September 2015

Tiffany in Taiwan

I returned to WA July 31st in the afternoon. Actually I should say “we” since Joe came to meet me in China July 13th and we had our own adventures in PanZhiHua, XiChang, and of course Chengdu. We then flew to Taiwan on the 24th to see our exchange student who we hosted in 2013 at her home and met her family. Taiwan is beautiful; you should go if you ever get the chance.

Joe's spider friend :)

Joe almost got his face eaten off by a spider, it was his fault. He was looking at the pretty web and kept walking closer to see it until suddenly he was eyeballs to eyeballs with a hand-sized, brilliantly colored spider who was wondering if he would fit in the web. It was epic. Truthfully, Taiwan mosquitoes are rather aggressive to bring extra bug spray and don’t be afraid to keep applying.

My Chinese Visa expired on July 30th so we went from Taiwan (officially still China but don’t tell them that!) and spent a day in South Korea in Incheon the city. I think you should go to Korea if only to see the airport, it is magnificent and has so much to do! We spent the night in a Bathtel Hotel which was huge and the bathroom was gigantic with a 4 person pink tub and a rain shower. Here is the overshare of the day…Joe fell in love with bidets in Taiwan and South Korea. The one in our hotel in South Korea had buttons in Korean and Chinese and I chose not to mention that one of those buttons offers to play music. Call it self-preservation, he was already threatening not to leave the hotel room and I was hungry.

Tiffany in Korea

Everywhere I went, except Taiwan, most people did not speak English. But the place we ate at really late night in Korea had a Chinese menu so I was at least able to order food for us. That was such a cool experience there. It must have been after 11pm and we had only had airline food that day when we found a small family run Korean BBQ place to eat at. The family was sitting at the table next to us, the dogs were also eating with them and it was boisterous and the perfect atmosphere before leaving to head home to the states. Get this though, for breakfast on our walk to the subway in the morning we stopped at a “hamburger” place. These burgers were rice patties with seaweed and seasoning with kimchi and bulgogi for the “meat” part. They were really good and super genius for anyone that is gluten free.

Korean BBQ in Chengdu with friends

So basically Joe and I had a great time and then spent 10 hours on a plane coming home to what I felt was freezing cold weather but you all thought was ridiculously hot. I guess I adapted to the Asian 100 degrees with 90% humidity and frankly coming here was not comfortable, I was looking for sweaters the first day. I also came home with no clothing since I lost 40lbs overseas and nothing fit. So basically I had 2 pairs of shorts and tank tops with one long-sleeved shirt in my luggage and lots of gifts and goodies for people. Oh, and only one pair of sandals since all my shoes were destroyed from all the walking in China. I heard the other UW students had similar experiences regarding coming home without clothes and shoeless.

A live show they hold in the Korean Airport (ICN)

Speaking of the UW Crew, I had a party in late September to get everyone together and relax for an overnight. It was great to see everyone again and see how we are all readjusting. I think “not well” was pretty uniform for us when asked how we were doing getting back in the swing of life in the U.S. It is really different, and I know I spend lots of time at the gym working out to help me adjust to a sedentary life here which is the polar opposite of life in China where you have to walk everywhere and stairs are not an option as most elevators are either non-existent or iffy and scary. Some of the other boys are taking daily walks to keep our health in check and keep our mind from wandering to the horrible question of “why am I here?”

Joe with BaBa in PanZhiHua

I’ll tell you why I’m here, I have a loving boyfriend, and two adorable Chihuahuas and my parents who all missed me and love me. My friend also has been a great help since I returned and I am very glad to see her again as she has helped with some of the readjustments. I also need to get my bachelor’s degree so that I can return to China to live there full-time. Oh and Joe, said boyfriend, needs to get his as well. So maybe I just returned to finish school and help Joe begin the 2nd half of his degree. Or maybe I missed my dogs, friends, and parents (who are doing all right, but my dad had some health problem while I was gone so I’m watching him closely). Either way I am home.

To keep me busy I am working two part time jobs which are not related to my future but keep me occupied and I enjoy them. They also work with my school schedule which is important. School starts tomorrow and I am not even close to ready but at least my yard and house are in somewhat decent shape and my dogs have seen the vet and been given clean bills of health. So in a way I am ready, but I haven’t packed my backpack or anything which might be kind of important, don’t you think? So I gotta go and this will be my final blog for everyone.

Friends in Chengdu, who I miss very much!

I will at some point be presenting a slideshow to this year’s Chinese language class at UWT and maybe at other events on campus as well but those times are not definite at this point. Thank you for following me on my journey to Southwest China and reading about my adventures which I hope entertained you and maybe gave you some insight to what it is like to study abroad.