I can’t believe a whole year has gone by! I still remember last year when I was celebrating the moon festival for the first time. It was a very nice experience, but this year it was truly a lot of fun. This year I got to celebrate the Moon Festival two days in a row! One of those days was with a Taiwanese friend, and the other day was with the first and second year students, the IHRD staff, and the professors.
 
I really enjoy what the Moon Festival really symbolizes. For me it just represents a time to get together with friends and just be able to relax and enjoy each other’s company, which is exactly what I got to do this year. One of my very close Taiwanese friends invited me and some other friends to come over to her apartment to eat some Barbeque. I have to tell you that Taiwanese Barbeque is still a little bit strange for me, but it’s still delicious. I think it’s fun the way people sit in small chairs and gather around the small grill to cook the food. This was my first year making Barbequing in the Taiwanese style! The only bad thing about barbequing is that you have to wait quite a while to for the food to be ready, so if you’re hungry it can be a very difficult thing to do. I couldn’t believe how much food we cooked and ate! We didn’t only just eat BBQ but we also had bean soup, marshmallows, and a lot of Pomelos! When I was with my Taiwanese friend, it was the actual day of the Mid-Autumn Festival and the sky was very clear and you could just see the beautiful Harvest moon.
 
The second time that I got to celebrate the Mid-Autumn festival this year was with my classmates, professors, and the staff at our department. I had so much fun that even though I was hesitant to go, because I had a lot of work to do. In fact, I was so happy that I did go to the Barbeque. Since our department has moved to Linkou County, we had to take the bus that day and go there. It was a nice feeling being back in Linkou because last year I was living there, but this year I’ve moved to Taipei and haven’t been back to Linkou. Going back to Linkou just brought back a lot of good memories from last year and it reminded me of the last Moon Festival. This year we got to celebrate everybody’s birthday, well those whose birthday was in that month, so we got to eat a lot of cakes! While we were singing and cutting the cakes, some of the other second year students were preparing everything to start barbequing. At first I thought that it was going to be the same as the previous day but it wasn’t at all. We had a total of four big grills to barbeque! We also had a lot of food. What I liked about the way that we barbequed was because we were doing it in a very tradition way. It’s funny because everybody divided into four groups and it actually turned into a competition to see who could light their fire first and keep it going until we cooked. Unfortunately, my time and I had a few problems getting it started and once we did get the fire going we ran into a few problems because the fire was so strong that it started burning our food!! It was extra crispy, but extra good! 
 
After we finished eating and everyone was happy, we decided to play some team games. It was a nice way to get to know more of the first year students. Because unfortunately they live in Linkou and we live in Taipei so we rarely see each other, which is truly a pity because I’ve realized from that night that when we are together we truly do have a fun time and it feels like family. It made me realize that I am going to miss these people a lot when graduating rolls around. But, what this Mid-Autumn festival has taught me is to really appreciate the friends and people that I have met and to not take for granted my time here and the fact that I can learn so much about a new culture while making new friends. I am really grateful that I have this amazing opportunity and that the Taiwanese people have been so nice to try to include me as much as possible in their culture!

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