So here I am at 1am in the morning sitting on the steps of the narrow stairwell at Kaohsiung’s Topper English School. Since sleep is not coming, I thought I might share about our travel hauls and first night here 😀
Remember how I said we would travel 24+ hours to reach our final destination in Taiwan? Well, apparently we traveled 30+ hours…and oh boy it was a doozey. We went by plane, train, bus and car. Several hour-long layovers kept us on our toes and multiple public transport takeovers with our fleet of luggage landed us on the front page of “Tourists Magazine” (note: exaggeration-not a real magazine). To begin, we all met up in LAX and goodness gracious that walk to get to Tom Bradley terminal felt like the journey to the center of the Earth. *big breath out* A couple of us, including me, had come from previous flights to even get to the meeting location. Now a full team :), we boarded the 12(ish) hour flight to Seoul, Korea. The food was stellar; the sleep not so much. *shrug* Oh well, at least we got free personal movie screens! OH and when I say the food was stellar, I actually mean it. Asiana Airlines provided delicious and authentic Korean meals and it made a world of difference (literally). 😉 At Seoul, a 5 hour layover awaited us before we could hop on the 2.5 hour flight that would land us in Taipei, Taiwan. In my airport wanderings, I happened upon a store which allowed “foreigners” to do free traditional Korean activities. I got to make a traditional stamp on cloth through pressing ink. *proud kid smile* Following the landing in Taipei, and another delicious meal (yum!), we boarded an airport bus to take us to the high speed rail (HSR) that would transfer us from the north end to the south end of Taiwan in ~2 hours. Here is where our massive and extensive amount of luggage made us a sight-to-see: we had so much stuff that we essentially claimed the entire bus, preventing other passengers from getting on! And I can’t fail to mention that we were all glistening with sweat as the high humidity is something our bodies are clearly not used to. Haha, yes we were a sight for the eyes indeed. Continue with another bus ride and car ride and we finally make it to Topper English School, our first camp location!
Upon our arrival, all the kids had gathered outside and welcomed us with a little song, in English (but of course). The current employees/teachers were intentional to make us feel welcomed and kind to cater to our weary state and hungry stomachs. Heidi, one of the most bubbly and sweet woman I have met, specifically went out and bought us beef and rice noodle bowls. It hit the spot! I think its fascinating to see the difference in food presentation, like the proportions are much smaller and food combinations much healthier. Yet we were all filled with some fresh guava and watermelon to satisfy any remaining rumblings. The school itself is colorful yet simple and squeezed into a narrow building with 3 floors. The kids camp ended at 8:30pm and we settled into our quarters for the night. Today we will meet and move in with our homestays for the next week.
Overall, despite the seemingly never-ending day of travel, *ugh* we made it and have already been honored by the hospitality of the people! Our team shares a beautiful dynamic and we all are excited to begin the work of teaching. I personally can’t believe I’m actually in Asia (like WHAT?!) but I also feel this overwhelming confidence in this being exactly where God wants me and each member of my team right now. For the Lord has a plan indeed and I pray for complete submission from us. *humble bow*
P.S. Look at the gallery of pics on the next post