End of Month Report: August ’09

DATE OF REPORT: 8/31/2009 FOR MONTH OF: August HOST COUNTRY: Taiwan
NAME: Eric Andrew Fleck

Well, I’m here in Taiwan, everyone! I’ve only been here for the last week in August, but there has been so much happening already. My flight was long (almost 14 hours from LAX to Taipei), but I sat next to exchange students which made it fun. I met my host family in the airport on the 22nd at 8 PM. My host family comprises of my Papa “Pu”, Mama, and Vivian (my host sister). They are all very nice and caring and have helped me adjust to life here easily. They have given me a Chinese name that I like: Jun Hao Huang (Huang being their family name): pronounced June How. We have gone out to eat together several times and each time we have a lot of fun (the dinner conversation usually them teaching me some useful vocabulary words, and then all of us laughing at my pronounciation of the 4 tones that I am still learning). I started journaling the day after I arrived, and so far I have roughly 45 pages filled. It really helps to write this report having all of that written to remind me with.

I have gone out with Vivian and her friends to Karaoke once already. That was a lot of fun: I sang Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up, Kryptonite by 3 Doors Down, and Born to be Wild by SteppenWolfe (hahahaha) – badly hahahahaha. We were there for 4 hours! More recently she and I took some other friends of hers to a pool hall and we played for 3 hours – we all made some pretty amazing shots.

There are 2 girls (1 from Brazil, 1 from Mexico) also being hosted by my club who will be attending the same high school (“Min Tai”) as me. I met about 8 other exchange students (mostly from mexico) in my district (3460) 2 days ago at an outbound/inbound conference. All except one of the exchange students I’ve met in my district are girls; the guy is from Brazil and he reminds me a lot of Murillo (currently hosted in Williams, AZ) hahaha! Speaking of school, it starts tomorrow (Tuesday – the first day of September). I will have to get up at around 5:45 to catch the bus in time at around 6:50. My school is really impressive (see the pictures linked at the end) and huge. They tell me there are over four thousand students that attend. Oh, and they want me to play the violin in front of all of them in about a month… Ugh hahaha. I have enrolled in a guitar/drum class that I’m really excited about taking and also a bartending/waiting class which should be interesting! At the end of September, I will be better informed as to what my school is like.

As far as cultural shock, I haven’t really felt it in extreme levels (and no homesickness so far), but I have been confused many times and I am usually listening to Mandarin conversations and understanding only part of the topic from body language and the context of where we are when it’s being spoken. I have been learning a few phrases that I can now recall fairly easily, and the rest that I can’t remember I’ve been writing down in a vocabularly notebook. The weather here is not too bad: really humid and slightly hot on some days (but NOTHING compared to PHX hahahaha). The first few days were the hardest because of the change in humidity, but I’m acclimated now. It rained heavily yesterday which I liked, but my host sister not so much hehe. It’s strange, but now that I’m actually in a different country as an exchange student, I finally realize what all the exchange students I’ve known over the years have/are feeling. It’s something that I could only grasp by experiencing it, no matter how well I knew them, how much I talked to them, and how much I watched their interactions with unusual (to them) American ways.

Haha.. right now the garbage truck is picking up trash.. How do I know? Because garbage trucks in Taiwan are musical just like an ice cream truck in America.

I have uploaded a lot of pictures on Facebook which are viewable by anyone (even people who don’t know what Facebook is):
Album 1: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=32488&l=05f6649942&id=1407385820
Album 2: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=32492&l=ac546ff19e&id=1407385820

Well, that’s most of the highlights so far. Hope you all (and all of the members in my sponsoring clubs) are doing great.

Zai jian,

Eric Fleck, Rotary Exchange Student
D5490 Prescott, AZ
H: (928) 443-0943
2009-10 Outbound > Taichung, Taiwan

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~ by flerick on August 31, 2009.

6 Responses to “End of Month Report: August ’09”

  1. Interesting. Glad your mom informed me about your blog. Sounds like you will be too busy to get homesick.

  2. Aw, my school isn’t very impressive. Just big. It’s a former prison actually, and I think they forgot to ask the prison guards to go get a new job too.
    I’m glad you can hang out with young ppl and other exchange students out in the place where there is almost no exchange students, because I am the only one in my host club and everyone I know and hang out with are old people, mostly from my host club. Haven’t had much of a chance to hang out with the other exchange students. (Now, do you perhaps not feel so concerned about being alone? xD)

    Oh well, just went to check your blog after I wrote about Taiwanese Trash Collecting myself. I’m glad we have something in common.

    Have fun with your young friends and cya sometime hopefully.

    • Hahahahaha, you (as do I) really like making witty/blackhumor/sarcastic comments. I’ve written so many in my journal – although I’ve been quickly running out of time to write in it since school is so demanding. It’s like being a movie star and the glamor part really starts to get annoying sometimes. =[

      oh yeah, I gave my speech in front of the 4k+ students today, and I didn’t mess up! xD wooot.

      Don’t worry, I will come up and meet you in person in the not too distant future. But right now I still don’t know how to use the bus let alone train. So give me a few more weeks to get my act together. Hahaha 🙂

      • Well. What’s your record in taking too far away with the wrong bus?
        Mine’s 40min driving away from my home in a place just on the border of taipei county.

      • Never done that yet. 😉 My school bus is always #41 and I always get off at KFC. Not too much to it really hahaha.

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