End of Month Report: October ’09

DATE OF REPORT: 10/27/2009 FOR MONTH OF: October HOST COUNTRY: Taiwan
NAME: Eric Andrew Fleck

MY HOST FAMILY INFORMATION IS:

Pu Huang
No. 12-7, Lane 159, KuoKuang Rd., Sec 1
Tali Taichung Hsien, Taiwan 412

Tel: +886-2-2406-0066 (Res.)

MY HOST CLUB COUNSELOR INFORMATION IS:

“Andy” Kuo-Hsun LIU
No. 58, Gongye 20th Rd.,
Taipin City, Taichung County 411 Taiwan

Tel: +886-4-22780462
FAX: +886-4-22715975
Email: lkh5081@ms26.hinet.net

About the Exchange:

Da jia, hao (“Everyone, Good”)!

During the first weekend of October, Taiwan celebrated the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. Ana, Paulina and I were invited by some classmates to their BBQ for a night of fireworks in their street and lots of diverse and some-what tasty food (beef and seafood, mainly). 😛 The next day I ate a citrus orange-like fruit called a pomel which they gave me at the BBQ since I enjoyed it so much that night. I sectioned it and ate the fruit and immediately started having some slight prickly/stinging sensation on my lips. So I looked in the mirror and there were all these really tiny whitish marks that appeared and yeah.. they’re still there. Hahaha.. So a small partion of my upper lip is bleached a little. Oh well.. I told my host mom about it but she didn’t seem very worried. I haven’t eaten any of it anymore, but I think I just touched the peel and then my lip or something. Apparently you have to peel it a special way. I guess I did it the wrong way. LOL

A week after the last monthly report, I played two songs on my violin for an elementary school as part of a “Get to know Min Tai High School (and come to our school when you’re old enough!! hahahaha)” type of event. It was the first really big solo I’ve ever performed and I didn’t mess up! So that was cool haha. A handful of my homeroom classmates came along to do this short skit/musical play which was very entertaining. Three days later (10/8/09) I played my violin again, only at our own school! My day was 4 showings of a talent show for all first year students at Min Tai. I watched many acts over again but they were just as entertaining (although the bottle jugglers dropped about 10 bottles during the last act hehehe). I only had to play in the first and third showings which was plenty for me! During my second performance (in the 3rd showing) I played a fiddle song (“Boil ’em Cabbage Down”) and much to my surprise, the audience started clapping the beat like in a SouthWest barnyard jam LOL! I received plenty of applause from the audience.

Oh! October 6th at 1 AM, there was an earthquake which measured around 6.3 on the Richter Scale but it only lasted about 4 seconds in my neighborhood. It gave me quite a shock though hahaha! Haven’t felt one since 2001!

I have a new favorite drink here. It’s called bing chee lean hong cha: (vanilla) ice cream in black tea. It is one thing I am sure I’ll hate to lose once I leave this island! Last week, Ana and Paulina taught me how to blow bubbles from bubble gum. Hahaha, I am glad that I finally learned!

Also this month, I received my first care package from home. Really enjoyed the Halloween candy and the vitamins are really appreciated (since I was almost out from the last cold I had). Thanks Mom! >;D

I saw my first accident since arriving in Taiwan. It was a scooter collision. There was an ambulance driving away when I got off the bus (it happened on the road near my house). Traffic is crazy here, so I’m being extra cautious crossing streets.

One of my Chinese teachers, nicknamed Boss, took us to a supermarket for class one day during each of the last two weeks. We learned how to say some fruits and vegetables in Chinese. This week we’re going to go back and our test will be to have to find food. It’s a very fun class.

My calligraphy class isn’t as hard as it used to be and I actually really like it now! It’s cool being able to paint characters that are recognizable…. finally hah!

Two weekends ago, my district (3460) took it’s exchange students to Sun Moon Lake. The reason for it’s name comes from the two sides of it; one is crescent shaped like the moon and the other is round like the sun. It’s located near the center of Taiwan and is the largest lake on the island. It’s surrounded by mountains on all sides and the water is a very clear blue. There are houses in the water too, on anchored rafts I think. Before we visited the lake, we took a tour of a place that makes paper the old fashioned way. We learned how to make fans and got to keep what we made. Once we got to the lake, we were split into three groups and given six plastic barrels, ~ 10 bamboo logs, and a set amount of rope. We had to build our raft so that we could all fit on it and prove that it would take us all across the lake. The other teams (and even some of our own teammembers) were pretty sure our design would fail and we would all get wet because it would fall apart as soon as it hit the water. But we proved them wrong!! The other rafts fell apart, sunk, and made their occupants soaking wet and ours stayed afloat and was well on it’s way… Until the soaking wet guys pulled ours apart hahaha! We stayed in for a while and swam in the cool water. That night we had a bon fire and chanted/danced all kinds of Taiwan aborigine rhythms. They really know how to make huge bon fires here! None of us really slept that night and at 5 AM on Sunday, we all boarded the bus after breakfast to get on a boat which took us to the starting line of the 6 KM marathon which we all participated in. I am happy to say I finished it with a fellow American (Michigan) Rotary Exchange Student (Becca; she wrote about it and has some pictures of the weekend on her blog: http://beccaeham.livejournal.com) and we were ranked around 760! I had never participated in a marathon before, so it was a very fun experience! Later that day on the way home, we visited a few temples and I rang a huge bell (just like the Tibetan monk does in the trailer for 2012! LOL!!). Might have that video up soon and linked to in the next report… hopefully.. heheh time really flies when you’re having fun. We were all so tired by that night. Most of us were fast asleep on the bus ride home!

This last weekend I went to a drum concert on Saturday which was pretty cool. Sunday, I hung out with some exchange students in Taichung City and then decided to go exploring on my own. I walked about 10 miles during that whole day. Just exploring the city and everything. I walked to this big park in Taichung where the 2009 Taichung Jazz Festival was being hosted. I had a lot of fun there. The first stand I came to was selling drum sticks for 300 NT (under $10 USD) so I purchased :). I took them to school today and Boss (who also plays the drums) and a classmate (who really plays the drums well) started to teach me how to play the drums. It’s actually a lot harder than one would think, because once you start using 2 hands and 2 feet each with a different part of the rhythm, it can get quite messy. Which is why they told me to play it slowly! Hahahahaha It’s very addicting though.. I am going to practice until I have it down! So after I bought the drum sticks, I got some food and listened to some performers play on the 2 stages in the park. They were very good and it wasn’t what I was expecting for a Taiwan Jazz festival haha. After a while, I went to walk around the city and finally started to become oriented to my surroundings. I went to find a 50 (a drink store chain here) so I could buy some bing chee lean hong cha and after asking for directions in Chinese, I finally found it! I almost got lost on my way back to the park, but I didn’t, and I ended up taking the bus back to where my host parents had instructed me to go to be picked up.

This is turning into a great exchange year. I’m confident my language, calligraphy, and drumming abilities are going to be solid by the time I leave. I am really loving Taiwan and I learn/experience something new every day.

Pictures:

Sun Moon Lake trip: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=38640&id=1407385820&l=0c427b2290
Me, Ana, & Paulina during lunch: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=38648&id=1407385820&l=27c239f1fc
Cooking Class: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=38625&id=1407385820&l=7f17a13307
Dumpling night: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=38646&id=1407385820&l=2808fafc1a
Just life.. lol: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=38632&id=1407385820&l=e124880144

Happy Halloween,

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

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~ by flerick on October 27, 2009.

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