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Fascination finds Shayla savoring Taiwan
Fascinated with Chinese culture and history, American Shayla Sturgess is learning Chinese at the Mandarin Training Center in the National Taiwan Normal University, and plans to utilize her language skills in a government or research related position in the future.
Finding Zen in Taipei on a Tuesday night
It's Tuesday night, and I'm sitting cross legged, meditating at a Zen center in a little corner of the bustling Taipei City. I'm supposed to be counting my out breath: one, two, three ... but my mind wanders off.
At times in life I feel as if I am the prey of buzzards. The boss, the bills, the politicians, the structures of society, each perched as an eagle on a cliff staring into the valley below. Myself, and those like me, huddled in shrubs rushing hither for an evening's scrap and hoping never to see a winged and quickly expanding shadow cross over the near ground.
HK vs. Taipei: the metropolitan smackdown
Before I arrived in Taipei, I took a short visit to Hong Kong. Sitting at the magnificent Victoria Harbour, I can easily touch the spirit of this famous metropolis -- countless skyscrapers, crowded tourism and fast-paced work. As we can see, it is totally a busy world. In fact, I had regarded Taipei as a major city like Hong Kong.
My buddy Sylvester Chen offered me dip (tobacco). I told him again I was a teetotaler. He smiled and left, then returned. Sylvester's a fun and odd sort. He has a penchant for pyrotechnics, the sort of joy that makes Taiwan's many new years a time of searing delight for the man. I imagine him on the street running from explosion to explosion, a toothy grin and a look of hunger in his eyes.
It had been months since I'd seen the sun. My apartment in the city consisted of four walls and no windows, which turned my time inside into a strain on my electric bill.
The Taipei Really Really Free Market
When I research something, I really like to get down and dirty in it. I feel like if I live it, breathe it, and think it, that I am able to learn and experience it more. When I was given the topic of anti-consumerism by my teacher, I hadn't the faintest clue with what to do with it.
Taiwan: Home to wealthy but humble culture
When growing up in a Western society, we knew who was wealthy by the size of their car, quality of their clothes, and etiquette individuals carried when they appeared in public. Wealth in the Western society is well-known and very obvious.
This coming November marks my second year in Taiwan. Initially, it was supposed to be a short visit to an old friend of mine also from Germany who had settled here a year earlier to study Chinese. But as it turned out my friend insisted I tag along a bit longer to get a deeper feel of the Chinese culture here in Taiwan. So I wound up staying much longer than intended. It's been one year, eight months and counting. So far there have been no regrets. Well, except the occasional homesick "tickle" urging me to go back.
Taiwan is one of my favorite places in the world. My seven years of student life in Taipei has deeply influenced my way of life, especially when it comes to relationships. The Taiwanese are kind and treat foreigners with love.
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