Hello, Goodbye

August 24, 2010 § 17 Comments

It seems like it was merely a week ago when I arrived in Taipei, Taiwan, ready for my summer to start, excited to be home.

Now, three and a half weeks later (was it really that long already?), I must depart my home country once again.

Hello. Goodbye.

Though I’ve returned and left this country five times before, the leaving is always as hard as the last. It just doesn’t get easier.

I have to leave my family…


…the food (yes! the food!)…

…the tiny roads and congested traffic…

…the super-duper easy mass transportation…

MRT (mass rapid transit)

…night markets…

…abundance of fruits…

…and HOME.

So what did I do on my last (full) day in Taiwan? A good meal, a good (sweaty) walk, shopping, and karaoke.

A few of my friends, all of whom I knew since elementary of middle school, and I met up for lunch at a Middle Eastern restaurant called Sababa.

The place, tucked in a tiny alley at the corner of the street, was actually opened by one of the middle school teachers at our school. Ironically, this place has the best falafels I’ve had to date, here in Taiwan. I’ve never been to the Middle East, so I wouldn’t know how they compare to the real ones, but they are good!

While I usually get their falafel pita sandwich, I haven’t had hummus in awhile and all I wanted was to satiate my palate and stuff my belly with butt loads of hummus. So I got a hummus platter with a falafel and their homemade Arabian salsa. Perfect choice.

I got combo D which came with a choice of salad, a drink, and the meal of your choice.

Tomato-cucumber salad.

Cool & refreshing mint tea!

ANnnnnnndddd...the thing I've been waiting for! Served with WARM pita bread.

It doesn't look like much hummus from here, but believe me, there's a HUGE blob of hummus hidden beneath the falafel and the salsa.

My friends, concentrating hard on devouring the deliciousness of their pita sandwiches.

While we were eating, my friend S started talking about Trader Joe’s garlic naan and roasted red pepper hummus. She told me of a wonderful and blog-worthy combo? Toast a piece of garlic naan with a slice of munster cheese till melted, then dip or spread the naan with roasted red pepper hummus.

Meet S. She says "Hello! My name is NINJA."

Her face was in pure bliss when she was talking about it. Although I was already starting to feel full from my meal, I was salivating at the thought of that. Can’t. wait. to. try. that.

Afterwards, we drove over to Dansui to walk off our fully belly and browsed some shops.

Priceless expression.

You have no idea how much I wanted to bring this clock back to college with me! It’ll sure brighten up my stressful days. But alas, it was huge and heavy. Plus, the price kind of made me turn my head away. While we do have cheap stuff in Taiwan, handmade items are still expensive!

Here’s another cute clock:

There was a store that sold all kinds of candies and toys that used to be stars of our childhood.

Naturally, we got a bubble blower. Yes we’re 21, and yes we’re all living independently in college in the U.S. Yes we like bubbles.

The heat got the best of us. So S insisted that she wanted to get a baby-bottle iced milk tea.

Our big baby 🙂

S also couldn’t resist going into claw machine stores. That girl really has talent though!

She won a adorable little porcupine that was fuzzy and not spikey.

Tired, hot, and sweaty, we decided to stack ourselves into the car and make out way to the destination of our evening entertainment: karaoke.

In Taiwan, karaoke (more commonly referred to as KTV) is a popular activity that both old and young people enjoy. There are numerous places and branches of karaoke stores/companies across Taipei, most of them as big as motels.

We got a little room to ourselves, complete with soft leather couches, a touchscreen to browse and select songs, two microphones, a flat screen TV, 3 hours of singing, coupons for complementary buffet and all-you-can-eat salad bar and drinks. All this for about 10 bucks. I love Taiwan.

Time to brush up our dusty Mandarin!

We shamelessly sang Chinese mainstream songs that was popular 3-6, maybe even 10 years ago. It’s hard for us to catch up on the latest Chinese songs when we’re all halfway across the world most of the time! I bet people who were passing by our rooms thought we must be a bunch of moms and grandmas. :mrgreen:

By 11pm last night, it was time to say goodbye. I pretty much grew up with these ladies (and some others who did not come home to Taiwan this summer). Our bond is like water. Flexible, because we went our separate ways to college and met new friends. But Strong, because we can slip over and conquer any boulders or rocks that stand as obstacles in our ways. In the end, we always manage to stay together and goof around as if we were still in school together.

Today will be filled with packing, last minute shopping, and eating :D. Until December, Taiwan!


+ Do you/did you/will you attend college far away from home?


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§ 17 Responses to Hello, Goodbye

  • i think i had as much fun seeing your home in taiwan as you did – sorry if that sounds creepy! haha. looks like you had a great summer, though. and december is NOT far away, scarily enough. you’ll be back before you know it.
    that falafel & hummus platter looks divine. and your friend’s pitas! now i can understand why you love the place so much 😉
    have a safe trip home!!

  • balancejoyanddelicias says:

    I can totally feel that.. I hate that feeling of coming back, back to lonely life, back to work/study life, back to life without my family. The first two weeks are the hardest… after you get into the busy life schedule, you’ll be fine.

  • nattietan says:

    Aww this post made me think of my trip to Taiwan a couple months back. Love the country!! I didn’t attend college overseas but I did go to the equivalent of high school. I enjoyed being in the UK but it’s always nice being in the comforts of home. Not being around made me appreciate it more – and appreciate my parents more too! Hehe. I’m sure once college starts again for you, time will fly by and before you know it, you’ll be paying Taiwan another visit again! xx

  • Crystal @ Well Forward says:

    You have been gone for 3.5 weeks already? Wow, it seems like I was JUST reading your post about riding bikes to go whale watching! Time fliiiiies in the summer. It seems like you had a great time, though. 🙂 I moved to Los Angeles to actually live here, not just for school. Allll of my family and friends are in Texas and I can only afford to visit a couple times a year. I do miss my friends (and family, but in a “seeing you for holidays is just fine with me” kind of way,haha), but I love it here. 🙂

  • Monet says:

    What an amazing trip back home…so many good friends, family, experiences and food. Thank you for taking the time to bring us along with you. It was a pleasure from the first day to the last. I just moved, and I know how hard it can be to leave the ones you love. Good luck with the start of classes!

  • kat says:

    Hey my hubbys name is ninja! Lol sorry you had to leave home 😦 my parents have been divorced since I was 2 so I have been visiting my dad every summer. I feel like with him its home, LA feels like something else. I’m always so sad to leave my daddy, I can only imagine how u must feel leaving everyone!!!

  • its definitely sad, you’ve made some good memories this summer and definitely made the most of your time. im so close with my family especially my mom so having to leave next year is gonna be hard. ❤


  • sophia says:

    My college is 5 hours plane ride away from home. So yeah, it’s kinda far…though not as far from Taiwan, haha.

    I. SO want to go to Taiwan!!!

  • squigglefloey says:

    What a beautiful post.
    I haven’t commented since I’ve been kinda absent from blogging — but I also wanted to say thanks so much for commenting on my last post. It’s so comforting to see that other people can relate.
    Hopefully you’re excited to come back to Cali! (it’s been upper 90s this week!)

    Safe tripping 🙂

  • Wei-Wei says:

    Aww… I wish I went back to Taiwan so I could have met up with you! You have such great friends there, and you guys do the funnest things! That’s not a word, but it should be. 😉 Don’t be sad to leave, you’ll be back there again before you know it!

  • I went to college in the city I grew up in… but then I moved away after college! I’m sort of glad I stayed close to home during school, but I’m also glad I moved somewhere new afterward! 🙂

  • Daannggg, that Thai food looks bomb! That noodle stuffed pastry… those noodles… that thingggg! Mm mm mm.

    And I want the elephant clock. I frickin love how Asian supermarkets and shops are stuffed with precious little cartoons and anime characters on their kitchenware. I bought tons of cups and plates with cute little furry animals saying sweet things to each other, hehe.

    And weve talked about this but Im going to UC Davis this year but I live in Texas!

  • Britta says:

    Wanted to pass a comment that I received today along to you 🙂 “…I have an Ayurveda Book at home which speaks of the oils and colours for the different doshas, as well as every ailment imagineable and which doshas are out of balance, plus recommended treatments. It has foods listed for each dosha also.

    I know you mentioned somewhere that you would like to know more about these things. The book is called The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies by Vasant Lad. Ooh, also just remembered – there are yoga poses for the different doshas and breathing exercises too!” -Claire

  • I can’t believe you were here for 3.5 weeks, either! I can’t believe I’ve been here 3.5 weeks. Further, I can’ t believe we came to Taipei around the same time, and were able to meet there.

    I’m glad to see you’ve already had a safe journey home. I totally get any ambivalence about moving, and sadness about leaving family. I’m so amazed that people like you can go to college overseas…it’s really inspiring to me.

    Beautiful pictures in this post that hopefully you can return to as you start your college semester 🙂 Best of luck. Taiwan misses you already and is awaiting your December visit (OK so maybe I am too…). But I know your fall semester is going to be great!

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