Sunday, October 31, 2010


When you do one thing, another thing has to give a little bit.

Lately I've been into going solo. I've always been the type of person who prefers a small group over a large group of friends. Of course, I don't say no to new friends. And even with me preferring a small group, that doesn't mean I can't enjoy being in a larger group. No, I enjoy it. I understand it. I like it. I just like smaller groups with closer people more. I like not feeling any pressure and knowing exactly what's going on with things. I like knowing everyone's opinion is heard clearly. I'm also the kind of person who likes to be alone sometimes. I need time to recharge and think. I need time to do nothing. I need to be able to wake up on a saturday at 12 pm and spend the whole day in my PJ's watching movies and eating junk food. That's healthy.

Anyway, when I first got here I wanted to meet everyone and try everything. I was willing to spend money to learn about this new place and the new people in my life. I went out almost everyday of the week. Sometimes I went out to two or three parties in one day. And that's just with the exchange students. I also went out, at least twice a week with Taiwanese schoolmates. ...Some people had also been comparing me to last years exchange students telling me about how great they were for seeing every part of Taiwan and going out of the house all the time. So not only did I genuinely want to go out and see Taiwan and meet my new friends, but I also felt pressure to please the people around me and give them what they expected.

But you can't live your life in someone else's movie; it'll drive you crazy.

I had fun, truly going out and seeing people so much. And I'm not giving that up. No way. But I'm slowing it down. I'm not  here to eat dumplings and drink with exchange students. I'm not. I'm here to learn something, finish applying to college, and rest before I start my journey into the "real world." Before, I never had time to study chinese, and I never had time to work on school applications, and I never had time to go out and run simple errands.

The simple fact of the matter is that I am a strong person. I know what I want to do with my life. I have known for years. I have strong relationships in my life I feel completely safe in. Whereas some other exchange students might feel they "must" have a bond with some people around them and so they force it. And this isn't all exchange students, no, I see many that have built real bonds with people around them. Just some seem to feel this pressure to go out all the time and always be with someone, always be doing something. Whatever. I don't feed into that. I would love to have someone here who even came close to my friendships back home, and there actually are a couple who come to mind. But I also feel, friendship should be natural, not just, 'Hey we're stuck in the same place and happen to speak the same language; you're my new bestie.'

I hope you can understand. I am in no way separating myself or saying no to friendship. Nope. I'm just cutting the bullshit. I have plans and goals and I will stick to them. That's why I'm here. A couple years ago my plan was to go abroad and because I didn't get distracted from that plan, here I am. My goals for this year is to take in as much of the culture as I can, learn as much Chinese as a can, learn as much Japanese as I can, apply to college in an organised and unstressful manner, spend money wisely for long term investments, and change my thinking while keeping everything that makes me who I am.

I often get told I need to be open to the Taiwanese culture. Every time I hear it I get really angry. Not because I don't want to be open with the Taiwanese culture, but because I already am. Do you want an example? Okay, this is a good one. I go to a culinary high school here. They asked me if I wanted to work in their school bakery shop. There is no pay and it's real work. You don't even get to eat free usually. My first impulse was American, "Um no way, why would I work serving others if I'm not getting anything?" It had ticked me off that they had acted like they were doing  me some great favor by asking me if I wanted to work without any pay. "Did they think I would jump for joy and thank them for giving me a no pay job?" Those were my American impulses (no way, I didn't really say that). I pride myself on not having many of these moments, however they do surprise me sometimes. That impulse lasted about 1 minute before I put a smile on my face and agreed to try it out. They had seemed so happy about it and although I was unsure about it, what was wrong with doing free labor? It's not like I had anything better to do. The next week I went, I reminded myself that things often end up being worth much more than they seem. Long story short, it's my favorite part of the week. I love it. But, I could have said no way, and never tried it out; or I could have gone and decided I wasn't really going to try because of my preconceived expectations of the notion. But I didn't do that. I lowered my guard and said to myself that I didn't know everything and should give everything a chance. This doesn't make me some super human. But I would really like it if everyone didn't try to belittle and instruct me on things I am already doing.

I've been doing a lot of reading lately. Self improvement is always good and I know I wont have time to read next year. I want to learn so many things.

Anyway, my main point is that I will not feel guilty for only going out with friends once a week. I see them monday to friday anyway. Chinese classes twice a week, school everyday; I get around. And it's not like I'm moping. I go to the library, I go to 7/11, I go to the gym to workout. I am living healthy and balanced. I'm not going to feel guilty over that. I refuse. I will ALWAYS trust my own judgment. Because no one will ever take care of you better than yourself. Expect maybe David taking care of me. He does that well. But my point still holds true mainly.

When you go to another country, sometimes you will feel like you are losing yourself. It's one thing to change naturally and healthily, and a different thing to give up who you are for approval. Don't ever let it be the latter. Be open, yes; that's key. But also don't be afraid of being who you are.

I have to go now. School time.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sometimes you don't expect something


Today is a Halloween Party and I'm totally skipping out on it. Why? It's kind of a waste of money. And time. While it would be fun; I have no doubts about that, it's just that it could be better. Like if I actually had a super close friend going, or a costume,  or money to waste, or no essays to write.

So I get on a bus, I think it's going to be a great ride to my university's library. Almost no one is on the bus. And I'm in a okay mood. And I'm really happy with that. And so I take out my journal to start writing about how I feel about a recent incident. And my reasons for how I feel. And drafting college essays. Etc.

This man wants to sit next to me. That's a little annoying. I would have liked to have two seats, but it's pretty whatever; I don't mind having someone sit next to me. It was also just a little annoying that he was a male. Usually, I only like women to sit next to me on the bus. Just a safety thing, it's not necessary, just personal preference. But he seemed nice so I didn't give him a dirty look. He did the usual Taiwanese "xie xie" when I moved out of his way to help him sit down. And he even said "thank you" after. Taiwanese people always think I don't understand simple things. But it was nice of him. I thought it was nice he was trying his best to speak English to me. So I went to ignoring him and continued on with my journal. I was writing a total bitch entry. I'm not going to lie. I'm really disgusted with someone I know. And I was writing all about it. I didn't attempt to hide this entry at all. Because it was in English. Five minutes later, he talks to me in fluent english, asking me if I'm writing out homework. I'm still not sure how much english he knows, so I give him a simple "yes." We spend the next hour talking. He lived in America for like 2 years, and with the Americans in Africa for like 18 years. His english is perfect. He worked for the American government. It was kind of a FML moment. But kind of not.

I learned a lot about him, he learned a little about me. It wasn't bad. I was completely shocked. He has the best english I've heard since I got here. Better than the "english teachers" here, better than all the Rotary Club people. It just goes to show you, there are exceptions everywhere. People can and will shock you. I like him. He was fun. He totally made me realize I've started to think I'm the only exception. People are always shocked I'm here at all. They are completely shocked when they find out I speak Japanese. An American girl who speaks Japanese and is learning Chinese. It's almost too much for them. But there are those of us like this in every country. It's good. It's fun. I met someone a lot like me today.

Edit From Several Years Later:
I had an issue with how my host mother was treating her live-in maid around this time. I wrote about it never naming names or what was actually done. But I have since removed the writing about that. I will say the extent of the backlash I was exposed to as a result of this post is something that remains unacceptable to me. But I admit I could have gone about this a little differently at the time. I was 18 years old though.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Small update

So I didn't bomb my SATs. I actually did okay.

Right now I am at Peggy's workplace. Anyway, I asked Peggy her birthday today. It's in the winter. Ah, I've noticed I always get on with people born in the winter. Peggy is so nice and generous and considerate.

She amazes me. She's this nice and gentle Taiwanese women. The small details don't escape her at all. Yet, she's a powerful and successful business women. I think she's a rare kind of person. Not just for Taiwan, but for any country. It's hard to find people like her.

I got told I look like a middle school student today. Um, I should be a college student right now...

The college stuff is going well. I still have no time though.

I had another rotary meeting today. The food looks good. This is how it normally works:

I get there 10 minutes before it starts to study for my speech. Which I must give in Chinese every time.
Then all the people come in. The brave ones will talk to me. There aren't too many. But after the braves go away, some nice ones will usually come. This isn't to say the brave ones aren't nice. Then they talk to me in Chinese and realize I can't speak Chinese too well.

Then we eat. Today Peggy was there and she translated what was worth translating. It was helpful. But in the first five minutes of eating, I'm called up, in Chinese, to go give my speech.

I usually look around in a confusion for a couple seconds wondering why everyone is looking at me, then I understand they called me up. So I rush up there and forget everything I practiced. And I look at them. Then I take out my paper and start to read forgetting the tones and what I'm even talking about. Then I finish and collect my money. I have to take a picture while receiving my money.
Then I go back to my seat. And I finish eating and wait about two hours. It's not bad, honestly. And it got even better this time because Peggy was with me.

I always hear my exchange friends talking about how when they go to their clubs, it's like a drunken meeting of laughs. But my club keeps it classy. You know me. XD Zack, I wrote this sentence for you. Actually, like the last three sentences are for you.

On with my day, the rotary meeting stuff is over with. Oh, wait. I forgot to tell you something. So like last month I bought and wrote out a thank you note to the Yungfu leader. But I forgot it today! So I had to go buy another one and rewrite it. But I'd just like to share that with you. I feel it was really an adult thing for me to do. I write thank you notes now. I always knew I'd be that type of person. Four years ago me, wouldn't have done this. I feel like I'm growing! It's stupid to write this. But it's my blog. I can write what I feel. And maybe it's not stupid. It's just weird to admit to feeling this way about it. XD

So then Peggy and I had a talk about the shoes Kai Ping says I have to buy. She's going to cover it and she even told me what bus to take to the nightmarket. We had this talk in the taxi on the way to her job. She then gave me a tour. She then let me do what I wanted to do while she went to her meeting. I would go on. But that's where I am in real life. I'm going to stay here until 6:30 and go home with her.

Okay, this post wasn't my best. But it's something. I hope you got something out of it.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hello Everyone

Just another dreaded update post.

So right now I am applying for college. American colleges. While I'm in Taiwan. It's really hard. What makes it harder is my one hour a day computer time limit. And how busy I am with everything else. I just wanted to let you know I'm not going to be able to post for awhile. I have tons of content, but I will have to wait to upload it.

Right now getting into college is the most important thing and learning Chinese is second. My blog is third. So once the college stuff ends I'll have time for you again.

As you know I am very limited in computer time, therefore whenever I am online I am planning to do stuff in Taiwan with my friends in Taiwan, or working on my college appilcations. It sucks. I don't have time to just chill on the computer. So I wanted to say it's not that my blog comes last, because it doesn't; it's just that I don't have ANY time. I don't go on youtube, I don't read other blogs, I don't read stories or watch dramas anymore. I used to love those things. But I simply don't have time.

I hope you all understand and will bear with this.

Wish me luck on getting into college while in another country. XD

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Derrick's birthday, Ximending, KTV and Pizza!

When you're an exchange student in Taiwan, pizza becomes your bestfriend. I didn't even really like pizza too much in America, but I love it here. Anyway, on with the post.

Yesterday was my friend's birthday! We threw a surprise party at MTV! What is MTV? It's a room you rent to watch movies with your friends. That's right, a private movie room. Sound expensive? It was $4 USD per person. And the includes a drink. You pick the movie. It's pretty cool. It's a popular sex place I hear.
Anyway, we had like 20 people there, so there wasn't really a chance of anyone having sex.

It was fun, I left early because I didn't feel like getting home at 12 am.

I brought my classmate with me, Ya Yuan. Her and I had dinner and then we went home.


This is my last test. I did really well. Look at it. Looks so scary.

"egg rolls with chocolate filling" I wanted to try it. It was good. I wouldn't call in an egg roll though. Not at all.

I bought this. I liked it. Just sharing. XD I would hate to get tan.

Ya Yuan is so cute

My classmates are teaching me stuff

They're so cute

This is the KTV room

Yeah, I know my pictures suck

Sorry. But at least I took pictures.

This was outside of the MTV.

Ya Yuan and I eating

This was mine

A picture Mickey, Ya Yuan, and I drew. We're 4 years old. I'm really growing down here. Not up. Just down.

This was the pizza place

This is the name.
If you see this place, go there, they're pretty cheap.

Drink bar. Free drinks, DIY style.

This is Ximending



I heart Japan

Welcome. Please give us your money.

This is my new friend. She bought me this really good coffee.

I love her for this

Can anyone tell me what this says? 

Derrick is really a good friend. I hope he had a great day.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Today! Pool and Korean BBQ

Today I planned on staying home and studying. But it ended up being a REALLY fun day. That's good and bad for me. XD

First Peggy took my to the pool! The pools in Taiwan are serious business. They are amazing.

It's not just a pool, they have all this other cool stuff too.
And they have herbal hot tubs. The yellow one and purple one are herbal.

And Peggy is so nice, she gave me a bag and this care package of stuff to bring to the pool. She even included snacks and a comb!

And then we went for Korean BBQ. It was amazingly good. I love eating meat. I also love the Taiwanese style of getting tons of food to choose from. There was this seafood cake. It was pretty perfect. I don't think I have pictures of it though.

This was the resturant

The stove on the table- do it yourself style- is very popular in Asia. I wish it would catch on in USA.

Meat on top, soup and veggies on bottom. The juice from the meat goes into the broth. It's really good.

They gave us tons of meat to cook. And other stuff. It's all already prepaired. When you cook meat, you should wrap it with lettuce and then eat it. It's Korean style. It tastes really good that way.   

At first I wasn't going to upload these pictures right now, but, I'm in a good mood. I really have been liking my blog lately. So let's do it now! Let's just go for it. Why not?

I did like three posts today. Wow. But, to be honest, I wrote the dumpling one yesterday. I just added pictures today.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A school day

So I went to school after chinese class and lunch.

I started my school day by hunting down Shoheikun.

He was trying to look serious.

Then since I don't have a uniform yet, the school dressed me up in this:
GREAT. Another fashion statement.

Then this kid went to sleep

Then they gave me this huge knife. XD

They wanted me the cut a carrot into perfect squares. The chief showed me how, but he wasted half the carrot. I'm not going to waste food to have the most perfect looking carrots. It wont make them taste better, if wont make them healthier, and no one will even care. It's wasteful. So I did it my way.

These are my results.

These are the chief's results.

You can see his look better. 

Then we spent 1,000 hours cleaning.

Oh, and here is a VERY cute picture of my school mates.

They both have the uniform, not sure why I don't have mine yet.

Making Dumplings!

I just learned how to make dumplings at home! It was really cool. I hope we have all these skins at home. I think if you have the skin, then making them is not so hard.

Ground beef

Just use a little

Fold towards you, and wet the left corner

Fold towards you again

Pull the two corners up and make them cross.

Kind of mush them together.

We made a bunch

They made the dumplings in soup.

This I'm throwing in for my little brother. Mom, show him. I took this picture just for him.