I went with my host mother to her local Rotary Club meeting and they were discussing the magazine that they put out every week for the club. It’s apparently hard to get people to write articles for the magazine because not enough people have time to contribute. I had mentioned to my host mother that I have a minor in professional writing, so she asked if I wanted to write an article for them. I had to do it in one day, so it’s a bit rough, but here’s what I sent to them:
For the past 20 days I have been touring Taiwan with a group of Americans, all of us from Pennsylvania. We have been hosted by the Taiwanese rotary clubs, who are taking us to many different local sites and showing us places in Taiwan that most visitors do not get to see. So far I have seen very generous, intelligent, and protective people who are doing everything they can to give us a window into their lives.
Though the schedule has been heavy and the hours have been long, we have managed to enjoy ourselves a great deal. I realize it is not easy to cram an entire culture into a one-month trip, but we are doing our best to experience as much as possible. So far we have seen historical buildings, beautiful landscapes, interesting museums, and impressive factories. Most recently with the local club, we have been to the M Radio Station and the National Taichung Theater. I have learned how radio stations work, the technology behind creating playlists and conducting interviews, and the details about applying for a job and succeeding as a DJ for a radio station. I have seen incredible architecture and the unique functions of the new theater building—as well as all the special artistic touches included by the designer. For me, this is a testament to the spirit of the Taiwanese people, who are willing to take risks and incorporate new technology fearlessly.
We were also taken to the Taichung National Museum of Fine Arts very recently. I found these artworks to be a wonderful reflection of what makes Taiwan so unique. It has a great mixture of traditional art—like paintings, drawings, and sculptures, but it also has these fascinating modern mediums—virtual reality and optical illusion works made of light and glass. This says to me that the Taiwanese people are not afraid to experiment. They are curious. They look to the future, but honor the past.
Finally, before we left our most recent host families, we were invited to experience the new Divecube Hotel which has recently opened in Taichung City. It is one of only three diving hotels in the world and is a marvel of engineering. It allows you to practice scuba diving right in the middle of the city, with a large pool that does down over 20 meters. The instructors showed us how to use the equipment and went with us as we explored underwater caves and a sunken ship designed inside the depths of the pool. It was incredible. I have never had such a surprising and exciting day! And afterwards they served us delicious desserts and coffee at the hotel restaurant. Again, a great example of Taiwan, which seems very traditional on the surface, showing that they are also on the cutting edge of the hotel industry.
It is this combination, this wonderful balance, that I most admire and envy. It is this spirit that I would like to take home to Pennsylvania and share with my friends and family. I hope the friendships I have made in Taiwan will last after this week, when I will head back to the United States. I definitely believe that the things I have seen and experienced in your country will stay with me for the rest of my life—and I very much hope I will be able to come back to Taiwan again soon!
And since I figure an article is as good as a blog post, that’s all you folks are getting until I blog again…