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November 14, 2016

My life will be vastly different in four days. Soon I will be dropped off at the airport to begin my twenty-hour-journey to Taiwan. I should arrive in Taipei in the late hours of November 18. Unexpectedly, I'm humbled by the adventure I'm about to embark on. I know the basics of Mandarin and I'll likely rely on Google maps for much of my exploring. It will also take some time to adjust to the new food and dishes there. Perhaps the biggest adjustment of all will be the sudden void in my social life. I only have a few friends where I'm going....

November 1, 2016

In a few weeks, I will be boarding a plane to Taiwan to teach English. It seems surreal that the moment is almost upon me now. I feel blessed to finally have this opportunity and achieve some contentment in my life. As a bonus, I will escape the winter before it descends on Michigan in its merciless, devastating fury. 

That is not to say I won't miss aspects of life here. I will miss my friends, family, the forest path that winds through my neighborhood, and the comforts of home. 2016 has been a year of emotional and spiritual growth for...

February 12, 2016

As my first week in Taiwan came to a close, I decided to soak up the famous Beitou hot springs. Beitou intrigued me since I first read about it in my guide book. Upon departing from the MRT station, I followed the stream that cut through the town. I walked past a number of public hot springs where people were bathing. It is a truly peaceful experience to follow the burbling stream and marvel at the clear waters below. Sadly, most of my photos were lost on my phone so I only have a few to share. I wandered to the Beitou Thermal Valley, otherwise k...

January 18, 2016

On a Thursday morning, I decided I would check out the iconic Taipei 101 in Xinyi District. Once considered the tallest skyscraper in the world, it stands at 101 stories. It contains shopping malls, expensive boutiques, businesses, restaurants, a tuned mass damper, and an observatory deck. Before I hurried off to the MRT, I looked up some nearby attractions and Elephant Mountain Hiking Trail piqued my interest. 

My venture to Taipei 101 was a bit confusing at first. I read about a number of restaurants at Taipei 101 and decided...

January 7, 2016

The Lin Family Mansion and Gardens was high on my list of spots to visit. I had seen a few pictures of the gardens in my guidebook and it absolutely enchanted me. Nestled in the Banqiao District, it is tucked away past some winding streets lined with vendors selling jewelry and fruits. People on scooters are constantly parting the crowd and sometimes driving on the sidewalk.

There seems to be an "anything goes" mentality about traffic, especially the scooters. I got used to it after a while and simply made sure I gave them a wide berth. Still...

January 1, 2016

It has been ages since I went to a zoo, but Taipei Zoo was among the tourist attractions in the city. I was especially interested to see animals native to Taiwan. 

My journey there was met with light rain but it quickly subsided while I was scrounging about for a map. I was thrilled to see how many exhibits and areas were included in the zoo. There was a section for Asian tropical rainforests, deserts, Australian outback, and a temperate zone.

One thing I have noticed about Taiwan is how plentiful the foliage and trees are there. Wherever you walk...

December 27, 2015

After attaining a cell phone with Internet and using the MRT for the first time, I was scheduled to meet my penpal, Abbie, for our trip to the National Palace Museum and Tamsui. As a bonus, we were going to Shilin Night Market later.

I was looking forward to having a guide to accompany me on my travels because I was still unaccustomed to the transportation, food, and whereabouts. I had no idea which MRT lines went where and how the bus routes worked. Luckily, I was not alone that day.

After grabbing sandwiches at a popular breakfast shop, Abbi...

December 24, 2015

Only a few days ago did I return from my journey to Taiwan. It has left an impression on my soul that I am still trying to understand. There is such rich beauty everywhere I look, whether I am ascending a mountain trail, strolling through Taipei at night, or meandering through a park bedizened with statues and memorials. 

I only stayed there for two weeks but I feel as though I have left a part of myself there. My journey took me to night markets, Tamsui, the Lin Gardens, Beitou hot springs, Elephant Mountain, Yangmingshan, aboriginal villages, an...

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