And So I Leave Taiwan

DSC_6183When things are almost over:

  • remembering to give back borrowed books and outfits
  • trying to go surfing for the last time
  • seeing a friend fight back tears when saying goodbye
  • and trying to hold my own tears inside
  • realizing all the things I never found time to do
  • saying goodbye to the staff at my breakfast place, and being asked to stay in touch
  • hunting stamps for important papers
  • checking out
  • returning keys
  • saying goodbye and goodbye and goodbye

Wondering if travelling is really really worth the pain of leaving dear ones behind.

And then:

boarding an airplane.

being lost in the darkness and boredom of overnight flights alone.

DSC_0651When you read this I have almost arrived home. And just as painful as leaving things are, just as happy I will be to return back. Nine months of long distance relationship is finally over!

DSC_0992I am not taking out my bachelors degree. (Simply because my University doesn’t force me to do it), but I think these past three years are still worth a small celebration. I even stole an outfit last term, and the official photographer, in order to get myself a graduation photo.

Thank you Taiwan for this year

Thank you dear friends for making me laugh with you, and later cry after we said goodbye

Thank you Taiwanese sun for marking me with a nice red painful colour

I will miss you, and we will meet again. God willingly. 

Heat in Taiwan

DSC_7866It became really hot here in Taiwan now. Summer in a subtropical country with high humidity and eternal sunshine – yaaaayy. Even a short walk from my dorm to the bus stop becomes a small challenge. At times I will glare enviously at the locals who are having umbrellas to shade themselves with. But I have decided that I am not that integrated in the Asian lifestyle for using sun-umbrellas.

At least the sunshine makes Hsinchu quite photogenic. I did not do any edit on these pictures, but the colours are really popping.

DSC_7872My short walk from the bus to University made me feel like I was slowly getting fried. While passing the constructions outside campus some of the high-up workers stopped to wave at me. DSC_7874The entrance of National Chiao Tung University (above), and my beloved library (below).

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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!

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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