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Archive for July, 2017

Day 13 & Day 14

Day 13 Friday July 7

I got up for class again today, ate breakfast at Morning House, and went to class.  We still practiced the sentences.  We had a maze game that we played where we had to lay down flash card, and we had to play the maze and every flash card we hit we had to create a sentence with that vocab word.  That was a fun game, but between Noah Vince and I, I was having the hardest time I think.  We were all kind of distracted and had a short attention span because it was Friday and we were all ready for the weekend.  Class let out, and we all went back to the dorms to get ready for the afternoon program.  The afternoon program was going to the wetlands.

Before we went to the wetlands though, Noah Vince and I were very hungry, so we decided to go to a breakfast place that the girls on the trip found earlier this week.  We went there, and it took a while for us to find, but once we did we sat down and ordered real quick because we were on a limited time schedule.  The food took a while for us to get, but once we got it, it was very good.  I ordered french toast, bacon, German sausage, eggs, potatoes, and fruit.  When we got the french toast, there was a little bit of syrup served with it.  I believe that because the Taiwanese people do not like very sweet foods, they do not use very much syrup like we do.  I tried my french toast without syrup, and it was delicious.  It did not need syrup at all.

After we ate all of our food and paid, it was an hour after the time that we were supposed to meet for the trip.  But we messaged Greta and told her that we were gonna be late.  When we finally got to the bus stop, we were finally able to leave for the Wetlands.  It was a long bus ride, and when we got there we first went to a fish market.  I do not like fish and do not eat it, but I enjoyed walking around and seeing all the different types of fish that they had there.  Some of the group got fish and ate samples, but I did not get any.

After the fish market, we walked to the wetlands.  But on the way there we saw a bridge crossing a river.  The bridge was cool and the land around the water was cool looking so we all stopped and took pictures.  Then we continues to the wetlands.  When we finally got there, we had to walk on a long bridge/pier type thing to not walk on the ground and disturb the ground and wildlife that lived there.  In the mud you could see little quarter sized crabs walking around.  The bridge was about 400 meters long.  At the end of the bridge you were able to get off and walk around the sand and water area.  It was fun, there were holes where a guy would shove a pipe into the ground that shot out pressured water.  The reason he was doing that was to push out ousters from the ground.  He would then sell them to the restaurants, and that was his full time job.  It started to rain while we were out there, so we hurried and walked back to the bus.  We all decided to catch the bus back to the college and eat dinner on our own.

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Noah and Vince and I decided to go back to Ben’s restaurant and go eat.  We stayed on the bus and went down to that area.  When we all got there, we started to talk to Ben again.  He made us burgers, and we pretty much continued the same conversation that we had the night before.  He is a cool person to talk to.  After we finished eating, we decided to head back to campus.  The conversation with Ben did not last two hours this time which is probably a good thing.  We all had laundry to do, so when we got back to the dorm that is what we did.  Noah’s and my clothes got locked in the basement while we were drying them though so we have to go get them in the morning.

Day 14 Saturday July 8

This morning we had to wake up early and go get our laundry.  I was just happy that all my clothes were there and that they were not thrown all around like they would have been at AU.  After we got our laundry, we had to get ready for the trip for the day.  We were going to a mountain and a tea place today.  We had a early morning, so most people slept on the bus.  Since the destination was so far away, we got a tour bus to ride on.  Thank goodness to because I could not have stood up for that whole ride on a public bus.

When we got there, Greta had to collect our cards and get us passes in.  Then we all got maps and decided what we wanted to do at that place.  We all decided that we wanted to go to the top of the mountain, so that’s what we did.  A couple of us had not climbed anything like that mountain before, so they started out a little fast. But we had a steady group of people climbing up to the top of the mountain.  I was in that group.  The mountain was pretty steep, and was mostly stairs.  The scene was beautiful on the way up though.  We also saw a family of monkeys on the way up, and they let us get super close to them.  I enjoyed the mountain climbing, but we were all exhausted by the time that we got up all the way to the top.

At the top of the mountain there was many people up there with camping backpacks and small propane fires cooking lunch for themselves.  It was a very fun atmosphere to be in.  Then we had go down the mountain.  With the mountain being wet and steep, we decided to take the road route all of the way down the mountain.  It was very slow pace, but we eventually made it.  By the time that we made it down the mountain my feet were killing me.  It had also started to rain.  So after me and my group found the bus, we had to wait for the rest of the people to find the bus.  After they all got to the bus, we loaded up and went to dinner.  Greta had made plans for us to go to a tea farm and eat dinner.  So we went there and ate some food that they had prepared for us.  Then after we were done eating the food, they showed us how to make tea and gave us samples of six of their most popular types of tea.  After we tasted all the tea, they gave us each a bag of tea that we have to wait two months to make tea with.

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After we finished dinner and got our gifts, we went back to school and I decided to do some homework and went to bed.  I had to go to church the next morning.

 

 

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Day 11 & 12

Day 11 Wednesday July 5

Today I woke up for classes.  I went to eat, and then went to Chinese class.  We continued to add on to vocabulary today, and learned verbs.  Now I am officially starting to feel behind and overwhelmed with the language.  But I am enjoying learning it, and want to start practicing in my room to keep up the knowledge.  I appreciate the way the teacher teaches the class, I just need to put a little more effort outside of class to help me remember the content.  I am considering taking Chinese when I get back home, so that I do not lose the progress that I have made while I am here.  We three hours of class today, like normal.  Then after class ended, we went to Morning House for lunch.

After lunch, we had about 4 or 5 hours to kill before we meet up with Greta to make up for our 4th of July celebrations.  Me and Noah decided that we would work on some blogs and do some stuff around the room for an hour or two, then we would go check out the gym for the first time since we got here.  So we sat down and got some work done.  Then we went up to our beds and tried to do our blogs their.  I did not last very long before I fell asleep.  I woke up around 6 from my nap, and started to get ready to meet Greta.  We went and caught a bus down to meet her at another bus stop.  She does not live on campus therefore we met her near her house.  We then tried to catch the public bus in time to make it to the park, but we missed that one also.  And if we want to wait for that bus, the it would have been a 30 min wait.  So Greta called one of her friends to see if we could set fireworks off at their house.

Her friend came and picked all 14 of us up in a mini van, and took us to his temple.  He owned a temple, and that was where he was going to let us shoot fireworks from.  When we got there, we saw a little temple under construction, and it was kinda similar to all of the other temples that we have seen here.  It had the same color scheme, and the alter in the middle and the stone carving out front.  But the inside of the temple had very detailed wood carvings.  It was a nice little building overall.  After we saw the temple, we went over to a field of something I am not sure of what it was, and we walked a little path about 100 ft back.  There we stopped, and Greta got out all of the fireworks that she bought.  She bought 6 or 7 boxes with about 10 or 15 big fireworks inside of it.  She also bought packs of little sparkler type fireworks that shoot about 4 ft in the air for 30 seconds.  Last she bough us giant sparklers.  She did a very good job finding fireworks, it was a good night.

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After we lit off all of the fireworks, the people who owned the temple and the place invited us to go sit at their house for a while.  We walked over to their house, and they already had chairs set out when we got there.  When we got there, they offered us some Taiwan beer, tea, or some carbonated apple cider.  After a while of sitting there drinking with them, they offered us some chicken.  We accepted, and continued to hang out.  After a while we saw a car pull into the driveway and the wife brought out bought chicken for us along with 3 other types of food.  The hospitality here is amazing.  While we were eating and drinking with them, we found out that they own their own bed and mattress and sheet and pillow company that manufactures in China.  We learned about that, for a while.  We were sitting next to their house and garage, and they both were very big.  The house had granite floors, and wooden furniture and carvings hung up everywhere, it was really nice.  The garage had product for their company, and 3 very expensive cars, a Porsche SUV, an Audi, a mini, and the mini even had a picture of their dog painted on it.  Their dog is a small little pug and his name is Chinese for blanket because of their business, he was so cute.  We left after about an hour of sitting there talking, but before we left they invited us back to see their temple moving in a couple weeks, so we are going back for that soon.

Day 12 Thursday July 6

Today we had class again, 3 hours of Chinese and the cultural class after that.  In Chinese we learned connecting words today, which will help us start to form sentences.  So we started trying to form sentences and trying to practice that today.  If I have notes in front of me, I am very good at Chinese, but I cannot remember the words without my notes so that is what I need to start practicing.  After we had our Chinese class, we had lunch then went into the next class.  Today in culture class we talked more about the same stuff that we talked about yesterday in class.  At the end of class the teacher started to talk about the paper that we have to do.  I did not know that the paper was due at the end of the trip.  It makes it hard to enjoy everything here while I have to write a blog and a 10 page paper and go to class all day.  I was a little bummed about the paper, but I will do my best with what time I have.

After class, we had nothing on the schedule to do.  So Noah and I decided to do some homework and work on our blogs then go out and try and find some new things.  Noah in=s into bikes, so he wanted to go to a bike shop here and see what it is like.  So we looked it up on google maps and decided to go to it.  We were hungry so we decided to try either the KFC or McDonald’s next to where the bike shop is supposed to be.  We went into the KFC, but the menu looked a little different so we decided to go to McDonalds instead.  After we ate at McDonalds, we went to find the bike shop.  According to google maps, we had to go down an alley between KFC and McDonalds, so we did.  There was a lot of vendors down there, and it was a cool atmosphere.  We walked all the way down the alley, and we did not see any like shop.  But we did find a restaurant called route 66.  So we went to look at it, and the owner came out and talked to us.  His name is Ben, and he is from Texas.  He told us about how he has been here before and he loves it here.  We stood there and talked to him for about 2 hrs.  When we final left, we went back to the dorm to go to bed and get ready for the next day.

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Day 9 & 10

Day 9 Monday July 3

Today we started week two of classes.  I was exhausted when I went to bed last night because of being awake for so long on Sunday.  So waking up was especially hard for me this morning.  But when I finally did wake up, I went to breakfast with Noah.  We went to the small restaurant on campus again.  Morning House has become one of my favorite restaurants ever.  I always get either the chicken sandwich with lettuce, thousand island sauce and and egg, or a burger with lettuce, thousand island sauce tomato and egg.  Food food also come with a hash brown, and a milk tea to drink.  The food is always amazing.

After breakfast we went to class, Noah and I were the first people in the room.  We were nervous that class was canceled and that nobody told us abut it.  Even the teachers wasn’t there.  But then people started showing up.  Chinese class is accelerating rather quickly.  We started learning food vocabulary.  She gave us a list of about 12 foods, ad we have to memorize them and work with flash cards.  I feel like I have the pronunciation down, but I cannot remember the names of the foods to say them.

After Chinese, we ate lunch, and then we had to head back to the room to get ready for the next activity.  We went and visited our first company.  The name of the company was called Jonnesway.  They make tools for manufacturers.

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The company was really cool.  The owner greeted us when we first got there, and took us to a conference room.  There were watched a video about the company, and learned what they do.  Then the owner said that we will take a tour, and come back and have a Q&A session with him.  We went to the first place, and the manager of that area came out and talked to us and gave a presentation of the tools.  He showed us all the different products that thy have, and what they are used for.  The owner walked with us and listened in to the presentation.  Then we went to the next section. In that section, we listened to the manager of that section start talking.  But by the time the tour was over, the owner was giving us the tour himself.  the managers would say their piece, and the the owner would start.  He was very passionate of his company, and we could all see it.  At every stop of the tour, we got a group picture, and before every picture, instead of saying cheese, we said Jonnesway!  After the tour, we went to the office, and in the back was the owners personal office.  He took us in there and we got to drink tea with him.  He showed us how to make tea, and one of the group even got to make the second round.  After that, we went back up to the conference room, and began asking questions.  He told us about the company, and how he tried to run it, and it was useful information.  After the questions and answers, we got one last picture, and he gave us his business card and a very nice pair of screw drivers.  Then we left.

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After we got back to dorm, I was still tired from the day before, so I stayed in the dorm for an early night and worked on my blogs.

Day 10 Tuesday July 4

I got a good nights sleep from the day before.  We got up, got some breakfast and went to class.  We added on some new vocab, and started putting them together.  Today’s vocab was countries and nationalities.  So we made flash cards and worked on that for the entire class.  After class, we had lunch again and waited for second class to begin.  I had forgotten that the last time we had this cultural class, he had assigned us homework for the next class, so I had to try and hurry up and finish that.

The homework from the last class was a curriculum vitae.  It is pretty much a fancy name for a cover letter for your resume.  I had never heard of it before.  I rushed and tried to write that as fast as I could, and then we started class.

Class was not as fun today, we sat and listened about some more history of China about how they lost their culture because of bad rulers, and kind of how it affected their economics and Taiwan.  It was still useful though.  I am not sure why, but that class feels a lot longer then the Chinese language class does.

After class, we decided that we anted to try and do something for July 4th.  We had asked our teacher to try and get some fireworks for us, and find a place where we could shoot them off at.  We decided that we would meet up at 7pm to light them off.  We were also starving, so we decided to order a pizza.  It was 5:45, and we ordered 4 large pizzas, one Hawaiian stuffed crust extra cheese, one Hawaiian regular crust extra cheese, one meat lover stuffed crust extra cheese, and one chicken stuffed crust extra cheese.  Altogether the pizza costed us $50.  And the pizza took until 6:50 to get to the college.  So we decided to split the pizza costs, and to try and eat really fast.  Then we ate and got ready, and went out to meet Greta our teacher.  It was raining.  So we talked to Greta and decided to try tomorrow and shoot off the fireworks.

So me and a couple of the other people on the trip decided to go the the store and look snacks.  Some two of the guys were searching for certain snacks, and me and two girls were not really feeling like staying out late, so we went back to the dorm and the two guys stayed out.  When I got back, I took a shower, got my stuff ready for school the next day, wrote some blog stuff, and went to bed.

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Today was definitely rough at the beginning. We got up and meet on the bus at 7:00 am. The ride itself was not horrible, it was more than multiple stops we had to make for our bus driver. Now normally this wouldn’t seem like such a bad thing. But the reason and the timing made all of us a little upset. After lunch, we went about an hour and he needed to stop. Then we didn’t even go 30 minutes and he needed to stop again. It was at this point that I realized why we had to stop so much. Our bus driver was a smoker. Every time we would stop he would smoke a cigarette. Or more precisely every time he would need to smoke we had to stop. Once we made Hualien it was a much better time though. We went to the beach for 30 minutes and just sat and skipped some rocks and took some pictures. For example the picture below of Mitch, Elena, and I was taken at the beach as you can probably guess. After the beach we went to where we are staying and let me tell you, it is nice! 10/10 would stay here again. Then we went out to dinner at an aboriginal restaurant that was pretty good. Not necessarily the food, although most of it was good. But the stuff they had in there and let you use and stuff and the hospitality was amazing. Then I had another first on this trip as we went to the Hualien Summer Festival which was a week long of concerts. My first concert! It was a good day overall but I could have done without a 9 hour bus ride.

Blog 2

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So today we left for our 4 day trip. We first headed to Kending Beach and went out in the water. I cut up my feet on the choral pretty bad. We ended up going out on inflatables being pulled by jet skis. the first two were good. and then all of us got on a banana boat and fell off right away. Then when we got everyone on, we lasted a little bit longer but some fell off. I was lucky enough to stay on. We got back on the bus and headed to where we are staying. Below is a picture of all of us minus me of course in our room. This was taken after we got back from the night market that is right outside our inn. We are just about to head out to walk on the beach. Then come back and play dome uno. I can’t wait to go to anther beach tomorrow! I will talk to you soon.

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Today was a pretty standard day, we had class and then after our mandarin class we had a free day. But this day was special, we decided to go launch some fireworks at 7:30pm so we left around 6:20 to get to our destination and our wonderful host Greta introduced us to her friends which owned a mattress and pillow company. We brought the fireworks to a park but it was sadly closed so Greta called her friends and they let us use their land to launch our fireworks. It was a great experience but it didn’t stop there, they offered to take us to their estate without having any time to prepare and welcomed us to their home like we were long time family friends. They offered us Taiwanese Beer, fresh fruit( dragon fruit and mango) and even went out to buy us dinner. They showed us the upmost respect and treated us like family. It makes me want to improve my hosting skills to be half as good as
they were. We stayed for over 2 hours eating and talking and had the time of our lives with people we didn’t even know. They even offered for us to come back next week to come to their festival and we graciously accepted. Their estate was beautiful and had a modern design. This was by far the best day I’ve had so far and look forward to meeting more nice people.

Written by Mitchell Staedt

 

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Today was an early start at 6:30 am so the rest of the guys could take a shower and get ready by 7am. Once we all met up in the lobby we all crammed into a small bus that seemed like it wouldn’t fit all of us. It was a 1-hour bus ride to get us to our first destination. It was Chung Tai Chan Monastery, it’s a currently practicing Buddhist temple/shrine. We took an hour tour of the Monastery and learned all the different types of buddhas they worship. Sadly, we weren’t allowed to take pictures anywhere in the monastery(even the gift shop!). The architecture and artwork was beautiful mostly made of Indian marble or other tough materials. Next stop we went to a theme park, it was mostly closed for one reason or another but a few of the rides were still open which were rode over and over again. The next place we went to was also in the park, it was a play! The play was different from anything
I’ve seen in the US they gave the views sake and threw out little gifts in the middle of the play. It was a very unique experience that is hard to describe but worth watching. The final destination was Sun Moon Lake which was more of a shopping district then a lake revolved around housing and estate sales. There were multiple vendors trying to sell us fresh honey from the bees they kept. The rest of the trip we were spent stuck in the rain on a boat, but it was very nice to get a cooling breeze that made the temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Overall, decent experience but I don’t think I’d go to sun moon lake again it feels more like a tourist trap then a fun trip.

-Written by Mitchell Staedt

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