The Taiwan I Know -- By Calvin Shau

            My trip to Taiwan in the Tsunah tour was very different than any other time I had been to Taiwan.  It was perhaps the most memorable trip I have taken to Taiwan.  I had never taken a tour in a foreign country before, and I had no idea what it would be like.  Originally, I did not really want to go on the tour, but I was surprised as to how enjoyable it turned out to be.

            One of the factors that made this tour different for me was the fact that I was separated from most of my family.  Every time I had been to Taiwan prior to this tour, I had stayed with my family at my grandparentsˇ¦ house.  This time, the only person I knew was my sister.  The people I met on the trip were also amazing.  In other trips, I almost never met anyone new.  These people started off as strangers, but they turned out to be some of the most interesting people I have met.  During the trip, I became ill, and the other people greatly helped me.  I was surprised to see that people I had known for only a week were willing to go out of their way simply to make sure I was okay.  They also showed genuine concern for my health.  It was amazing to see how much people could bond in such a short period of time. 

            I had been to Taiwan many times before, but I usually only stayed in Taipei.  I had never really traveled around the country.  This time, however, I was able to see many different locations in Taiwan.  I never knew there were so many places to go and so many things to see.  I was amazed as each location had a different story and history.  There were legends and old stories that I had never heard of before, and I saw more of Taiwan during this tour than I have in all of my previous trips to Taiwan.  During the trip, I saw many places I never heard of, such as the gorge and many different memorials.  The gorge stood out in my mind the most, because it wasn't something you could see just anywhere.  We also took many hikes, and it was during this trip that I truly started to appreciate nature. 

            The number of activities we did was also fascinating.  I had always thought the only activities available were to shop, to eat, and to visit relatives.  I had never been to the night market or any of the historical sites we visited.  I was rather upset to have missed the last few days due to illness, where I could only sleep at the YMCA and watch television, but the other people were incredibly supportive and made sure I was fine.  It was reassuring to know that people who were virtually strangers could care so much without really knowing me. 

            Of all the times I have been to Taiwan, the Tsunah tour was the most memorable and enjoyable.  The people in the trip were incredibly nice and fun to be with, and the tour was well organized.  I learned more about my culture than I ever have before, and this trip really changed how I viewed Taiwan.  I believe after this trip my Taiwanese has slightly improved, but it is still far from perfect.  I had never seen so much in Taiwan and had never done so much.  Before this trip, I had never really been able to appreciate Taiwan, but now I eagerly anticipate my next chance to visit it again.