Hello, and welcome to my final blog!
The last time we left off, I had managed to visit the dentist in 台湾。 That is no easy feat.
Afterwards, we were lucky enough to be able to visit an Indigenous Elementary School in the mountains. This was an amazing experience, where we were able to teach them about New Zealand and, in turn, learn more about the Paiwan (Taiwanese indigenous) culture.
We got up at the crack of dawn when the sun had not even thought about making its presence known. It was not a long drive by any means; however, class started early in the morning, so a 4:45 am start it was. While I do not remember most of the journey there as I fell asleep, both to and from Pingtung, I was quite amazed when I did wake up and found myself on a road up the mountains.
Tainan, though beautiful, does not have a lot of nature close at hand, so the mountains were a much-appreciated reprieve from the city. But the beauty of the mountains was soon surpassed by the joyful attitude of the students, who gave us a musical welcome and then promptly led us to their classrooms. It was also quite a sunny day, counteracting the cold air.
We spent quite a bit of time with the students, both getting to know them and sharing the content we had prepared with them to talk about New Zealand. We spent time with them and took a guided tour of the surrounding area, where we learnt about how the Paiwan have developed the area to become what I found myself describing as urban-adjacent. A lot of the buildings were made with more modern architectural styles but were also not as dependent on the outside world as other rural areas I have been lucky enough to visit.
We spent the night in a room with 50 other people and were soon on our way back to Tainan.
After a wonderful graduation dinner provided by NCKU, giving a thank you speech to my classmates and the teachers, and saying our goodbyes to most of the teachers, we were off to our dorm to pack and prepare for the long journey to Taipei.
We were finally off, had said goodbye to our favourite, Louisa Coffee, and were prepared to spend the next three hours driving all the way up through Taiwan. Surprisingly, we ended up doing karaoke most of the way up, and before we knew it, we had arrived at the airport. In what seemed like a flash, we said goodbye to the three people heading back to Auckland, said goodbye to the person who had been our main point of contact from NCKU, and ended up taking the MRT for the first time in Taipei.
It was strange not having a set schedule of what we were supposed to do, but it was nice to be able to simply explore the city we were in. Taipei was substantially colder than the cities we had been in, and it was a lot less active than what we had been told. This was probably because it was the week of the Lunar New Year.
We spent the next few days exploring Taipei, becoming familiar with the transport system and the different vocabulary used at times. We visited Taipei 101, JiuFen, and even walked up Elephant Mountain. We went to the National Palace Museum and ended up even going to Taipei 101 at night to see its light.
Before long, we were back on the MRT on our way to the Airport, having spent a wonderful few days in Taipei.
Until next time!