My typical school morning usually starts at 6:30am, which is significantly earlier than I wake up back in the states. After getting ready, I finish up any homework or studying before heading out to make the long journey to school. For breakfast, me and my roommates stop at a small, yet incredibly delicious bakery across the street from our apartment. Next, we take about 9 minutes to walk to the subway and take the brown line from Nanjing Fuxing (南京复兴) to Keji Dalou (科技大楼). Once we exit the subway station, we take another 15 minutes to complete our walk to National Taiwan University. I have afternoon classes, so I actually start school at 12pm and finish at 3pm. After classes finish, we like to grab a snack from the student activity center, typically some type of dumplings. Once we return to our apartment, my roommates and I typically chat about our class content for the day and work on some of our homework. It starts to get dark around 6pm here in Taiwan, so once we finish some work, we like to go out and explore during the night. Taiwan is even more lively at night, so we never feel out of place when walking around so late. Recently, we’ve had the opportunity to visit many night markets and temples. The atmosphere of the night markets is like walking into another universe within Taiwan, filled with all different types of sounds and delicious smells from traditional Taiwanese snacks.
One of our new Taiwanese friends invited us to the Raohe Night Market (饶河夜市: Rao2 He2 Ye4 Shi4) recently and introduced us to new foods such as stinky tofu (臭豆腐: Chou4 Dou4 Fu3), ribs stewed in medicinal herbs (药炖排骨: Yao4 Dun4 Pai2 Gu3), papaya milk (木瓜牛奶: Mu4 Gua1 Niu2 Nai3), and Taiwanese fire and ice dumplings (桂花芝麻汤圆: Gui4 Hua1 Zhi1 Ma2 Tang1 Yuan2). The fire and ice dumplings had sesame and peanut paste inside and the ice surrounding the dumplings also had a sweet flavor.
This entire experience has completely changed my daily routine from when I was in America. Mostly because I now have more free time than usual, but also because I am pushing myself to be more adventurous while I have this opportunity. Back home, I would probably spend all of my time in my dorm doing homework, and maybe go out on the weekend, but I’ve made a 180 from my previous lifestyle here.