Thoughts of a Canadian Exchange Student


Posted in Exchange, NTU, Taiwan by J on July 18, 2007

I’m beginning to feel like this period before my exchange is building up to a huge climax. It’d better be, especially with all this anticipation and waiting. It’s like those movies where the events build and build and then… nothing. A total deflation. Well, I know that my exchange won’t be like that, a total deflation, but this waiting has got to stop.

I’d rather know how much longer I’ll have to wait for my official acceptance letter from NTU than eagerly anticipate my [electronic] mail each day, hoping for an email from my university’s exchange office telling me that it’s finally here. I need that visa! Perhaps this is just a taste of what’s to come in Taiwan (bureaucracy), all this… waiting.

On a better note, I have a volunteer from NTU assigned to me now. Yay!


A Second-Class Asian?

Posted in Miscellaneous, Taiwan by J on July 12, 2007

In learning more about Taiwan and Taipei, a growing concern has been gnawing at my belly. I feel that information about Taiwan, found in the likes of things like Lonely Planet and government websites, have completely missed my demographic. They’re like those “Computers for Dummies” guides, except in this case it’s more like “Taiwan for [White, Western and not at all Asian] Dummies.”

I want to know how I’ll be treated by these “very friendly” Taiwanese because I’m not exactly the first image of a Canadian that comes to mind. Will I be accepted? Will I be ignored? Will I be an object of contempt?

Will I be a “second-class” Asian?

I need something to help me out. I need my own guide.

A Little Pocket of Happiness

Posted in Home, Miscellaneous, Outdoors by J on July 3, 2007

I’ve been having these urges to go out and see my city. In all these years I’ve been living here, I’ve never really seen it. A rather myopic view, I guess.

Anyways, I went out for a walk tonight.

A little bit into my walk, something darted past me from one alley into the next ahead of me. Down the grassy, unpaved alley, waddling a short distance ahead was something black and white. It took a moment to comprehend what it was, and I was glad that I didn’t chase it: I would’ve been smelling like skunk for a while after!

However, my favourite part of my walk was discovering this…place. Down by the now defunct railway tracks, there’s this spot amidst all the traffic. Walking through it, with the setting sun warm on my face, I felt like I was somewhere else, not in the city. Looking to my left, there was a garden that extended a fair bit down the tracks and a small red park bench nestled in the garden area. To my right the tracks with their lilac highlights almost vanished into the horizon. The wheelbarrow added a touch of coziness. And here in my walk, I paused for a few seconds to take this all in.

“Caw! Caaaw!”

The crows had gathered on the power lines above me and threatened the safety of my head. I quickly left. *scoffs* Crows.

Isn’t it such a crazy idea to play tourist in my own city? I want something to tell people who ask me about home. At the end of it all, I want to know and understand my home, and finding a place like this makes achieving my goal all the easier.