The story of my bravery – Day 1 in Taiwan

After a week of silence, I’m back to fulfill my promise of sharing more stories and pictures of my trip to Taiwan.  Honestly, I am still overwhelmed by the entire experience up to this date. I made it to Taiwan on the first day of December and everything still feels like yesterday. The experience is something I will treasure for the rest of my life. The trip would always remind me that I can make things happen.

My flight to Taiwan was scheduled at 11:30 pm. Whew! Since I am working on a budget, this is the price I have to pay.  Cheaper flights usually travel on those wee hours. Though I would like to say that I am thankful to my institution for shouldering this expense.  It gave me a big relief.

I arrived in Taoyuan Airport at 1 am and all the while, I thought the airport never runs out of people. To my surprise, I was the only person left in the arrival area. My original plan was to reach Tainan through the High Speed Rail Station (HSR). Another surprise came in because I learned that the HSR starts its operation at 6:30 am. This would mean that I have to wait for an eternity of 4 hours in the airport.  Good thing, God sent some angels to watch and guide me. The lone English speaking airport personnel and a Taiwanese helped me. They suggested that I take Taiwan’s U Bus. Though I live in the principle of not talking to strangers, for reasons I don’t know, I trusted these two Taiwanese nationals.

At 3 am, the shuttle bus arrived and I was taken to the central station in Taoyuan. Another problem awaited me in the Central Station. The old man selling the tickets does not speak English. I just told him that I need to go to Tainan and that was it. He sold me a ticket amounting to NTD 300. After 30 minutes, the bus that will take me to Tainan arrived. The driver assisted me with my luggage and this started one of the longest 4 hours of my life.

A bus ride from Taoyuan to Tainan will take 4 long hours of no traffic and stop over. Whew! I was wide awake the entire trip. Traveling alone in a foreign land for the first time, who would ever dare to sleep? In God’s grace, I safely reached Tainan. A fellow female passenger, who can understand a little English, and the courteous driver helped me find a taxi that brought me to Far Eastern Shangri-La.

First Shot of Tainan from the U Bus

The front desk officer at Far Eastern Shangri-La assisted me well and I was able to checked in my room in less than 10 minutes. Talking about finest customer service, it’s possible! I was able to checked in at 8 am and the best thing, I still made it to the free breakfast buffet. After the long trip and worries, I indulged myself over one of the best buffet I’ve seen in my entire life.

Beautiful Lobby of Far Eastern Shangri-La

I was able to complete 1/4 of my tasks in Taiwan. I left the buffet table happy and worry free LOL and gave myself my much needed sleep.  Oh, but before I snoozed,  I have to fulfill my Facebook and Twitter obligation.. LOL Here’s my first photo upload of Tainan

I recharged myself the entire morning. I woke up around 3 pm and that’s when I  decided to explore Tainan by myself.

Most Taiwanese use motorcycles as their means of transportation. I rarely see private cars. Most parking spaces are occupied by these bikes.

The streets in Tainan are very clean, organized and very friendly to pedestrians. If only I can bring this to the Philippines. 🙂

And I just love the sparks of greeneries along the residential sites

My main destination

Main Entrance of the National Cheng Kung University - Kuang Fu Campus

Another proof of how clean and organized is Tainan. I just fell in love with this.

A closer look of the National Cheng Kung University

Here’s the department where my dream happened

NCKU - College of Management

After my presentation, we were toured to some historic places in Tainan and since this post is already too lengthy, let’s play some suspense and leave that on my next post. 🙂

Dream Come True – A Happy Farewell to the Crayola Series

Three years ago, I had my first national research presentation. I presented my masteral thesis to a congress of Graduate School students and educators in the Philippines. Weeks before the conference, I dropped by the school and saw my friend Bess. She invited me to accompany her to Robinsons Ermita. If I remember it right, her plan was to have her iTouch and Sony Ericson’s P1 repaired. Since I have nothing to do in the afternoon, I decided to join Bess. After attending to her errands, we checked out those branded shops I usually avoid. We entered Dorothy Perkins and I saw the best blazer in my entire life. It was a silver gray blazer that perfectly fits my shapeless built. The price of the blazer, Php 3,500! Though it was love at first sight, I refused to purchase it for my upcoming presentation.  I joked and told Bess that I would only buy the blazer if Iam presenting in an international venue.

Fast forward now, I was able to make my first ever research presentation in Taiwan last December 2, 2011.

An international presentation is every academic researcher’s dream. In my case, it was a dream that never crossed my mind. I swear! How could a rank and file employee / part time educator, who has a monotonous work life be hit with this opportunity?

The original plan was for me to present at the University of the Philippines. I will be presenting in my own country with an international audience. Unfortunately, the conference did not push through. The hostage taking incident  last year frightened and discouraged the Chinese organizers to visit the Philippines. This made me cry for days. All I have were selfish feelings of hatred and regrets. At that point, I never realized that God has better plans for me. The conference in the Philippines did not push through because God wanted me to present in another country. He wanted a real international exposure where I have to pack my bags, take an international flight and set foot to another land for the first time.

My preparations for Taiwan however did not become a smooth sailing process. I wept for all the elusive funding opportunities. I admit that I wasn’t financially prepared to fly and stay in Taiwan. But I believe God really wanted me to go. Less than a month before the conference, I received two free lance jobs and my clients paid everything in advance.  And to the last minute, I was given partial support by my institution. Just when I was ready to give up my dream, doors of support opened. This served as my wake up call. I felt that God was making all means for me to fulfill the dream.

With no single Mandarin word in my dictionary, I braved myself to a country where majority of its population doesn’t speak and understand the international language I know. Armed with my dwindling confidence, shying bravery and unadventurous personality, I made it to Taiwan on my own. In God’s grace, I was able to fulfill my mission. I am happy to say that I am back home with a lot of first time experiences to cherish in my entire lifetime.

group photo

Thank you Taiwan for the safe and well spent stay.  Above all, thank you to our God who made all means for me. God indeed works in the most mysterious ways.