I've finally done it. All my pictures from Taiwan have, at long last, been uploaded to my computer. I know. Took me long enough, right? Next goal: print off hard copies. That'll probably set me back $100-$200 (there are literally thousands of pictures), but then I can scrapbook them and look at them every single day of my life and shed tears on them instead of on my computer.
So, my official last day in Taiwan was January 5th (we flew out early on the 6th). That night, Dad and I went into Taipei City to see Taipei 101. Even though I had been outside of the building before, I had never actually gone inside. Dad treated me to a trip up to the observatory; unfortunately, due to inclement weather, the outside part of the "tour" was closed, but it was still pretty amazing. Anyway, most of these pictures are either on the way to the tower or from, but there are a few that were taken inside.
These next few were taken inside Taipei 101:
Jade, guys. Amazing? I think yes.
The ginormous damper
The equally ginormous, golden cable that holds the damper
Learning from the Damper Babies
Gold orchid. TO DIE FOR! (And, trust me, the price on this thing would make me die.)
Dad with one of the Damper Babies and the Damper in the background
This Damper Baby was my favorite.
There were some really amazing jewelry and sculpture stores on the observation floors. The skill that went into creating these is incredible!
OK. The rest of these photos were taken on our way back to the MRT. We did stop at Star Bucks for a nutricious dinner of hot chocolate and cookies before hand, but that didn't really seem like it needed to be photographed. We were going to go to Chili's, but I couldn't remember exactly where it was. Oh, well.
I seriously love Taipei. I wish I could have spent a few more days there (and a few more months in Taiwan in general), but it just was not possible at the time. I hope that soon I can go back!
Finally, the flight home. Taoyuan Airport, as I have mentioned before, is amazing. Waiting for a flight was a few hours long, so I wandered around for a bit. I found these remarkable puppets that I would love to add to one of my collections.
Aren't they gorgeous?
Well, that completes the Taiwan series of posts. I cannot express in words how happy I am that I had the opportunity to go and live in Taiwan and to teach some of the children there. I made many life-long friends and learned so many different things about myself, others, and service. The Taiwanese are the most self-giving, kindest, hardest working people that I have ever met. I don't know how anyone could ever go to Taiwan and not love it! Taiwan truly will touch your heart!
In the meantime, for those of you who are unaware, about a month and a half ago I finally found myself a job! Actually, two jobs! I consider myself to be extremely blessed, especially when you consider the job market today. I am working as a part-time floral designer, which is great because I can use my skills in that field and improve upon them. The only true downside to working with flowers is allergies, but I guess that's what allergy medication is for. I am also working at one of the local elementary schools. I think that, legally, I cannot say much about this being that there is a lot more of the whole privacy thing involved in America than there ever was in Taiwan. Suffice it to say, though, that the 12 children I work with right now are at least helping to fill the void in my heart from when I left Berhan. In addition to this, I must add that I also appreciate ILP's/Berhan's method of teaching English to English Language Learners even more now. My contract at the school only goes until the end of this school year, which means I've got just barely over a month left. I am hoping to have my contract renewed, but no one is really too sure of what's going to happen right now because the school is soon to get a new principal. I have faith that whatever happens will be for the best, though, so I'm not really worried about it much. There are also rumors going around about a Chinese dual-language school starting up in the district. I need to do some more research on this, as well as find a way to become more fluent in the Chinese language! Wouldn't it be awesome to work there? I think yes!
So, between my two jobs I am working a few hours more than full-time and am being kept pretty busy. I've also been able to continue to enjoy my most expensive souvenir from Taiwan: an ear infection (and I'm pretty sure it's from Immy, because she was constantly complaining about her ears hurting and was quite sick that last week of the semester). Hopefully this antibiotic will kick it to the curb this time around, because I'm getting quite sick of being, well, sick, if you know what I mean. I suppose it serves me right, though, for waiting so long to see a doctor about it.
OK! Forever-long blog post complete! If you've read all the way to the end, reward yourself with a high-five or a cookie or something.