My name is Pinky- she said,-Pinky?-I asked, wondering if that was her actual name or I had heard wrong, -Yes! Pinky, like the little finger- she told me enthusiastic and laughing, -I am Katya, from El Salvador- I said, and she tried to pronounce my name, not doing it correctly but in a cute way. That is how one of my very good Taiwanese friend introduced herself when we were taking Biology laboratory together last semester and we ended up in the same group because she missed her first class. Her English is not the best, but you can understand if you pay attention, and her confidence when she talks also helps.  In laboratory class, if I didn't understand something and the other team members could not explain to me, she would try her best to translate for me to get the idea.

We talked a bit when we had free time during class or we would text each other for small things like if she was coming or what topics would be in the exam, I would try to type in Chinese and she would correct me if I had a mistake or the grammar was wrong. During summer vacation she asked me if I wanted to go visit Tainan and of course I was more than happy to go with her and her friends. I am a second year student in Kaohsiung Medical University, so going to Tainan is pretty easy and cheap for us because the train just takes forty minutes from Kaohsiung to Tainan. At that time, I didn't know that if we use our student ID for paying the train to travel from one city to another we received a discount, so when I told my friend that I wanted to buy a ticket for it, she explained to me that it was better to use our cards. When we arrived, we rented a motorcycle, which at first was a bit terrifying, but she drives carefully, so I was confident after a while. We went to many places in Tainan and she made me practice the characters in the food places like "豆花" (Duo hua pudding), which was really nice, "棺材板" (Coffin bread), "蝦仁餛飩" (Shrimp Wonton) which is my favorite type of wonton and we went to famous places in Tainan. She and her friend taught me many other things and I had the chance to practice my Chinese with them.

 During summer, I had to do twenty hours of voluntary work in the hospital, on the area of public health administration so we can have contact with the patients that want to do laboratory services. When I was doing my social work, there were three third year students from the department of public health, and they were really kind with me, every time we had free time during work, they would practice Chinese with me, showed me how a fast talk ( which was really hard but I tried my best to understand) and a "normal talk" is, and they would also explain me how they work in organizing patients for medical exams in the hospital, the requirements to apply for doing a medical examination for an Australian or New Zealand visa, and the ways to write in the computer of the office: the bpmf, Cang jie (consists in separate the characters to for itself) and pinying. And last but not least, they taught me basic words of Taiwanese, but the only one that I really like and remember always is: "Jia ba bue?" Which means: Have you eaten? But it is a way of saying hello to a good friend or family.

I still have two more years here to finish my bachelor in Medical Laboratory Science and Biotechnology and I'm more than excited to learn more about my Taiwanese friends, their culture and language.

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