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CHSS Winter Trip

UHD students in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences traveled to Taipei and Tainan, Taiwan from Dec. 29, 2012 through Jan. 9, 2013. Read about their adventures as they explore night markets, temples, monuments, museums and karaoke bars, writing about it all as they go. Experience their joy as they gather among hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese to welcome in the New Year with fireworks under a full moon in the amazing city of Taipei. Follow them day by day as they travel the country, meeting students from the National University of Tainan, sharing with them and with others the pleasure of cultural exchange.

Jan. 3, 2013

Gift to Dr Hsiu-Shang Joe Sample, assistant professor of English and coordinator of the UHD New Year's in Taiwan Program, received a gift from Dr. Hsiu-Shang (Karen) Huang, president of the National University of Tainan. Also present was professor Chehung Liu, who worked with professor Sample to bring the UHD and NUTN students together. Professors Liu and Sample met for breakfast on the morning of Jan. 5 to begin planning for next year's program.

UHD students enjoying a traditional lunch with the students of the National University of Tainan Department of English. The NUTN students met with UHD students throughout the Fall semester on Facebook. On Jan. 3, the students met for the first time face-to-face. It was a raucous atmosphere. Many students got together later in the evening to explore Tainan's night life together.

small blue arrow Christian Smallwood – Photo Journal - Visiting the Students at Tainan University

Photo of UHD students

small blue arrow Pamela Gonzalez - Partying in Tainan at Club Fusion (AVI Video)

Taiwanese female student with a bag of tortilla chipsJennifer Bloomingkemper – BEST TRIP EVER
Today we took the high speed train to Tainan. I think. I’m looking back in retrospect and I’m not sure if I have my dates and things correlating. Oh well. University was beautiful. They had an interesting art sculpture on the wall there. I took a picture of it so I can write about it.

The students were great. We instantly recognized people from the pen pal page. It was fun to chat with people you get to meet face to face. They being much younger and traditional students, it seemed that they were so interested in the fact that we had lives. They seemed to know study and some worked a part time job, but to see our classes so older, hearing of marriage, children, rent, mortgage, full time jobs, and our age. Wow! We produce some of the coolest options for expanding your education at any time and in any direction. God Bless that.

But these Taiwanese students are exceptionally nice, very giving and full of heart. Eager to learn, listen, just to stare at your green eyes and want to touch your hair because it’s foreign. That’s the best part of this trip for me. I usually always run into other Americans or cultures but to really get on the level of the locals you have to really have a chance to hang with the locals. These students provided that for us. They thought us to be foreigners, to be so foreign in their eyes. To play the role of the minority is always fun to me. You learn the most out of life if you allow yourself to be vulnerable and naïve to a point. I felt like I was back in my early twenties. It was fun to revert and allow my spirit to just be. Happy and excited and free of the bondage and responsibility I carry at home. A stranger in a strange land. That makes me happy and fulfilled.

What a great day. After our trip to the hotel by foot, we settled in and through misunderstanding and the graciousness of the Sample’s, Pafforia and I got the big awesome room, which allowed enough space for people to come hang out in our room. This was fun because it allowed us to really kick back and get to know each other on a more intimate level. We weren’t distracted or at a bar feeling free, we sat and talked life and had pizza in our jammies and I love everyone on this trip. There are so many different stories and lives I have learned about and I understand the behaviors and attitudes of people better. I can maneuver myself around them and create bad situations into good.

I am happy that we all maintained, well myself mostly, an open minded quality that allowed me to go on day trips, eat dinner with, explore with, and be friends with almost each individual on the trip separately, and collectively and that was the best part of the trip. Not only meeting new people abroad, but forming a respectable bond with human beings that I would honestly say I would go anywhere in the world with as travel companions. It’s like everything happened for a reason on this trip. The right mix of people and the right mix of leadership and the stars aligned and we all got granted miracles and wishes which expanded our minds and our lives have forever been changed. For me, so far looking back, I do believe I can honestly say, so far, BEST TRIP EVER!

Paula Doan with Gerald Cheng - Meeting Tainan
The train took our group to Tainan,
So many people in the conference room is intimidating.
Met a line of about 30 people.
At the beginning in the conference room, I was kind of scared.
What are we supposed to say to total strangers?
I had no idea what to talk to you all.

Silly white elephant games can be useful.
Everyone was nonstop chatting and having fun in the game.
The crowded room was laughing;
they finally got the point of "stealing" gifts.

After the event very warm atmosphere,
and we all seemed to be having fun.
Next the traditional campus tour looms...
We thought to bring them around campus
but walked out of the school gate!

Gerald Cheng Kelly Moynihan Paula Doan Steven Kuo And the group kept going down the sidewalk
Without a second thought to a stuffy campus tour.
We stopped by Temple
is also very reasonable but not see
The local escort stayed with us all the way
walk into their hotel @@Gosh!!!

The long walk gave us time to talk and start making new friends.
We walked from the school to the vicinity of Fort Provintia hotel!!!!
I wonder if they came to school on their day off for this?
We have to go back to school WTF!!!

These two guys are kinda cute,
Rare opportunities with foreign friends everywhere.
and I think they are flirting a little.
I don't mind.
I just plucked up the courage to offer
two ladies to drink beef soup.

They asked to show us the town
and go riding on scooters.
Anping old street How dangerous can they be?
also garden night market.
We met them at the school.

There is no better way to see a city
than from the back of a scooter
It was a wonderful night and experience for me;
with two handsome men as personal tour guides.
is also a major breakthrough to them.
The night didn't need to be over so soon.
I wish I could have more time.
The waning quarter moon reflected off the river
as we drove by.

All good things must come to an end.
I may never again have a night like this.
Hope before long in the future we can come face to face again!!!
Hope before long in the future we can come face to face again!!!

Eduardo Melendres – The most anticipated day
January third was the most anticipated day for me because I would finally meet my two pin pals. I had spent day’s back home trying think of what to bring them as a gift. I finally decided to bring them both t-shirts. Vivian, who is a big Rockets fan, was getting a Rockets t-shirt with the vintage Rockets logo. Anna Su was getting a University of Texas t-shirt because I’m a big fan.

My Journey started by arriving at the high speed train station early in the morning. I had ridden on a high speed train before in Germany but was very disappointed. I was hoping Taiwan’s high speed train would be a better experience. UHD students at lunch Once on the train, I sat by the window so I could view the scenery of Taiwan. Taiwan’s country side was not at all what I expected to see. The houses and development of the land looked like any other place and wasn’t very distinct. Anyway, the high speed train was spotless and lived up to its name; we arrived in no time in Tainan. Once I walked out of the train station I jumped on a bus that took me directly to Tainan University. The campus was not how I imagined it to be but it was very pleasant. Leroy and I took some pictures in front of the school sign as we waited to be greeted by the school’s representatives.

Taiwanese female student with a souvenir Finally, we were met by the representatives after a short wait and escorted to the room where I would meet my pen pals. Immediately on arriving inside the room we were told to take a seat and open a boxed lunch that the school had arranged for us. Unfortunately, the food was not enjoyable to me, yet I did eat the soup from the boxed lunch. After allowing us time to eat our boxed lunch the students walked in and sat down around us. I was nervous because I didn’t know how one of my pen pals looked liked. In her profile picture she was wearing dark glasses which made a difficult to see her full appearance. However, I knew how Vivian looked, so I could at least identify one of my pen pals.

At last, I saw Vivian and it was surreal to be finally meeting face to face with my pin pal. I tried to pronounce her Chinese name, but I did a poor job of pronouncing Jun-yi. I thought it was funny that she also could not pronounce my name too. Either way, we quickly started talking about finally meeting and the Rockets of course. Not much time passed and everyone in the room began introducing themselves and then we played white elephant. After the game was over and all the Tainan students claimed a prize they walked us back to our hotel. Upon arrival to the hotel I made plans with the students to meet up at night.

We met the students outside the hotel at 7pm to go to the night market. At the night market we walked around with the students and tried many different foods. I had cricket, chicken butt, and stinky tofu. It was a great night for all us because we really got to know each other on a different level.


Paula Doan – Tainan
What a change from Taipei to Tainan! At first it seemed like more of the same: rush around, feel lost, wonder what the point is. We were ushered into one big room expecting to hear hours of administrators gushing empty niceties. Instead, we found friends. A few small gifts, a silly game and a long walk later I found myself on the back of a motorcycle getting an evening tour of Tainan.

We passed by the city canal that opens out onto the harbor and the ocean. We drove down to the Old City street where, during the daytime, shop after shop of trinkets and food keep eyes wandering and mouths watering. We went into a few shops that were open late to taste candied fruits and play with children's toys. We stopped outside the An Ping fort to feed the koi fish and talked about the history of the fort. Then, it was off to the night market to try foods I would never dream of tasting back home. More new friends joined us at the night market, and I found myself in a long conversation about the merits of various film adaptations of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, and I got the opportunity to recommend the BBC television mini-series Lost in Austen for a fun twist on the classic. A grand welcome to a lush city.

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Last updated or reviewed on 1/6/14

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