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July 22, 2012 / windlessly

Taiwan Travels: Day 20 (Jiufen Thoughts)

It’s been a crazy day, but I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world!!! It was our last day with the kids, and only now am I starting to feel the pang of goodbye forever… it’s hard not to get a tiny bit emotional when you realize the fact that you might never see the kids again. We weren’t together for that long but I really do wish the best for each and every one of them- I’ve gotten so comfortable just being around them and having kids from other classes come up to me and say “good morning teacher!” everyday. The closing ceremony was much longer than anticipated, but it was a great way to go out- I think the kids will remember the sense of accomplishment they got from performing much more than the actual English phrases we taught within a period of 2 weeks, and I’m sure the parents enjoyed it as well. I heard some people from OCAC (Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission, the people who fund the program and feed us and let us do fun stuff xD) were there too, so I bet they were glad they chose to come to Jiufen Elementary!

 

It was a nicely organized program- Ruiting Elementary came over to join us as well, which was fun. Not to say their performances weren’t good as well, but they had nothing against us xD. I was actually impressed with the B-I-N-G-O performance by their 1st and 2nd graders though… they did have a larger class, but I know all too well how hard it is to get kids to sing and perform in English. After going through all the class performances, as well as a couple of extras from us teachers haha, the two school principals came up and spoke about us and the AID program in general, and then presented us with souvenirs! It was really nice of them, and after all the emotional speeches and hugs, our kids did their line dances and went out with a bang- literally. Our super awesome chill director somehow produced six firecracker confetti shooters and we littered the stage with sparkling ribbon and festive shiny paper.

1st/2nd graders “Monkey” class performing ABC’s, Old MacDonald, Are You My Mother?, and 5 Little Monkeys =]

Recycled stuff from our opening ceremony, plus I Want It That Way xD

 

 

 

And then came lunch. There was a LOT of food. I was surprised how much preparation had gone into the last day, but I guess things turned out really nicely. I’ll admit I wasn’t that hungry after playing the flute/singing I Want It That Way/dancing Bye Bye Bye, but I enjoyed the coconut-taro tapioca drink… it was a shame I didn’t try everything else they had out, but I couldn’t read any of the signs so I just played it safe. We said bye to the Riuting people, cleaned up the stage, and said our final goodbyes to the kids. It was so sad! Relieved that the two weeks of teaching was over, but reluctant to let go of the kids and the school and our close family of faculty.

 

Ryan, Kevin, and I promptly had a three hour nap in the library before our group got ready to head out for some karaoke-ing =D. That stuff’s intense in Taiwan, man. We pulled in front of this giant 10-story hotel looking building and just stared inside… I couldn’t even get the whole building in one shot.

 

 

 

I legit was pretty confused about what was happening until I realized that the ENTIRE building was for karaoke-ing… we were on the first floor where they had the main lobby, a food court, and some decorations. Our room turned out to be pretty top-class. But first we had to get food up there. You know these Taiwanese people are serious about their karaoke-ing when they have a FOOD ELEVATOR to deliver your meal to your room. Yeah, that’s right. An elevator for our plates of food and we had to take the stairs >.> It was still awesome- they had plastic covers, identification tags, waiters, and everything.

Food elevators. Whaaaat.

Yeah the food was pretty good too. The drinks are the best in Taiwan- never just soda, but also a bunch of different teas. Hahaha we had no clue which was red tea or green tea or lemon tea or grass tea or this weird girlscout-cookie-tasting one O.o So we just tasted all of them!

We got situated in our room, which this picture doesn’t do justice to, and pretty much started right away. For those who have not gone karaoke-ing before, it’s a must-have experience to do at least once in your life. It’s a lot more fun than you would think, especially if you go with a solid group of friends. Honestly, this was my first time and I thought it was brilliant! Despite not knowing 90% of the songs, our Jiufen group picked out what English songs there were and belted our hearts out. Ryan and H-swag had a ball showing us up at some of the chinese and Jay Chou songs too, but who can forget I Want It That Way, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Fergalicious loool, My Heart Will Go On, and of course, Tong Hua. We’ve only listened to that song like 2,485 times this night alone. And counting.

 

7 police cars and about 30 officers armed with pistols and I don’t know what, AK-47s? showed up at around 10pm and went through the karaoke building looking for drugs. Dunno if it was a regular check-up for illegal activity, or just a random event. At first we thought someone got promoted and was throwing a police-bonding party xD

 

So what to talk about now? It’s 3am and the closing ceremony seems like it was forever ago. I suppose now would be a great time to do reflections and mushy outpourings. Because quite frankly, I do have a lot of sentiments about this program already- it’s given me a chance to meet some incredible people. And I’m not just talking about AID students now- I’m talking about all the faculty I’ve met here at Jiufen Elementary, our guide teacher, our director, and the teaching aids- grad students who we’ve hung out like family for the past two weeks. I’m not lying when I say I’ll miss Lester and his sisters and Mike and Nicha and Ron and teacher Chloe and Ramen!! And perhaps even the spiders and cockroaches here…. just kidding not a chance.

 

I’ll take some time to reminisce about the gorgeous views here at Jiufen, the awe-inspiring connection between Jiufen and Miyazaki’s ‘Spirited Away,’ the fabulous people I’ve worked with here, the initial giant spider scare, the cockroach hunt, the mountain climb, the opening ceremony, our paintball experience, the water park and shops, and of course, all the kids. I feel so fortunate to be able to spend my last high school summer this way.

Am I being overly sentimental about a simple “summer camp?” Probably. But that doesn’t change the fact that to me, these memories WILL be forever. Our supervisors did a good job about taking hundreds and hundreds of photos of us, and now I have an entire collection of photos for each day. On top of that, I’ll cherish our late nights preparing for ceremonies, our late nights NOT preparing for tomorrow’s lesson plans and playing cards instead, and all the times in between. I’ve officially relearned my ABC’s with Jocelyn after reviewing them a 1000+ times, and seen some of cutest faces known to man. And just being in the Jiufen atmosphere has been calming and inspiring. Hopefully I’ll see some of these faces again in the future, and that one day I’ll come back and visit!

One Comment

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  1. stephen / Jul 23 2012 2:17 am

    Such a great moment of you and your student.

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