Monday, 25 February 2013


There are a ton of reasons why Taiwan frustrates me and things that I don't like, BUT for some reason I don't want to leave. I really wasn't expecting to feel that way! 

This weekend we had the 英文大會 and it was just wonderful. All the foreigners come out of the woodwork for a weekend of wonderfulness. Most in attendance were Pinoy, so it was great to be back in the company of Pinoys! As ever they were so cute, friendly and loving. At lunch they had cooked tons of food which they shared with anyone that walked by! And the spiritual food was just as yummy as the Filipino food! There was about 500 in attendance and everyone just introduces themselves to each other and are so excited to meet new people...there were ones from Thailand, France, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Malaysia, Philippines, England, Scotland, Canada, US...another case of a bunch of cultures under one roof, which is something I just love experiencing! After the program a lot of us went to a mall nearby and swarmed the food court. Every where you looked there was a table of us. It was great mingling around and hearing everyone's stories of how they ended up in Taiwan, how long they've been here, how long they plan to stay and all that jazz! It's always encouraging to be surrounded by people that have similar goals and stuff in life as you. Such a wonderful experience.

Just like when I was in my last few days of living in England about to come here, I didn't feel as if I was going anywhere, I feel the same about returning. I can't believe I am actually coming back to England. I'm not gonna lie, I am super anxious about no longer being surrounded by so many cultures, going back to the rat race and other such boring things that must be faced in England life. Just thinking about being able to walk into a store and speak English and be understood just blows my mind. I'm gonna leave Taiwan with a bang though...I have the most insanely busy week planned with all my friends. It just amazes me that my friends now are literally from all over the world...look how many more opportunities are available to me now with countries and people to visit! The travel bug has bit me hard and there is no doubt if plane tickets weren't so expensive I would be here, there and everywhere! It makes me chuckle that for a long time I had wanted to travel but always felt that I couldn't do it on my own and blah blah blah. But the thing is, now experiencing it...with all the beautiful people you meet along the way, you are never really alone! And even when you are alone, it's a great time to reflect on the things you've learnt from the experience! It's not peachy all the time, but that's going to be the case whether you are in your home country or any other and it's just life as we know it right now.

I still very much live by my motto of take every opportunity that comes your way. Who knows where the next opportunity will take me?! Exciting times.

Pinoys at the front sharing their yummly food!

Sunday, 17 February 2013


One thing I have come to appreciate from Asian culture is a strong family bond is important. Truthfully, sometimes I am quick to judge the culture and feel they're a little too much in each others pockets...but on the flip side all too often in Western cultures families are no longer units, and that's just as sad. In the Philippines divorce is not allowed, so families very much stay together as a unit. No doubt they have their struggles, but with divorce not even being a legal option, the only thing they can do is learn how to make it work. 

I still feel a balance is needed so as not to be in each others pockets. But I think it's definitely admirable to keep a family close. In Western culture it's all to easy to forget about people -with out even meaning to - because life gets so hectic and busy, just from the basic and necessary things. But I'm hoping that with a new perspective I will be able to try and combat that a little better, and keep better focused on the more important things. 

Changing the subject completely...I have always known there are big spiders in Taiwan but I have never actually seen one. Well that all changed the other day! As I was about to walk in to the bathroom, straight ahead of me was the biggest spider I have ever seen! Needless to say I ran out! But I was also curious so I grabbed my camera...kept my distance and zoomed in on the camera...there was no way I was gonna get too close to that thing! When I came back from the meeting I was hoping it would be gone, but no he was still sat there guarding the bathroom. I know a lot of people will be all - how can you leave it there, I couldn't sleep knowing it was there. Well, the spiders eat the cockroaches and other bugs so I figure I would rather have a spider that up until now I had been blissfully unaware of than gross, evil cockroaches running around causing havoc! Also at this point I wasn't sure what kind of spider it was and whether it would get angry at me. I would much rather him stay there instead of me attempt to catch him and him run off into the unknown! After investigation turns out he was a huntsman spider. He sits patiently waiting for his dinner to come near and then he makes a run for it and sprints over to them and enjoys his supper. So chances are, if I did try to catch it, he would have outrun me! I laugh to myself, why does a spider freak me out? I'm way bigger than he is. Just because he has more legs and eyes than I do, I get intimidated by it! The spider has discovered there is nothing to eat in the bathroom and has moved on. 
I really don't like sharing a house with pests! At least the common house spiders of England shouldn't be a problem for me any more! 

I can't believe it's 2 weeks until I come home. It's all very weird.

Tune of the day...Ben Cocks - So Cold. Stunning piano!

(Look away if you don't like spiders. Very big, brown spider below.)

i think he ate my gecko friend..

Friday, 8 February 2013

Yay for fun mail...

Don't you love it when someone knows you so well, they know what you need, without you even saying it?! My parents (especially my mom) has this down to a fine art. My lovely parents sent me some fun mail, I came home from a pretty good study and was greeted by a red air mail box! Ohhhh Hello... I skip with it up to my room and find some nice little treats, but also some practical bits and bobs, stuff that I need. Just the little things like face wipes and hair did they know I only had one hair elastic left?! (I kept losing mine swimming in the sea at Kending and in the Philippines!) I find it hilarious getting so excited over hair elastics, but it is just so true, the best gifts are things you need, not things that cost a small fortune.
Mom and dad were also complete legends for putting the study watchtower in their too. I only had a Chinese one for this month, and lets just say, last weeks watchtower was a struggle. As much as my Chinese has improved, it's not that good yet! Thanks mom and dad!

It's Chinese New Year this weekend. I enjoyed having a not very christmassy christmas, but it's being made up for with a crazy lunar new year instead. The traffic is insane with people frantically buying food and things. Even riding on the scooter, where I can usually weave in and out of places, I'm now caught in traffic. I don't know an awful lot about Chinese New Year, but it seems to be a time where families get together and there are tons of traditions and superstitions they follow that have stemmed from mythical stories. Red is a prominent colour (thank goodness it's not purple) There are pop up market stalls with everything red and gold. Similar to Westerners with xmas, people will get into debt in spending so much on decorations, food and gifts during this festival. 

It gets me to thinking about traditions. How on earth do they come about to such a point that we are too afraid to break them? Who even comes up with the notion that doing or not doing a certain thing makes you lucky or unlucky?! Is it just a way of controlling the masses? I'm not against traditions, I do think some can be good and can be meaningful. But when it gets to the point of you just do this tradition because, whilst in reality you kinda wish you didn't have to. Then I have to wonder...why still do it? But of course this is easy for me to say when I haven't been brought up to hold any of these types of traditions...and have a bit of a hippie inside me! It will be interesting to hear the view from the Taiwanese perspective.

In 3 weeks today, by this time I'll be mid flight and nearly back on English soil...or concrete more than likely. It's a very strange thought. I think about all the plans I had in mind of what I was going to do and how I was going to spend my time here...some of it I've done, most of it I've not, but I've done other things I hadn't expected instead, which have been amazing life lessons.

My song of the day is Gym Class Heroes ft Ryan Tedder - The Fighter. Good for a bit of inspiration. Plus I love the piano intro and throughout the song. 

just what i needed...I feel an angel delight party coming on...

Monday, 4 February 2013

The Super Bowl...

It's become clear I love experiencing different cultures, and I love it even more when things from different cultures catch me off guard. I have a fair few American friends here, so I often get to have American days with them. Today being the day of The Super Bowl I got to experience American football and why the Americans love it so! I've heard of American football of course, but that was about as far as my knowledge of it went until today. 

The guys had paid for a package so we could watch it whilst it was evening time in the States, it was pretty early in the morning for us. So we had an American brekkie whilst watching the game. Why have eggs on toast or pancakes, when you could have both...on the same plate. (And we wonder why there is an obesity problem?! Puzzling!) My friends explained the rules to me, I had previously assumed American football would be similar to England's rugby. Ohhhh, not so! I guess it has a few similarities but completely different. But it's really cool! I was surprised to see myself get pretty into it and rooting for the 49ers. As with all things American, everything was big and in your face, Beyonce performing at half time, with an insane amount of lighting and other such frills. (Way too much in my opinion.) Also the Americans make a massive effort in the commercials that are played in between the game, so every one is watching for the commercials almost as much as the game. That baffles me!  

Whilst all the 'glitz and glam' doesn't appeal to me, at all, I do really like that something as simple as watching a football game can make you feel at home. (Not so much for me, but the Americans for sure.) When we were in Palawan there was a English football/soccer game on, and just seeing the short bit that I did, made me feel that England wasn't so far away. Though, I never really feel like England is far away, and I guess I have technology to thank for that. Sure there are certain things and ways of life I miss, but I've not really ever felt home sick. I don't know how all these fangled, technological gadgets work and have no interest in finding out how...but I do appreciate those who have and allow me to have small measures of home life, when in reality I'm over 6000 miles away! I think for the first time in life, I am finally appreciating's saved me a fortune on stamps at the very least! Though I still hold true to the notion that there is nothing quite like a good ol' handwritten letter! Signed Sealed and Delivered. 

Tuneage...Beyonce - Halo. I previously wasn't overly fussed by big vocals...but after singing with 808 band, I have a new found appreciation. It's tough keeping vocals clean and big without drowning out behind a full band!

Friday, 1 February 2013

International Art Street

I am still wishing I was back in the Philippines ha! (I even attempted making adobong manok...) So today in attempts of trying to find the fun in Taiwan again I went to International Art Street. I had tried to find this place a little while ago, but in typical Abi fashion I got lost and ended up going elsewhere. Though when I got home I looked on a map, only to see I had done another usual Abi thing and took a right instead of a left and in my lost state I was in fact very near. So today, completely sure of where I was going, I made my way there. 

It's just a street that has a few cafes and restaurants of different cultures and your general clothing and homey stores. It was ok. But just ok. I did find a cute place that had a red telephone box outside of it and looked kinda country cottage like, so I went in. The owners were friendly and Puff the Magic Dragon was playing in the background. Cute. 

One thing I find slightly amusing shopping in Taiwan, is when you enter the store the worker will stand up and kinda follow you around. They don't say a word but if you have a question they are right there. I've now learnt when I'm shopping I tend to be a little unpredictable...I will be walking one way, spot something out of the corner of my eye and quickly change my direction to go check it out. Well when you have a small Taiwanese person following you around this poses the slight issue of always bumping into each other. 

As I walked through the street there was mosaics on the ground and paintings on the side of the walls. Music playing through the streets. Nice to see a slightly more creative side of Taiwan. 

It dawns on me every day that I'm another day nearer to returning to England. And it freaks me out! Which is crazy considering as much as I like Taiwan it doesn't feel like home. I think what freaks me out the most is that I have become used to a 'if it's not broke don't fix it...and if it is broke, patch it up and keep using it up anyway' mentality and I enjoy living an extremely simple life, even if it means being a little uncomfortable at times. So to return to a materialistic country is just going to seem so unjust. When thinking that what Brits earn in one hour of work is well over what a Filipino will earn in one day, it's gonna take some getting used to. And the thought of going to a supermarket and being able to buy all the types of cheese I can imagine, just blows my mind at the minute! And just the idea of driving a car, sitting in a little box, being on the wrong side of the road, the wrong side of the car...I'm looking forward to that challenge! They say that reverse culture shock, returning to your home country, is sometimes worse than general culture shock. Well, we will find out soon enough! For all I know, it might not be as bad as I imagine. I am excited to come back and see everyone though. 

Throwing out a real curve ball with my tune of the day today...Nicki Minaj feat Rihanna - Fly. 

funny chaps outside the store...