In just about another week, our travels are about to start up again! On May 4, we leave Durham, North Carolina, where we’ve lived for the past eight months, and on May 7, we board a flight for Taiwan once more. To our immense delight, I found a very promising summer internship in Taichung, Taiwan, for a national social service organization. That means Steve and I are gearing up for another few whirlwind months of travel in Asia!!
This summer is going to be quite a different animal from our World Tour, which occupied us for eleven months and almost as many countries. I have a ten-week internship which will keep me largely occupied in Taichung. On the other hand, as a part of my internship, I will be visiting local branches and sites across the island for a few weeks. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to check out different cities and towns in this way, maybe some places we’ve been, but maybe some new and different places too! In late July, we’ll have a few weeks to spend in our favorite places (probably Kaohsiung and Taipei) before flying to Hong Kong for nearly a week in early August, and then it’s back to the States.
I hope to spend some time blogging about the new challenges of traveling and living in Taichung. It seems again a different city from Taipei, which is large and metropolitan, Tainan, which is picturesque and historical, and Kaohsiung, which was industrial but has now reinvented itself as a very livable place and the center of southern Taiwan. From what we’ve gleaned, Taichung is more industrial and gritty, and we look forward to trying it out. Working for an organization is going to be much different than just traveling around Taiwan as well. I’m looking forward to working with the youth capacity-building program at this organization, which should really be pretty interesting. I anticipate the language and cultural barriers to be the most imposing part. While I have pretty much full conversational fluency in Mandarin, I do fall apart and splutter when faced with the challenges of technical and professional language. How do I even talk about policy analysis in Chinese? What are the vocabulary words? I barely remember the words for microeconomics and statistics! It’s going to be a challenge, to say the least.
Meanwhile, Steve and I are preparing the apartment for our subletter, starting to pack away the things we need, and oh, yes, I am also finishing my finals for spring semester. It’s going to be a busy few weeks and a very busy summer! Stay tuned for more details.