Fairwell Taiwan! The day finally came- the morning to board the plane to return to America. It was the day I dreaded the entire time I was in Taiwan. From my last week in the country until the morning I climbed into the taxi for the airport, it all seemed unreal. I couldn’t believe I was actually saying good-bye. Taiwan had become my home and I had gotten used to everyday life there. I was used to walking through Shi Lin Market to go to Chinese class and sitting outside the temple steps to eat dinner from one of the outside vendors. I got used to going into the 7/11’s, tea houses, juice bars, and hopping on the MRT or train to go where ever I wanted to go, whether it was local or to the other side of the island. It was difficult believing the fact that I wasn’t going to be living with the people I had met there anymore, the local Taiwanese and other exchange students from around the world. We had grown very close so separation was difficult. During the last week, every one was trying to meet with me for a last dinner, or last outing, before we had to say goodbye. I received so many presents and cards, I had to buy another suitcase to fit them all! But as I look back, I try to remember why I went to Taiwan in the first place. My Mandarin ability had improved a lot, especially since I was enrolled in an intensive program and lived in a Mandarin speaking environment. There were situations I had no choice but to communicate or be able to read Mandarin. I am also glad that I had chosen Taiwan as my study abroad country. At first people asked me ‘Why didn’t you go to China?’ ‘Nobody goes to Taiwan, they go to China.’ In the beginning I almost felt bad for not choosing China but in the end, I’m glad I was one of the few (actually one of the 2 people from my university) that chose Taiwan. Taiwanese culture has a lot of similarities with China and even Japan, but the island has a culture, traditions and sights of its own. It may not be as popular or well known as China, but instead of feeling like I was going to an unknown place I felt privileged I was able to go somewhere that not many people go to and learn so much. Now that I’m back in America, I tell others so much about Taiwan. There are some people that haven’t heard of Taiwan, nor know where it is, its language, or anything about it. People often confuse it with Thailand, Indonesia, or Korea. Taiwan may be a small island, but has such a rich history and customs that should be recognized more.