Yes I am counting the days. I started at day 212 and have watched the time just fly by. I’m counting because I am ready to be at home. Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying the heck out of Taiwan. It’s an overwhelming awesome experience and my days are so filled with so much vitality that I can barely find the words to express the experience. I write here about the highlights. I try to comment on the mundane activities that make life so different and so not home. Like yesterday. Not much to do in this corner of the country. This is a farming county, after all! So, friends and I decided to head up to Sandimen, home of the Ruki people. This is a very small town up in the mountains. The aboriginal people were forced into the mountains during the Japanese occupation and they have stayed there. Like native peoples in the US, they are discriminated against here as well. In the mountain towns, you can find authentic Taiwan: the clothing, jewelry, pottery and other craft items that were not influenced by the Chinese or Japanese. After a little light shopping, we decided to go up into the mountains. We couldn’t go too far up, however, because the land, its vegetation and wildlife, is protected. We chose to pull into the lookout point and…lookout! What an amazing vista!! Because we’re in the rainy season, the mountains are filled with clouds. The mist lingers in the folds and crevasses of the treelined peaks creating patterns and images rarely seen. Even rarer because I had not charged my camera the night before. Sounds of thunder annouced coming rains and it was so incredible that after one loud burst, you could witness the clouds rising. We had already seen one waterfall in the distance, but the thinning mist revealed two more not so far away. All of this, of course played out to the tunes of nature’s symphony of birds, insects and critters that filled the heavily forested area. Coming from flat, non-descript Indiana, I will miss being able to be in such an environment in less than 20 minutes.

What will I miss? Maybe this list, filled with is biting sarcasm as well as bits of honesty will explain it better.

I will miss walking everywhere. Everywhere. That is, unless I pay $5 US for a cab.

I will miss the delicious seasonal fruits that are sold throughout the country at very reasonable prices.

I’ll miss being able to travel to other cities so conveniently. I’ll miss the many discoveries I make everyday!

I’ll miss finding geckos on my walls at 3 am and I will so (NOT) miss having to not cook because the kitchen is just too disgusting for words.

I’ll miss Tainan, Kaohsiung and Taipei!

I’ll miss hearing the school loudspeaker at home during vacations. I already miss having Kris sending me emails from the apartment because she has heard the bell and she knows it is lunch time.

I will miss the wonderful variety of beverages in the 7/11. YES! I’ll miss 7/11.

I’ll miss affordable health care and cheap eye wear.

I’ll miss pizza with smoked duck and corn. I cannot lie and say I’ll miss squid on anything or tofu in everything.

Right now, I just miss home. “Be it ever so humble…”

37 more days!!!!!