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2011 Has started and I am more than 5 month here in Taiwan.
2011 started good. I went to a place near the Taipei 101 and I had a great Party with many great people. Our party was not at the offical Taipei 101 Party, but in a Park near the 101, so we could still see the 101. Highlight of the evening was the big fireworks at the Taipei 101. The fireworks were really cool. When I went back home afterwards, there were so many people, who were going to take the MRT (subway). It took me more than twice the time than normal.
At first, the new Year didnt change a lot. I still had to go to school, and many people didn’t celebrate the new year a lot. For most of the people here, chinese new year is the one big Event every year, which is in the beginning of February this year. In January , lots of people begin to prepare for chinese new Year. I am also looking forward to the chinese new Year.
The first big change was the end of the semester. at first, one week before the semester was over, we finished our chinese class. It was not just the last chinese class in this semester, but also the last chinese class with our teacher. next Year we are going to have a new teacher. In the last week of school, all the students had their final exams for the semester, and I went with the other exchange students of my school out of school because we couldn’t take the exams. The first day, we went with the secretary of the school to the national Palace museum. It was my second time in the Museum, so it was a bit boring, but this time, we had a tour guide, so we didn’t see everything but get new information to everything we saw. in the afternoon, we first took lunch in a restaurant near the Museum. Than we went to a park near the Museum. Later, we went to a park at a different place and we saw the house of the former Taiwanese President Chang Kai Shek near the park. The second day, we went to a big bookstore near the Taipei 101, because we wanted to have a look at some chinese learning books. We spent almost two hours at the bookstore, then we took lunch and in the afternoon, we went to a different place. We went to a street, where many people buy things to prepare for chinese new Year, especially food. We just walked over one third of the street, but there was lots of food and many other things. The next day was our last day of school and the end of the semester. This day, all the students went to a meeting in the Gym and we heard speeches of the principal of the school and some other important teachers and people in the school. it took almost two hours and was boring. after that, we had to clean the classes and then somebody of the military personal of the school had a look at the class, and then we could go home. Vacations! =)
Last saturday, I had a Rotary activity with all exchange students of my district. We meet in the morning and took the train to the mountains near Taipei. there, we went to an old coal mine, which was founded more than 100 years ago and primarily was used by the Japanese, when the occupied Taiwan until 1945. Later, we took the train to another place. There we went along the river to a big waterfall. In the evening was the highlight of the day. We made our own chinese sky lanterns. First, a teacher teached us how to make the lanerns, then we made our own lantern. We wrote our wishes and hopes on the lantern and then we let it fly. After that, we had a dinner and when it was dark, we had a traditional Taiwanese ceremony with torches.
Now I have vacations for 3 weeks and next week is chinese new Year, and I am really looking forward to it, because it will be the biggest Holiday in this year.
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I am now more than 4 month in Taiwan, Christmas just passed by and 2010 is almost over. Inthe last month a lot of things happend and if I would write about everything, it would be too long and very boring, so here are the most important things happened.
First of all, I changed my Hostfamilies in the End of November. The change was quiet spontaneous. Although I knew that I am going to change in the End of November/ Beginning of December, it was surprising when my Hostfather told me that I am going to change in 2 days. The first problem was to pack all my stuff, because of the schooluniform I had lots of more clothers and then there were lots of souvenirs, school books and papers that I had to take with me or throw away. I managed it to pack everything into my suitcase, my Backpack, the schoolbag, and two small Cardboard boxes. The change was during a Rotary Meeting, I went there with my first family, and back with my second.
My second hostfamily is a retired couple and I also have one Hostbrother, but most of the time, just my hostparents are at home. I really like my new Hostfamily. Although they don’t speak so much English, I talk to them a lot. I also like my new home. The Apartment is not that big and my room is even smaller than before, but that is no problem, because now I can walk out of the door and I am almost standing on a Market. The Market is “opened” everyday till late in the evening and you can buy lots of fresh food there. I also got an MRT (subway) Station very close to my home, so I can go to Taipei even faster.
AAnother Important thing happend was Christmas. Most of the people in Taiwan don’t celebrate Christmas, so there is no Christmas feeling and no traditions. There are some Christmas Partys, and I went to one Christmas Party of my Rotary club together with some other clubs, last thursday. On the Party, I meet Michaela, another German exchange student in Taipei, because our Hostmothers are in the same Rotary club. We talked a lot about what we did in Taiwan, how Taiwan is like and other things. During the Party, the rotarians played games, for example one game where all the rotarians on one table are a team. They get a box and the showmaster announces Something., e.g. Cellphone, credit card, shoes, belt … Now the team has to get as much of these things as fast as possible. The Party was really good, although it still didn’t got a lot of christmas feeling. On friday, the 24th, I had to go to school like everyone else. In the school, there were some small Christmas Partys, but most of the classes were like on every normal Friday. In the evening, I just had a normal dinner with my Hostfamily, and no big Christmas dinner. Later I skyped with my Family and I opend some Christmas presents they send my before. On Saturday I meet all the exchange students form my district as well as some Outbounds and Rotex people. Together we went to Yilan south of Taipei at the eastcoast of Taiwan. There, we did social work in the afternoon. We went to a childrens Hospital and we have tinkered Kaleidoscopes. We also went though the rooms, we were singing Christmas songs, and gave coockies to the children. In the evening, we went to a Party location. there, we first had a dinner all together, and than we had a great Party.
Ok, thats the main things happend last month. Now 2010 is alomost over and I wish everyone a great new Year!!
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I am know for 3 Month in Taiwan and the time is running so fast. That is why I didn’t write for more than one month now. I was very busy and did lots of things, and I will give you a short review of what happened the last few weeks.
The first Important thing was Gustafs Birthday. The weekend before he had birthday, I meet the other exchange students from my school and some Taiwanese students and we made a cake for him. After getting everything we needed in the Carrefour, we had a problem with making the cake: We had no oven, because lots of Taiwanese don’t use an oven, so they don’t have one. In the end, we managed to make our cake in the microwave. On Monday, We celebrated Gustafs birthday together with our chinese teacher and two other teachers.
The next big Event the last weeks was the Coming of the Age Ceremony. The last six weeks before, we had Tai Chi training every sunday morning. I the Coming of the Age Ceremony, we had our show. Besides the Tai Chi show, the other Rotary District had a Dragon Dance, Lion Dance and Prince dance show. We also saw a traditional row dance, performed by elementary school students. The Ceremony was more than just show. It was the official beginng of being an adult, with all rights and responsibilities. to demonstrate that, we all went to the stage and our parents gave us a Certificate. We also had traditional chinese clothers and we were allowed tp take them home.
Some weeks ago, I also went with my chinese teacher, Ana from Brazil, Andres and Liz to Xinzhu. In Xinzhu is another school where our chinese teacher has a writing class every saturday. We had to be on time in Xinzhu, so we meet at 6:30am at the school (wake up at 6am!!!) In the morning we had two classes, two hours each. I the classes, we made a short introduction of us and our homecountry and than we had the chance to talk to the students. At noon, we bought some lunch in a temple and picked up another teacher, before we went to the next school to have another two hours of class. After the class, we went to an market street in the area of Xinzhu. The street was in a small town surrounded by mountains. The Area was very beautiful. In the evening, we had dinner at a nightmarket before we went home.
So, that were the three main events of the last month, but I also did a lot more things. For example I had to to a 20 min Presentation for Rotary about what i did in Taiwan until now. I managed to speak free in chinese during the whole presentation. I also had to make a speech in my school. The principal wanted all of us exchange students to give a speech, so every wednesday one of us has to do his speech. It was just 5 minutes long, but this time, I had no possibility to show pictures and I had to give the speech in front of the whole school, so there were 2000 Taiwanese students listening me speaking chinese. My chinese teacher just said “take it easy”, before I went up to the stage. On the stage, I felt nervous the first moments, but after the first sentences, it was OK and I had no problem.
The last thing I can tell you is that I made a trip to Dansui with 3 Brazilians and some Taiwanese students. We first went through the market streets in Dansui and had some snacks, and in the afternoon we went to the other side of the dansui river, to Bali, and we made a bike trip.
Ok, I think I told you now the most important things happend the last month, and I try to keep theo.de up-to-date. I will also put new pictures on the site:
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The Last weekend was great. On Saturday, I went with the four other Exchange Students and a teacher to the biggest bookstore in Taipei, not so far away from the Taipei 101, We spent nearly the whole day in the 6 floors of this huge bookstore. In the evening, I went to Zhongshan in Taipei and I had dinner in a McDonalds
On Sunday was the Taiwan National Holiday, because the Republic of China becomes 99 years old. I went to the Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, because there was a big Parade with lots of different Artist and music groups. It was really nice and the whole parade was 2 hours long.
On Monday and Tuesday, our school hab Mid-Term-Exams, the Studentts write Exams in every subject. All the exams are in Chinese and we would feel very bored if we write those exams, because we can‘t understand anything, so the School decided, that we can go out with a teacher.
On Monday, we went with two teachers and another eschange student form Brazil, who jions our activity, because her school has no planned acticity, to the Taipei 101. First, we had a coffee in Starbucks, because the Mall opens at 11 am and we were early. When we finished in Starbucks and arrived in the Mall, we went to the food court and had lunch. This time our lunch was not typial chinese, I had a sandwich form Subway. After lunch, we went together through the Mall to the Tower entrace adn than to the 89. floor. We were not very lucky, because it started to rain so we were not allowed to visit the outdoor obsevation Plattform, but Inside was also Okay. We spend whole 2 Ours to enjoy the fantastic view over Taipei, even if it was raining most of the time. When we finished going through the 89. And 88. Floor, we went back to the 5. Floor in the Mall. There, we went to the London Tea House, a Restaurant in the Mall, and we hab very delicious cake and tea. That was a good way to end such a great day.
On Tuesday, we ent out with our chinese and our music teacher. This time, we had a Van and didn‘t use busses and the MRT. We went out of Taipei to the North cost, where we visited the Dharma Drum Mountain, a huge Temple with school and a Library. We arrvied at ten in the moning and went with a guide through the Temple. We visited a Huge bell with thousands of chinese characters on it, the Main Building and the Library, Than we had a vegetarien lunch, which was very delicious. In the Afternoon, we finished our tour through the Temple, before we went to the cost. At the norh cost are very interesting Stone formations, and there were lots of tourists. We walked along the seaside and had some fun. When it becomes evening, we went first to a famous backery and had some delicious cake, than to a night market. There we walked over the nightmarket and try many different kinds of food. There were also great fresh juice. Finally, everyone buys some dinner and we went back to the car and eat in the car on the way back home. The drive back home was very funny, becaause we spoke in 6 languages: English, Cinese, Spanish, Portuguise, Swedish and German and try to teach each other some of our languange.
All in all that was a great weekend and I had lots of fun with the other exchange sudents and with the teachers.
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On Wednesday, I had a day off, because it was Monnfestival. Moonfestival or Mid-Fall-Festival is a traditional chinese holiday. This is why everyone has a day off on this day. In the morning, I went hiking with my Hostparents on a Mountain very close to Taipei, I enjoyed it, even if we went up stairs the most of the time. We started hiking very late, around 10 am, so we go back down after the half of the way to the top, because my Hostparents don’t want to walk through the hot weather at noon. Back home, we had lunch and than we take a rest. In the Afternoon, we went to shilin District in Taipei, because my hostsister needed to buy new shoes, and I buyed a book, to learn chinese.
At 5pm, we went back home, because there was a BBQ in our street with all our neighbours. Everyone sits on small chairs on the street, always in a circle with a grill in the middle. I really enjoyed the good atmosphere and the great food, even it is different from BBQ in Germany. I also meet some candidats for the Governor votes of Taipei county in november. All in all it was a great day and I was really tired in the evening.
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Now the first three weeks of school are over and the everyday life starts, but for me and the 4 other exchange students at my school different than for the other 2000 students. To improve our chinese, the school arranged a chinese course just for us with 8 lessons a week. Furthermore, we have 10 lessons a week culture class, also just the 5 exchange students. In cultureclass, we learn something about chinese culture and also about ourselfes, because we work with a Psychologist. The other 22 lessons we have ( everyday school from 7:30am to 5pm/ 8 lessons) are just art, music, computer and sports classes. Our school arranged this Timetable, because normal classes are very boring for us, because we understand nearly nothing. In the classes we got, we have the chance to learn chinese with other students.
Although the everyday life started, there are also some special events. Last Tuesday, every student went to the National Concert Hall to hear a two hour Concert of the National Orchestra.Before we went to the concert, I went with some classmates to nightmarket. I really like the nightmaket, because there is many delicious food and you can buy whatever you need. Last Wednesday we had a Fire drill: At first, we trained what to do, if there is an earthquake, then we evacuate the school. After that, we went in groups of 80 students to different stations. We learned how to find our way in classroom, which are dark and full of smoke, how to evacuate the higher floors from outside with robes and how to use fire extingiushers. I also used the fire extinguisher to fight a small fire. All together it was a really exciting day.
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Yesterday I went with my Rotary club to clean some streets. We started at 8 am and finished our cleaning at 11 am. It was hard, Because it was very warm, but it was also a very good morning, because I meet friendly people and we also had some fun.
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Yesterday was the first inbound orientation of our Rotary host district. I meet all the other Inbounds who traveled in this district. We were around 30 students. Over the day, we heared to some Speeches about Taiwan and how we could make the best of our year. We also had the chance to share namecards to keep in contact. All in all, it was a great day and I meet many new people.
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Yesterday I was on my second rotary meeting. In this meeting, They welcomed me officially in the Rotary Club. I had to hold a 20 minute Presentation about Germany, but it was around a half our, because someone has to translate everything from English to chinese. Through the rest of the meeting, I had a seat at the main table together with President and secretary. At the End, we changed Rotary clubflags and I get some present.
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