“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” - Saint Augustine

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Best Taiwan Friend

So, I have a really good friend here. Of course, I still have those three close friends that are in my actually classroom, but she isn't. She doesn't have an English name, so when I was Skyping some one from home they thought they heard me say "Ga Ga" like Lady Ga Ga, so her nick-name is now Sexy Ga Ga. But that is only when I Skype my friend, Brandi, from home. But, she likes it. 

We are both involved in the schools shooting team. I completely stink at the hand gun, but I have a real nice shot with the rifle. She is very, very good at the hand gun and completely stinks at the rifle. Above, is a picture of a target she shot a perfect 10 on. Then, she cut out I love U and signed it. I plan on keeping it for forever.

My best Taiwan friend. <3
She just made me the card yesterday, so I thought I would share. She is a very nice, caring, outgoing person. And she doesn't speak English. "How do you know what a language is, if you never had to learn one to make friends?" It's true. 

Friday, January 6, 2012


So, in my last post I said love, happiness, and respect are three things people need to feel or know in life. I want to go ahead and add family to the list as well. It's completely mind blowing how people can shape our lives; for the good and worse. How people you just met can give you an unconditional amount of love and support. How miles cannot separate or affect a family's love. In Taiwan, family is taken seriously. Family members look after one another, love and respect each other. I haven't met a family that has not been happy. Every one is happy-go-lucky. 

On my exchange my heart has been touched by many, but the two that mean the most to me have touched my heart in a fatherly way. Unfortunately, I do not have a father figure or have had a father figure in my life. I do, have a step dad...but, we do not see eye to eye, nor do I think we ever will. It's sad, but it's true. We have different views of respect and that just doesn't fly over well with him. But, in Taiwan, I have these two amazing men in my life right now. I cry right now just thinking about how I have to leave. My first dad and my second dad. They are two amazing guys, let me tell ya. My first dad (I don't like saying "host dad" or "host mom" because they aren't just "hosts" to me...they really are and have become my second and third family) and I are close. Everyday before I got on the bus for school he would be there and I would say good bye and wave and he would just smile, blush, shake his head with a smile, and wave good bye. I loved helping in the coffee shop and always had a great time with my first family. My dad and I would laugh and always have smiles. The moment I knew he had my back was when I had a little bike accident my first couple months here. I scraped up my legs pretty bad and my hands. But when I rode home the first person that jump up was my dad and he hopped me on his scooter and took me to the doctor. Then, he held my hand when I cried because whatever they put on my cuts burned so bad. But he was there. And I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. 

can honestly say I have not felt sad or out of place. When I get back, something I want to do differently is give everyday my all. Make everyday as happy as I can. That sounds cheesy but, really, it is possible. Sure, events happen and can shape our day for the worst, but we must roll with the punches. I have been one of the happiest people on the world since I have lived in Taiwan. 

Annnnyywayyys, back to the dad factor. So, my first dad and I just had a bond and when he took me to my second family's house he told them "Take care of my daughter". Words I will never forget. That was the first time I have had that happen to me...That I can recall. I am still touched every time I think about it.

My second dad is a lot more easy going, but he is quiet. When we are sitting at the table eating dinner we watch T.V. and if he passes a show I want to see I always say "Ohh, pppaapppaaa," and he loves it. I say that a lot. Not just for T.V. but for everything. We play golf together and let me tell ya, he can play some good golf. Me, on the other hand, can't. But, when he hits the ball it just flies and I look at him and say "Oh! Paapppa!!" and he just smiles and blushes. But, tonight, we went to a wedding and had dinner. During dinner it is polite to go from table to table and say cheers. He and I went around and every time he introduced me he would smile at me and look at everyone else and say "This is my one and only daughter" again, I was touched. My second dad and I have a lot more time to bond and I like that. 

I am so happy and grateful that I had the opportunity to come to Taiwan, not only to learn Chinese, but to have the chance to actually know and be able to really feel a fathers love for a child. To have the chance to see how a family operates when you change the culture up a bit and add different customs. To be able to be a part of two families and to always have two families I can come home to in the future. To be able to feel the support of my family in America 10,000 miles away. To be able to see that a family's love is a universal language.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Second Host Family

Hello, everyone! It has been a nice two months since I have last posted, my apologies. 
In two months I have....

Received third place for a Chinese speaking contest.

Finished first in the 100 meter dash. 

Joined soccer club. (HAHAHAHA)

Learned how to ride my bike to school with no hands.

Moved to a new family.

Cut my hair off. :)

Made many many new friends.

Learned how to take a bus, train, and taxi all by myself.

Learned a lot of Chinese...A lot.

Learned how to make my favorite tea in Taiwan... unfortunately, I will have NONE of the things I need in America :'(

Celebrated Thanksgiving Taiwanese style. Which is no different than eating dinner every other day, so it really wasn't too special. 

Conquered finals and exams...all in Chinese. Okay, so I didn't exactly ace them...but I didn't completely fail, either. :)

Sang Last Kiss by Taylor Swift in front of 1,000+ people. I am pretty sure I can do anything now. That was the most nerve racking thing I have put myself through thus far.

Climbed to the top of the highest point in Taiwan. It was absolutely beautiful.

Painted paper umbrellas. 

Fallen into a routine:
-Wake up everyday at 6:30
-Help my host mom prepare breakfast
-Ride my bike to school
-Have a great day with my friends <3
-Ride home
-Help cook dinner
-Go out with my host parents and talk
-Take a shower

(That may sound very ordinary, but believe me, it's not. Everyday is different, of course. That is just an outline of what occurs. I try to meet as many new people as possible. Like, today, I made a new friend. We hung out all day and played basketball. :) My parents teach me new Chinese words every day and I learn how to make more delicious foods.)

I am loving life. Taiwan is amazing and has taught me many things in four short months. Respect, love, happiness. I think those are three very important things a person needs in life, and I am learning all about them right now. The first time I cried on my youth exchange was when my first host father dropped me off at my second host family's house and said "Take care of my daughter" I was so touched because he didn't say it just to say it, he meant it. That is something that no body can take away from me and that I will always carry in my heart.
I love Taiwan. I miss America. Such a bittersweet ending when I must return. :(

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

So, my thoughts are racing...

I am an exchange student:

How do you know what a dream is, if you never accomplished one? 
How do you know what an adventure is, if you never took part in one? 
How do you know what anguish is, if you never said goodbye to your family and friends with your eyes full of tears? 
How do you know what being desperate is, if you never arrived in a place alone and could not understand a word of what everyone else was saying? 
How do you know what diversity is, if you never lived with people from all over the world? 
How do you know what tolerance is, if you never had to get used to something no matter how different it was and you didn't like it?
How do you know what autonomy is, if you never had the chance to decide something by yourself? 
How do you know what it means to grow up, if you never stopped being a child to start something new without someone constantly holding your hand? 
How do you know what is to be helpless, if you really wanted to hug someone and had a computer screen to prevent you from doing it? 
How do you know what distance is, if you never, looking at a map, said “I am so far away”? 
How do you know what a language is, if you never had to learn one to make friends? 
How do you know what patriotism is, if you never shouted “I love my country!” while holding the flag in your hands? 
How do you know what true reality is, if you never had the chance to see someone figure theirs out and you begin to make yours. 
How do you know what an opportunity is, if you never caught one? 
How do you know what pride is, if you never experienced it for yourself and realized how much you have accomplished? 
How do you know what it means to seize the day, if you never saw your time running so fast and slipping through your fingers? 
How do you know what a friend is, if circumstances never showed you the true ones?
How do you know what family is, if you never had one that supported you unconditionally when you first met? 
How do you know what borders are, if you never crossed your own to see what there was on the other side? 
How do you know what imagination is, if you never thought about the moment you will go back home? 
How do you experience the world, if you have never been an exchange student?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Here are some pictures of me and my closest Chinese friends. They are all awesome, funny, loving, and very helpful. It is going to be so hard to leave them; but it just gives me another reason why I have to come back to Taiwan. <3




I love every one in my class, don't get me wrong, but these are my closest. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I have been in Taiwan for two months. Time is flying. Right now, I am watching Rambo...in Chinese, and drinking Pearl Milk Tea. (Aka. The best drink in the universe.) <3
In two months I have:
Made countless friends; Chinese, American, Mexican, Hungarian, Canadian, Brazilian, more and more.

a better understanding of a different culture and way of life. (I take my shoes off before I enter a room. I think it is bad for your digestion to drink a cold drink during and after you have just eaten. I meditate everyday.)

Built confidence and respect for myself. (I say thank you when some one says I am beautiful. Something that was really hard for me to do when I was in America. I know I am good at things; not in a cocky way.)

Truly realized what respect really is.

Fallen in love with Taiwan. (Rotary was right, your exchange country does become your second home country.)

Directed my energy towards the future.

Really understood how it really feels to miss someone or something. (If you don't miss something from your home country then you haven't fully understood your exchange. You should be grateful and have a better understanding of your home country, and your second home country.)

Stopped taking things for granted. (People and things that are important in my life now, may not be there tomorrow. My youth exchange is not going to last forever, so I need to start spending time wisely; taking too many pictures, asking too many questions, going with friends to too many places.)

Felt old. (I was just walking to the bus to go home and the feeling just hit me like a sack of bricks. I felt like I had been living in Taiwan for years, that I was years older. Totally dreading going back to high school when I return.)

Realized how to properly respect parents, siblings, and grandparents.

Not used a microwave or fork. (I just realized this last night. All the food I eat is fresh, and usually grown locally. It taste amazing. I use chopsticks for everything. When I have soup, I drink from the bowl. So, really, I haven't used a spoon that much either.)

Began to learn how to make awesome food; bread, noodles, rice. Mmm.

Realized why Rotary makes you switch families every three months; I love this family. I can only imagine how hard it would be if I had to leave them after a year..three months is already going to be hard.

Hit the ground running on trying to learn Chinese. Me- 0 Chinese- 1. It. Is. Hard. (I was very naive, hope I spelled that correctly, before I left. "Yeah, yeah...I'll catch on when I get there." No, I have spent countless days and nights studying and studying.)

Not been disrespectful or sarcastic to any adult figure. (It feels good to respect your elders. They do, actually, know what they are talking about and yes, indeed, they are smarter than us teenagers. They aren't thirty, or forty  or fifty years of stupid. Teachers and elders are here to teach us and it is your choice to actually pay attention and learn from them or not.)

Learned how to drink tea out of a bag. (It was so odd. Vivian, my host sister, handed me my breakfast bag to take up to my classroom like she always does. When I opened the bag to see what I had I pulled out a bag with two bread rolls and then a bag of tea. I held it up and I guess he could tell I was confused, so, Bruce, a close friend of mine, took the bag and my straw and got it situated for me. Weirdest thing I have ever done; drink from a plastic bag.)

I can't wait to have more adventures. I am loving every minute here and I love all the people. I am afraid it is my bed time. I hope you enjoyed!