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May, 6, 2016

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Eye On Taiwan
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.
5-year stay in Taiwan a remarkable journey
Five years ago, all young and innocent was when I first ventured into the mysterious land and heart of Asia, Taiwan. When I first arrived, I did not know much about this beautiful country, but nonetheless I was taken aback by it's beauty and friendliness shown by the locals.
It's appropriate to say that I've experienced my fair share of the different kinds of education in Taiwan -- American schools, bilingual schools, private schools, and even your average local school. It is so interesting how Taiwan's education differs from location, to class, and to culture for such a small country. Looking back, I am actually quite privileged to have been emerged in the cultural shock that I went through as a teenager.
It was a beautiful, sunny day -- but not too sunny -- and I was in my cheap little old Ford sedan going up to Yangmingshan for a picnic.
The Taiwanese have a very special relationship with food. And as a Westerner completely immersed in the Taiwanese culture, it would be hard not to notice. Basically, food is the number one priority for the Taiwanese. All their hobbies are related to it.
Most travelers ask what they can experience, gain, learn or enjoy from their new destination. With such a sentiment at best you'll get everything you want, make some fond memories and take some photographs to share and reflect on. For me, I try to ask myself, what can I offer and what can I build in this new land? How can I contribute?
Zongzi more than just sticky rice dumplings
The Taiwanese culture is beautiful, but only until this year's Duanwu Festival, did I shamelessly acknowledge and deeply appreciate and understand its beauty.
Knowing full well that I would not settle for a rather rigid means of education in France, my quest to learn Chinese -- and to locate my true calling in the process -- took me to Taiwan nine months ago.
I arrived in the country for work. Never a pleasant reason. Work is the bland intermission wedged between not working. It is the time of suits and polite manners and Microsoft Word. So I arrived in the country with no anticipation. I was arriving to continue something of no excitement.
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