Using ice-hockey terms, I am just finishing my first period here in Kaohsiung. There are four months behind me and eight more to go. I would never expect things are going to happen in such a tempo. Really, I have a strong impression that I have arrived to Taiwan two weeks before. Literally there is no time for boredom or lack of activities.
What did I gain in those months apart from some weight, which is absolutely natural if living in a food paradise of Kaohsiung?
Definitely I am much more familiar with the city topography now, than three months ago for example. Wufu, Jhongshan, Minzu or Sanduo roads are not a mystery to me any more. It simply makes me feel comfortable. Traveling across the city is a pleasure now, not a question mark.
Everybody in the world knows than Mandarin is a difficult language to learn but I never thought it is so complicated when comes to phonetics and pronunciation. To find the correct tone is really hard and at the end all the people are expecting you, as a foreigner, to speak English, so what I’m always trying to debate is to order the tea I want. By the way, am I the only person in Kaohsiung that prefers hot tea to ice one? Sometimes I feel like a weirdo, when I meet an odd grin on the vendor’s face after I state that warm and hot are not the same thing.
As I have promised at the beginning of my Taiwanese adventure, I’m using chopsticks all the time here, except of only few occasions I was not able to do it and forced to find my old knife and fork. I got used to it pretty fine and it brings me pleasure when people tell me I operate them well.
Number of a wonderful Taiwanese people I have met in my first four months here, is outstanding. Everywhere I go I’m treated like someone who is important and welcomed. Such hospitality is very touching matter and I often feel like having no response to it, because I cannot offer the same that I’m offered. Maybe it’s true that Taiwanese people in general are a bit shy and timid, but I can bet if you have a friend in them, they will open their hearts and share the last bowl of rice with you.
Support, help and care shown to me during my stay is positively overwhelming and tremendous. I would never expect to be given so much warmth and attention. I will always remain a foreigner but an effort of my friends to make me feel like home is priceless and means so much to me that I cannot even find proper words to express it. All I can say is: thank you. Hope one day I can pay those favors back.
As the first period ends, year ends as well, what is the best occasion to summarize past twelve months. If next year will be as cheerful and successful as 2006, I will be the happiest person in the world, because many of my dreams came true. I wish the same to all of you.