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Taiwan on!

I am here. In Taiwan. And have been. For ten days. So much has happened. And yet so little of what I expected. This is what traveling is about. Adapting to change and enjoying the unexpected. Creating a plan, organizing your vision, and morphing like an amoeba as the world pitches you in more dimensions than you knew existed, or even could exist. String theory set in motion. Be like the string.

How do you say goodbye when it is for the longest period of time that you have ever been away from family and friends? Only those closest to me even knew the exact date. How do you express the feeling that is resonating inside you as you wave your final farewell to your family? For me, words could not express it. But I hope it was there, in my eyes, in the closeness of my final embrace. You all mean so much to me. Which is the entire reason I am creating this blog in the first place. If you can’t be here with me, at least I can share it with you.

So I’m just going to jump straight into it. Because if I don’t, this is going to get really wordy and boring. The plane flight was mostly uneventful. My initial flight was delayed by an hour-and-some because Air Force One landed near my gate. I didn’t know Obama was coming to town, and I still don’t even know what he was there to do. Once boarded, I made it to Vancouver uneventfully, made it through customs, ate some lunch, and boarded the cross-Pacific flight to Hong Kong. I watched 127 Hours, The Social Network, Aliens, and Se7en. I slept. I walked around the cabin to keep the blood from congealing in my legs. In Hong Kong, it began to sink in how far out of my element I was going to be… a flurry of languages, garbled into nonsense by the speed and noise with which everyone moved about, overwhelmed my senses. Set on a mission, I found my gate, tried to relax. Eventually boarded a bus to my next plane, and was off for my final destination.

Landed shortly thereafter. Fetched my luggage. Oh god, why did I think I could carry a 60L backpack full of gear, a school bag with my laptop and essentials, and a bag full of clothes?! I’ve been lugging this stuff from hostel to hostel for the last 10 days. Turned my $300US in my wallet into something like 10,000 New Taiwanese Dollars. Got stamped as I went through customs. 30 days. 30 days to see the country. 30 days to decide where to live. 30 days to get a job. Having been awake for roughly 24 hours, and it being about midnight there, I was ready to move on to the next phase: sleep until sunrise the day after tomorrow. Had a little misadventure meeting up with my buddy, but soon after we were checking into our hostel, and before I could even shed my nasty clothes, I was out like a light. From the second I was awake, we were already on our next mission: checkout. From there, we lugged all of my crap across the district to the next hostel, where we ditched it for the first opportunity to sink into this new environment. English signs are everywhere, Western culture is extremely prevalent… especially the aspects of consumerism. Taipei is much like any big city in the US; ads are everywhere, people dress to impress, and everyone bumps and jostles to get where they need to go.

(so ended my first attempt at blogging)

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