Wednesday, April 2, 2008

As I started uploading the first batch of my pictures from the tour, I thought it would be a good time to settle down and write down my thoughts. I have no problem talking about how awesome the tour was and how much I miss everyone, but I have to admit that I’m not good at and don’t particularly enjoy writing. I’m sure everyone has already heard about my feelings on the election multiple times, so instead of rehashing that I’ll just stick to recaps of the events that stood out for me on this trip.

Kaohsiung, my hometown:
I had a fabulous time at Kaohsiung. The street sweep was definitely the highlight of our day, but I enjoyed hearing the deputy mayor Chiu Yi-Ren talk about the city. I also loved how Kaohsiung made a good impression on everyone (or at least I surely hope it did). I always have to justify to people why I am absolutely in love with the city, and surely learning more about the city itself as well as taking an in depth tour of the newly built mass rapid transit system just made me more proud that I can call Kaohsiung my hometown. The hospitality of Kaohsiung citizens was deeply felt when we went on the street sweep, but I was also very touched by the extremely passionate and friendly restauranteur who passed out free campaign hats and made up cheers for us while we took pictures. My only regret is not getting the chance like the others to be serenaded with “My Heart Will Go On” on the Love River.

Dinner with the students from Cheng-Kung University also turned out to be interesting. At first the conversation was a bit stilted because it seemed as if no one wanted to delve too deeply into politics. But I had a particularly good experience because the two students I talked to the entire time were both supporters of the KMT. I asked them questions about their views and patiently heard them out, and then supplemented my own opinions with the ever-so-useful “As an American…” point of view. They really seemed to be fascinated by what I had to say, and after discussing a few of the prominent issues that have been splattered over the news, we seemed to reach a much better mutual understanding. I was told that I was very convincing—whether that actually resulted in a vote for Frank I’ll never know, but still it was comforting to see that at least I was somewhat influencing them to think about things with a different perspective.

I believe the trip to Taichung was the most interesting, but what happened on the tour bus stays on the tour bus. ;) I also had a great time at lunch the next day with the professors from Chung-Hsing University. They were so friendly and eager to share their knowledge with us!

Our meeting with Shieh Jhy-Wey was unfortunately very short since he had to catch a train. But he entertained us with his rapping and I was a bit star-struck since I heard about him on the news all the time.

My favorite meeting was with DPP legislator Twu Shiing-Jer. HE WAS SO CUTE! I was so entertained by what he said and I loved how he would laugh at the jokes he makes himself. I learned a lot more about the health perspective of relations between Taiwan and China, and how Taiwan’s inability to join the WHO really harms us, as witnessed during the SARS crisis when WHO officials were not allowed to enter Taiwan at the onset of the outbreak.

Oh, and the best conversation ever:

(After taking a picture of me with Dr. Twu) Gloria: So cute!
Dr. Twu: Thank you!
Gloria: I was talking about her.
Dr. Twu: Awww…

Hahahahahahahhahahahaha cutie mc-cutester!!!

I will update with a Part Two once I get some sleep…which I haven’t gotten for the past five days due to a midterm and 20 page paper due on the same day.

P.S. EVERYONE FRIEND ME ON FACEBOOK! That's where I'm uploading all my pictures. I'll upload to the Flickr account too but they won't have any of my cool comments ;)