Traveling Dawn: Dawning in Taiwan

From 25°C in Philippines, it was a cold welcome of 10 degrees less of where I came from (exactly 15°C) in Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport. “This isn’t what I had in mind.” I told myself who was wearing short shorts. (This calls for The Adventures of Traveling Shorts!) It was exactly midnight when we landed and I was beaming with energy. Despite being deprived of sleep for the past week, my eyes were wide open without any sign of sleepiness.

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On a funny note, I actually almost missed my flight. I went for a weekend trip in Batangas (my hometown) with my friends. (Shoutout to my Mapua GSM/IS friends, you’re all amazing. I miss all of you!) Leaving home at around 5PM wasn’t the best idea at all. We were in the bus for more than 3 hours. Guess what? My flight time was at 10PM. I had to check in at least 90 minutes before the departure time and my luggage was still in Intramuros. I was so agitated to the point that I’m about to cry. Kike popped up the idea of asking one of my friends for a favor. Luckily, Zaira (the person with the kindest heart) didn’t hesitate to bring my luggage to the bus station where I took my taxi from and (with fingers crossed) arrived at the airport at 8:40PM.  I sighed in relief. I ended up boarding the plane at the exact opening of the gate as well!

Settling in the weather that I have to endure, I ended up liking the cold that particular early morning. Maybe it’s because of my first meal in Ilha Formosa which was the famous hotpot coupled with unlimited rice and ice cream. My taste buds easily loved Taiwanese food. It’s a foodie’s heaven, I must say.

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Adjusting to this new environment was fairly easy for me. Honestly, I’ve been waiting to come here since I arrived in the Philippines from my four month stay in South Korea. I was looking forward to experiencing a whole new country. Finally, #DawningInTaiwan!

Chung Yuan Christian University‘s campus is definitely one worthy for the IG posts! It has a good size, not too large that I’ll tire myself out from walking around it. I was comfortably familiarized with CYCU through the help of my Taiwanese buddy, Jo-Tsen. She helped me a lot prior to my arrival and has been assisting me since I came to Taiwan. Everyone in the university were hospitable and gave us a warm welcome despite the hostile and cold weather. Even the Filipinos who were taking up their Master’s and PhD degrees introduced us to the student life in Taiwan. One of the best tips they gave was about Mama Marita‘s restaurant where Filipino food is served and other Taiwanese dishes.

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Dr. Cheng-Yuan Chang, the chairman of the Department of Electrical Engineering, received us with open arms. He went an extra mile just to fully inform us about what courses he recommends us to take during our stay in CYCU. I was able to choose a schedule I like and take up advanced subjects. Furthermore, he also invited us to take part in the internship program and assigned us in laboratories as student researchers. I keenly accepted the delegation of working with Professor Jia-Yin Wang who specializes in communication and control systems as well as programming. Being the first foreigner to be part of their laboratory, they accommodated me well. We already had a few meals together since I arrived and we gladly engaged in those getting-to-know-each-other kind of conversations.

My favorite part of strolling is spotting adorable dogs! It was my first time to see corgis which made me so happy. Everywhere I looked, there’s a puppy sitting waiting for me to pet him/her. (I say “Hi!” to the dogs first before greeting humans.)

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Walking in the streets of Zhongli District of Taoyuan City, I immediately knew that I was in an industrial area. My location was so-so since I lived around the corner of the Chung Yuan Night Market, life comes while the sun sets. Coffee shops, restaurants, boutiques, and street food stalls exploded colors to this nightlife. Apart from that, there isn’t much to see. The streets were tolerable during the early mornings. At around 8AM, there will be motorcycles bustling everywhere and speeding like maniacs. Everything looked interesting in my curious eyes for the first time. Eventually, my eyes were worn out. Every block looked the same, as if it was copy-pasted.

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What redeemed the area for me was the YouBike system. My eyes sparkled when I first saw a YouBike station. I thought to myself, “It was definitely a great decision to bring my favorite biking helmet.” The moment my passion for biking was rekindled, it was when I started loving Taiwan. I went biking almost every single day since I’ve been here. It didn’t matter if the chilling wind blew across my face or raindrops fell all over me. I loved every single moment I went biking around Zhongli/Jungli/Chungli, however you want to call it (they’re all the same anyway). Some of my favorite biking spots so far is Sanmin Sports Park and the area around Renhai Temple.

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“I love Taiwan!” No doubt in those words. Learning to love Taiwan is the best thing that has happened to me since #DawningInTaiwan started. My ultimate goal: to see every bit of Taiwan during stay for 120 days.

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