Monday 19 December–Sunday 25 December
December is a time full of study and work for the Taiwanese before the arrival of the Spring Festival in mid-January. So, we naturally spent much time behind our desks in class and the library. NCKU’s library is impressive and provides a calm space to focus on homework.
As well as studying for our Chinese language classes, Amelia and I began to prepare lessons with NCKU students to give to the children of an indigenous school we will visit in mid-January. The lessons will introduce New Zealand and teach a little English.
Squirrels scurry across branches, and turtles pop their heads up from ponds as you walk around NCKU’s campus. I’ve almost been late for class because of the animals’ charming adorableness!
There’s so much good food to enjoy in Tainan! And I’ve been blessed to have Sky show me the best spots. He and his friend Brian took me to a delightful local restaurant where we enjoyed delicious noodles. However, I got more than I bargained for when I chose the spicy option!
One night a bunch of us felt like some mouth-watering carby goodness, so we went to a nearby Mexican restaurant that served fantastic burritos.
Charlie, Juliette, Maia and I found a lovely ice cream spot just a few minutes’ walk from our dorm, with flavoursome fruity scoops. Mango and strawberry were my favourite flavours.
Sky and his friend Amy organised a super fun karaoke night for me, Amelia, Maia and Juliette. It was so much fun belting out tunes in English and Chinese. Just as on every other day of the trip, I missed Selle very much, so singing songs that she and I listen to together was a great way to feel connected to her.
Night markets are a staple of Taiwanese life. Dozens of hawkers supply everything from onesies to stinky tofu from their colourful stalls. They also boast a range of fun diversions, my favourite of which was the archery. I even managed to hit one of the balloons! Though not on camera, unfortunately.
It didn’t take long for 25 December to arrive. I’d never been apart from family or even out of New Zealand during Christmas, so I missed Selle, my family and home very much. Fortunately, Mum had organised an early Christmas celebration before I left the country, so I knew that, in a way, I’d already had the family Christmas I enjoy every year. Instead, 25 December was a fun lunch out in Tainan Park with new friends. Laura and Rachel organised a secret Santa gift exchange for us all, so happily, we didn’t want for presents on the day. I gave Emilia a reusable glass bubble teacup, and Yina generously gifted me a yearly planner, Taiwanese-style cartoon fridge magnets and a flat-pack paper aeroplane for me to assemble. It was a great day; my calls with the family and Selle were big highlights.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my second blog post. Expect a much shorter interval between this one and the next!