You, Me, And The Universe

travel, nature, reflection

Month: June, 2015

I Made it to Taiwan!

The first day: lost my phone, but I got to ride on the back of a moped through the streets on Tainan to retrieve it. Hardly anyone speaks English in Tainan. I’ve resorted to pointing and smiling I’m order to get food/ whatever I need. A lot of locals seem to stare at my group and I, almost as if they’ve never seen a white person walk this earth. I expected this response somewhat, because that’s what I experienced in Singapore. 
 
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Yesterday I started my orientation for teaching english. Today I’m expected to perform my first pilot lesson in front of a classroom, even though I’ve never taught a class of any kind before. I feel like I’m going to be pushed to all my uncomfortable limits this summer, whether I like it or not. 

So far, the locals are polite and the food is yummy. A few nights ago, our group of teachers went to the night market, which was visually fascinating.  

Tons of vendors in every  direction, bright lights illuminating delicious food, kids laughing, people on mopeds flying by…these are just a few of the sights and sounds.  

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The humidity had me delusional and dehydrated the first day I arrived. The hotness here sticks to my body and never releases itself, even indoors. I know I’ll get used to it. One thing I don’t think I will get used to, however, is squating on the ground to pee. 

This place is awesome, and there is so much left to explore.

Teaching in Taiwan

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In one week, I leave for Taipei, Taiwan. I’ll be teaching English to students involved in a program called World Passport. For two months I will live in and around Taipei. I’m excited but also partially frightened by the news I’ve heard regarding the weather in Taiwan. I mean, 3-4 typhoons per summer? Should I just walk myself out now…? Lol aside from the horrifying article that told me Taiwan is the 4th most dangerous place to live in the world, everything else I’ve heard is positive about the environment and the people. (Apparently) cheap food, polite locals, beautiful mountains. 

But for real, I have no idea what to expect. That’s what makes this experience potentially  challenging, thrilling, surprising, reawarding, and completely awesome. Travelling is unpredictable and that’s precisely why I love it: It provides me with a new breed of happiness from an unexpected source. In awe of new people, new scenery, new ideas, I thrive in new joy. I relish in the depths of learning, of a mind absorbing all that is foreign and frightening but also beautifully different. Here, in this state of mind, I am my best self.

After 60 Days Riding Amtrak: My Favorite, Must-Try, (cheap), Restaurants in The United States

1) Mel’s Cafe- Charlottesville, Virginia. Well-priced, southern soul food that has my mouth watering at the thought of going back there.

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2) Badou- Chicago, Illinios. Amazing Seneglese dishes that are delicious and affordable. The owners are from Senegal and  are genuinely nice people who work EXtremely  hard. They deserve every penny I paid for my meal.

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3) Dad’s Kitchen- Sacramento, California. Humongous Burgers.

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4) Goodfella’s- Atlanta, Georgia. Philly Cheesesteak. That is all.

5) The Chatterbox- Minneapolis, Minnesota. I’d go again just for the atmosphere. There’s every board game imaginable there- and you can play while you eat.

chatterbox-st-paul 6) Lil’ Frankies- Manhattan, New York. The best Italian food/ bar atmosphere combination I’ve ever witnessed.

thumb_600 8) al di la Trattoria- Brooklyn, New York. A delicate, romantic setting matched with perfect Italian food. The risotto was my favorite. This may be the most expensive restaurant I dined at (considering I was a homeless person wandering the states), but the prices were still not too bad.

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Couchsurfing Journal: New York

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Near the Museum of Modern Art

January 29, 2014

I’m currently on the train, headed towards Atlanta. In New York, I met up with a Couchsurfer from Dubai. His name was Ahmed. He moved to Manhattan two days prior to get his masters in Business.

The first day we met, we walked throughout Central Park. After an hour or so of walking, we sat down on the cold concrete steps in front of a fountain surrounded by ice sculptures. I began explaining to him why I wanted to  visit Tucson- for the Rock and Gem Show. I told him a street fair came to Eugene last year and I bought an amethyst for the hell of it.  I had an inspiring conversation with the owner of the gem booth. The owner had informed me of the Rock and Gem Show; he swore I should attend before I die. I told the owner, “I’ll see you there!” in the same way I tell my sister, in Italy, that I’ll see her tomorrow.  Just a silly promise, an empty promise. But I have the choice to act on it, and that’s what I’m doing.

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From the top of the Rockefeller Center

Mid sentence, Ahmed interrupted me. “I”m sorry,” he said, “I can’t help myself,” and suddenly brought his face towards mine to kiss me deeply. This stranger… on couchsurfing…who I just met an hour ago. I  thought our conversation was going well but that was the last thing on my mind. I didn’t even get the vibe that he liked me. Life is unpredictable.  I broke away and offered a confused smile.”Wow,” I said.

I get mixed feelings about Ahmed because he has a default form of expression. It doesn’t fluctuate much. It’s hard to know what he’s thinking when there is a lack of emotion behind his words. I don’t know how much I like him because I don’t know how much I understand him. But apparently he’s my boyfriend right now-  ha!  When  I went with my last host to see Isabella’s comedy show, she spoke about how important it is to choose the correct tone and emotion behind what we say.

“Where are you?” and “WHERE ARE YOU?!” make me feel two entirely different ways.

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JP Morgan Museum

I may have an inclination that we’re not compatible with each other- but it is really nice to, for once, attempt to maintain a relationship. And when the other person has such strong, intense feeling for me… Why enter into a relationships I’m unsure about? Why not? I guess I don’t know why not yet.