I believe Tainan was recently voted the world’s flattest city (by myself). However, this Saturday was full of ups and downs at the Janfusan Fancy world theme park in the Yunlin County area of Taiwan. Whilst a small mission to get onto the packed-full train to Douliu, then a Taxi to the park, before taking the bus back to the train station and train back to campus at the end of the day, a team effort (and some helpful advice from my language buddy) made it all possible.
A few of us then rang in the New Year five hours later than usual, amongst a crowd at the concert with a surprise fireworks show above us. Counting down in Chinese was a bit different than what we were used to, but we still got treated to a beautiful surprise fireworks show above the city after a long day and Janfusun theme park. As New Year is my birthday, I celebrated by taking a long-awaited sleep-in before going out for ice cream with friends, where we got to try milk, milk tea, plum and a few other unique flavours of ice cream, all of which (with the exception of plum) got the seal of approval from the group.
Rewinding to the start of the week, we were treated to a class on the Taiwanese tea ceremony and hotpot on Monday evening to wind down after some busy classes, including my first Baogao (presentation), which made me long for NZ’s good old boxing day public holiday as I stayed up late into the Christmas night to memorise my presentation as cue cards are an absolute no-go here apparently. Tuesday, a few of us participated in arts and crafts community service where we learnt (albeit with some difficulty) the “Chinese knot” in order to make little dragonflies, which were then made into cute keychains, with a few of the local elders.
Pastry making on Wednesday appeared to be slightly more within my abilities, though they were nothing compared to our teacher’s, who managed to make somehow make the most delicious sweet meat pastries (they were so good I seriously wouldn’t mind swapping our classic meat pies out for these).
I spent Friday evening with my Yuban Ariel (language buddy) and her roommate, where we visited the popular Hayashi store, followed by a stunning temple, which Ariel showed me around. As we left, Ariel joked that she gives better explanations than the tour guide entering with a large group of tourists, though she was probably right; I don’t think there was a single question I asked her that she didn’t have an answer for! We finished the night at the blueprint cultural creative park, which felt as though we were entering a quaint village that was stuck in time, despite being completely surrounded by the hustle and bustle of Tainan. There seemed to be everything from American-style foods to dog clothing stores to make-your-own jewellery areas, all within a couple of streets. Though our weeks are jam-packed, it’s nice to feel as though we are all making the most of our short time here 🙂