Kia ora friends and whānau,
I have just completed my first week in Taiwan! While the books and locals may tell you that Tainan is a city of retirement due to its slow-paced and food-oriented culture, compared to New Zealand, it feels like a city of the hustle and bustle! In contrast to home, things move quite quickly here. Never in a city have I been more afraid to cross the road or use a pedestrian crossing!
Tainan, being a city of the South, has excellent kaimoana. My first night out consisted of a seafood soup with udon noodles, prawns, squid and clams– all those yummy things that make the pupils dilate and mouth drool uncontrollably! Quite frankly, all my meals have been delicious! I have been spoilt with beef noodle soup (牛肉面), fried rice (炒饭), Xiao Long Bao (小笼包), and thankfully, no food poisoning! Night markets are a must-visit location if you are looking for some awesome Taiwanese street food. And what makes it even better is that it is all incredibly affordable!
Learning to recognise, write and translate traditional Chinese characters here has been the most challenging part of the trip thus far. This is because, in New Zealand, we are taught simplified Chinese characters. While some characters are the same or share similarities, many are very different. For example, the word “suì”, which means “age,” is written as “岁” in the simplified form but “歲” in the traditional form.
If I could sum up this trip in two words so far, it would be “sensory overload”. There is so much to do, see and experience. New flavours, language and customs. And I just feel so lucky to have been given the opportunity to improve my language skills in an immersive environment. I can’t wait to see where this trip will take me.
Until next time (because I must go study!),
Laura 劳拉 🙂