Recently, I’ve found myself comparing Tainan to my hometown, Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland. It’s no question that Tainan is different from Tamaki Makaurau, with its boisterous traffic like a chaotic but orderly anthill, its buildings crouched over the footpath and its alleyways quiet, culturally rich enclaves. I’ve come to accept that comparing experiences is normal, having lived in the same place all my life, and I’ve come to find Tamaki Makaurau as a comforting frame of reference when I feel lost. However, I always contrast the cities as if examining butterflies under the microscope, both beautifully unique in their own ways, myself having been illuminated for experiencing both side by side. So here are two things vastly different between Tainan and Tamaki Makaurau, and one in common.
3. The commotion of the roads and the tranquillity of the alleyways. Stepping into the meticulously tiled alleys is like stepping into a recording studio. Sound from the street is dampened instantly, and I feel transported into a world where I live the slow life, strolling among lanterns and trinket shops.
2. The takeout! I devoured ten dumplings for $2.50NZD at dinner last night! With places like these, I can understand why student flats don’t usually come with kitchens. It’s not just convenience stores that sell affordable, delicious kai, but sit-down restaurants with the most patient service (as I practice my Chinese – experiential learning!). I’m only a little excited about the food here 🙂
1. One commonality between Tainan and Auckland is the timeliness of public transport. Plan to leave roughly an hour before your arrival; otherwise, you will be late. While Tamaki Makaurau is famous for delayed and cancelled buses, Tainan makes me feel at home! However, this is far from a negative. I’ve explored more intriguing neighbourhoods than I ever would have and become quite the connoisseur of the bubble tea stores around campus.