Chapter Four: Welcome 2023

(Being busy has resulted all my posts being belated, but we will pretend this was posted two weeks earlier)

It is crazy to think how fast 2022 has gone by, especially as it has officially been my last year at the University of Auckland! Ending the year in Taiwan is not a bad choice. I think that one of the slight regrets I had for my time at university was that I was unable to go on the semester exchange that was originally planned due to the pandemic, and I think my time in Tainan has given me a taste of what that would’ve been like. In 2023, my new journey begins as I enter the workforce!

New Year’s Eve, me and Hine travelled to Kaohsiung (高雄), a nearby city that is approximately only half and hour away by train. We went to E-DA theme park, and afterwards to the E-DA mall. It’s been so long since I’ve been to a theme park! While this one isn’t the most thrill-intensive park, it definitely suited me; and as it was the holidays, two tickets were only 999 NTD (approx. 50 NZD). What was special about E-DA is that they had a theatre, and what we thought was going to be a typical small show ended up being a full production with dancing, lights, costumes, and, most importantly, acrobatic tricks. Watching the actors hanging from the ceiling, hanging on a pole, or doing aerial yoga, has reinforced my fear of heights, or places I could fall from. The cutest moment at the park was when we were going on a ride with water, a mum without a raincoat entrusted her son to us. It was adorable to hear him screaming about how his heart was beating too fast! We ended the day in Kaohsiung with a Ferris wheel ride, some mall shopping, and getting some coffee while we waited for our return train.

New Year would not be New Year without any fireworks. As with the Christmas Eve Concert, there was also a New Year’s Eve Concert! The main goal was to experience the fireworks, and I was not disappointed. Arriving late and being at the back of the park where the concert was held ended up working out perfectly by putting us closer to the fireworks. After a long day, rest was needed; and so, the first of 2023 was spent relaxing, exactly what I needed.

Time is going by so fast! But it feels like I’ve been in Tainan for quite a while. I think the New Year’s long weekend gave me some time to just take a break, though, because our days have been busy with both learning Chinese and experiencing the culture.

It is also pretty much the halfway point in this programme!

Update on classes:

I had my first rather big test, an ‘end of topic’ type test for both topic one and two. It included fill in the blanks, writing sentences using sentence/grammar structures, and two long answers. We had the option to handwrite or type, and of course, I chose to type. When completing homework, I like to handwrite to practice, but when it comes to tests, the time limit does not give me enough time to search up words and write it down. However, I have noticed that my recognition of traditional characters is improving. While I still get stuck sometimes, I have a desk buddy who is of great help!

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