Taiwan is like my second home.  The foods, weather, people, culture, etc, none of them is new or strange to me.  This is the second time I came to this beautiful island and everything is normal to me.  Now I live in Kaohsiung, a port city in the southern part of Taiwan, for more than a year and found out that this city is more comfortable and relaxing when talking about weather.  I lived in Taipei for 7 years and the cold and rainy weather during winter always made me unsettled and uncomfortable.  On the other hand, people live Taipei and Kaohsiung does have their own way of life.  Relaxing, smiling and socialized people in Kaohsiung made me feel more at home compared to busy and serious- looking people in the north, Taipei.

The language is the main factor to overcome homesickness.  Hardship and difficulties in communication with local people would add social pressure on you which can lead you to remembering your family or friends and missing your home country badly.  Sometimes you feel isolated or ignored when you cannot speak probably to locals or fully understand what they said.  Making friend with local and get along well with them requires a good communication.  My Mandarin now is acceptably good and I have made lots of good Taiwanese friends as well as some from other countries.  Hangout with them, talking and sharing jokes with them eradicate homesickness feelings completely. I sometimes consider themselves as my family members.  My country mates in Taiwan are also my good and close friends and we are like big family here.  I feel so blessed and special to have such good friends in my lives.

Nowadays technology advances to the point that communication can be made easier, fun, fast, and cheap.  In late 2004, I used to call my family back home and it was quite expensive and sometimes inconvenient for my family due to poor connection reception in my country.  At that time telecommunication infrastructures and service was not good in Kiribati.  E-mail then is another convenient and cheap way of communication.  My family and I use e-mail most of the time to keep each other updated and share family news.  Instead of writing long e-mail messages, Yahoo and Hotmail also offered a more fun and exciting free service - voice and video conference.  I often used Yahoo messenger to call and video chat with my family and friends back home.  Then came Skype which I think the easiest and fast way to talk and at the same time see whom you are talking to.  And now Facebook, the most innovative and popular social working website.  Every single second, minute, and hour of our lives are recorded and updated on Facebook.  Both local and global news are also there on Facebook.  I can feel now that my family, friends, and home is just only a single click away.

Doing physical exercise and playing games are fun, free, and healthy way to forget about those homesickness feelings.  If you cannot find a partner to play with just go jogging or hiking alone with your favourite songs play on your phone or mp3.  Playing with others (friends, classmates, teammates, and country mates) would definitely more fun and exciting.  Volleyball, tennis, and table tennis are my favourite games.  I just learned how to play volleyball and tennis here in Taiwan.  I seldom go to the gym to workout as I do have my own bicycle and I usually use it for exercise.  I often ride to the city and mountain near my school.  Riding uphill really burns your muscles out and I really like it.  I always go out riding at night when the sun gone and the temperature gradually decreases.  The cool night wind blows off those worrying and negative feelings.  And the sight of coloured lights along the road as well as the smell of BBQ foods and stinky tofu always awaken my eyes and mind to appreciate and enjoy life in Taiwan.

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