Chapter Two: Dorm Life, Uni Life, Shopping Life

After being used to single rooms, living in a dorm with someone else has been a new experience. I am grateful to have a great roommate (shout out to Tessa), and so far so good! The first good thing about moving into the school dorms was finally being able to wash clothes, especially because it was getting cold and I wanted (needed) my hoodie that was still airplane dirty. After moving into the dorm, heading to class turned into a just over 10min walk, which is easy compared to the hill I always had to climb in Auckland to get to classes (Carlaw fam, you know what I’m talking about).


8am classes are a struggle, and it’s too early for me to find the motivation to get up and have breakfast. Hence, once class ends at 10am, I am always super keen for food. There are quite a number of food places close by. I am also loving the fruit options and variety! For the first time, I had wax apple (蓮霧), papaya, and some other fruit I haven’t quite 100% identified.  Taiwan also has custard apple and atemoya (鳳梨釋迦), which is something I have yet to try, but am definitely wanting to. Unfortunately, it isn’t mango season :((. Tainan produces the most mangoes in Taiwan, but currently it is winter (off-season). Being one of my favourite fruits ever, I am quite sad. On the plus side, it is strawberry season, just like in NZ. I also got to have yellow watermelon, another favourite! I will just have to leave mango till the next time I’m here, whenever that may be.

We also got the opportunity to go on a half-day trip to Anping with other CLC students, visiting places such as the Anping Tree House and Anping Old Fort. As I mentioned before, Tainan is brimming with history, and it was nice to be able to see some of the well-known historical places. Another place I recommend is Shennong Street (神農街), which is a historical street dating back to the Qing Dynasty, lined with beautiful lights and historical shops and homes.

In terms of shopping, a unique store is Hayashi Department Store (林百貨), which was originally built and opened during Japanese rule, hence the name. Not only is the architecture of the building stunning, the items sold inside were all really high quality, pretty pieces, many of which were reflective of the culture. The first floor sold Taiwan pastries, and you could go all the way up to the roof, which was decorated for Christmas. If anyone gets the chance to go to Tainan, definitely a store worth visiting. I also enjoy walking around the streets and seeing what small shops there are! The only thing is when shopping, I always have my phone out to convert prices to NZD. While the quick method is just to divide any price in Taiwan dollars by 20, sometimes my brain is a bit delayed, which has resulted in the currency converter becoming my new shopping buddy!

Update on classes:

Topic two of class is on Genetically modified (GM) foods, which is a topic I had never previously thought about. But it is so much fun to look into! I got to research purple tomatoes and participate in a debate (in Chinese!) from the side of supporting GM foods.

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