Whoa, I haven’t written in a long time! Sorry about that! My boss has been telling us this whole time that once May hits, time just speeds up and before you know it the semester is done, but I didn’t really believe him until now. It seemed like I blinked once and suddenly everything was over! I’ll get to graduation in a minute, but I feel like a recap is in order.
I am going to give you a taste of my top experiences from the last half of the semester, starting with the tale of the lucky horseshoe! It was a bright Sunday afternoon and seemed just like any other. We had already taken the 45 minute train/bus ride into Taichung and were walking to church when we decided to take a shortcut so that we could get out from under the beating sun. Drudgingly we rounded the corner to the back entrance of the church parking lot and much to our dismay we discovered that the pointed metal gates were closed! For a moment we contemplated our options, and feeling very bitterly toward the idea of backtracking we decided instead to attempt jumping the 10-foot fence in our sandals and skirts. As my roommate Carolyn devised a scheme to climb the metal gate, I used my obviously immense knowledge of parkour to boost myself up onto the tall stone wall using only a scooter and a large metal utility box. I realized that my plan was woefully misguided, however, as I stood atop my stone barricade and looked down at the wide expanse of well-kept hedges below. There was nowhere to jump down! At this point we had attracted the attention of a young man who attempted to come to our aid, though this proved to be more detrimental than helpful. As I momentarily paced along the wall, Carolyn found herself straddling the nearby gate trying to find a way to swing her other leg over the top in her skirt without flashing our gentleman visitor. Being so focused on avoiding indecency, she managed to quickly scramble over the gate and assisted me and our other roommate Kristi in following suit. However as we turned to walk inside, she remarked with a note of mild surprise in her voice “Oh, I’m bleeding…” We turned and saw a steady stream of blood oozing from the top of her foot! As we rinsed it in the bathroom sink, Kristi and I shot glances at each other, realizing that it was not simply a cut or scrape but rather a deep wound that looked as if someone had taken a U-shaped ice cream scoop and tried to take a chunk out of Carolyn’s foot. After MUCH arguing, she finally agreed to go to the hospital where she got 7 stitches and hopefully a nasty cool scar!! It is in the shape of a perfect U so we have started calling it her lucky horseshoe, though I honestly couldn’t tell you where in that story she encountered any sort of good luck.
More recently we took a trip up Wulai and went river hiking! It was seriously one of the most fun experiences I’ve had here. It took about an hour of slipping and sliding to get to our end point which was a deep swimming hole that had a natural stone water slide chuting into it. It was an amazing hike! There was so much greenery growing up around us as we climbed over boulders and skid across smooth stones. When we got to the swimming hole we spent the last 30 minutes or so just jumping off of the big boulders into the deep water and then letting the current pull us to the next pile of rocks. It was only about a 10 foot jump, but for some reason standing on top of that rock and making yourself take the leap was ridiculously hard to do. What is peculiar is that I didn’t feel that nerve-wracking fear, I just couldn’t will my body to do it. It took several minutes of twitching and almost diving in before I finally did it, but after I did I couldn’t make myself stop. Sometimes you just need to stop thinking and jump.
And now we finally arrive at graduation day. Thursday and Friday were my last days of teaching my two third grade classes and kindergarten, though technically I still got to see all of my kindergartners today. Saying goodbye to my older kids, though, was tough and basically just sparked this horrible spiral of emotions. Today all of the younger kids had a graduation where they performed dances that we choreographed and taught them, and they were just about the cutest things I’ve ever seen! They did such a great job! It was jungle themed, so my kindergartners danced to “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” and they were a huge hit. Afterward I got so sad saying goodbye to them, I seriously started balling. After cleaning up, all of the staff went out for one last lunch and it was so fun and so heartbreaking at the same time. I have genuinely come to love all of the wonderful people who I have met here and I can’t believe that I may never get to see them again. I don’t think I’m ready for this yet, but it’s happening all the same, which seems to be a common occurrence in life I’ve noticed.
I need to say that this has been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life and I will always treasure it. I have met the most incredible people and made the best of friends here, and to say goodbye and have this chapter end is truly gut-wrenching, even though I know it is an exciting time as well. I wish the best of luck to all of my Taiwan friends and family and I will miss you SO much. I have grown immensely because of you and my experiences here, I can’t express enough how blessed I was to get to come work with all of you!
Now I am off for another week or so travelling around Taiwan before coming home to my beautiful America, so expect to hear from me soon about my adventures in Kenting and Kaohsiung!
P.S. The images are not cooperating, so this time I will be posting them straight to Facebook instead.