While enjoying my train ride towards the south of Taiwan, I received an even more joyful message from Pia. She complimented my efforts in my previous lectures and asked me if I wanted to be one of the guest lectures for an event in Taichung. Without hesitation, I said I’d love to be part of it. She immediately put me in contact with Phoebe, the teacher who’s organizing the event. We kept in contact and talked about what the event’s theme was.
After a weekend in Tainan, I went straight to Taichung since my classes were in the evening. I went there early and was picked up by Teacher Phoebe. Her class invited me to join their Chemistry class which was in Chinese, but I politely refused since I didn’t know any Chinese and I was reading a book then. Afterwards, a group of high school boys invited me to join their class for lunch which turned out to be a nice meal. They took me for a tour of their campus. I appreciated their effort to keep an enthusiastic conversation with me. I discovered a lot about their interests, hobbies, and even their plans for the near future. At around 2’o clock in the afternoon, we watched performances from each organization or the so called “clubs.” The acts varied from playing instruments to dancing. I was thrilled to witness these kids showcasing their talents in front of the whole high school.
With the theme of “Cross-Cultural Talk about Boys and Girls,” there were other foreign students (Malaysia, Spain, and Paraguay) who were also invited to share about their culture. I was introduced and asked to do the first sharing. In the same way like my previous lectures, I gave them a brief background of myself, the gist of Philippines’ best, an overview of my experiences, and an opinion of how I like (love) Taiwan. As always, they’re shocked that I have very intense feelings about Taiwan and they’re wondering how I’ve seen so much of their country in such a short period of time I’ve been there. With these reactions, I would grin and tell them bits of my crazy adventures (hitchhiking, farming, mispronounced Chinese words, etc).
Likewise, the other guest lecturers shared about their respective cultures. What took my attention were the lectures of the guy from Malaysia and also Victor and Gonzalo’s. (I forgot the name of the Malaysian guy, pardon me.) They shared how they viewed the cultures of their own countries were to that of Taiwan. There were striking similarities and differences. Of course, some ridiculous culture shocks were also mentioned. Victor particularly pointed out what has also bothered me which was the dogs in strollers! It’s an absurd trend, at least in our perspective.
Afterwards, we proceeded to the next part of the event which was focused on gender stereotypes. Questions about the habits, behaviors, expectations, and communication methods of “boys and girls” rose during the discussion. I was assigned to a group of girls then to a group of boys. They were eager to know how it is like in the Philippines, for both boys and girls. With a vast amount of stories rooting from personal experiences and historical knowledge, I (hope to have) enlightened them about the non-existence of gender boundaries. I emphasized on how it should be equal for both men and women.
In a lighter topic, the rest of the afternoon was filled with Taiwanese snacks and milk teas! Though I wasn’t able to participate in the succeeding weekends, I’m still grateful to have been granted the opportunity to visit this high school.