Tag Archives: Exchange

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

Haley

 

Departures & Arrivals

1 Sep

Sooke Pot Holes

Over the past few weeks I have been saying my good byes, from New Brunswick to Victoria and friends/family scattered in between. I was fortunate enough to have my Dad visit me in Victoria right before I left to help get me and my stuff to the airport and send me away. In the days before hand we were total tourists, enjoyed island adventures to the Sooke Pot Holes and as well as China Beach on the Juan De Fuca Trail. Canada just ceases to amaze me, just look at the picture; made me sad to say goodbye but I have more to look forward to when I come home! See ya in 4 months Canada 😀

So tired & attractive, right?!

YAY I have arrived in Taiwan!!!! My forehead is glistening (aka. Dripping sweat) and I am hauling my luggage up to the second level of the third floor in the International Residence building. It is dark out, smells like a jungle, and I am exhausted. All I want to do is crash in a big soft bed, not going to happen.

I am now almost settled in my room in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. I knew arriving here that the room would be furnished, but have no mattress or pillow and I arrived late in the evening, so there was no way for me to get them last night. My sleeping arrangement last night was my blanket made into a pillow, my mattress cover under me and my top sheet sprawled around me as it was way too hot and sticky to even bother. Woke up once, woke up twice, woke up way too many times… but I knew from my trip to Australia that the best way to beat jet-leg was to get up early and get busy, so by 7:30 AM I had enough of tossing and turning and felt it was time to get on with my day.

Items that I was determined to find by the end of today:

–       mattress or something that resembled one

–       pillow

–       how the hell to turn on the AC in my room (the remote is in Mandarin)

–       if I am feeling hungry, maybe a bite to eat

–       internet cord

–       cell phone (not in a hurry to get one, but will need eventually)

Made my way with a spring in my step to cross all of these items off my list. The spring in my step mainly coming from the fact that the residence building is on the top of Shou Mountain and the National Sun Yat-Sen University (NSYSU) campus is on the bottom (not particularly fun walking back up in +32 sticky/sweatyness, but I will learn to deal with it, mainly because we have beautiful views of Hsitzewan Beach as you can see in the picture).

View from my floor!

First I found a Family Mart (convenience store), International Exchange Office where they told me how to get an internet cord, and upon returning to residence a friend who could speak Mandarin and help me to get a mattress, translate my remote so I can get my AC turned on, and directions to a store where I can get a pillow! Life is good 🙂

With my new friend and map in hand we made our way to find a store that I only had the Chinese name of and no idea where it was. She had heard of if but turns out she does not have a very good sense of direction. So we found someone who could give us directions in Mandarin, she would translate to English, and I would get us there. After this outing we have decided that I am going to teach her how to get around campus and she is going to help me learn Mandarin!

The Mandarin instructions I had taken down, surprisingly people could actually read it!

I basically was able to get everything that I needed, except a cell phone, but that can wait. I have pictures up and my dorm is starting to feel like home. I currently have no room mate, but over the next week they may be moving in. Here are some pictures of my room, and yes I can see the water from my window!

Desk area 🙂

My bed last night 😦

My bed after today 🙂

 

Here Goes Nothing!

20 Apr

Recently I have realized that for the last few years I have basically been living my life in 4-Month Increments. And the way my life is currently playing out, that is going to carry on for the next couple years. Before I get started on the present I think I need to fill you in on the past…

From September 2008 – December 2008 I was at school in Calgary, where I originally planned to stay put for the next two years (in the back of my mind I did know that an exchange to Australia could be possible, but never in a million years did I even think it would happen).

Brighton Beach Houses, Melbourne Australia

Well January of 2010 I was off on my first 4-Month Adventure with the Global Exchange Network (GEN). “To where?” you ask… AUSTRALIA! Other than a few trips to Mexico and the United States with school the family it was my first worldwide adventure alone. I have to thank Australia for doing a few things for me:

  1. Biting me with the travel bug (It stung me very hard, and if I hadn’t signed a contract to come back to school in Calgary I most likely never would have),
  2. Giving me a great appreciation for WINE (during my time there I participated in a 4 month Wine Studies course & did in as much wine tasting/drinking as possible), and finally
  3. Allowing me to realize that you can be 18 hours away from those who mean the most to you & things may go incredibly wrong, but there will always be a support system surrounding you (the Australian people and exchange partner were wonderful)

Upon returning from my exchange I had one year left at school, but knew that I wasn’t really ready to be done yet. I met amazing people the summer before school started in September 2009, specifically during my volunteering at the World Skills Calgary competition. That experience and those people I met inspired me to become more involved, to the point where I began training for competing with the SAIT Skills Team in 2010, and try for my spot on the 2011 Canadian National team who will be going to London, England this October.

September 2009 to December 2009, I was at school in Calgary, nothing to exciting here so we will just fast-forward…

Table Dressing at Skills Alberta Provincials

January 2010 to May 1010 was when I was now officially training to compete in my very first skills competition for the SAIT Restaurant Services team. Long story short, I won Gold at Provincials in Edmonton and then was off with the Skills Alberta team to Nationals in Waterloo. Here I competed in the two days of intense competition, hoping that I would be on the podium & receiving a spot with the Skills Canada Team. Sad story, I finished 5th. So that adventure was over & I was on to the next one.

However I learned lots about myself during the Skills experience. I learned that I could compete very well as an individual under extremely high amounts of pressure (prior to this, I had only ever competed in teams). A very hard pill to swallow was the fact that I lost; I really thought I was at least going be on the podium. I quickly learned to realize that winning isn’t always everything (even though Charlie Sheen seems to think so). Similar to Australia, I also found out how great it is to have a strong support system surrounding me, and I tip my hat to the SAIT Skills Team, Team Alberta, and my friends & family for being so supportive.

Quick fast-forward to the end of the summer in 2010 where I picked up and moved from Calgary to Victoria where I planned to spend the next two years (also in the back of my head knowing that another exchange was possible, and thinking it was never going to happen).

September 2010 to April 2011 I arrived in Victoria with way too much stuff (Australia definitely didn’t teach me how to pack). Little did I know that this next year was going to be unreal. A few pretty awesome things include:

  • Beyond Pink, YWib Conference in Vancouver
  • Halloween Weekend (dressed up as Jessie from Toy Story with a Buzz & Woody, four nights in a row & we won Canucks tickets the last night)
  • One of my bestest friends from back home came to Victoria for a weekend, so I got to show her around the sights & take her out on the town
  • Had a shopping/sight-seeing adventure to Seattle (the fish were not flying however, so I will have to go back someday)
  • Got to show my Mum & Sister around Victoria

    Hole 12 at the Fairmont Algonquin Golf Course

  • Epic trip to Cancun for Spring Break with an amazing group of girls from Calgary & met an amazing group of guys from Edmonton
  • Found out I was accepted to go on exchange, AGAIN! (Where I’m going is a surprise for now)
  • Found out I was accepted to be apart of the HR JDC West Team for 2012
  • Lasted through my toughest year of school yet
  • Landed a summer co-op job at the Fairmont Algonquin in St. Andrews, New Brunswick
  • Went to Tofino to celebrate the end of the year in the most outrageous way possible with all of the wonderful friends I had met in Victoria

That basically brings us to now. I am sitting in my residence room and have decided that I will have enough time this summer to write a blog. These next 4-months will be spent on the beautiful Canadian east coast, where I will be slowly but surely become an honorary Maritimer. The quaint town of 1800 residents will grow to about 3000 over the summer months with the peak being in July. There is a dollar store, hardware store, drug store, liquor store, a bank, and a few shops/restaurants. I couldn’t even buy a pillow for my room! I am sure this adventure will be filled with fun times, new experiences, and many laughs.

Cheers to the next 4-months & please forgive me as I am still learning this whole blogging business… here goes nothing!