Winding Down

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Hey, everybody! Welcome back to my blog! My name is Jackie, and this post covers my seventh and eighth weeks of studying abroad in Taipei, Taiwan.

It’s been a busy few days for me, and amongst all the homework assignments and internship duties, it’s slowly dawning on me that my time in Taipei is coming to an end. But, I’m still managing my time pretty wisely, and was able to explore a few new places in Taiwan!

Last weekend, I took the Red Metro line all the way to Tamsui. The area was very active, with older generations waltzing on a community stage and singing karaoke, and younger kids running around with their parents. There was a small art market taking place, so my friends and I stopped by the stalls and bought a few souvenirs for our family members back home. After buying our gifts, we stopped by Fort San Domingo. Touring the fort was an interesting experience, especially as we read about the history of the colonization of Taiwan. Since Tamsui is a seaside district, we decided to ride the ferry to the Bali district. We enjoyed a few street performances, we enjoyed some hot pot, and called it a night.

A few days after our midterms, my friends and I celebrated with a day trip to Jiufen Old Street (九份). I’ve heard that the Street inspired the art behind the movie Spirited Away, but I’m not sure if that’s confirmed or not. But regardless, the view was amazing, and the stalls and shops that line the road were filled with trinkets and souvenirs. We even stopped by the Jiufen Teahouse (九份茶坊), which is over 100 years old. The teahouse also served as a mini art exhibit, with many ceramic and painted pieces displayed and even a koi pond underneath the stairwell. The manager of the teashop was really kind, and let us walk around and explore the area with a reservation. We had a really good conversation about how Taiwan strives to maintain its traditions and landmarks, and I’m really happy we stopped by. When we got back to the city, we met up with a few other CET students, language partners, and local roommates to go to karaoke! It was a fun night, and I found myself surrounded by people that I want to stay in touch with after this program ends.

At Fulbright, Tracie and I had a really good conversation about how the recent Supreme Court decision about affirmative action will change how EducationUSA serves its students. At first, my perspective was only concerning how this decision would affect American college students. After talking with Tracie, I saw the many different ways this decision could affect international students in America, regardless of their home country. It made the work I’m currently doing at EducationUSA seem that much more impactful, and I’m really glad Tracie took the time to check in with us to discuss the topic, and not just leave us to finish our work for the day. So because I haven’t said it enough, thank you, Tracie.

Amongst all of the other things I’ve been doing these past two weeks, I’ve also been on a small mission. I really want to buy a new pair of jeans. Now, I know this doesn’t seem like a story that merits its own paragraph in a blog, but to be honest, it should be its own blog post. Buying a pair of jeans has been a bit of a struggle for me. Clothes sizes in Taipei never seem to fit me since they run (super!) small compared to what I am originally used to in the United States. I can safely say that I’ve visited every mall and boutique in Ximen and near my apartment, and have been absolutely unable to find a pair of jeans that fit. But, through speaking to shopkeepers and store attendants, my vocabulary around clothes has increased immensely. So, I win some, I lose some. But I still haven’t found a pair that fits. I went to a tailor that lives a few doors down from me, and she gave me some advice about which stores I should visit. My plan is to visit them next week and see what I can do. But, win or lose, I will keep you updated on the jeans saga. Wish me luck.

And that’s my week 7+8 blog post! I’ll see you guys in the next one.