“Okay, okay. Let’s GO!”

*Sigh* so we went back to Taipei, sans our Taiwanese partners. Mal and I had one last meal with our great partners this morning at breakfast, granted it wasn’t nearly as interesting as the majority of the meals we’ve had with the two of them. Then we packed up our stuff and loaded the bus. It was so sad! I didn’t think I would be as sad as I was to leave my new friends. Despite our inabilities to fully communicate most of the time, the important stuff always made it through translation, and we always had a good time even if it wasn’t completely understood what was said in either direction.

This trip has definitely been a learning experience especially one in patience as far as communicating is concerned. Part of the course was to do a project with our partners on a public health topic and compare Taiwan to the US and then present it. In English. Maybe we didn’t have the best or most thoroughly researched presentation, and maybe my multimedia didn’t end up working the day of (which was quite unfortunate), but it was pretty to look at, and my partner BEASTED his English. And he had some pretty difficult words to say that many native English speakers can’t even pronounce correctly. Our topic was cardiovascular disease prevention—so he had to say words like ‘atherosclerosis,’ ‘hyperglycemia,’ ‘hyperlipidemia,’ and ‘cholesterol’ (which may seem easier than the preceding words, but that’s where the rules of English fail and the ‘c-h’ makes a ‘k’ sound and not the expected “cha” sound.

But he read with ease. It was awesome!

So I was definitely sad to wave goodbye this morning as our bus pulled away. And the bus just seemed so empty without all the Taiwanese students. Our numbers are just so small. In fact, I think the rest of this trip is going to feel pretty empty without the discussions of bubble milk tea, tough decisions about what to eat, hard-to-translate descriptions of what we’re even eating once we decide what to eat, and being taught words in Chinese while they point to things and ask what they’re called in English.

Hopefully, they can come to New Orleans one day and we can show them the same hospitality they showed us.

Me & Peter