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July 3, 2012 / windlessly

Taiwan Travels: Day 2

Second day in Taiwan!! It seriously seems like so long ago that I arrived and stated meeting people in the AID program. Yesterday was definitely one of the longest days ever, but so worth it. I’m trying to cram like forty new names into my head because you meet people wherever you go. It’s fun like that- whenever you do a new activity you hang out with a new group of people for a few minutes. Then you go around the circle and introduce yourself, and then meet all the friends of your friends. The people are definitely the best part to this program. Without a doubt. I’ve met so many interesting and fun people that there’s always someone to talk to and hang out with when we have breaks.

It’s around 10pm right now in Taiwan, and it feels like it’s been at least a week already- it’s weird because I feel like I already know people so well! Anyways, I’m surprisingly not sleepy at all right now. It’s the weirdest thing in the world- two hours earlier I was fighting to keep my eyes open and struggling to stay conscious. But once I got over that 8-9pm hump, something in my body clicked and I got a new burst of energy. Probably my wacko sleep cycle acting up.

Anyways, it’s been an almost surreal experience- I say that because time has been so blurred during these past few hours. I originally had doubts about the program, but it’s exceeded all my expectations. I guess one reason for that is because despite some chaos in the activities that are planned for us, there’s a lot of organizational structure to our day. Out of 350 volunteers, they had to split us up somehow. We’re all here for a week to attend workshops and develop lesson plans, but after that we’re splitting off into various schools within Taiwan in groups of 4-8. I’m with 2 other guys and 3 other girls at Jiu Fen Elementary School, and so we spend a lot of time together. They organize our meals so we sit together and attend the workshops/presentations together. Already there’s a sense of bondness between people, which I think is really impressive and well thought out. This way you still mingle with the whole group during breaks and transitions, but have a solid group of friends to talk and hang out with. Even more so for me and the group of 20ish people that I met at the airport- because we got here early we got to spend an extra 8 to 12 hours with each other. I’m gonna miss not being able to have class and meals together but we still will see each other. The only thing that sucks is that none of us have operational cellphones so we can’t just text/call each other. We’re also wearing bright orange polos, so wherever you turn you’re flooded by a sea of orange that makes it hard to find individual people sometimes.

I woke up relatively early today and got ready for breakfast at 7:50. I felt pretty good- a good night’s sleep definitely helped. Here was breakfast (which, by the way, was served on a “Lazy Susan” or what I called it, the “Spinny Table”:

We had an opening ceremony today for the program afterwards, which was pretty good. Check out the diabolo performers we saw:

Also, it’s official- we finally found out what AID stands for! Assistance for Individuals of Disadvantage, which is fitting for our volunteer program. We took some big group pictures, listened to various “important” people introduce themselves, and chatted with the people next to- err… listened patiently until lunch was served. Interesting dish served today- pork chops with umm sprinkles! Haha we theorized about what in the heck the chefs were thinking… either easing us into Taiwanese cuisine by having familiar american foods like french fries (served yesterday), hash browns (served today), and sprinkles served, or that they accidentally knocked sprinkles into one dish so they had to do it for all the rest. xD

We took our first workshop/class and actually listened to some really good speakers in the afternoon- one was a really chill Mexican guy who has lived in Taiwan for 15 years, and two others were students who had done AID Summer in the past. It was also then that I discovered about three more mosquito bites on my neck and arm… the mosquitoes drew first blood yesterday but it only started becoming majorly annoying today.

Besides that, it’s been a fun day. During break we got a huge group of people to spontaneously start playing Big Two, Kemps, Mao, and ¬†Bananagrams. Good times. Oh, and hunting for wi-fi every moment of the day. Kevin and I must have floor hopped six or seven times today on our quest to find the fastest wi-fi…. the internet is killing me >.>

Huge bananagrams game in the lobby =]

View from 9th floor


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