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22. My New Year Experience in Taiwan

Discover what is hidden to you is always a success to anyone. My dream on making abroad adventure started with the Taiwanese health mission working in the regional hospital of koudougou,in my own hometown. I was closed to the head of that mission  that’s why he suggested me to try my chance in applying for Taiwan ICDF Higher Education Scholarship program. That is what I did and since 6 months I have been living in Taiwan.

Thanks to the strong relationship existing between my country Burkina and Taiwan I can say that after 6 months in Taiwan I am now settle down among Taiwaneses. Since our arrival in Taiwan  I discovered many things throughout studies, culture, friendship and so on ,that give me some experience.

Last year 2009, was of great achievements for my person. I accomplished to successfully graduate from the high school I had wanted to attend, since primary school days. I expected great changes, and harder challenges to come ahead of me since that day.

To my surprise, I was chosen as an ICDF scholarship recipient, which has somehow began what I mentioned earlier. My first few months in Taiwan have been awesome. I never expected to experience New Year in Taiwan away from home.
Firstly, I went for dinner with some friends, and former schoolmates from Ming Chuan University. The dinner was great, because we spent the time like a small family that night. Even though, I did not had Turkey and Ham, the usual food back at home for this occasion, my belly was well satisfied with the “enchiladas.” We had Mexican dishes all around us, which I greatly enjoyed.

Today, I will talk about the festivity around the Gregorian New Year in Taiwan. Of course it is a first for me in every sense: first in Taiwan, first in Asia. I had expected that things could be different because I had heard about Chinese New Year, the major festivity apparently of their year, but I had to be in the country to bring my point of view of this, comparing my traditional New year to theirs and how they celebrate it.

        I have been in Taiwan for about five months now, especially in Kaohsiung. On my free time, I walk around the city, go to the night market, window shop and so on. I have noticed that Taiwanese people take their night life seriously. You will meet them at almost anytime in the streets especially on weekends. But the end of the year appeared to be different. I am going to narrate my special December 31st.

It was the 31st of December 2009 and I thought of how I would spend the night. There was no way that I would stay in my room. Last year, 2008, I did not, and this year I also intended not to. I decided to have dinner in an “eat all you can“ Buffet restaurant with friends and then afterwards if time permitted, then observe the fireworks that marked the ending of the old year and the beginning of the new.

It was about 7:00pm when I ventured out. The MRT station (Houyi) was already full of people. This situation reminded me of last year when the MRT station was so full of passengers that I waited many hours that we actually opted to walk all the way back to the school. I dreaded a repeat of that experience. I kept calm. I wished I had a motorcycle today. The MRT staff had already informed us that they will be closing at 4am on the 1st of January, but yet I still anticipated a hassle to get on board the MRT

From December 31st, 2009 night to January 1st, 2010, I stayed at my dormitory because I was sick but I did not miss to see firework from Taipei 101.

My dormitory is new and has only 7 rooms. I live with 6 international classmates and the 4 Taiwanese friends. It quite near Taipei 101, around 15 to 20 minutes, but I cannot go through the crowd of people at that night. First time, I thought I want to go to see the fireworks from Taipei 101 at the mountain near my dormitory that quite clear to see Taipei 101. Although, this period is the time to prepare my final examination but if I went there, I would be fresh and charge the engine of life before it, the sickness cannot predict, but it not bad at all, I could watch Taipei101 from television and stick the news from Thailand by internet until midnight. After that I went out from my dormitory to see the fireworks from Taipei 101 with my neighborhoods. We stood in front of our houses along the street and saw the fireworks through out of the building, it was very beautiful.

It was a glorious night in Taiwan, and my first new-years experience outside my country, I went with friends and colleagues’ to Taipei 101 to witness the display of fire works that last for few minutes, before we finally work down home to our dormitories.

During the new-years eve, a lot has been said about Taiwan regarding the new-years preparation, at the 101 building (second tallest in the world) we have seen a lot of people coming with there foodstuff as it was said that people have to be at the site earlier than 12 midnight or else there will be no space for every one, thus we left for the site by 11:00pm waiting to see the display of the fire works.

NEILI, Taiwan -- When I first left Honduras, my friends told me “it is going to be such a difficult trip for you and you are going to be living in a completely new environment” but they focus especially about the “Cultural Shock”, I did not realize how true that statement was until I had arrived in Taiwan and from the moment I got off the plane cultural differences were everywhere. But I though how hard could it be? I had won a lifetime scholarship to study my master’s degree and such a life changing experience.

However, by the month of December which is one of the most important month of the year for my family and me, because we get to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve together as family in a very traditionally way; I remember thinking in that moment, How does one handle leaving everything that they are used to? One day it is all there but in seconds it seems to disappear.

After the pressure of the last exams we finally finished and we will start enjoying the summer. We fail the happiness in the cold faces. I and my family we have plans, trips everyone in my family has and put them together? Sounds awesome just to think about all the fun all my family had on the summer vacations.

For me and my family we had some fun as well. We didn’t go back to my country as many of our friends did because we wanted to enjoy staying in Kaohsiung. As a person who lives in Kaohsiung I seldom have the opportunity to enjoy staying in Kaohsiung because I was very pussy in my studding at the university. So we took this chance to enjoy staying in Kaohsiung.

We enjoyed a lot me and my family with the participation of the Taiwanese people a festive atmosphere with a Chinese New Year, where we visited several places to watch the scenes of celebration and candy was distributed in every place we go to him and impressed with the organization and the order of the streets, whether in terms of arranging cars and in terms of landscaping so we visit the Night Market and the manifestations were celebration in the media phenomenon of the atmosphere, outstanding exhibitions,

The days after Christmas 2009 had started to become cooler. The nights in Taipei City were crisp and a jacket was needed to survive the evenings. I felt it more, since I am from the tropics ( Belize)where there is always sunshine and always rain. My friends from Central America and the Caribbean shared the same sentiments and we would engage in lengthy discussions clarifying why this nation was so wet, cold  and unique during this time of the year.
As a student of the National Yang Ming University we had had our Christmas party, as was customary and since this was my senior year, I had had the privilege of enjoying one previous Christmas celebration with friends from the various nations including Mongolia, Vietnam, Poland, Salvador, The Gambia, Burkina Faso, US and Taiwan.
The 31st day of December was not an ordinary day. The day had started with the usual hustle and bustle as people move to and fro with their daily activities. The motor bikes were constantly flowing through the traffic and I can see them from the balcony of the Xi-an Dormitory where I reside.