The way that we had organized my trip, I would spend a few days with family members and friends of family before I went off to training. Then I would do training for a week and then head off to the school to teach for three weeks. During the time that I had in Taipei with my family, I got to get a glimpse into a world of Taipei that influenced my parents and helped shape them to who they are today.
My days would start off with meals with my grandma usually consisting of a bunch of fruits and some Taiwanese breakfast dishes from the stall just down the street. Sometimes we would start off our days with stopping by the market and then eat at home. One thing that I remember about those meals in Taiwan was that my grandma was so concerned about me being happy that she called my mom prior to my arrival and asked what kind of food I liked. My mom, being so caring and silly, told my grandmother that I loved milk. So with every single meal, I had a full cup of whole milk. Back in the States, I drank 1% milk. Whole milk was like drinking straight cream to me. But I couldn’t not finish what my family was giving me because it would be offensive. Let’s just say I consumed at least two gallons of whole milk in a very short period of time.
During the day, I would go on adventures around the city with family friends. I had the opportunity to go up to the top of the 101 with a family friend, go visit their homes and eat lots of good food. It was during this trip that I discovered my love of real bubble tea (specifically at the chain 50 Lan), my obsession with Taiwanese style shaved ice and just my love of Taiwan in general.
I got to learn so much about the city and the country while I got to walk around and see the sights. Plus, since it was my first time to Taiwan, our family friends really wanted to make sure I enjoyed my experience there so they took me to see all the sights and eat all the great foods. I got to experience real shopping at XiMinDing and the night markets. I may have left Taiwan with an absurd amount of clothing purchased from the street vendors. If you get a chance to go to these vendors, you can find really cheap clothing there but it will not be the best quality granted you aren’t really breaking the bank to get some of these clothes. In addition, you can find some pretty good knock off items.
After a few days wandering the city, it was finally time for me to head off to training. My family members dropped me off at the Taipei Main Station where I met up with the rest of the members of my group and we boarded the buses to the TaoYuan to begin our training.