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5 countries in two days.

Typhoon.

Diverted plane.

A stay at the nicest hotel in Taiwan. Just as an example, they were kind enough to pack a breakfast for me because they knew I was heading to the airport early. How nice is that?!

People keep asking me about the flooding in Taiwan, but I was in transit when the flooding happened. I’ve spoken to my friends in Pingtung and they were not affected by it.

I suppose if I got into poetry I could arrange that into a clever little piece to close out my year, but I don’t! Besides, I’m finding that vestiges of Taiwan appear in my memory constantly. I drive through the streets and wonder where all the people are! I’m relieved to see that people do stop ar red lights and there are no left turns on red. The biggest adjustment? Fitting back into this time zone. I mean, waking up at 5 am to do a blog post is not my style. I’ve come back during the summer sale season and have found bargains instead of high prices. The price of gas has double since I left. WalMart has built a new store within walking distance of my home. My sister tells me of the numerous calls her agency receives from parents who want someone to take their children because they cannot afford to feed them. There is still no bus system in this city to speak of, yet We have a massive new airport about to open and commuter transport lines from Fishers to the city. I’ve heard Chinese in Meiers. Still didn’t understand a word of it, but it took me to a place I’m calling home.

I do plan to come back and post my Top Ten list. If you have any questions related to Taiwan, go ahead and post them and I’ll post your answer here.

WHEN does IPS begin?? LOL

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I’m almost home!!!  I’ll leave on Friday and I’ll be home on Friday.  The International dateline thing is corny. but cool!

I am in Taiwan, though.

Michael Buble was in my ear today.

Another airplane
Another sunny place
I’m lucky I know
But I wanna go home
Mmmm, I’ve got to go home

China was great. No, it wasn’t a tourist destination. It was work; good work that I really enjoyed. Guess I’m just weird like that! When last I saw the students, they were on the way to Beijing in hope of getting their visas to the US, in hopes of convincing the right people that this is a one year, one shot deal and they’ll be returning to China. Some do still need placements in the US, so let me know if you’re interested!

So sorry to say I will leave China with the image of the air nestled strongly in my lungs. It began quite clear because it has been raining, but everyday I was there, the air got dustier and dirtier. I could see, smell and feel the particulates as they traveled my nasal passages. Not a good feeling at all. In China, I felt the newness of being in an unfamiliar place, but I actually found myself smiling about going back to dirty ol’ Taiwan. I don’t know the language, but I can maneuver and I can do a bit of communicating.


Maybe surrounded by
A million people I
Still feel all alone
I just wanna go home

Coming home…yeah, I think of Taiwan as home!!…was an interesting trip; an exercise in character development! Did you know there’s a typhoon sitting on the southern shores of Taiwan? Because of the typhoon, I couldn’t land in Kaoshiung (where I left a suitcase!!) and landed in Taoyoun instead. We sat in the plane for an hour because someone thought the typhoon would clear up and we would be able to land. I’m hoping it will clear away tomorrow morning when it’s time to head to the US!

It kinda flustered me that an airline company could do nothing to help me get my suitcase from Kaohsiung to Taipei overnight. But such is where I am. It amazed me that students in China were able to think critically and creatively much more so than those I worked with in Taiwan. Shouldn’t those in a democracy be better prepared to find, analyze, assess and evaluate information? Well, I’ve got great friends taking care of the suitcase for me, so life goes on. Thanks, Fulin and Riz!!!!

And thanks, Evan James for handling that post the other day!

And I feel just like I’m living someone else’s life
It’s like I just stepped outside
When everything was going right

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!!!!!

I got my going home date and I’m making my plans! It will be soooooooooo wonderful to be back in my little Honda Civic, not having to walk, walk, walk, walk, walk!!!! There is a new method of transport in Kauhsoing as the MRT has finally opened, but readers know I haven’t made it there in ages! Rides are free for the first month and pricing after that has not yet been determined.

119 days left and miles to go before I sleep!

In August, 2007 I will be leaving Indianapolis with my daughter, Kristen, to live and work in the Republic of China (Taiwan). This will be my fiftieth year on this planet and my first year living in another country. This blog will let you join us on the adventure!
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Chikky Soup Meets Stinky Tofu by Edi Campbell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
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Taipei

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