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Leaving Xinzhu

More than four months ago, I arrived in a dark, humid, warm and, most importantly, unfamiliar place. I remember my first impressions clearly, from the students who picked me up at the airport, the short trip by car to the university and the first glance of the place that would be my home for almost five months. I knew little about what to expect, everything was new, but my attitude was optimistic and determined. The first time was pretty difficult in some ways, especially before I had a daily routine settled. I needed help to do most things, and since my Chinese was not good enough, I needed help most of the time. I am infinitely grateful to those who helped me out in the beginning; without you it would have been unbearable.

The university and the city I leave behind today is of course more or less the same as it was when I arrived, but for me it has transformed into something completely different. Today, it’s a place of routines, of study and of daily life. I’m still a tourist in Taiwan, but I’m not a tourist around here anymore. I know my way around, I’m well settled in routines for studying, exercising and other parts which make up my life. The hot weather has gone away, taking with it the sense of wonder in experiencing something new. When I take my habitual walks around the two lakes of the university campus, it’s no longer for the purpose of experiencing something new, to explore, but rather to breathe some fresh air and release some tension.

After moving to the south, there are some things I’ll miss here, but most of what I cherish I’ll be able to bring with me. My schedule has not allowed me to create a large social network, nor have I felt the need to. I will miss my Chinese and English class, though, and also some other friends, but there’s nothing preventing me from keeping in contact with these people anyway. Sadly, I cannot carry the fresh mountain air with me to sprawling Gaoxiong, but I will at least bring the sense of security and stability about living abroad that my months here in Xinzhu has given me. For that I’m grateful, but now I need to move on.

More practically, moving on means going on roughly three weeks vacation with my parents and then returning to Gaoxiong to once again begin a new life in a new city, but this time at least not in a new country. Our plan isn’t entirely fixed, but will include (links are to Wikipedia articles): Alishan, Sun Moon Lake, Taroko National Park and Green Island, to name a few destinations. I’ll try to write and take pictures if something worthwhile happens, but my posting here is more dependent on internet access than desire to share experiences on my part. If nothing else, I’ll begin to write regularly again once I’m settled in Gaoxiong, which should be around February 5th. Goodbye, Xinzhu, and thanks for everything.

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