Being apart from each other is always a test for a relationship. If your partner is just on the way to the store to run some errands it’s actually not that hard to deal with the situation. But as soon as a few hundred kilometers, or in the case of my friends here thousands of kilometers and 6 hours time difference, are between you and your loved one it’s really complicated. Trust and honesty are the pillars of every human interaction but especially important when it comes down to the connection of two persons.
Here in Tainan I can observe a lot of things happening to the people in relationships. The main issues are always the same, can I trust my partner and why doesn’t he trust me? It’s sort of a vicious cycle, everyone expects their partner to be the greater person, who’s never worried yet assures his or her love on a regular basis in a believable manner.
What’s hard for people outside of Asia to understand is that after a while you start craving physical contact. I don’t mean that in a sexual way. It’s not easy to just wave at each other all the time and never touch another human being. You might develop the urge for a simple hug or a pad on the shoulder. That’s where friends can help you out. I’m glad that I have people in my social circle here in Tainan that are not always keeping the distance of at least half a meter to you and it makes me feel the warmth I need to feel welcome in this place. The most important lesson I learned so far is just being honest about everything makes life a lot easier. There is no need to pretend to be someone you’re not. I’m really lucky that I found people that accept me the way I am and that I can share my thoughts, fears and feelings with, because this makes being here much nicer.
So far I’ve seen relationship trouble around every corner and most of it comes down to trust and honesty. Somehow everyone here feels free to do anything they like, without taking full responsibility for it. But being in a foreign country doesn’t mean your actions don’t count, only because your friends and family back home have no clue of what you’re doing. Just keep that in mind in your daily life and remain being a decent human being. Otherwise you’ll lose yourself in chaos and it won’t be easy coming back to which ever home country next year. On the other hand enjoy your stay abroad to the fullest and you can reinvent yourself, just keep an eye out on where you’re going and if it’s really the right direction for you.
So a typhoon was heading towards Taiwan this weekend. Luckily it didn’t hit the island directly and only rain and wind reached Tainan. We were still able to go outside and buy some food. In the morning we went to Woodwood again and enjoyed the fluffy omelette again (Berber’s guess: they whisk the whites first and add the yolk later). Then the rain started and we rushed back to the dorm.
But we stocked up pretty good on snacks and candy and spend the day inside. The lobby of our dorm is pretty comfy and we simply stayed there, watched friends, talked, learned how to juggle and ate comfort food. That’s why we added a few extra gym session to next weeks schedule to ease our minds a little after eating three bags of devilishly good cookies.
I hate mondays! That’s what Garfield is saying and never really agreed with him but on the first university day I couldn’t agree more. Enrollment started around 9 am, Fernand and I were supposed to meet Will around 9 40 am so we went out for breakfast first.
Turns out that this decision would cost us more than two hours of our life on earth. The line of people waiting to enroll was incredibly long and it took ages for them to process each student. Time passed slowly and around 6 pm in the evening we had all the signatures and stamps we needed and finally went home. We quickly changed and went to the gym we signed up for on the same day (only freakin 1200 NTD for one year, that’s what I call a bargain!).
The first classes in that week were a disaster! Either I didn’t find the room or they kept changing the website. At least the professors English was decent and I was able to keep track with little effort. Other lectures simply didn’t take place or they changed the language from English to Chinese (like History and Culture and Internet of Things). The only lecture I really liked was Design Thinking which teaches creative problem solving methods. All in all I’m looking forward to studying at the NCKU. Apart from the enrollment and changes in the course selection system the way lectures are held is good and seems like a lot of fun.
On Wednesday was the club expo at the university and we informed ourselves about the numerous activities they offer. Bartending, extreme sports, and the military/air soft club are just a few examples of how extravagant they are here in Taiwan. I decided to join the photography club and maybe I’ll check out the movie and archery clubs in the future. So far I have to say that here in Taiwan I can finally experience real student life with all the stuff going on in and around campus and not every one is studying mechanical engineering as opposed to Darmstadt.
Moving day was the most important day of the week and I was looking forward to this so much! Finally no more going back and forth between Prince Dorm and Ching-Yeh Dorm for Fernand and I. We moved together to the heart of the city, the top of the food street, the dorm next to everything, and that we arrived it totally deserves it’s name: the Prince Dorm.
Time flies in this place. That’s what all my friends here are saying too. Since I arrived a lot of things happened and I met wonderful people who enrich my life every day.
I don’t even know where to start but my buddy Wendy and her friends took me out for dinner the first night and showed me the area. It’s so lovely that they drive me everywhere and we talked about a lot of different topics that night. I’m really happy with the buddy assigned to me and she has wonderful friends.
The next day Kelvin (Wendy’s boyfriend, awesome couple btw) took me buy some new underwear because by accident I bleached mine ^^ before that we had breakfast together at WoodWood and ate this delicious omelette (super fluffy) and the coffee was perfect too. The decoration was mostly made out of wood (hence the name) and the interior felt warm and modern at the same time.
Time passed and in the evening I went to the club together with some friends and Berber, who I met online a few month ago because she asked a question about NCKU on Facebook. Berber and I stayed in contact over the past few month and really nice to finally meet her in person. The club Muse is a bit further away so we had to take a taxi (200 NTD). The entry for women was free that day, only men had to pay an entry fee of 600 NTD. At least the drinks were free all night for everyone. The atmosphere and music weren’t that bad and we left the club around 5 in the morning after a very good first night out in Tainan.
On Friday evening our buddies invited Fernand and myself to join their barbecue at Kelvin’s grandparents place in Tainan country side. It’s an amazing place with a lot of fish harvesting facilities around the house. After a night of lots of food and laughter Ericsson brought me back to the city. The ride back was quite long, about 30 minutes, but we used the time and talked about women, relationships and the future and I’m really fond of the opinion of Taiwanese people.
Saturday started quite early considering the fact that almost every night of the week was quite long and without much sleep. We met with Will for the introduction day of the university. He showed us around the campus and explained a few things about the clubs and school traditions (like throwing people into the pond on their birthday, right Fernana?). Around the school a lot of clubs were using their free time to pursue their activities, like sword fighting or hip hop dance. The introduction day was incredibly long and boring so we skipped the afternoon program to buy a wireless router for Fernand and some decent food for our empty stomaches.
The last day before university life started was blessed with good weather. Luckily Maggie spend the day with us and she organized two cabs for us to take us to Anping beach. We just threw our clothes into the sand and ran off into the ocean. Finally water around me! I’ve been missing this ever since I moved to Darmstadt and the last time I was at the Baltic Sea in June is already a few month ago and it was too cold to take a dip. We were able to stand and pretty much walk into the water for about 200 m. Then we wanted to swim a little off shore but the lifeguards made us come back. Even though it was nice to be in the water again I was a bit disappointed that we weren’t allowed to swim.
After the time at the beach that resulted in this beautiful picture taken by Maggie, we went to Carrefour. There we mainly bought a lot of food and a few things for daily life that weren’t that easy to find in the city center. We ended our weekend at TGIF and shared our dishes, quite excited for the next week to come in which lectures and the club expo were waiting for us.
To keep you guys updated you can also follow my instagram @tian.tian23
It is now time to leave the capital which was a great start for me so far (and Ivy and I have a huge to-do list for my next visit including lots of food and sights around town).
We left her apartment in the morning and took the train to Taipei Main Station. The bus terminal was easy to find from there, it was even easier for me because an older gentleman guided me to it. Purchasing the ticket was a bit tricky because they only speak Chinese but luckily everything worked out just fine. When I got on the bus I was amazed by it’s interior, very comfortable seats and lots of leg space (they gave me seat number one so I sat in the front). The bus is only 499 NTD, roughly 13 € for a four hour drive to Tainan.
In Tainan I’ll be picked up by my university buddy Wendy. I’m looking forward to meet her and to finally arriving at the university.
I arrived at the university after a long taxi ride (the driver had to ask for the way three times and it turns out he was high on beetle nuts :D). Wendy was a bit worried because it took me some time to get to the dorm. After checking into the dorm and massive cleaning I was finally able to sleep in my own bed for the first time. It was a great evening and I met a lot of Wendy’s friends who’re all very nice people!
Great start in Tainan!
I still didn’t buy an adapter for my MacBook so I wasn’t able to charge it and use it in the last few days. I’ll upload the pictures as soon as possible after arriving in Tainan later today.