We’ve had classes now for the last two weeks. Whilst I was nervous at first, full immersion classes aren’t as tricky as you’d think and it surprises you how much you know in a controlled environment like the classroom where the pace of conversation is much slower than real life.
I’m in the 8 am stream. My classmates are from all over the world, my desk mates are from Chile and Thailand, most of my classmates are from South America or Asia. It feels unusual and empowering to be able to break down language barriers with our shared second language. Learning alongside tri or quadlinguals has inspired me and often left me reflecting on where I am with the Mandarin and where I want to go. It feels more achievable now.
The highlight of this week has been my trip with my exchange partner, Craig, to the 花园夜市（garden night market), the biggest night market in Tainan. This was probably my most fun night in Taiwan yet.
- Eating 臭豆腐 (Stinky tofu) was definitely the most memorable experience of the night. The waft of this yeasty fermentation hits you from 10 to 15 metres away. Served with Kimchi and tomato sauce, it tastes almost bloody. For this vegetarian, the taste is reminiscent of meat. After the first few seconds, the smell comes back as an aftertaste. Still, it tastes pretty good, 7/10.
After that, we tried some other foods such as 地瓜球 (Dìguā qiú）and 滷味 (lǔwèi), sweet potato balls and braised tofu, both of which were delicious and would highly recommend. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to photograph them (my hands were too full with the food haha) but a quick google should show you a million results. We also played a few carnival games, my fave was the pinball machine below which was very nostalgic for my exchange partner.
This has been a fun but busy week, and I’m looking forward to what we might do this week. That’s all for this blog post but 圣诞节快乐-新年快乐！Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Fin / 沈立