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July 7, 2012 / windlessly

Taiwan Travels: Day 5 (part 2)

I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun just sitting in a hotel lobby chilling past midnight… some of the best moments of this whole week have been right here sitting on the marble benches, next to the fountain and bowls of fish, beside the front desk and a few steps away from the convenience store. I had no idea that I would feel so attached to these moments, the times of chatting and playing cards and trying some of the weirdest but funnest icebreakers ever. “Let’s Play Zoo,” “Ping Pong” and of course, “Mao.” Epiccccc. Let’s Play Zoo is a hand motioning game that sounds lame at first but is really funny once you add 10+ people. It’s all about memory, speech, mind-hand coordination, and having a ridiculous amount of fun signing the symbols of different animals for different people. Ping Pong is just about the weirdest game I’ve ever tried, but so funny. The goal of the game is to not show your teeth (people lose by laughing too hard), and you go back and forth passing the “Ping” and “Pong” in a circle using the most ridiculous faces and inflection to try to get people to laugh and lose. My friend Randy is the sole lone reason this game because epic within our group… he made just about all of us double over with laughter with his one-of-a-kind face. You have to be there to know what I’m talking about, so I’ll show you right now.

We don’t know how he does it. It’s just Randy magic I guess.

I’m just really sad right now because it might have been the last game of Mao I’ll be able to play with all the people going on the southern tour (I was assigned to the central tour)- byeee Pearl Rachel Kevin other Rachel Calvin Danny Randy Ryan Andy Christina and others D=

It’s 3:25 am right now and a group of nine are still up right now and half dead. We’re talking about squishy cheeks and butterflies wishing we were girls sometimes and talking about ramen noodles and just random stuff… everything’s hilarious at 3am. The only thing that could possibly make my abs hurt more from laughing is watching Randy make faces at us…. He is legit one of the funniest kids I’ve met, in the subtlest way possible. There’s just something about his smile or manners or speech patterns that is absolutely hilarious. (If you’re reading this Randy, I sincerely hope we meet again in the future so you can make your lychee face at me again). Actually, I hope I meet everyone on this tour again. Most people are in college or going into college, but who knows, we might cross paths somewhere and remember all the crazy games we played together.


Soooo now it’s 5:11 am and I think I’m starting to feel the effects of pulling an all-nighter. But seriously, about one hour ago I felt absolutely fine. I was energetic and could run a mile and play another few hours of Mao. I felt proud for staying on top of the rules, but it wasn’t saying much seeing as how everyone else was sluggish and falling asleep. We managed to stay awake through sheer force of laughter- Randy deserves all the credit. Anyways, it’s slightly lonely spending a few hours in this dark corner of the hotel lobby- I walked past the front desk and one of the clerks had his head down and was probably asleep. I’ve only seen one or two people at most in the lobby, with good reason too I guess.

Deserted lobby at 5am….

Lovely shrub decoration to my left of my ethernet corner xD

By the time I got around to typing this, it got light enough outside (insanely cloudy still though) to make me believe the sun has already risen some, and two people showed to presumably eat breakfast. I’ve gotten six or seven new bug bites easy, just from this one night. It’s ridiculous- maybe the fact that I’m the only one here and that I’m a mosquito magnet anyways, but I’m constantly swatting at mosquitoes hovering around my body. And the fact that this chair squeaks realllly loudly doesn’t help much either. I managed to jack the ethernet from this computer here in the Internet cafe corner type thing (courtesy of Kevin’s wise and infinite knowledge), and I guess I can spill the beans now because we’re leaving tomorrow after lunch, so it won’t matter if people fight for it. This connection speed is heavenly. No more dealing with wi-fi, which is good because I have a lot to blog about.

So in case you didn’t know, all 350 of us Taiwan AID 2012 Teaching Volunteers are gathered at Chientan Center in Taipei, Taiwan, to “learn” how to teach English. We’ve done numerous workshops and presentations and we sleep on five different floors of this 10 floor hotel, I think. Actually I’m not sure. But we eat meals together and hang out together in the air-conditioning of the building. We’re leaving tomorrow (well, today) after the closing ceremony to travel to our respective assigned schools all across Taiwan. My destination is Jiu Fen Elementary School, which is still in the north where Taipei, and apparently just a short ride away. It’s less than one hour but it’s tucked away in some mountains I guess. These bug bites are super annoying. I’m having trouble concentrating on my typing, but I suppose that makes sense. I didn’t really see the sunrise today because the whole sky is so muggy and cloudy. But yesterday was an awesome day. Besides the great learning experiences, we also went to the Shinlin Night Market as a group, one of the biggest night markets (huuuge collection of small shops, vendors, arcade-style games, great food, restaurants, and clothing stores) in Taipei. That was just amazing, so I’ll be doing a separate post about that. It was our first and only organized outing from this hotel/Youth Center, which ended up being really really fun (they don’t let us out without permission).

Lots of cool stuff at the Shinlin Night Market, and I had a good time. Anyways, coming back was when we started doing fun stuff. My roommate Ryan and his good friend Leon (break dancer and beat boxer) and I worked together to finish what we had started yesterday. Last night we had just jammed around to some random sheet music I brought, the two of them beatboxing and me playing the melody on flute. Well, we decided to pursue it today and so we finished putting six songs into one video game music medley, which was a TON of fun. Ryan and Leon are ridiculous people, and super fun to hang around. Just watch the flute/beatboxing video to see:

Gahhh I hate mosquitoes! I just killed one- I’m up to a score of 4 right now. But I guess I’m losing because I have much more bites than flies killed. So anyways it was pretty cool to work with Ryan and Leon, they’re chill guys and Kevin agreed to help record us in our medley performance. We even got a stellar audience recording in front of the elevators.


It’s past 6 am and NOW I’m starting to droop and feel tired, which is not a good sign on my part. Another few awesome things today- our group going to Jiu Fen had a pretty good group practice of the song Bye bye bye by ‘N Sync. We’re trying to learn this in a short period of time to present as an opening performance to our school and students, but wayyy simplified. With my dancing skills, we’ll have to see how that goes.

I also got to meet another flute player who was on the AID program! She was Irene from the 3rd floor, and it was awesome to chat a bit. She mentioned the flute duet Andante and Rondo by Franz Doppler, arranged for two flutes, and I intend to look into that.


So how did I stay awake this all-nighter? I actually had something really exciting happen! A little after 6am I was really starting to feel drowsy… words stated to blur in front of me and I typed some ridiculous phrases. So I walked around and tried to wake myself up doing various things, and I inadvertently did my first full handstand! I was so surprised and yet I wanted to fist pump at the same time- I got a good 5 seconds air time and now I’m excited to push my balance even further. That really woke me up. And it seems like so long ago that we were playing our last card and laughing games in the lobby, a cloudy haze of exhaustion sweeping around us but still making it fun and warm. People clocked out at around 3 am, but I was feeling great at that point. So in the end I thought I would take my ethernet cord to an advantage and start blogging and skyping people that I’ve wanted to skype for the past few days! It was good to see old friends in Syracuse, cousins in California, and some girl who think she’s really cool in Ithaca (just kidding she’s a good friend too):


Memorable lines from our skype conversations…. “I’m a social butterfly!” “Do be a hater,” and my personal favorite, “I can’t eat you.” Thank youuu auto correct. And now I hear people slowly waking up, a couple of people walking down the stairs, the janitor coming out to clean out the bathroom and trash. The hotel is shaking off the remnants of last night while I’m trying to preserve them as long as I am able. I know this is just one stage of my stay in Taiwan, but still I don’t want it to end! I’m horribly sad and nostalgic in a way that is hard to describe or understand. I’ve said it a billion times, but still it amazes me how much fun I’ve had this past week even with 9 hours of class and work a day. The first three days seemed like it took forever… now these past few days seemed to have zipped by in a flash. I could get used to surrounding myself with all these wonderful people, having a blast walking up nine flights of stairs looking for good wi-fi, staying in a hotel room, eating great meals (and playing with the Lazy Susan), seeing familiar faces everywhere I go. Oh, and constantly surrounded by orange polos. Lots of orange, but some of the best people I’ve met. I’ll have to part in sixish hours with them all but definitely not in memory!

I’m gonna cry if I think of all the people I won’t get to see over the next 3 weeks ;[

These guys rock. It’s been SO real.



Leave a Comment
  1. kafferine / Jul 7 2012 4:35 pm

    it’s ithAca GOSH. and i am really cool….

  2. Tiffanie / Jul 29 2012 4:41 am

    How did I manage to miss that epic performance at the lobby…

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