Tag Archives: Buddhism

What Taiwan has Taught Me…

19 Dec

After an another amazing 4-month increment in my life I am leaving again…. With that being said here is a little list of funny times, quotes that stuck, mind opening experiences and things I learned while in Taiwan:

–       I have acquired a new rule to life: Any post-graduate education must be obtained where there is a beach within 1 kilometer. Why study in a library when you can study on a beach?

–       At NSYSU you can be witness to a dance battle, solo instrumental performance, full out orchestra rehearsal, martial arts, and various other dance styles from all over the world! So always have your camera handy.

–       It is perfectly fine to party the night before a midterm and a final exam when in Taiwan.

–       These are the best times of our lives, live for the moment, be sure to always love what you do and do what you love.

–       Fireworks are strangely popular in Kaohsiung; there is not a night on the weekend where you cannot hear some boom. You can’t always see them but you can hear them all the time!

–       If food smells funny, it most likely tastes funny too… sorry Taiwan, not a fan of your chòu dòufu (stinky tofu). However, I will be using Chinese spices and ginger in my cooking more back home!

–       Some of the funniest moments had were enjoyed at 5 am, helping ourselves to coffee mugs at Màidāngláo’s 😉 and convincing the taxi driver to turn up the radio as loud as it will go, to preferably the English station (if not we will make it work with Chinese).

–       Also, in regards to taxi’s in Taiwan there were only 2 times I thought I was going to die… other than that they were wonderful & most of the time would try and teach you some Chinese too!

–       …Tonight I will love love you tonight
 Give me everything tonight
 For all we know we might not get tomorrow
 Lets do it tonight… – Pitbull

–       It can be more fun to be dropped off at the tunnel and run to the dorms rather than having them drop you off at the door, right? (then we can get more drinks at Family Mart on the way home… but really, like we need anything more to drink)

–       Just because your dollar goes a long way in a different country, does not mean you are getting a good deal. Do not compare it to what you are paying in your dollar but what kind of deal you are getting locally, would a local be spending this much for this ________? If not, then it’s not a good deal.

–       It is always more fun when you are partying on a boat… oh and it is so much better when funneling beer out of a watering jug for plants.

–       When talking to someone from France you need to make it clear, did you say bitch or beach and are you hungry or are you angry? However, after being here for the semester with so many of you wonderful Frenchies… OF COURSE I can tell the difference!

–       ‘When life is hard, patience helps. When people are hard to figure out, honestly helps win intimate friends.’– The Everlasting Light: Dharma Thoughts of Master Hsing Yun

–       Champagne showers are the best type of shower, and even better when coming from Steve Aoki. Oh, and if you happen to catch the bottle after the shower, well then that’s just the sweetest cherry on top.

–       NSYSU needs to get a handle on the stray dog situation, I know it is difficult because there are soooo many of them, but it is so sad to see all of these dogs that are sick or hurt and still having more puppies. In the classic words of Bob Barker, “Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered.”

–       When planning a road trip in unchartered territory, always look somewhere for road conditions first, especially if there are mountains involved. Also, never start a journey into to the mountains with less then half a tank of guess, even if you don’t want to return the rental car with more gas then what was in it when you got it.

–       Every party needs a pre-party… especially where you play a good Canadian drinking game like Flip Cup or Moose 😀

–       Let people know that you appreciate them.

–       Hostels should always have VIP Lounges, leopard/zebra print EVERYTHING, and speakers to blast your pre-partying tunes.

–       Radiate positivity, show your zest for life, and do not be afraid to let it be known that you are an amazing person. Good people come into your life when you display your greatness for all to see.

–       After coming home from a party on at least 3 occasions with only one earring… it turns out I need to always wear earrings with really strong backs. (If someone who is still in St. Andrew’s could send me a new pair of sparkly purple earrings from the jewelry shop downtown that would be great!)

–       ‘The world is half good and half bad. Though the good half seems to be losing, it will win in the long run. Though evil seizes the initial advantage, it will fail in the end.’ – The Everlasting Light: Dharma Thoughts of Master Hsing Yun

–       How come Famiy Mart always gives you a discount at the register? You see a price as 20NT they scan it, hit some button and the price magically drops by a few NT. I have never understood why this happens the entire time I have been here but I like it.

–       Shit happens, and you may end up having the wrong VISA… so learn to deal with the hand you are dealt. I did not get to go to Vietnam, Singapore, Philippines, Hong Kong, etc… but I have to say I believe I have seen a LOT of Taiwan, and I enjoyed every single minute of it.

There was nothing I could do to control it and my amazing Uncle Walter passed away while I was here. In learning to deal with this while away from my family, I believe I have become a stronger person. Thank you to my dear friends who were so supportive to me in Kenting when I found out, you have no idea how much you did for me by simply being there for me to cry on your shoulder. For those who I was not able to be with back home during this time, on Boxing Day we will have many many many caesar’s and listen to Waltzing With Bears on repeat!

Amazing people can be found all over the world… they are what makes leaving Taiwan so incredibly hard. I keep saying that I wish I could have stayed for the full year, as I am not ready to go… but in perspective if I were to have stayed a year, it would have been just as hard (if not harder) then as it is now to say goodbye. People come into your life for different reasons: someone who gives good advice, someone to cheer you up when you are sad, someone to hold you at night, someone who loves to party just as much as you do, someone who can help you with your studies, the list goes on an on… I have to say that every single person I met while in Taiwan has left me with a different reason to remember them by.

Over the last few years I have been getting better at saying goodbye (Mum says it is a sign that I am getting older and more mature, blahh) but I really am struggling with all the goodbyes this time. I’m going to blame it on the magnitude of how many goodbyes there are.

If any of you are EVER in Canada please let me know, because I will happily tour you around and show you a good time! Do not be a stranger, keep in touch, add me on skype, write me postcards from all of your new adventures and someday (near or far) have a couch ready for me to crash on and come visit you!

In the great words of Dr. Seuss “Do not cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

Love Always




Day Trippin

12 Oct

Due to my recent VISA complications I will be making the most of the rest of my exchange right here on the beautiful island of Taiwan. I had come here thinking that I could change from a single entry to multiple entry VISA at any time… you can if you are staying for a year or if you go and re-apply in another country, like Hong Kong. So I could risk it, but I really don’t want to be stuck out of the country, so instead I will be embracing Taiwan with all it has to offer. Bye bye to the trips I had planned to Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Philippians. The great thing is that there is so much to see here in Taiwan, that it really isn’t a big of a deal at all.

Saturday: Foguangshan Buddhist Monastery – About 50 min out side of Kaohsiung City by bus, it is free and open to the public from 8 in the morning to 5 at night.

The Great Buddha Land

There are nuns and monks walking around to assist you and if you call in advance they will even give you a tour. This place is home to the Great Buddha Land where 480 miniature statues rest at the feet of a 36m Amitabha Buddha.  One of the very first things you can do is take a tour through the caves, which reminded me of ‘It’s a Small World’ ride at Disneyland, except full of the history of Buddhism. There was sooo much to see so it was worth the day for sure. A new section of the monastery is almost finished being built to house the shrine of the tooth of Buddha. In the new area that was opened also had a full restaurant where the people who also serve the Master of the monastery serve you. The food was all vegetarian, but I swear some of the tofu tasted exactly like chicken! At the end of the meal, you choose what you want to pay by donation, if you feel really happy and full show it in your donation. If I remember correctly I think my roommate has told me about a restaurant in Victoria, BC that is also vegetarian and you pay what you feel at the end of the meal as well. I will have to remember to check that out when I get home! All in all the day was wonderful, the hospitality of the nuns and monks was amazing, they are always portrayed as such happy people and that portrayal is 100% accurate.

Sunday: Lotus Pond – 10 min walk from Zouying Train Station in Kaohsiung it is free and open to the public 24/7.

Dragon and Tiger Pagoda

We arrived just before the sun set to find crowds of people gathered at the Lotus Pond for the Kaohsiung Folklore Festival.  We had seen pictures of the pond at night so we thought it would be a good time to go, however it was a bit rainy but we still managed to enjoy ourselves. The pond is surrounded with many temples and is dotted with Pagodas. Earlier in the day I was skyping with family back home for Canadian Thanksgiving and my cousin had asked if I had seen any coy fish, so I had to try and take some pictures for him but it was hard it the dark. His favorite is the white one with black spots and a red dot on the head. I will be sure to go back in the daytime to get some good pictures!

Monday: Taiwan’s 100th Birthday Fireworks in Lukang – 3 hour train ride from Kaohsiung City for about $20 CDN.

Fireworks way in the background…

In honor of the 100th Birthday of Taiwan there were 3 different celebrations in 3 different cities. Taipei, Thaichung, and Lukang were the cities featuring the celebration and at the last stop there was to be amazing fireworks. We arrived in the city with a few hours to spare and figured we would get a bite to eat and then find a good place to sit and watch. TURNS OUT, people had been staking their space since early morning and they were now bussing people to the fireworks destination where about 20,000 people would be watching. We were tight for time and knew that we could get to the fireworks, but did not think we would make it back for our train home. So we started to ask people if they thought we would be able to watch them from where we were. They thought it was only about 3 km away, so yes. We found a building that had stairs with access to the roof, jumped through a window and found a good ledge to sit on, watch and take pictures. The fireworks lasted 45 min long and were amazing, I wish I had a better camera so that I could share with you how magnificent they were.