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13 posts from April 2013

04/16/2013

FEEL-OSOPHY

by Tanell Green 高天寧

It is now month eight, and I am drawing near the end of my travel, though it has not just been simply travel, for my experience has turned into a philosophical and spiritual one. Not solely the study of school education, but the study of culture, beauty and observation of people; the philosophy of lifestyles and deeper meanings. I believe spending my academic junior year in Taiwan has taught me many things and has allowed me to look a little closer. Travel, too many back home seems like only a dream, or one that is far reached due to what I believe is a person’s own circumstances and amount of willingness.

For when if they ever do decide and or can travel, I feel Taiwan is most-deserving of the visit. One of my professors in class, shall I say a few inspired me and enlightened me about just what life will bring you when taking risks. He explains that risk takers are the most exciting people of life, in that they never know what will happen next, which is ultimately the beauty of life; it’s the adventure. No one else can demonize, nor shade any idea, imaginative reflection when on such a travel. He goes on to say that it is important we understand that consequence will always follow, whether negative or positive but the most important part is accepting and remaining at peace with yourself and keeping love alive in yourself. I’ll be back Taiwan, I’ll be back. 

Newsletter CIEE

by Tamell Green 高天梅

Today marks the 8th month I've been living and studying abroad in Taiwan.

Wow...

I can't believe how fast time really flies.

The only thing I ever fear, is the final days when I return home.

In over a couple of months, I have met some really amazing people, ate food I would, just by looking at it, never eat, and have been to the many beautiful and exciting places.

Many realizations have come into play.

Though much of my stay here is experiencing an education, I feel like we as travelers, thrill seekers, and those with wanderlust shouldn't limit ourselves.

I quote from one of my dear professors here at NCCU:

"With truth, there will always be culture."

This quote stuck with me over the weeks. Something that obviously has become a personal truth in my whole world perspective. Remembering this, has in it's very magical ways, helped me to sharpen my writing skills and continuously challenge my artistic disciplines while abroad, and in every way I will make that promise to myself. To photograph and write in prose, not my interpretation of Taiwan, but the real and raw aspects of culture, including language, fashion, customs, cuisine, and more.

I will continue, until I'm satisfied.

04/02/2013

SPEAKING CHINESE

by Timothy Rotolo駱天漠

I went to the café in the college’s Administration Building and asked, in Chinese, if there was a piano there like I had heard. I was looking for a place to play while I was here for the next four months. Yeah, there was one over there towards the back, would I like to take a look? (in Chinese). The barista came out and led me around to the raised wooden floor area at the far end of the café past the interior face of the main counter, where an old brown grand stood. “Your Chinese is very good,” he told me as we walked over. “Nălĭ,” I protested. The piano was locked. The lăobăn had the key and she wasn’t there, he told me; could I give him my phone number so he could call me and let me know when I could come back? I read my number out, thanked him and left. The whole exchange had been in Chinese.

Next I went to the copy shop down the road, where I had to pick up some readings for a class. I walked in and the copy shop lady asked what I needed. “Ummmm,” I replied. Pick up. Copy. Packet. Readings. All words I had no idea how to say in Chinese. “Wŏ yào . . .” I stared at her blankly.

I did manage to get my reading packet, but I was struck by the complete reversal of my communications competence within five minutes. How absurd, that I could conduct a conversation entirely in Chinese with the man at the coffeehouse, and minutes later find myself at a loss for words on the simplest of errands. Living in a different country puts you in a variety of situations, and the copy shop episode was one for which I just didn’t have the right vocabulary set. I felt sheepish and a little frustrated, but there was nothing to do but recognize the humor of the moment.

I tend to be the designated speaker when we go out, but that doesn’t mean I’m not challenged all the time here in Taiwan. I say “what” much more often than I’d like, and there are still a lot of words that I don’t know. I’m hoping, though, that with four more months of practice I’ll reach a point of linguistic self-reliance at which I’ll never again be stuck with a flustered “umm.” And even manage to keep up with piano.

Tim1
Tim2

我去了在學校行政大樓裡的咖啡館(水岸咖啡),然後用中文問了那裡是否有我所聽說的鋼琴,因為我正在尋找一個可以讓我在接下來的四個月彈奏的地方。「有阿,在那裏後面一架鋼琴,你想要看看嗎?」一位咖啡師走了出來,用中文回答我,並且帶領我走到櫃檯後方的店內深處,有一架舊式的棕色鋼琴就坐落在高起的木質地板上。當咖啡師帶我走過時,他對我說:「你的中文非常的好。」「哪裡。」我反對著。那架鋼琴被鎖上了。這裡的老闆保有鑰匙,但是她這天沒來。於是那位咖啡師告訴我:「你可以給我你的手機號碼嗎?這樣當你可以回來用鋼琴時,我可以聯絡你。」我唸出我的手機號碼,謝過他後就離開了。這整個對話都是用中文進行的。

接下來我去了路上的影印店,因為我要拿某一堂課要閱讀的書。我走進了影印店,那位影印店女士問我需要什麼。但是我只回答了「嗯……」領取、影印、冊子、閱讀,所有這些字我都不知道該怎麼用中文說,「我要……」我腦袋一片空白地盯著她看。

我的確試著拿到我的閱讀本,但是我在五分鐘內,被溝通能力完全的逆轉給擊敗了。雖然我能夠與咖啡店的男子進行一個完全中文的對話,但是幾分鐘後卻發現自己無法說出這次買賣最簡單的字,這是如此荒謬阿。住在另一個國度裡,把你置身在不同的情境,而影印店事件正是一幕關於我無法說出正確單字的場景。我感到羞愧,又有一點受挫,但是那並沒有關係,只要記得那幽默的一刻。

當我們出門時,我通常都會被指定為開口的那個人,但那並不代表我在台灣總是事事順利。我說「什麼」比我想要的還要多次,而且還有很多很多字我不認識。雖然如此,我希望藉著接下來四個多月的練習,我能夠抵達語言上自力更生的目標,並且不再被那慌亂的「嗯……」所困住,也希望能夠繼續彈奏鋼琴。

 

Taiwan

by Patrick Wu吳思賢

Taiwan is a small island home to one of the largest number of companies in the world, yet a leisurely stroll through most parts of Taiwan yield views of buildings nestled between hills and tropical greens tingeing the landscape. As the crosswalk between the East and the West, Taiwan is the perfect representation of both the local and the global: a convergence of the traditional and the modern. Take Taipei, for example, where ancient temples dot the city among the neon signs of betel nut stands and the overhanging menus of family-owned eateries. Even Taipei 101, the icon of modern Taiwan, utilizes an eight-segmented façade evocative of a pagoda or bamboo; culturally, the number eight is associated with prosperity; digitally, the number is associated with the byte (8 bits). Rather than a clash of values, Taiwan has achieved a cultural self-awareness which gives rise to the Taiwanese identity. The most defining facet of this identity is from the Taiwanese people themselves. The mosaic of ethnicities, religions, and beliefs coalesce to foster an amalgamation of cultures which catapults Taiwan to the forefront of Asian pop culture. From the unforgettable night markets to the mouthwatering delights of the local delicacies, one does not simply experience the Taiwanese culture, but to live it.

Patrick

台灣這個小島上擁有著世界上數量最多公司。即使這樣,漫步在台灣的各個角落,你將會看到綿延的山丘圍繞著高聳建築的如畫美景。身處在東西方的交界,台灣正同時代表著在地化及全球化,融合著傳統跟現代的風情。就拿台北當例子來說,古色古香的廟宇分散遍佈在檳榔攤的霓虹閃爍及家庭式的小餐館間。就連101這棟象徵着台灣現代化的建築物,正面的設計都都採用了八節竹子及塔的造型。八這個數字,文化上代表著充足及富裕;數位上來說,則是跟位元有關(八個位元為一個位元組)。在這樣多元的環境下,台灣並沒有產生任何文化上的衝突,相反的台灣達到了文化自我意識,而這也大大提升了台灣的獨特性。這項論述的證據可以由台灣人本身清楚地看見。這樣文化、種族、宗教及信仰上的融合聯合起來形成一股力量,那股力量帶領台灣成為亞洲流行文化的尖端。從難以忘懷的夜市到垂涎三尺的道地美食,每個人不僅要體驗到台灣文化,而是要實際的這住在這裡,去感受這份感動。

 

2.28 Memorial Captures My Heart

by Nivedita Maredia馬樂奇

If I can remember back to sophomore year when I took a class pertaining to the culture, history, and politics of Taiwan, I remember how excited and engaged I was by the content as it inspired my curiosity about a place I now call my new home (temporarily). I was engaged by the history of Taiwan’s struggle to be an independent democratic nation and I am moved by how the Taiwanese achieved this feat as it involved many years worth of bloodshed and consumed countless lives. When I learned about 2.28, I was terrified by how the police brutally beat senselessly a woman who was desperately making a living by selling contraband cigarettes. As inspiring and engaging I found the content of the course, I could not help but think that I can only learn more about this history in Taiwan through others who have experienced it before me. I wanted to learn more about

how Taiwanese people felt about their history, their culture, and their relationship to mainland China. My wish was granted when I was offered the unique opportunity to visit the 2.28 museums and memorial park. I was honored to listen to a man who represented the victims of the incidents and passionately spoke to the observers on how this incident changed his life and his family’s life and how it changed what he believed about Taiwan. I did not break out in tears but when I listened to him explain this incident and what it means to Taiwanese people, I felt their deep admiration for bravery and genuine patriotism of those who died to liberate Taiwan.

This memorial captured my heart because it speaks to me of the relentless courage and the sense of duty the older Taiwanese felt to liberate their beautiful nation stricken by the hand of terror and oppression. It spoke to me that in times of difficulties people don’t give up what they truly believe in and that justice is a battle everyone fights for. In my opinion, the 2.28 incident is truly tragic but I also believe that cries for the liberty after the incident was inspired by the 2.28 incident. In other words, without the 2.28, there would not have been a democratic Taiwan. Although I have gathered this much from the memorial, I may encounter the question of why this incident would matter so much to an American. It matters to me because this incident reflects the fact that no matter how powerful an oppressive regime may seem, it will always remain vulnerable to its people. No matter how powerless a group of individuals may seem against a government backed by powerful armed forces, it has always been a group of committed, passionate individuals that have changed society for better or worse.

Nive
Nive1

記得在大二那一年,我選了一堂有關台灣文化、歷史與政治的課。因為這堂課的內容,啟發了我對台灣──也就是我現在(短暫的)新家的好奇。我深深地被台灣企圖成為一個獨立的民主國家付出的奮鬥所吸引。令我動容的是,台灣人這麼多年來為了達成目標賠進了無數的生命與血債。當我學習到有關的228事件時,警察如何殘酷地對待一個迫於生計以致於鋌而走險販賣私菸的婦人,讓我感到十分害怕。我在這堂課中,找到了啟發與吸引力,我忍不住想要透過親身經歷過的人,了解更多這段台灣的歷史。我想知道更多關於台灣人對他們自己的歷史、文化以及對中國大陸關係的看法。參訪228紀念公園和博物館是一個獨一無二的機會,當這個機會來臨時,我的願望就被允許了。我感到很榮幸能夠聽到代表此事件受難者的人,激昂地告訴聽眾,這個事件如何改變了他和家人的一生,以及對台灣的信念。我並沒有熱淚盈眶,但當我聽他解釋這個事件和它對台灣人的意義時,我感受到他們深深地欽佩那些人勇敢真誠的愛國精神,那些為台灣爭取自由而死的人。

紀念活動俘獲了我的心,因為老一輩的台灣人,對於解放他們被恐懼和壓迫侵占的美麗國家,擁有那些堅持不懈的勇氣及責任感。這告訴了我,如果人們在面臨困境時不放棄他們的信念,那每個人也都會為正義而奮鬥。依我之見,228事件是一個確實是個悲劇,但我也相信它啟發了228事件之後,對自由的呼聲。也就是說,沒有了228,也就沒有民主的台灣。

雖然我從紀念活動學到了這麼多,但我可能會遇到一個問題,也就是為什麼這個事件對於一個美國人能夠有如此大的影響?它和我有關係是因為這個事件反映了一個事實,也就是無論一個高壓政權看起來多麼強大,對人們來說,它永遠都是有弱點的。無論是多麼手無縛雞之力的一群人,對抗以強大軍事武力為靠山的政府,不管如何他們都是可能改變社會、堅定、有熱忱的一群人。

 

new chapter in my life

by Jamie Bui卜潔美

Before Taiwan, I have been blessed to be surrounded by family and friends in every chapter of my life. Given the opportunity to be in Taiwan today, is a chance for me to begin a new chapter independently and for the first time, to push beyond my comfort zone and experience things on my own. With the help of the student ambassadors, and the CIEE Staffs, I have faced many of my fears and have earnestly remained true to myself. It has been roughly three weeks since I have arrived, and I have already pushed myself further than I have ever done in the past. I am very proud of myself and the growth I have made.

On Thursday, February 27, 2013 we went up to MaoKong to experience the famous tea house and the lecture of Professor Guo Cheng-tian in regards to Taiwan’s State-Religion Relation and Its Implication for China. It was very interesting and relaxing because of the atmosphere provided by our location and the delightful teas. But my nerves began to shake when we were proceeding to descend from the mountain. The gondola was the form of transportation back home. This was the moment that I believe truly tested my boundaries because I was mentally forced to face my fear of heights. Everyone assured me that the gondola was very safe. But that was not what I was worried about. I understand that the gondola was a very safe means of transportation; but I did not care whether it was safe or not. What I cared about was that it was not on the ground, but millions of miles above ground. (Keep in mind, my imagination is very vivid).

Everyone else reassured me that I was going to be okay on the gondola and that if it was too scary, some would even take the bus down the mountain with me instead. Christie had also offered to drive me down the mountain. I was very tempted to take Christie’s offer, but then Fannie held my hands and told me that I could do it. That I could make it down MaoKong in the gondola. That if I got scared, that it would be okay, because she would be there with me. Fannie has been there for me since day one and everyone else have been very nice as well. Given all the support from everyone, I took my initial step in facing my fear of heights. I figured if everyone else believed in me, why couldn’t I believe in myself? So I got my butt into the gondola, and made it down to the bottom! Granted, I had my eyes closed the entire time as I squeezed the life out of Fannie’s arm, but, overall I made it! In one piece! I believe that this experience have shown me that I do not have to run away from my fears because I can overcome it. As long as I can believe in myself. Maybe next time, I will be able to peek beyond my fingers and see what the gondola has to offer. Baby steps!

Jamie
Jamie1

在來台灣之前,我很有福氣能在生命中的每個章節有家人和朋友們的陪伴;而今,有機會來到台灣,對我來說,是個契機,讓我第一次靠著自己的力量開展生命的新頁,將自己推離舒適區,獨自體驗一切新的事物。有了學生大使以及CIEE職員的幫忙,我嘗試面對我的恐懼也對自己保有真誠。到達台灣差不多有三個星期了,我已經將自己向前推到過去從沒有達到過的地方,我非常以我自己和我這段期間的成長為榮。

2013年2月27日,星期四,我們上山到貓空去體驗有名的茶坊和聽郭承天教授講述有關台灣的宗教關係和對中國的暗示。這趟旅程非常有趣,山區的空氣和宜人的茶都令人感到放鬆。不過,就在我們準備下山的時候,我的膽量又開始動搖了,因為我們必須靠著纜車下山;然而,我相信這正是測試我極限的時候,我必須逼迫我自己去面對心裡對高度的恐懼。即使大家都向我保證纜車是絕對安全的,我也了解這點,但我所在乎的並非纜車本身是否安全,而是它並不在地面上,是高掛在幾百萬里的高空上呀!(請記住,我的想像力非常豐富。)

其他人也跟著再三地向我保證一切都會沒事,甚至還有人願意陪我一起搭公車下山,連Christie也說要載我下山呢!當時,Christie的提議非常吸引我,但這個時候,Fannie拉著我的手告訴我說,我可以做到!我可以搭貓空纜車下山!而且我不需要擔心害怕,因為她會陪著我(從第一天起Fannie就陪著我,其他人也非常的好)。有了大家的支持,我踏出面對懼高的第一步,並領悟道:如果大家都相信我能做到,為什麼我自己卻不相信呢?所以,我把屁股挪進纜車裡,一路到了山底;就算我一路上都閉著眼睛、緊緊抓住Fannie的手不放,但我終究是做到了!「整叢好好」,完好無缺!

經過這次的經驗我,我相信我已經向自己證明我不必再逃避恐懼,因為只要我相信自己我就能克服它!也許,下一次我就能從指縫間偷看纜車下的風光了!(前進一小步!)

 

 

 Taiwan is my home

by Fuabkuab Yang楊復國

Coming to Taiwan has been an entirely new experience for me in many ways. It has already been nearly a month since I have landed and my experiences have been quite memorable thus far. This new adventure has already made me several new friends and has been filled with nothing but generosity, kindness, and helpfulness. I can honestly look forward to waking up every day and either going to class or exploring the new sights and sounds of the place that is my new home for the next 4 months.

Leaving home was an incredible moment for two reasons: I had never lived outside of my own house. It was a luxury in regards the comfort of a home cooked meal and nice bed I had been used to, of which I had done so to save money because of school. In exchange, I never was able to have certain liberties of living outside these confinements, and had grown all too accustomed to my local area. Taiwan not only flipped these two aspects of luxury and confinement, but provided my first opportunity to step outside of the United States as well, expanding my global understandings.

Certain aspects of living in a dorm in a new country did require some adjusting. My first several nights in Taiwan were all too unpleasant. My first few nights consisted of staying under “less than comfortable” sleeping arrangements. Because I had arrived early, with my friend Alex, the only option available was to spend the night at a hotel we had booked under our own guidance. This was learning experience number 1. Having a hotel room so humid our paper became wet was only the first living adjustment of the week. After getting slightly sick due to this hotel, we’d decided to splurge on a much nicer place closer to National Chengchi University. Learning experience 2 was familiarizing ourselves with Taiwan’s cities. We had underestimated how far Taoyuan, the location of our first hotel, was from Taipei.

Upon arriving, sleeping in the dorms wasn’t much better by my standards at the time. Of course, I’d been essentially spoiled with the privilege and luxury of home and comfort. Sleeping on a soft mat rather than a large mattress and having only a blanket barely large enough to cover me were much less than I was accustomed to. Throw in not knowing how to use the heating system and thus sleeping in bed dressed in long sleeves and a winter vest, I was quite unhappy. But as the week wore on, the culture of Taiwan set in more. Interacting with the locals and seeing mountains that reminded of the stories my parents would tell of their own native Asian homes, I grew less irritated with my surroundings. Instead, I began to reflect the things I did have. It was a dorm that was clean, safe, and held a great view. I had new friends and a program that were eager to help me integrate into my new temporary home. And most importantly, I reminded myself of the privileges I had back home; privileges I often tell myself I have but don’t always remember to appreciate.

It took a little bit, but I have finally been able to comfortably call Taiwan my home. A few small rough patches are always good to remind us of the things we forget about. Maybe it was my new understanding of how to make the best of it, or maybe it was because I was blessed enough to have so many supporting people to help me understand. But in any case, I have grown to appreciate my new home more. From the unfamiliar sights, to the sounds and languages I cannot even understand, to the mat that now

feels comfortable. I am happy that Taiwan is my home.

Fugou1
Fugou2

從很多方面來說,來到台灣對我而言是一個全新的體驗。從我降落至台灣開始到現在,已經將近一個月了,而在這段日子間,我也累積了不少令人難忘的回憶。這趟新的冒險已經讓我交到不少非常慷慨、友善及樂於幫助的新朋友。我可以真誠地期待每一天從早晨醒來,不管是去上課或是探索一些新景點,而這裡,正是我未來四個月的新家。

對我來說,離開家是一個令人難以置信的一刻,有兩個原因:第一,我從來沒有離開家裡在外面住過。之前為了省錢我選擇住在家裡,因此我過去所習慣的家庭舒適感,像是家裡的菜和舒服的床,現在都顯得奢侈。第二,因為住在家裡,我從來沒擁有離開家裡限制的自由,而且讓我過於習慣於自己當地的環境。台灣不只翻轉了奢侈及限制這兩方面,也同時提供我第一個踏出美國的機會,讓我擴展自己的國際觀。

住進一個新的國家的宿舍裡,在某些方面的確需要一些適應。我剛來到台灣的那幾個晚上都非常的不愉快,可以說是睡在「令人不舒服」的睡眠環境裡。因為我和我的朋友Alex(艾立)提早抵達台灣,所以我們唯一的選擇就是住進我們自己找的旅社,在這裡我得到我的第一個學習經歷:那間旅社的房間是如此的潮濕,還把我們的紙都給弄濕了。在我們漸漸快因為這個旅社的環境而生病時,我們決定砸下錢住進一間環境較好而且離政大近的旅社。第二個學習經歷則是我們需要更加熟悉台灣的城市,因為我們低估了我們在桃園的第一個旅社到台北的距離。

當我們一到達台北,睡在宿舍裡的品質也沒有達到我當時的標準。當然,因為我本質上已經被家裡的舒適給寵壞了。睡在軟的草蓆上而不是一個大的床墊,而且只有一條小到幾乎不夠覆蓋我的毯子,真是完全不及於我過去所習慣的。因為不知道該怎麼使用熱水器系統,全身穿著長袖和冬天背心躺在床上的我,非常的不開心。不過當一周過去,台灣的文化漸漸走入我的生活。與當地的人們交流,看見群山讓我想到父母告訴過我關於他們原生亞洲的家庭,我就變得較不因為四周環境而感到惱怒了。相反地,我開始去反思我所擁有的那些東西。我的宿舍乾淨、安全而且擁有絕佳視野。我交了一些新朋友,整個CIEE的人都願意幫助我融入我嶄新、暫時的家。還有最重要的,我提醒自己在家鄉所擁有的那些特權,那些我一直告訴自己所擁有的,但卻不曾記得去感激的。

雖然那花了我一些時間,但我現在終於可以自在地稱台灣為我的家了。一些小小粗糙的補丁總是好的,它可以幫助我們提醒自己一些我們所忘記的東西。也許這對我是個新的體悟,也許這是因為我有幸擁有這麼多人幫助我去理解。不過無論如何,我已經更能欣賞及感謝我的新家了。

 

Mexican food in taipei

by Eric Thompson湯屹立

One thing I never expected to have in Taiwan was Mexican food. I knew there was some American food here and if I ever felt the need for a burger or pizza, they wouldn’t be too hard to find. Mexican food, even if it is highly Americanized, is something I would consider a delicacy here in Taiwan. Well, we found a purveyor of such delicacies on a lunch trip to Gongguan this last week. I was with Tim and Cate and we originally set out after class to find another Mexican restaurant than the one we ended up at. The restaurant we were looking for is called Oola Mexican Grill, which is apparently based off the American restaurant Chipotle. Now, one thing you have to understand is that I love Chipotle. One of the main reasons I decided to transfer to the University of Nebraska my sophomore was because there was a Chipotle within a 5 minutes’ walk from my dorm.

So, naturally, I was sold. We set out to Gongguan after class in search of Oola. We went to where we thought the address would be and we couldn’t find it. We walked up and down the street but it wasn’t there. Eventually, we resorted to asking directions and a guy pointed us back towards the direction from which we came. We went to where he directed and we were met with quite a sight. Instead of Oola, it was a restaurant called Good Day. Their mascot was a gingerbread man with a sombrero on. Their logo was this gingerbread man and a rainbow. Not exactly the most Mexican of designs, but we weren’t in a position to be choosey. We came in search of Mexican and while it wasn’t what we originally wanted, it was something. We decided to give it a shot.

 

Inside, we were met with a 5 foot tall statue of Good Day’s gingerbread mascot, Taiwanese pop music, and a bunch of pseudo Mexican posters and signs. On the menu they claimed to serve Cal-Mex (which stands for California Mexican) as opposed to the more ubiquitous Tex-Mex (Texas Mexican). Cal-Mex, I believe, tends to have more seafood and vegetables than Tex-Mex, which relies heavily on beef and pork. They also served sandwiches and burgers along with the Mexican food. I decided to get a carnitas and bean burrito with chips, pico de gallo and Sprite to drink.

The food came out pretty fast and it looked like a pretty standard burrito with chips on the side. The chips and pico de gallo were good; almost as good as you can get in the states. The burrito was also decent. The tortilla was dry and seemed a little stale, which is kind of understandable. How easy can it be to find tortillas in Taipei? Besides the burrito and chips, there was a lumpy scoop of white stuff on the side. We couldn’t figure out what it was. The menu hinted that it was mashed potatoes, but it wasn’t exactly clear. I thought it tasted like tartar sauce and its texture was reminiscent of soft Play-Doh. I am baffled as to why they would include it with a Mexican dish. Mashed potatoes are most assuredly not a Mexican dish and I have never had it with any Mexican meal in my life.

In the end, it was a decent, if a bit pricey, lunch. We’re still going to look for Oola, but Good Day definitely provided for a unique Taiwanese-Mexican experience. I couldn’t get over the fact that I was eating a Taiwanese interpretation of a Californian interpretation of Mexican cuisine. Even though it wasn’t the best burrito I’ve had, beggars can’t be choosers. I never expected any Mexican restaurants in Taipei; so automatically, Good Day has surpassed my expectations, as does Taiwan.

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我知道在台灣有一些美式餐廳,而當我想吃點漢堡或是披薩,花點時間總是找的到不錯的美式餐廳,但我從未想到過在台灣,我可以吃到墨西哥料理,雖說這些墨西哥料理有點太美式,不過我依舊認為這些墨西哥料理是台灣不可多得的美味。

上週,當我與Tim(天漠)和Cate(李玫)下課後在公館尋覓午餐時,發現許多墨西哥美食,其實我們本來是要找一家叫做Oola Mexican Grill的餐廳,這家餐廳很顯然是參照一家美國餐廳Chipotle,而這家美國餐廳是我非常喜歡的一家餐廳,我大二時,之所以交換到內布拉斯加大學,有部分原因就是有一家Chipotle距離學校很近,從宿舍走過去不用五分鐘。

所以,自然而然的,我決定要去尋找這家店。我們到了公館捷運站尋找Oola,不過當我們走到那家店的店址時,卻找不到這間店,我們來來回回沿著街道走幾趟都找不到,只好問一個路人方向,他指指我們來時的方向,按照他的指示,我們發現了一家很特別的店,坐落在此的不是Oola反倒是一家叫做Good Day的餐廳,那家餐廳招牌上的吉祥物是一個薑餅人,帶著頂墨西哥帽,而他們的商標就是這個薑餅人加上彩虹。儘管這不是典型的墨西哥設計,不過既然我們當下沒有選擇的餘地,就只好嘗試看看囉!

 

一走進這家店我們就看到5尺高的薑餅人塑像,整間店撥放著台灣的流行歌曲,一旁還有幾疊模仿的墨西哥海報與標誌。在菜單上,有一道叫做Cal-Mex的菜,這道菜是加州式的墨西哥菜,在我的認知中,應該會有較多海鮮跟蔬菜,相較於到處都買的到的Tex-Mex,,這是一種以牛肉與豬肉為主的餐點,在這家店中,你也可以吃到墨西哥式的三明治跟漢堡,最終,我決定點墨西哥燉豬肉、豆泥餡麵餅捲配薯片、騷莎醬和雪碧。

菜上的很快,而有著豆泥餡麵餅捲配薯片看起來十分的符合墨西哥料理的標準,而且薯片配騷莎醬也非常好吃,基本上,好吃的會讓你以為你是在美國吃這道料理。其中的墨西哥薄餅倒是有點乾,而且看起來有點不新鮮,不過這是可理解的,畢竟要在台北找到墨西哥薄餅應該是頗不容易的,此外,在豆泥餡麵餅捲和薯片旁,倒是有一團我們分辨不出是甚麼的白色東西,菜單上說這應該是馬鈴薯泥,不過寫的不是非常清楚,我覺得那吃起來像塔塔醬,而它的口感讓我聯想到小時候的彩色塑泥。我不能理解為何墨西哥料理中會有這道菜,馬鈴薯泥,我可以很肯定的說,絕對不是墨西哥菜中英出現的食物,事實上,我從未在墨西哥菜中吃到馬鈴薯泥。

總的來說,除了有點貴外,這家墨西哥料理餐廳還不錯。我們還未持續找尋Oola,不過Good Day的確給我一個獨特的台灣式墨西哥料理的經驗,我幾乎無法接受我在吃一個台灣版的加利福尼亞式的墨西哥料理,儘管這不是我吃過最棒的豆泥餡麵餅捲,不過身為一個尋覓午餐的人,我也沒有太多選擇的權利。畢竟我沒有期待過在台北吃到墨西哥料理,所以自然而然的,Good Day超越我的期待,當然,台灣也超乎我的期待。

 

我不知道

by Danny Soeun蘇丹尼

Since this is the first time I’ve ever traveled abroad, there were many things that amazed, confused, and surprised me in Taiwan. I’ve always tried to imagine what it would be to live in a country where English is not the first language. I was in shock by how the Taiwanese drove on the roads. Mopeds were swerving between cars, pedestrians managing to get across streets, and taxis swarming through to bring their customers to their final destination. The architecture of buildings amazed me while driving into Taipei from the airport. The buildings were quite old, concrete like structures that I have only seen in Asian TV shows or dramas. It was surreal to think that I am now living in a country where these buildings are the norm. I kept on looking out the window, seeing if I can get a glimpse of Taipei 101, the only skyscraper that I knew in Taiwan. I was finally able to see it and I immediately tried to photograph it.

My life here has been very amusing yet challenging. First off, I’m living alone for the first time in my life, and I cannot speak the language. It was very hard at first to order things but as I’m slowly learning Chinese, it is becoming less of a problem. One difficult thing to overcome is the Taiwanese’s assumption that I’m Taiwanese. Being Cambodian-American, I have no background in the Chinese language and so I have mastered the word, “我不知道” quite well. Overall, the people here are extremely friendly and I’m very glad I came here. I know I will have many more adventures to come as it’s still the beginning and there’s still so much for me to see.

Danny

我從未在國外旅遊過,因此,在台灣,我經歷了許多新奇、有點令人困惑,卻也認人驚奇的事情,我一直很想知道在一個不講英文的國家生活會是怎麼樣的。台灣人開車真的是非常快,機車在車陣裡迅速穿梭,計程車更是飛快的運送搭乘者,而當我一下飛機搭車前往台北時,路旁的建築物居然初期的老舊,彷彿亞洲影集電影才會出現的畫面,即便我已身在此地,感覺還是有點不真實,沿路上,我一直試著尋找有名的台北101,所幸,不一會兒就找到了,我立刻把它拍了下來。

我在台灣的生活很有趣,不過卻也超滿挑戰,第一點,我第一次獨自生活,而我無法講當地的語言,點餐等等日常事情都很困難,不過我的中文也漸漸進步,這些事情就不那麼令人擔心了,另一點就是,很多台灣人從外表上覺得我是台灣人,做為一個柬埔寨裔的美國人,我完全不會中文,所以我只好時常利用「我不知道」這句話。整個來講,這裡的人非常友善,而我很高興我來到這裡,現在才只是一開始,我知道還有更多新奇的事物等著我去發掘。

 

TAIPEI

by Cate Matthews李 玫

My first night in Taipei, jetlagged, sleep-deprived, and running on fumes, my friends and I decided to further explore the city. The exploration was well-worth the time it took—we saw a lot of new places, met a lot of new people—but we returned to lower campus late, and found ourselves unable to navigate the area we had only ever seen in daylight. Our taxi driver, who we had already paid, sensed that we were having trouble, and offered to drive us further until we knew where we were. He was concerned, and somewhat insistent. Although we refused his help and decided to make our way by ourselves, I can’t help but imagine the scene if we had gotten lost in an American city. A New York-based cabbie would have felt well within his rights to physically push us out of the car! We ended up walking up the wrong road, but after we approached a Zhengda student, she was kind enough to walk us back to the right one.

This sort of kindness and hospitality has not only been representative of my stay so far in Taipei, but the rule. I have never once felt less than very welcome. My attempts at Mandarin (slow and horribly mispronounced) have been met with encouragement; my attempt to slip past an automatic door that ended with me pinned between the door and the wall responded to with smiles and bemused restraint. Strangers have advised me on what buses to take and what stops to get off at, and although I hope I can one day convincingly convey with an air of someone fully capable of using chopsticks, I know in restaurants forks and knives are never far away from being offered.

Cate
Taipei is an incredibly beautiful city, a city that I wake up every day excited to explore, but it is overshadowed by far by its people. Here, both in the relative quiet of Wenshan and the hustle and bustle of the center city, at both CIEE events and those times when we strike out on our own, I feel I have made friendships that will last for some time. Which is good, because my Facebook account was feeling pretty lackluster.

我在台北的第一晚,因為時差而疲倦、缺乏睡眠,全身只用微弱的軀殼行走著。我的朋友和我決定要去探索一下這個城市。這趟探索旅程是非常值得的,我們看見許多新的地方,也遇見了許多新朋友,但是我們回到山下校區時已經晚了,因此我們發現我們無法在只在白天看過的區域找到方向。我們已付過錢的計程車司機,察覺到我們有了問題,他當時非常擔心,也有點堅持要載我們,即使我們拒絕她的幫忙並決定自己找路,但我們仍忍不住想像我們在美國任一個城市走失的場景,因此司機載我們繼續開往更遠,直到我們知道我們在哪裡。若是一個紐約的計程車司機,他肯定會覺得把我們丟出車外是他應有的權利吧!我們最後還是走錯路,不過當我們詢問一位政大學生之後,她很好心的陪我們走到正確的路。

這種友善及好客的人情味並不只有在台北具有代表性,而是到處都是。我從來沒有感覺不備受歡迎過。我在中文方面的嘗試(很慢而且有著非常可怕的發音)已經受到了許多鼓勵;我試著滑過自動門卻被困在門與牆之間的嘗試也被以微笑回應。陌生人們建議我搭哪輛公車和在哪一站下車,雖然我希望有一天我能夠完全使用筷子,但是我知道餐廳裡刀叉永遠都在那裡準備好要提供給我們的。

台北市是個令人難以置信的美麗城市,他令我每天都非常期待從夢中醒來,等著去探索,不過它的美卻被大部分的台北市民給忽略了。在這裡,不只是在靜謐的文山區,還有車水馬龍的市中心,透過CIEE所舉辦的活動或是我們自己出遊,我覺得我已經建立了一段段會留存一些時間的友誼。這樣是很好的,因為我的Facebook帳號好像一直覺的人氣低迷啊!

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