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Who’s the Proprietor? – CET Educational Packages

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Written by Clarissa Ko (Clark College), Scholar Correspondent for CET Taiwan, Fall 2023

It doesn’t really feel actual. My sister and I ooh and ahh on the abundance of cuisines round each avenue nook. Being a vacationer means each second with vibrancy. Right here, 7-Eleven isn’t only a comfort retailer, however a brand new world the place you should purchase an entire yam, order a sizzling espresso, and even print live performance tickets, every for only one USD. Isn’t that the dream?

My household and I traveled collectively to Taiwan for per week previous to the start of my semester with CET. Throughout my household’s restricted time right here, they needed to see 九分 (jiǔ fēn), a mountain city east of Taipei that served because the inspiration behind the enduring Studio Ghibli movie, Spirited Away. The essence of Spirited Away derives from the custom that on the seventh lunar month, the gates between earth and the afterlife open, and spirits hang-out Taiwan throughout a interval referred to as Ghost Month. 九分 is a bustling little alleyway impressed by Japanese structure, stuffed with many small outlets. As I appeared by means of the knick-knacks that will excite any Ghibli fan, a canine popped up! It made me chuckle to see one thing so unusual but magical on this place, inflicting me to really feel rather less grounded in actuality and questioning if the canine could possibly be the proprietor. In my eyes, if this canine may run an entire retailer, I may be taught Chinese language.


A white dog peeking its head out from a shop with many knick-knacks

Are you the proprietor?


The next morning, I awoke to the sunshine rustling of suitcases as my household tried to not wake me. Their flight was only a few hours away; then it might simply be me and Taiwan. That will sound like a dream, however I felt scared. To be sincere, I’ve at all times struggled with studying Chinese language, which was tough for me to simply accept because it felt incorrect that my worst topic was part of my id. To be Chinese language American means to by no means totally be part of both id. my lack of ability to talk my mom tongue, I’m wondering if I’m dropping contact with my roots. So I communicate quietly with hesitation, afraid I’ll mess up, or worse, attempt to communicate Mandarin and be met with confusion plastered on their face. Nevertheless, I noticed that the one approach we are able to be taught is to let go of the expectations we’ve got for ourselves. Making errors signifies that we are attempting— isn’t that each one we are able to hope for?

So, on my first tour, I went to this little store on the nook that offered 包· that have been cooked in a furnace. It appeared unreal that there have been solely three individuals working to make the handmade 包. One among them would stick their hand within the furnace to individually place the 包 in a kiln/tandoor oven so sizzling that I may see the warmth waves radiating into the air. The 包 is sort of a crispy baguette on the surface and stuffed with wealthy, juicy beef on the within. It’s humorous that I used to be so nervous to talk when all I needed to ask was for 2 包; though it was a small feat, I used to be happy with myself.


Two people making boa buns while people wait in line

One of the best baos


After I first arrived at my new condo, I met Min! My native Taiwanese roommate. Our first interplay was carrying the three neck pillows that my household unintentionally left and my humongous pink suitcase up a flight of stairs to our entrance door. Strolling into the condo felt like stepping right into a Ghibli movie with its wooden floorboards and Japanese-style door that led to my new room.

It’s arduous calling a brand new place, not to mention a brand new nation, residence. I feel what we miss essentially the most is the consolation of familiarity, but we at all times need what we don’t have. Once we are at residence, we yearn to discover, however once we are away, we yearn for residence. I feel looking for is nice, however while you get to some extent the place you might be out of contact together with your actuality, you received’t ever really get to benefit from the current. After all, I miss my family members and my canine Teddy, however I’m additionally excited for what my life in Taiwan might be like. Making new buddies and exploring collectively makes the world really feel smaller. It’s arduous to sit down within the feeling of lacking others, however I feel that solely means our love can persevere from afar.


CET Taiwan students and others sitting at a table with four bowls of mango shaved ice

To new buddies


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