Well, I just got back from Taiwan last night and was back at work this morning. Needless to say, I'm definitely jetlagged and looking like a panda bear from the lack of sleep! But it's worth it when I think back on last week and all that I've done. I can't believe that just last week we were visiting President Chen, campaigning on the streets of Kaohsiung, making bubble tea runs and so much more. Every time I'm in Taiwan I seem to lose myself in everything that's happening around me, and I find myself hardly missing my life back in the States. Taiwan is so full of life, energy and promise! I'm sure others would agree with me.
As I was lugging my enormous suitcase to the bus stop in front of Taipei Main Station, I thought of how we wouldn't be meeting in front of the McDonald's on Guanchian Road this morning as we had done every morning before. Iris, Cindy and I were usually the first ones to arrive, and every member of the "herd" would join us, some slower than the others (You know who you are!). Then we would set off on our small bus to the first destination.
Saturday was the culmination of our entire trip as we held high hopes for our favored candidates. Although Frank Hsieh lost in Taipei, he did surprisingly well and garnered more votes than anyone had predicted he would. As one of the scholars at the post-election briefing sponsored by Taiwan Thinktank said, KMT didn't win but DPP didn't lose. The mood at Hsieh's campaign headquarters was somewhat somber, but everyone cheered when Hsieh appeared on stage. Before he could begin speaking, the crowd starting chanting, "Hsieh, run for President!" His relative success in this election make him a likely candidate presidential candidate, but it's too early to say. But at least DPP won in Kaohsiung...yay, go Chen Chu!
I certainly hope that this trip was a learning experience for all participants as it was for me. My initial purpose behind organizing this trip was simply to give people the opportunity to learn more about Taiwan through firsthand experience. There is so much that we cannot experience sitting behind the computer reading news articles about Taiwan. This was YPG's first group trip to Taiwan and certainly not that last. Perhaps we'll work on one for the next election--Legislative Yuan next fall--not too far away. That means we gotta get cracking! Yikes, maybe some sleep would be better first.