This trip was as spectacular as I hoped it would be. I'm supposed to move on with my life, but I can't stop thinking about it. Two of the most powerful experiences for me were the "street sweep" and the Taiwan Human Rights Memorial. I am inspired by the determined & resilient democracy advocates we had the good fortune to meet, including Yao, who opened up his home to us, and VP Lu. I was trying to organize my thoughts, but I am still overwhelmed, so I'll just have to do soundbites: The Taiwan Foundation for Democracy and the fact that Taiwan is a leader in democracy building make me proud. I'm glad to have had the chance to go to Tainan, Taichung, and Kaohsiung, the latter of which will make a fabulous impression on World Games visitors next year. Minister Jhy-Wey Shieh has gotta be one of the coolest peeps ever. Rubbling elbows with foreign dignitaries at the CEC reception was another of the trip's many once-in-a-lifetime experiences. I loved the informative discussions with the Taiwan Thinktank, NCHU (we really should check into the violations of IP laws), and Freddy Lin, as well as the debates at the LSE/INPR post-election roundtable. I was totally surprised to find myself enjoying and learning from the briefings with government officials (felt like home!) at AIT, MOFA, and MAC. The candid conversations with Dr. Twu and Mr. Chen, two fascinating people, were insightful and fantastic opportunities to pick their brains. I had ooldes of fun taking pictures at the LY & Formosa TV (could everyone please upload their pictures? pretty please, with red beans on top?) I appreciated the yummy, generous meals from NCHU and Eva & Zoe's aunt/uncle, and I will have fond memories of meeting NCKU youngsters and a Taiwan-loving restauranteur. Watching the vote count at the polling station was definitely hands-on "democracy in action." And although I hadn't plan on it --to top off all that learning-- I had oh so much fun, fun, fun with my easy going, friendly, diverse, passionately Taiwanese-American tour mates.
Thank you, FAPA, for my most meaningful and memorable (in a good way) trip ever.
oh, and to facilitate everyone visiting the Taiwan Human Rights Memorial, here's the link for more information: http://www.thrm.org.tw/