Change Yourself…Change The World.

Taiwan Crazyness
October 10, 2008, 12:26 am
Filed under: Taiwan


This is originally from my previous facebook group ‘Brittany Goes Global,’ (wanna know how I got the blog name? ;)) in which I sent messages to friends about my travels with Global College’s CRC Program through Taiwan, Thailand, India, and Turkey. This post was not originally associated with this blog, but I have put it up here in the correct date. As you can see, my writing is not quite up to par with what it is now 🙂 But I thought you readers would still find it informative and entertaining.

Hey all- so it’s been awhile. Sooooooooo much has happened.
First off (and this happened weeks ago), we (my group and I) were all drinking in our hostel and decided to float plastic parachutes off the hostel roof… so we were going up to the roof and Rachel found this tiny kitten about the size of my hand that had just been born- umbilical cord attached- abandoned in the hallway. So Re had to sober up and call the cat society in the US to find out how to take care of it. We named her BODHI after my good friend from India. So basically we were all taking care of this cat for a few weeks (and by ‘we’ I mean mostly Re and Jeff and only me one time where I had to feed the cat while it was peeing all over me)- but luckily we found a good home for her. But we love and miss you Bodhi!

Rachel and Bodhi

Then we did lots of other crazy things I can’t exactly remember at this time like going to classes and seeing this HUGE temple in Taipei where we had to take a long gondola ride to get up to (but the gondola ride was awesome). We suffered through ANOTHER typhoon and were holed up in our jailhouse hostel. And my roommate Amy went dumpster diving (well essentially we have this room in our hostel that people just come and throw random things in there like clothes and umbrellas and tables and I don’t even know what) and decorated our room insanely. It reminds me of a Mexican fiesta.

Gondolas in Taipei

THEN we went on a trip to Ali Shan, which I guess is Northeastern Taiwan? It was up in the mountains and really cold, but it was a bit sad for me because it reminded me SO much of Dharamsala (a town in India where my Tibetan family lives). We did however,stay in this crazy awesome hotel that was all feng shui and our beds were these sunken in mats on the floors, and our bathroom had this CRAZY wooden tub that you’re supposed to soak in- which I did- and it was insane. And we saw an aboriginal tribe dance for us, which was really cool. And we went on this kind of tour where we TRIED to watch the sun rise at 4 AM in the morning, but because the bus driver kept pulling over at random times and telling us to get off the bus to ‘look at the stars’ when there weren’t any, we sort of missed the sun rise and watched a big blob of light appear over the mountains.

Then immediately after that we took off for a Chan Buddhist meditation retreat, which was one of the CRAZIEST experiences of my life. It’s this really beautiful monastery in the mountains. The schedule was really rigorous and hard for me in the beginning, because we had to get up at 5 AM to go to the sermon and learn how to wear these black robes and prostrate at certain times before the Buddha statues, and then we had to chant this sermon in Chinese with all of the monks and nuns. Then we had breakfast (all simple vegetarian food) and we weren’t allowed to talk in the dining hall because we were supposed to practice ‘food meditation’ while we were eating, which is sitting there and thinking about how grateful we were to have the food in front of us and how it got into our hands. Then we had a 3 hour morning class where we would learn Chan meditation (which kind of reminded me of yoga poses?), or learning how to walk in meditation, and then lunch, and then another 3 hour class which were usually workshops about environmentalism, or Buddhism and Art, or watching videos about how great and awesome Master Sheng-Yen was (the person who founded Dharma Drum, the monastery). And then we would have dinner, and afterwards learn chanting or how to prostrate the right way, and then we had the evening sermon where we again would dress up in black robes and chant the sermon, and then we had lights out at 10 PM and weren’t supposed to talk. SO it was really rigorous and exhausting, and our group came across a lot of trying things and issues in Buddhism and how the monastery ran things, but it was still an amazing experience to go through, and to really see how monks and nuns live their lives every day in Chan Buddhism. The day we left we also had a chance to go to a hot spring that was right next to the ocean, which was really fun and rewarding.
So these past few weeks have been crazy and now it’s starting to wind down a bit, we have all of our end of term papers coming up (…uh oh….) and lots of free days ahead of us to ‘write’… but as always I feel so blessed and lucky to be learning all of these things, to be getting closer to everyone in my group, and to be always experiencing new and fun things while being on the other side of the world.

Much love,

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[…] in Taiwan. This is a reflection on my overall feelings after it was over. It is suggested to read this post […]

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