peace out, Cub Scout. Hello, Discovery.

Only one more day stands between me and Spring Break. I have found several more people who are staying in town and we're going to rock Taipei for the weekend while everyone else is out of town. I'm looking forward to getting out of my room for a day or two before turning my concentration back to the books. Let's cross our fingers for sunshine and cloudless skies.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day Forty-Six.

I think it is official: I am allergic to Taiwan.

There have only been a few days where I have felt my best here and today is definitely not one of them. I have a runny nose, sore throat, and the beginnings of a cough. On top of that, this week my wisdom teeth decided to all finish breaking through simultaneously. Needless to say, all I want to do is sleep.

I took my one and only midterm exam today. Overall, it went very well, however I forgot three of the acronyms (5 points each) and I am sure I messed up a few concepts. Still yet, it was far better than expected. I can handle a C on my midterm as long as my group does a good job on the project. I am sure I can do well on the final exam with more time to study.

My camera is lonely, gathering dust upon my shelf. It has been a very long time since I last took a photograph here and that saddens me. I want to travel more and get out, but this Chinese class is shackling me to my desk. Even over my small "Spring Break" this weekend I will be tied down studying due to the looming unit exam on the first day back in class. Sometimes I feel like a tired old mule, slaving away at my homework just to have it marked up in red, and tossed aside and the cycle begins again. I did take some leisure time today after my exam; I crawled into my bed with my Kindle and finished the novel I've been working on for quite some time. It is nice to have that familiar feeling of accomplishment at ticking another book off of the list. I will admit though, I am sad the story ended. I guess now the quest begins to pick the next candidate amongst the titles fighting and shuffling to be first in line...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day Forty-Five.

Today was exactly what I needed. Chinese class went very well; I can feel myself progressing at last. All that is left is to continue my current level of studying and catch up my writing ability. I really wish I would have taken the time over the past two years to learn to write--if I had, everything would be much less stressful. Outside was sunny and warm, just like I wished for, but I can't bring myself to even contemplate tomorrow's stormy weather. It's going to be a long Wednesday. I have class from 9AM until 1PM at JiHe, then my Marketing midterm exam at 2 to 4PM back on the main campus. I'm going to have to grab something quick to eat on my way to the exam, otherwise the only think I will be able to think about is food.

I received my passport back from the IC office today with my extended Visa. Looks like Taiwan thinks I'm okay to stay until the 12th of June. It seems a little silly that I have to renew it for only fifteen days, but I don't make the rules here. Aye, aye, Cap'n.

Played some football tonight on the field in front of the dorm with Koek, Sönke, a kid from Chinese class and his friend. We picked the one night of football club that was a real game, and therefore created our own mini field and game. It was actually quite a bit of fun, especially since I don't know when I'll get to play again with Spring Break coming up. After all, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day Forty-Four.

For tonight's homework soundtrack, I'm listening to what many people characterize as "emo music." So with a Silverstein playlist queued on YouTube, I'm putting pen to paper. I missed football tonight because I was in the library studying for my Marketing Midterm on Wednesday; I deem that a worthy cause to miss the one thing that I love more than anything else here. Here I am now, after my delightfully scalding-hot shower I am finishing up the last few sentences of this three day Chinese homework marathon.

I know it hasn't exactly been a secret that the past few days have been hard for me, but I am hoping that this week will be different. Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and warm, one day of relief before a week and a half of rain. Needless to say, I'm going to try to make the most of it.

Let's do this.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day Forty-Three.

There are:
91 days until my 20th birthday.
92 days until I leave Taiwan.
6 hours of homework remaining for tonight.
10 words that need defined and used in sentences.
57 unanswered questions.

But there is only one exhausted, ill, homesick me. Why doesn't this homework ever end?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day Forty-Two.

I'm pretty sure today couldn't get any worse.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day Forty-One.

You know your culture shock has worn off when there are octopus legs sticking out of your rice and you're okay with that.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day Forty...

...and it's raining again...and I saw the second side of my food.

我吃坏肚子了。我頭很疼。 我身體很不舒服。


Fun Fact: The word "forty" is the only number that has the linguistic property of its letters being arranged in alphabetical order.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day Thirty-Nine.

I want to start out by posting something I have been meaning to mention for a week now: Congratulations WVU for our first B&E ranking! [Read the full article here]
The WVU College of Business and Economics has been ranked in the Top 100 Best Undergraduate Business Schools of 2011 in the nation by Bloomberg Businessweek, and you're invited to celebrate!

Please join us for a reception in the 4th Floor Atrium in the College of B&E on Tuesday, March 15, at 1:30 p.m. We're ranked because of the hard work of our students, faculty and staff. So let's eat cake and celebrate! I look forward to seeing you there.

Jose V. Sartarelli, Ph.D.
Milan Puskar Dean
A Taiwanese friend of mine that I met in class was accepted today by MCU for study abroad and is currently awaiting the response of the host institution. If all goes well, Ray Kuo will become part of the Mountaineer family this fall semester! When he first approached me to ask about a few schools in the US, he had no idea where I was from. So, obviously, when he opened his booklet and said his first choice to attend was WVU, I was through the roof in excitement. Keep your fingers crossed for him!

I apologize for the lack of presence of personal thoughts or real writings lately--as I said yesterday, time seems to be moving too quickly for me to keep up. I stayed up very late last night conversing with Tim Terman about the article I mentioned back in December. I'll update with further news as he informs me of what's going on with it. At least I can mark that off of the list of things I need to finish. Sanya stopped me outside class today to remind me to bring my documents in for the Visa renewal, so I will be doing that tomorrow after Chinese class. It feels pretty good to knock two large To-Dos off of my list, but it's a vicious cycle. I have a midterm exam next week for Marketing class that I need to study for as well as a group project looming ever closer. This is no time for procrastination.

Happily, I have already completed my homework for Chinese today! A step in the right direction for getting things done on time. Let's hope I won't be up until 5AM again tonight...granted, judging from how I am feeling now, I don't know if I will make it to 10PM without drooling facedown on my keyboard...


[post edit: Ray was offered California Long Beach and he took it over WVU.]

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day Thirty-Eight.

I feel like I'm running on a treadmill that is set to a higher speed than I can handle--I am running to keep up, but very slowly losing ground, getting behind. I need to stop time for a little while and just get things together. I am tired of rushing to finish my homework at three in the morning, or pushing someone else's deadline because of my inability to focus for five minutes. I don't know what's gotten into me recently, but I need to kick this habit hard.

Tonight, I am cleaning out the closet of things to do. I have two emails on the queue list left to write that I am hoping to get to tonight, but seeing as it is already 3:11 AM, they may have to wait a little longer. This life is a viscous cycle. I need some peace.

It has been thirty-eight days now, and therefore I have added "Renew Visa" to my list of things to do. If I do not apply and have my visa renewal granted within sixty days of entering the country, I will have to leave and reenter for the new visa to be valid. That sounds like a lot of time and money that I do not have to invest in this. Let's just get it right the first time, shall we?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day Thirty-Seven.

Yet again I'm up late. Recently I have been a shining example of procrastination. Only now (2AM) have I completed my Chinese homework and I am now beginning to review for the exam in the morning. This behavior is unacceptable, and I do not plan to continue it, however, lately I have had many things on my plate. I will admit to playing futbol again tonight. It was as glorious as ever--definitely a well-deserved break. I left early to shower and begin my homework. Thankfully I have the best trio of girls just down the hall to help me when I can't understand something. I really don't know what I would do without them.

I have sticky notes all over my desk area with TO DO written on them.
1-Prepare my documents to renew my visa.
2-Email Tim back, answering his questions so he may write his article.

Wish me luck on this exam; I am going to need it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day Thirty-Six.

I don't really feel like blogging yet again. I woke at 4PM and haven't done anything all day and now I'm settling in to my homework. At least I got in a good mile around 7PM, but countered it with McDonalds around 11. I met the delivery boy at the bottom of the hill and in the process of carrying everything back up the hill, I lost $500NT. Most expensive McDonalds ever.

Crappy day. I need a pickmeup. Goodnight, World.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day Thirty-Five.

Groceries. Billiards. Manchester United. Friends.

I bought half of Carrefour today...I am tired of eating instant noodles at home when I can't find someone to have dinner with. Afterwards I played billiards during the Man U futbol game with some friends. There was a fantastic goal at the 87th minute. So stoked.

Exhausted and nothing else to write.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Day Thirty-Four.

Some things go as planned. Most things don't. Willful thinking doesn't even begin to factor into fate. I guess I just need to learn to roll with the punches.

Once again, I am sick. I visited the clinic between classes to get some medicine to break the fever and felt much better by the end of Trade Reg. I was invited to dinner by some classmates and ended up having a great time dining on xiao long bao. Delicious.

I don't know what has gotten into me lately--I haven't been quite acting myself; I feel cloudy inside. It is as if I can't quite find who I am anymore. I say things I would nor normally say, and do things I wouldn't normally do--harmless gestures, but noteworthy nonetheless. One month of chasing the butterfly though the forest and I am no closer to catching it than the day I arrived. Taiwan, who am I?...and who do I want to be?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day Thirty-Three.

It's easier to list the things that went well today than list the things that didn't.

1. First homework assignment was returned--I only left out a comma.
2. I understood everything my teacher said today in class. Listening and understanding are beginning to feel more natural now.
3. When I needed help today, a friend came through for me. (Thank you so much.)

With all of the negativity surrounding today, I think it would be better not even to mention anything at all and instead, focus on three things that are one hundred percent awesome.

For smiles, I will leave you with a little Taiwanese advice: If you are a male, do not walk alone in 2/28 park after 8PM unless you're looking for a little something more than I think you can handle.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day Thirty-Two.

A little bit of soul-searching didn't do anyone any good tonight, kids.

Old habits die hard.

Thank you, Mel. You've saved me yet again.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day Thirty-One.

Day two of the Intensive Mandarin Program, and I must say it is aptly named. Spending four hours a day, just after waking, speaking and hearing nothing but a strange language that you're still not confident in your ability to communicate in is very stressful. For the first time in my life, I have to study every night; I've never had a class quite so challenging as this before. Studying has always been an option, a choice, but now, here I am up late yet again, peering over an internet dictionary and scribbling in my notebook trying to prepare for tomorrow's class. Today's homework was incredibly challenging: Define 5 words and use them in a sentence. Depending on the concept, this is sometimes challenging to do in my native tongue--doing it in a foreign one is even more challenging, especially when the language isn't as descriptive. For example, in English, to define "to prepare" one may say "to make ready," however the problem here is that those two statements would be said the same way, with the vocabulary word I am trying to avoid using. I asked a friend to define the word, and he said the best way was to use an idiom. Lacking in the culture department, Chinese idioms don't just flow through my brain they way they do in English. Different language, different idioms. I will confess, the define column of this word is still blank and I plan to turn it in this way. With my understanding of the word, "to prepare" is like a single atom, yes, it is made up of things, but it is otherwise in its simplest form; there is no non-complex way to define the word in Chinese. Yes, I'm frustrated. I've never appreciated the range, depth, and variation of vocabulary of English until now...but that only drives me to work even harder.

I'm feeling a little under the weather again today, due to the fluctuation in atmospheric pressure, temperature, and weather in general. I napped today for longer than I slept all night and woke with a low grade fever. I feel like I've been hit by a car, but that's because I "got trucked" by some pretty big guys yesterday during the game after they realized I wasn't kidding about play-hard-or-go-home. Brandon prepared me well--Thanks big bro.

Time to try to sleep more and kick this illness. Hopefully I will be well enough to travel this weekend to the mountains and get some fresh air. I'm Elizabeth Butcher, signing off. You stay classy, Planet Earth.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day Thirty!

I'm bleeding. I have new bruises. I'm exhausted. I hurt. I'm covered in dirt and the sweat of both myself and mine enemies. And I feel better in this moment than I have since I arrived one month ago. One word: football. I had a very interesting moment while sitting out after the game tonight. Try listening to Debussy's Claire de Lune and watching a live game and tell me what you feel. Football is but a dance--the passion is so real, the moments so alive. Men write their stories in blood, sweat, and tears, tearing down those that oppose them until the whistle sounds and they walk off the field as friends to fight a different sort of battle. That moment took my breath away and awakened something within me that I cannot explain.

It is late, 2:45AM (11PM is the time I began to write this post) and I have class tomorrow and must wake at 7:30. Yet here I sit, sacrificing my time for those of you who do read this. I finished my homework to the best of my ability almost an hour ago, but my devotion to this blog won out over sleep. Now, however, I must bid you goodnight. I'm looking forward to waking in the morning with that familiar ache of an evening of fighting it out on the field. Play hard or go home.

Time for some Z's!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day Twenty-Nine.

Today was a day of great exploration. Jeff and I moseyed around MCU and Shilin until we became bored, then decided to go to Niehu to visit Raohe Street Night Market. I have to admit, Raohe is much better than Shilin; the shops are nicer, and the area is much cleaner as well. While we were there, we visited a traditional temple and he explained each of the gods and their purposes. The temple was absolutely beautiful and I learned much from the visit.

While in the night market, I was finally able to try some vendor food! Unfortunately, I cannot remember what the item was called, but at least I captured a photograph as proof! It was made by frying a batter or sorts on a griddle and placing the meat, cheese and vegetables on top with salad dressing, then neatly folded as such and placed into a cone shaped holder for convenience. It was delicious. I can't wait to eat my way through the rest of the places I visit!

At last, our streak of bleak weather has broken. Today was absolutely beautiful--perfect for exploring. I am not looking forward to the weather returning to it's dreary state on Tuesday. Rain, rain, go away!!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day Twenty-Eight.

Another shopping day today, with even more success than previously. Joanna, Aileen, Yvonne, Seralyn, Gana, and I left the dorm around noon today and ate breakfast/lunch in a phenomenal place. This city continues to surprise me with its hidden treasures. We were literally walking down a dirty alleyway and went in a random door, next thing I knew I was standing in a beautiful restaurant complete with plush seats and aesthetic lighting. I almost stepped back out the door to make sure I hadn't gone though a portal to a different world. Not only was the place visually pleasing, the food was inexpensive and delicious; it easily replaced What's Burger as my favorite restaurant. (Sorry, WB.) It is soon to be my usual haunt; I can't wait to take Brian there. After eating, we overtook Tianmu once again for some BestBuy action. B1G2 sale is still going on and we each left with a bag in hand. Not quite having satiated our need to shop, we browsed the second-hand market and found some great treasures. I purchased a few things for myself, and found something for my future roomie, Kamala, as well as my step-father and brother for their birthdays. Hellooooo new place to Christmas shop. I think I'll be needing to mail a few parcels home so I don't have to lug them through the airport...

Such a great day. It feels so good to belong somewhere.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day Twenty-Seven.

Today has been the longest day in the history of long days. I attended my first mandarin class from 9AM to 1PM, then my law class from 2PM until 5PM. After class Arkadiy and I trekked through the rain to his place so I could fix his computer (that I broke after fixing the first time...turns out accidentally disabling Java at startup stops a lot of other processes from happening too. Who knew?) Thankfully, it only took about five minutes. Don't worry, folks, I'm a professional. Started in the general direction of "home", sidetracked into the night market and purchased the rain boots I've been desperately needing. At last, home to watch the latest episode of Survivor and now writing this so I can go to sleep. Did I mention the fact that there's a tsunami heading my way? Yes, that seems to put a damper on the sweet dreams I was planning to have. Luckily, I am on the top of a mountain in Taipei, which is far enough inland that I should be okay if by some chance the tsunami does impact Taiwan. Keep your fingers crossed nothing bad happens--I'd hate to have to see how well these new rain boots really work.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day Twenty-Six.

Rain, rain, go away and come again another day. For example, June 28th seems like a prime candidate. You know, after I'm state-side again. Seriously, it has rained all day and made my life absolutely miserable. My placement exam was supposed to be this morning at 8:10AM at Jihe campus about 15 minutes walk from here. I was late. It was raining. I made it on time, but left some blood on the sidewalk and fire hydrant where I busted open my leg getting there. The teachers, being so generous as they are, decided not to show up until 9:00AM so I could have ample time to sit in the hall by the security desk and nurse my busted leg. I should also thank them for leaving me off of the list for the exam so one of the examiners had to come back and test me in the hallway outside a noisy classroom. The test was the highlight of my day, sadly. I left afterwards, instead of going to the orientation like I was supposed to. Forced myself to walk home and up all 300 thousand stairs to my room expecting to nap all evening since the boy's concert was cancelled due to RAIN and feel better when I woke again. Wrong. My roommates decided it was a good idea to blast music and sing along instead of taking two seconds to notice that I was in bed, asleep. I wake, they realize it...and scatter. Thank you for your minimal contribution to my day girls. So here I sit now, wide awake after my delicious instant noodle gourmet dinner with chocolate Oreos for dessert. Seriously, how do I make myself so happy all of the time. Don't you wish you were me??

/end sarcasm.
/end blog post.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day Twenty-Five.

Just another Wednesday.

Яed Square concert tomorrow to photograph. I hope it doesn't rain too much on the boys or my camera...

Placement exam at 8:10AM--wish me luck.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day Twenty-Four.

I don't know what's gotten into me, but tonight I've been fervently researching graduate schools. I'm the first in my family to attend college, I have loved learning ever since I was a small child. Now that I'm finally here, achieving more than I ever hoped to, I'm aspiring to achieve even more. I have a dream, and I'm not going to let anything stand in my way. It is one thing to say you want to go to a ranked grad school, and quite another thing to actually do it. Let's see how far this small town girl can go.

Completed my first homework assignment of the semester today. It's been so nice not having real work to do. Unfortunately this ends on Thursday. Let's enjoy tomorrow before I give up my life to learn Chinese.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Day Twenty-Three.

Don't worry, World. I'm holding on. I dedicated today to making friends, or at least working on the relationships I have with the people I've met here. I played billiards with Phillip and we grabbed lunch at What's Burger before killing time in the park just walking and talking and people-watching. He's definitely an interesting character, but I'm thankful for his blunt honesty; it is refreshing. At five, I met Yvonne at the dorm and we had another evening of shopping at Best Buy (clothing store here). Their sale was even better this time with buy-one-get-two-free!!! As a comfort to myself I purchased three pairs of sweatpants (Aero and AE) for 280$NT ($9.54 USD = $3.18 apiece). I never should have left my favorite Morgantown sweats at home, but these will suffice until I return. Wrapped the night up with more billiards with Tiger, Nastia, Edgar, Kirs, Arkadiy, and Phillip a few MRT stations south of MCU.

All in all, a good night. Just one thing missing...and it's somewhere in Cancun, Mexico.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day Twenty-Two.

And everything I thought I had is falling like sand through the finger-cracks of my unclenched fist. One person, however, can change everything.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Day Twenty-One.

Wonderful brunch of scrambled eggs with green onions and cheese and bacon this morning--definitely felt like home. I'm so happy to have friends with apartments that have kitchens that allow me to commandeer their place for a while. I guess I would too if I got free food in the bargain. Count me in.

I traveled to DanShui today for a while. Unfortunately it was too cloudy for very good photographs...not to mention cold and windy. Regardless, it was still beautiful. Just a short time after arriving, I was asked to take a photo with a group of girls. Hilarious, and awkward. I figure I'm already on someone's facebook by now. Celebrity status: Acquired.

I am still feeling ill, but a little better. I'm trying to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and it seems to be working on the sore throat as well. I think it all just comes down to Taipei's air is absolutely disgusting. With so much motor travel, auto fumes are constantly in the air and even with a breeze there's no where for it all to go. I may try out the masks I see people wearing everywhere. I wonder how much more they'll stare at me then with my blue eyes peeping out from over the mask and my blonde hair blowing in the faux auto fume breeze. Sounds like a scene from a low budget foreign film that people wouldn't watch if they were paid to...

I feel myself procrastinating again...With only two classes, this is pretty bad. I have a marketing group project to being researching for, but somehow can't bring myself to do it. I have been far too long without any proper work that I've settled into it. I need to get it in gear and do my part of the project in case one of the other members needs help. Guh. If only the topic were more interesting. I mean, Newell's Acquisition of Rubbermaid seems interesting and all, but I'd rather be outside exploring than sitting in front of my PC researching this case. It doesn't help that we don't present until week twelve of the class...I still have a while, right? Along with this project, I have a thank you letter to finish up in order to claim one of my scholarships at WVU, and a wonderful second grade class to email about my adventures. [I'll write you as soon as I can Mrs. Graziano!] For now, however, I think it is time I rest.

Goodnight, World.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Day Twenty.

At last it is the weekend again! However, I do not know what is up with the music selection of the dance groups practicing on the field in front of the dorm. This is the second night in a row that they have decided to play Canon in D on loop for three or four hours straight without end. Are they truly trying to make every musician live out their nightmare or simply want to make us move out? Regardless, it was a good enough reason for me to leave after class and meet Kirs' sister and mother who are in visiting from Russia. I only had the pleasure of speaking with them for a short time, but they seemed like lovely people.

Today is day twenty. In honor of this moment, I would like to make a list.

Things I have learned in 20 days:
1) Never leave home without toilet paper. Ever.
2) If you DO happen to leave without toilet paper, I hope you haven't forgotten your hand sanitizer. I have noticed that only a very small percentage of residents in my dorm wash their hands after using the "facilities". Maybe it is because there's no soap.
3) You may think you don't need a mobile phone, but you are sadly mistaken. It has taken me twenty days to get one. Just do it when you arrive. Making friends will be so much easier when they can actually contact you to hang out.
4) Ditch the people you came with and make new friends. Otherwise you're going to sink like the Titanic when your comrades ditch you for their newfound friends who are obviously cooler than you.
5) Don't give up the things you love, incorporate them into your new friendships. If you like music, play it and others who like the same will come. Have a craving for the food you're used to? Go to the store, buy the ingredients, invite some friends, and cook the food yourselves. It will be fun and tasty.
6) Get out of your dorm room/hotel room/apartment and explore. Get lost. Take a taxi home. Do the same tomorrow. Not only will you find some amazing places, you will meet some amazing people, and have fun doing it.
7) Don't let the language barrier stop you from trying to communicate. Locals love nothing more than listening to you stumble through your poorly pronounced Chinese phrases. Some can speak English, but that's not the point. By making an idiot of yourself, you're at least doing more than most of the foreigners and making an attempt to respect the people and their culture. Some shop keepers or vendors may even give you a discount for trying.
8) Never forget that you are the foreigner. This is their country, their home. Respect it.
9) No matter how disgusting a food dish looks, or smells...try it. Ex: Stinky Tofu. Just do it.
10) No matter how much you miss your home, suck it up. This is your home now. No matter how bad it gets, you're going to miss it when you're gone.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day Nineteen.

I have this undying craving for a West Virginia Summer day. I want to jump in my car, crank the radio up, and drive with the windows down. I want to feel the sun on my face and the wind in my hair. I want to breathe the fresh air, and hear the birds singing and the grass whispering. For the first time in my life, I'm homesick. I miss Morgantown. I miss my life. I miss Brian. I miss home.

There are so many adventures left to be had here, so many things I have yet to discover. I spent the entire day in my room today, and I am finished wasting time. If I have to be here, I am going to make the most of it. Here's to experiencing new things, diving in head first, facing fears, and living. I'm going to live this thing until it's over and I can drop my bags by the door and collapse onto the carpet of my apartment.

Ready, set, live.