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  • Writer's picturechristineklin

DAY 1: rainy day at a national park in taipei

I write to you from a hotel lobby in the hot springs district of taipei called beitou. I just spent the first of 80 days that I'll be spending around this yam-shaped island, also known as Taiwan. I brought my mechanical keyboard because I knew it would motivate me to start a little private blog, so here we are.


the last time I wrote a blog post was probably back in my tumblr days, which was probably at least a decade ago...who knows what was on my mind then, athleisure and girls? that's wild. I need to practice flexing my writing muscles again, beyond pitch decks and instagram descriptions and journaling...though this is pretty much a journal in digital form!


I'm excited about this little blog because it'll serve as a time capsule for my trains of thought throughout this trip while letting me share some photos I take along the way. I brought a whole pelican-case's worth of camera equipment, so I might as well use it! I feel like when I journal by hand, I end up writing a lot less because I can actually keep up with my thoughts when I type. here's my rough plan for my 80 days so far:


  • MARCH

    • 3/10: arrive in Taipei

    • 3/17: participate in a temple ceremony with my maternal aunt and cousin

    • Rest of March: slow travel in Taitung, attend an Indigenous Science Marine Conservation Workshop and start learning about my Amis culture. maybe surf!

  • APRIL

    • 4/6: Attend a big Amis family reunion in Guangfu

    • 4/7–4/12: Visit my paternal grandma and aunt in Kaohsiung

    • 4/15: film the Amis Sea Festival

    • 4/16–4/21: Visit Japan!

    • 4/22–4/28: Hang out with Nanako and Rina back in Taiwan

  • MAY

    • This month I'm keeping pretty open – I'd like to spend more time in Taitung again, surf some more, and visit Orchid Island. Then spend the remaining time visiting more family members.


yesterday was a pretty full day. I woke up wide awake at 3 am because it was 12 pm in San Diego, and then my mom woke up shortly after and started editing her youtube video which made it hard to go back to sleep.


a few hours later that morning, her friend picked us up at spa springs resort and took us to YangMingShan National Park, which is located in the Taipei area and is one of 9 national parks in Taiwan. it was my first time visiting this national park! it started raining, but the plus side is that there were less visitors and the fog gave the whole scene a very ethereal-like aura. I was surprised at how beautiful the mountains were, right in the middle of Taipei. I had no idea there were hot springs here!


ducks in front of one of the many hot springs gorges in Yamingshan National Park. we thought the water would be naturally boiling hot, but since the ducks swam in it, we decided it was ok to touch (it wasn't boiling hot).


for lunch, we took shelter from the rain in this small restaurant in the mountains and had some kind of herbal chicken soup. and by herbal, I'm telling you it was 90% rice wine and 10% herbs. at one point they lit the soup on fire and a whole crowd of people came to look at it.


later that evening, I was properly tired from my jet lag and my mom and I soaked in the hot springs hot tubs on the roof in the rain. it was magical. we almost fell asleep before dinner, but hunger took over and we walked in the rain to this ramen shop nearby. my mom only had $400 NT in cash left (which is around $12 USD) so we had to share a bowl of ramen. I need to exchange some currency soon!


of the many things I want to do here, one note I made to myself before the trip was that I'd try to better understand what it feels like to be in my parents' shoes – going to a place that feels like home to them, as opposed to growing up in my own home in texas where they felt like outsiders above all else.



"would you stay here in taiwan, if you could?" I asked my mom yesterday.


"actually, I don't know," my mom replied. "I grew up here, but by now I've spent more of my life in the states than I have here. taiwan is familiar but it feels like a foreign country at the same time. it's like I don't have a root here, or anywhere else. it's a strange feeling, and I think it's difficult for you to understand how me and my dad feel when we return here."



so, time will tell if taiwan will start to become home again to my mom, or if it will even begin to feel like a second home to myself. right now, I kind of miss my life in san diego, being with the people I love and my cat, but at the same time I know that this is my moment to explore this island and how I fit within it.


till next time,

~Christine

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