At first, I never thought I would be able to travel outside Taipei while still in the first year of study here. Until one day suddenly my roommate tells me about Taiwan Host Family Program. Of course, me being myself, I tend to reject that offer. But after being persuaded several times, I filled up the application form and submitted it.
The day had come. We had to get up at 4:30 a.m. to catch the bus heading to Taipei Main Station. The habit of late sleeping had not changed, so we did not get enough sleep. I drank a coffee to help me get throughout the day.
We took Express train (TRA) at 6:36 a.m. from Taipei Main Station to Taichung Train Station. We thought we could pay the fare using Easy card, but no, we have to buy the train ticket. We got no seat, but fortunately, there are always empty seats for us to sit on along the way. At least the departure was not that bad.
The train arrived at Taichung Train Station at 9:12 a.m. Outside the platform the tour guides already prepared to welcome us and gave us a name tag. There was a delay due to some participants’ late coming. It’s amazing, there were people from many countries. Although I didn’t speak with all of them, just watching this situation had made me happy. We then took off by bus at around 9:50 a.m.
At the bus, the host family and the participants were not yet paired together, so we still did not know who our host families are. We first went to Earthquake museum. After we alight from the bus, we were ordered to find our own group members. I was paired with a mother-and-daughter host family. As always, people are always surprised with my Chinese speaking, and eventually it becomes the first topic to talk. I spent a lot of time talking with the daughter since she seemed to enjoy talking in Chinese.
Earthquake Museum (921地震教育園區)
This museum’s contents were the collection of collapsed school building due to an earthquake. There were many demonstration of structures to show which one is the strongest against earthquake. Frankly speaking, it was a great place to study geology. But unfortunately, we didn’t get enough time to slowly read everything there. We watched a 3D film of how the biggest earthquake happened in the past.
There were no other activities in this museum besides taking photos of some collapsed buildings or avalanches. We took off by bus at around 11:30 a.m and went to a restaurant.
The restaurant’s dishes were full of pork and chicken. At that time also, I found a new dish.. It seems like a bamboo shoot, and can be eaten raw. Generally the dishes are great, but there were just too many of them that we cannot finish them all. We took off by bus at 1:30 p.m.
Taiwan Folklore Museum (民俗公園)
We arrived at this place around 2:30 p.m. From the outside, it looks like a shrine. Inside, there were some praying chambers and statues of Buddha. Honestly, I did not pay too much attention to this place, since the tour guide made us walk fast to proceed to the next activity. At the underground, we had a lecture on how to make a good fortune fan. There were around 6 stoneplates in which we can use to draw something on the fan. The stoneplates’ drawing was: Tiger, Dragon, Monkey, Goat, Horse, and Rabbit. I failed the first attempt on drawing a Tiger. The next attempt I tried to do the Dragon. The family were helping me so much. It was no failure, but not really a success as well.
After making the fans, we had a session to share our moments with each others. Some families gave their speech. Lastly, we wrote some letter for the host family, and vice versa. My host family were trying to write English, so in return, I tried to write Chinese for them. Then we shared our Facebook accounts with each other.
We took off by bus at around 5:00 p.m. heading back to Taichung Train Station. My roommates and friends were not planning to go home that day, so I went home by myself. When I was walking to the ticket booth, the family suddenly offered me help. They helped me to ask whether there is any available seat, and they showed me the way to the right platform. They are very helpful and kind. I wish I can spend more time with them.
I took off by train at 5:43 p.m. I got a seat so I could sleep in peace on the way home. I do not regret I joined this event.
One word to describe this day: Perfect!