One of the most common questions I got both in Denmark, before I went abroad, and while I’m here in Taiwan is why. ”Why did do you choose Taiwan?” – And if I need to be honest, I didn’t knew Taiwan and haven’t really heard about it before I joined Danish ICYE 2 years ago, when I by a coincidence became a Taiwanese volunteers contact person (mentor). So I owe her a lot and thank her for being my mentor here in Taiwan and persuade me to go Taiwan when I had finished high school.
The first week I was here I stayed with another friend in Tainan and there I also get one of the first culture chocks which not surprisingly were the crazy traffic here. I also went Jiji to meet my other friend where I learned to make the dumplings that very fast became my favorite Taiwanese food together with beef noodles and mian xian. After the first week that I felt just like a vacation I went to the language camp, also in Tainan, where I meet the other volunteers and the Taiwanese who took very good care of us and we had a wonderful time with a lot of work, sometimes a bit too stressful, but also a lot of fun and good laughs and it was very sad to say goodbye to most them when I was going with another volunteer to the capital Taipei.
It was very scarring to get off the bus in Taipei and wait for your host family. You have a lot of thoughts if they will like you, will I like them and I was afraid to do a lot of things wrong. But it all went fine. My family is very good and I feel like a part of the family, but in the same time we like to discuss the differences between the countries. But with 3 brothers and parents, it’s not that strange that I’m most close the mother in the family and she also treats me as her daughter and we can talk about a lot of things.
I was an English teacher in Cheng Gong elementary school. I really liked the school and all the people were very sweet to me and helped me a lot. But many of them couldn’t speak (or wouldn’t) speak English so sometimes it can be a bit difficult to communicate. And sometimes it’s difficult to know how to act and behave, but after some time you get used to it and as long as you ask, you can get help.
I was at work from 8-16 Monday to Friday. But the times I had a class changes every day and every week. But if I had time I would go Chinese class where I had the best time. My teacher was fantastic and I really admire her and her work. And the children were as they are in that grade (1 grade) very cute.
So my time went very quietly and I found a new lifestyle very fast. Go to school and after school go out with friends for dinner, night market or go to the cinema. Something I almost never did in Denmark. And in November there came another volunteer to Cheng Gong. We had a really good time together while she was here. She was from Malaysia and could speak Chinese, Taiwanese and English very very good and we made a good partnership even though that’s a very bad comparison, because it was more like best friends from the beginning. So in end of January we both finished our project. She went back to Malaysia and I go Korea, so I could return here, because I was invited to the Chinese New Year with my host family.
Now that is over and I have only a few days left which I use to say goodbye. A very strange goodbye, because I only feel like I’m going home for vacation and will come back again very soon. I’m very bad with goodbyes, and if I could decide myself I would just go without.
But I also get time to think what I achieved here. What did I get, without buying way to many things. The most easy one is that I meet people, both old friends and new ones I hope I can keep in contact with even though I’m on the other side of the earth. I have learned that there is no right or wrong way to live your life, but I’m beginning to see how I want and don’t want to live mine.