Taiwan is a very special island which, despite its considerably small area, is rich in culture and still displays the remains of its ancient heritage throughout their small towns and villages in the rural areas. In my opinion, after almost four years of living here and traveling around the main and outer islands of the Republic of China, little by little the differences between its regions become more noticeable. If I were truly Taiwanese, I would consider myself as a Southern person. For us in Tainan, Taipei is too crowded for living comfortably and life pace is too stressful. For us in Kaohsiung City, you will never find better streets to drive than here in K-town and if we see someone driving recklessly or breaking the law we immediately assume they are from the North.


Here in the South it is not common to see foreigners, especially those with curly hair and beard like me, so part of the magic is listening kids asking their parents where am I from in Chinese and then listening to their parents taking really wild guesses. Everyone is really nice and curious. Sometimes parents even push their children to practice their English with me and give me a “Hello”. I remember this mom telling her daughter that she shouldn’t be afraid of talking to me, that I wasn’t going to bite her (in Chinese); so I quietly asked my friend to teach me how to say “I’m so hungry, children meat is delicious” in Taiwanese. It has become my favorite phrase in Taiwanese ever since because after the initial shock, kids understand it is a joke and we all end up having a great laugh.


Whenever I have a little bit more free time, a trip to Kenting is always welcome. Having been there so many times makes you want to get deeper in the culture; become a real southerner. Besides the obvious beautiful beach, there are also some mountains and parks to visit. There is a very old farm where you can see fireflies, a place to ride horses, a place to practice shooting, spots for SCUBA diving, etc. On the way back to Tainan, one can always drive through the small roads to avoid traffic jams, and make a quick stop at a noodle shop in Pingtung. If there is still time to stay there, the best place for taking a huge cup of green tea or lemon juice is always Jimmy’s or Hunters. Everyone in Pingtung will know that.


Closer to home, another great spot I will miss after leaving Taiwan will be near the beach in Anping. The old street is always crowded and the fried shrimp rolls are always hot. Having German sausages at the old post building and riding in the emptier streets near the harbor are always a most, and there is no better place to steal a kiss than climbing the small green light house at the edge of the stone walls as I’ve been told.


However, despite the magic and romanticism of other places, or the treats they might give, or the stories they might have seen, I believe that the place I’ll miss the most is the street in front of Kun Shan University. It all ends up in a small Susudemai open 24 hours. It has been convenient and a great teacher about how to spend money wisely, which Taiwanese sauces are dangerous for us foreigners, and so many other things. It was there were I got my first plates and cups when I first got here, and has been there all the way until I bought the pipes, tubes, glues, and torches for my graduation project. People there is always nice, and you can talk to them until late if you come back after the dorm door is closed. I believe it’s the place everyone will miss if it was ever shut down.




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