Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Last Day in Taiwan, Bittersweet...

My last day in Taiwan! Summer has gone by in a blink of an eye for sure; I now know exactly the meaning of this phrase.

Since a lot of people have already left in the early morning, and others have gone to travel more around Taiwan, I was meeting up with Richard, Vico and Jimmy for my last day mossing around the city. We were meeting up with Jimmy around lunch time, so Vico, Richard and I traveled to the famous Flower and Jade Market. These markets are situated under the highway and are only set up on the weekends. During the week, the stalls and booths get torn down and the area is turned into a parking garage. I had to get something before leaving, and since flowers and any plants aren't allowed on the plane, I ended up getting the cheapest bracelet I could see at the Jade market. ( I wore it all the way back home:) ).

Our lunch consisted of Taiwanese favorite and famous dishes! Below is the Xiao Long Bao, which are dumplings with hot soup inside (we got two orders because they were so good!) I learned from the guys that there are two ways of eating them. 1. Putting the whole thing in your mouth. Simple as that. The soup inside seems to explode in your mouth, which is so fun! and 2. Bit a tiny hole on the side and slurp the soup first, and then eat the whole dumpling. I think I like the first way! It's quick and super fun to eat!

Next, onto another foodie place! We headed to the most famous place in Taiwan to get Milk Bubble Tea. The place is called Chun Shui Tang, and they claim to be the original inventor! We were very short on time, so we didn't sit in the restaurant to drink it, just a take away. But it was so so so good. I am pretty much obsessed with bubble tea, and I think i'm already addicted... going to have major withdrawals when i'm back in America. I know there is one shop in my town that sells it, but it doesn't taste the same. Sad story.
Vico has his own store?! I forgot where we were going or coming from, but it was such a funny thing to see! And Vico smiled in a picture! Yay!

Last meal in Taiwan with some awesome people!
Finally we headed to a our last dinner. We meet Ruby there (a student volunteer) because she lives not far from the restaurant. The place was pretty good, we got to pick as many dishes from the counter as you would like, and then at the end they tallied up the total. We got some of our old favorites and some new! Just a collection of different Taiwanese dishes to try and enjoy. And to my surprise, Ruby bought a sweet little cake to celebrate my birthday! It would be my birthday when I am on the plane back to America, so it was fun to celebrate with them! The cake was so delicious! Taro flavored! Never had taro flavored cake before, and now I know what I want to get for my next birthday :) We were kind of pressed for time, Vico left early from dinner because his flight was an hr before mine... and he hasn't packed or cleaned his room! And I thought I was last minute! But we all said our goodbyes, Jimmy headed out to his hotel where he is staying just a couple more days... but eventually we all went our separate ways. Richard was the only person who had to go back to the dorm, so it was me and him traveling back by bus. I didn't realize it then, but he was the first person I met here in Taiwan from the program, and now he was the last person I would hug and say goodbye to. I was definitely sad as I rode to the airport.
This picture was from inside the airport. Taiwan's airport is so unique, they even had a couple different areas were there was a gallery that taught about the vegetation, the flora, the different animals, the culture, and finally the landscape of Taiwan. It was cool to walk around these pictures and point out places and things that I have gone and seen while living here. It was a very nostalgic moment, and another venue to look back on my journey here.
My flight was scheduled at 11 pm, but due to a couple delays, I was finally on the plane at midnight, the 22nd of July. So I can say I spent a couple of my birthday minutes actually in Taiwan! Technically because of the weird time zones, and losing hours, when I got to Chicago to meet my family, it was just the early morning of the 22nd, so I got to relive my birthday day again, officially the longest bday ever! Kind of awesome!
So, I started this blog with a picture of the flight over the Pacific Ocean, traveling to Taiwan. I thought it was fitting to put the picture of me leaving this island at the end of this blog. The plane ride home was certainly sentimental. Taiwan and it's people earned a big chunk of my heart, and I can't wait to travel back one day to revisit the memories. America are you ready for me?! I'mmm baaaacckkkkk!

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