If life was a Disney Movie

DSC_7017Last Sunday was such a special day. Over a simple spaghetti lunch I had one of those heart-touching-life-changing conversations with a new friend.

After eating S came to pick me up and we went for an afternoon trip: this time to Neiwan, less than an hour from Hsinchu.

DSC_7008DSC_7010DSC_7026Neiwan is a common weekend-destination for Hsinchu citizens. The town itself is crowded and touristy, so we did our best to stay away from the crowd and get some quiet time. We walked up a hillside, passed a bridge, and was surrounded by bird-size dragonflies. After feeling too warm we went down to the river and bathed our feet.

When the sun set we made our way up a hillside to see the reason why we came there: fireflies!

DSC_7038Our friends who had been in Neiwan the weekends before came back in a close-to traumatic state after being squeezed in a huge crowd. Just two weeks before 10000 people were visiting the very same spot to see the fireflies. Luckily the worst rush was over now and the mountain was now crowded at all. We succeeded to find a little path into the forest, away from lights and people, and sat down to wait for the flies to start swarming.

DSC_7067DSC_7073These photos simply can’t catch the feeling of that evening. The pictures almost looks like if I have been paining yellow dots on them in paint!

The air was warm and humid, and we could not see the road from were we sat. On all sides around us little flies were crawling and flying, slowly blinking with their illuminated bodies. It gave me a highly surrealistic feeling, it almost felt like hundred of eyes were watching us from every side. Every time I turned to one side, I knew there were just as many of them of them behind me.

It totally felt like if I was in a Disney Movie, and Timon and Pumba would run past us any time. (The Lion Sleeps Tonight)

Later in the night, on the way back to Hsinchu, we went to eat a special kind of roasted chicken. The chicken was first boiled before it was roasted slowly over fire in a ceramic oven. The chicken was served whole with roasted garlic, pepper and chicken oil.

DSC_7088I got the special honour to rip the chicken into pieces with my hands. It was exactly as greasy and messy as it looks!

In Taiwanese – Chinese – this part of Asia – cultures you never touch or eat for food with your hands. After using the thicker gloves for parting the chicken we put on thin plastic ones to wear when we were eating. I couldn’t stop thinking of how funny this would have looked in India, where eating with bare hands is the most natural way.

DSC_7094As S is a Taiwanese he gladly munched on all the strange parts, head, tail and feet are considered delicious and healthy here. I was more picky and only ate the meaty parts. The chicken was so fresh and really great, with a crispy outer layer and extra much taste from the broth. I forgot all table manners and ate until I had oil all over my face.

The best ending of a week!

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Wandering in Paradise Gardens

From India during winter vacation over to Taiwan, a more recent update.

When life gives you good weather, a day of and a mountain of unknown possibilities: I decided to sneak away from the lively house that was hosting us and explore the area around.

It was a paradise-like sunset and I climbed up a nearby hill.

DSC_6468DSC_6438DSC_6446DSC_6450DSC_6444The air was hot, my sweat was dripping, the fruit trees blossomed over my head and spread their wonderful perfume.

I found a wild hen hiding in the forest and a tunnel hosting God-know-what local animal. Most of the way I was fully focused to not sliding on the dusty dry ground. When will this drought be over?

The paradise garden was not harmless. Thick grass cut my skin like razor blades and I found more afraid of snakes than I have ever been before.  (Not that I saw any)

Before returning back to the house I dusted off my clothes, tried to arrange my hair again and wiped some blood of my legs. When I close my eyes now I can still remember the smell of those white flowers.

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Spring Term in Taiwan

As a break from sharing about our trip to India during, something more recent from Taiwan.DSC_6404Easter Celebration in Victory International Fellowship, Hsinchu. This year Palm Sunday was so joyful.

Now we are already half into the spring term here in Taiwan. I know I have almost only been posting about India recently, but please bear with me. The month I spent there during Chinese New Year (January – February) is like one of those desserts you don’t want to enjoy too fast, I like to write about it as slow as possible just to savour it slowly.

This term at National Chiao Tung University is so different from the last one. It almost feels like I have changed my life completely.

I still live in the same dorm, only one of my three roommates is new. I still go to the same campuses, and attend classes in the same buildings. Yet everything is completely different.

My life in Taiwan this spring:

1. All my friends. Are. Gone. 

Ok, not all of them. Just many of them. Just almost everyone I used to meet seven days a week and would eat most of my meals with. My lunch friends, my library-night friends, my panic-study-weekend friend and my walk-home-together-from-campus friend. They are not here.

Sure you can find new friendships, but one person can never replace another. 

2. I have lazy time.

This term my courses are not only less, the ones I attend are both easier and some are given in English.

Now I can take Monday afternoon of, sleep in on Tuesday, spontaneously skip a class on Thursday to have some fun, eat out at Friday night – and still not have to study during the weekend.

Hello stress free life. I haven’t seen you since I started University!

3. I can actually enjoy Taiwan

Whatever I was busy doing last term did indeed take place here in Taiwan. But apart from occasional nights spend outside the library, I didn’t see much of this beautiful island.

This term I am traveling, often while enjoying the company of Taiwanese friends. So much more fun!

DSC_6420DSC_6431View from a private home in Hsinchu county. I found the sight mesmerizing.

First eartquake in Taiwan

Yesterday night at 6.20 I suddenly felt my body started shaking.

I tore of my headphones and looked around me in the library. Everything looked normal, but it didn’t feel normal. It was not only me what was shaking. I stared with shock at my classmate next to me. Earthquake?IMG_20150323_182336

I grew up in a part of the world with no earthquakes. I lived my life on ground so stable often forget that things like this even exists. But now the entire building was rocking around us.

No one was running. No one was hiding. The Taiwanese students around us were simply sitting, looking up from their books. They did not look particularly afraid. What I noticed most of all was how the building sounded. The building materials over and around us was sighting and making sounds, like when you are rowing an old boat. The bookshelves, the giant windows – everything was shaking.

Modern buildings are constructed to wobble with the conformations of the ground, instead of standing stiff and risk breaking. As we were sitting on the fifth floor (of the Tsinghua University Library) the shaking was amplified compared to being on ground floor.

After maybe 15 seconds everything was over and the house became still again. I realized I was clinging to my friend’s arm with both hands. The Taiwanese students looked around a little bit before they started to study again. Someone walked past us reading a book. Like if nothing had happened at all. Well, that was it. My first earthquake.

The Central Weather Bureau reported that the magnitude of the eruption was 6.0 at epicenter, and that it stroke under the Taiwanese East Coast. In Hsinchu city the magnitude was around 2 on the richer scale –Wikipedia defines it as an eruption that is felt but not harmful for buildings.

(Picture repost from Instagram)