As I sit here at my desk at 3:25 AM all I can do is look around the room I have shared with Phil this entire trip. It is empty and lacking the warm, homely feeling you would want your dorm to feel like. This entire 6 week trip has been packed up in to our suitcases and carry on luggage. Stowed away for the 24+ hour trip we have home to Ohio. I actually cannot believe we depart for Taipei in about 2 hours. These last 6 weeks have flown by faster than I expected and it is crazy to think that prior to this trip I had never flown before. The want to travel is something I hope I never lose. And having my first experience on the opposite side of the world was a great place to start.
Although we have certain requirements pertaining to school this was one great vacation. All of the traveling we did while on the island and experiencing the culture was absolutely amazing. Getting outside my comfort zone was difficult but in the end I’m glad I took the leap. In my opinion everyone should experience a culture outside of their own. It shows you that there is more to the world you know. Which is something many people can benefit from.
Since this is the last blog post of the trip I figure I’d share some of the things I have learned from this trip.
First and foremost, take chances and experience the unknown. Sometimes this is difficult to do because we are fearful of what will happen but in the end it is the experience that matters.
We all took that chance when we signed up for the trip and made our way to the airport. This was huge for me because the extent of my travels were to Maryland and Florida. Cultures much like Ohio except there is a ocean and Food Lions’ instead of Buehler’s . Granted I’ll say I wasn’t sacred of my first time flying, I was just excited to get to Taiwan.
Next don’t wash a water bottle with 100 C water and close the lid. It is bound to expand the air inside the bottle and explode. Leaving second degree burns on your finger. 0/10 would do that again.
Lastly, I want to keep this post to a minimum so I will mention what my most favorite experience was on this trip. It happened while we were Taitung visiting the Aboriginal Festival during the week long trip around Taiwan.
We got off the bus and it was scorching hot and as expected the festival was outside. Great…. So while we sat there watching the various dances we kept having the Aboriginals come up to us and wanting to take pictures. Well after I offered to take a picture a man pulled me aside and started to tie a pair of pants around my legs just like he had on! He told me I was going to dance and I started to get nervous. Little did I know it was going to be a dance that involved everyone. So after some of us got dressed in their attire we linked hands with the Aboriginals and formed a circle. As they sang we moved in a circular motion and did the dance. The women I had linked hands with didn’t speak a lick of English but they were having the time of their lives trying to teach me the steps to the dance. I could see the pure excitement and joy in their eyes as they taught me the steps and wanting to keep me involved in what they were doing. The acceptance of others and the willingness to invite them to join in their practices is truly amazing and heartwarming. My words cannot describe exactly how I felt at that festival.This is definitely one of the things I will never forget.
On behalf of myself and the rest of the AU students here in Taiwan, we would like to thank everyone who made this trip possible. Without all of the hard work this wonderful experience would not have been possible and I can honestly say that we are all grateful. Not many people get the experience that we have and it is something we will all hold dear to our hearts for the rest of our lives. Thank you again so much!