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August 9, 2012 / windlessly

Taiwan Travels: Day 27

Last day of AID Summer. The more I think about it, the more agitated I become. It’s hard to believe that we’ve already spent a whole month together! For certain people, it’s been 27 awesome, blissful days. For others it might have only been one week or two, but even still I feel remarkably close to them. Time is so condensed here that I already feel like we’ve been life friends. They’re comfortable to be around and are so diverse in their talents and personalities.

Our last meals together- of COURSE we’re gonna play the spinny game xD

 

Our last breakfast wasn’t bad today, but we had to leave promptly in order to go to the President’s Building in Taiwan. It really was not interesting at all- the tour guide spoke in simple Chinese, but I still could not understand 80% of it, so I stopped trying. Talking to Lilian in french and hanging out with Tiffanie was much more entertaining haha. We all decided it wasn’t good to be in the front row when the tour guide was talking because then you were pretty much forced to pretend to be interested.

We had lunch and then visited the Palace Museum, which was pretty cool. They passed out headphones and handheld receiver so that we could hear our tour guide speak.

Ryan being Ryan

We saw a couple of the main attractions before going off on our own. Our group went to see the Jade Cabbage, which turned out to be much smaller than I anticipated, as well as a bunch of other artifacts and cool items. Aside from Tiffanie learning how to do the owl call right when the person who was supposed to shush people was behind her, it wasn’t all that eventful. Took some pictures, had fun walking around together, saw some cool stuff.

 

After the museum, we went to the Former Martyr’s Shrine for about 45 minutes to watch one of their demonstrations.

The soldiers marching were right in sync with each other. The discipline and exactness and synchronization that they had… it was pretty impressive. I felt bad for them just because the heat must have been unbearable that day. I mean, we were sweating in our shorts and t-shirts. And then there was them, dressed in full uniform, unable to flinch from oppressive and obnoxious tourists taking pictures, and melting in the heat while carrying out the performance to the line.

 

The evening was much more laid back. Anticipating our very last night together, we all sat excitedly for the closing ceremony. We got to see the winning group of the talent show perform again, as well as two groups present their travels and experiences at two of the schools in Taiwan. We actually got through all 350 people as they took pictures with their certificate in a short amount of time. Hooray for efficiency. Then came a pretty legit video synopsis that I guess the government makes to advertise for next year, which included highlights from the Taiwanese press. The slide show and performance by our counselors were all very touching and heartfelt. We got in our Bus Groups for the last time, shared who our angels were, hugged, took pictures, took more pictures with our own groups and friends, started to feel sad, and took a few more pictures.

 

These pictures are worth more than a thousand words….

 

 

Then we all headed out to the night market at Shilin, pretty much our last time together. It was exciting- now that we’ve been there once already, we sort of had an idea of what we wanted to do. Chicken steak, lamb skewer, milk tea, matching friendship bracelets… it was a good night. Even if Tiffanie and I did get lost at the end lool. We took a wrong turn and went all the way out of the night market, but on the wrong side. We eventually found our way back though and visited several shops in the process.

Richard at the arcade games

We all got back late, but at that point people were packing and hanging out for the last time, treasuring what time we had left together.

 

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