This is the hundredth post we’ve made on our circumnavacation blog! Kudos to me and Steve. Steve for writing three of those, and me for writing the rest, a number which shall only be known to those who can do subtraction. A mystery, in other words. *wink*
This summer in Taiwan has gone far too fast! Let me try to recap what’s been going on in the past few weeks, what we’re doing right now, and what we’re up to in the next month or so.
The last time we saw our brave heroes, they were being reunited in Taichung… Steve and I missed each other a lot when I was in Taipei for two weeks, but it also had its perks. He used a lot more Chinese while I was gone, and people here do treat a white man differently when he’s not being accompanied by an Asian woman. He gets a lot more “Hello”s on the street, among other things. I on the other hand got to visit lots of cat cafés, ha! I think I got the better end of the bargain. Since I came back to Taichung, we’ve been doing more of the usual things, trying to explore more of the city, and paying more attention to our individual projects. I have a lot of ambitious plans for the second year of grad school, and some of it needs planning and attention now. Steve is also doing several freelance projects involving building apps and websites, and it’s consuming a lot of his attention. Continue reading Circumnavacation hits 100, and the summer is flying by.→
Written on the 506 train
Saturday, June 6, 10:03 am
For the next two and a half hours, Steve and I are going on a scenic, slow tour of the landscape between Taichung and Taipei, thanks to Taiwan Rail (台鐵). We are taking a not-so-express train that goes through many smaller towns, though still not the local train, which doesn’t even have seat reservations. So far, we have seen some lovely fields, rivers that are running fuller than they used to be because of the recent rains (but still not at full capacity), and some mountains and hills in the distance. It is not the kind of scenery we would expect to see in the US, because these aren’t a part of long-running ranges like the Rockies and the Appalachians. The mountains here are steeper, younger, and you come up on them very suddenly.
For the rest of the train ride, I think I will take the time to record my impressions and thoughts about my internship so far. There are two sorts of different experiences I’m going through simultaneously, which I will write about separately. The first is the fact that working (and living) overseas in Asia is a very different experience from the US, and I’m growing to understand more about the non-profit sector here. The second is that I am putting into practice what I’ve learned in my first year of public policy grad school about policy analysis, program evaluation, and statistics in order to run this program evaluation of their youth capacity building program.
The few days before I started at my internship, Steve and I were running around Taichung trying to set up our household. Even though we were crazy tired and busy, I still found time to worry about starting this internship. Plunging into full-time work, even just for ten weeks, is a considerable mental strain. What if my boss was hard to deal with? What if I couldn’t actually understand what they were telling me, since I knew nearly no professional Chinese? Even though I had talked on Skype to my prospective supervisor and found her very kind and the project for the summer quite promising, I was still on the verge of telling Steve that we had made a bad mistake, and couldn’t we just chill in Taiwan for ten weeks instead? Continue reading The 9-to-5 in Taiwan.→