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.
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)
…abundance of fruits…
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 bestfalafels 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.
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.
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.
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 . Until December, Taiwan!
+ Do you/did you/will you attend college far away from home?