Firsts: Hiking

September 2, 2014

While everyone was chatting and Snapchatting me on September 1st, which is Labor Day back in the United States, of them being outside and enjoying their day off I was inside all day working. But on Tuesdays I have a wonderful schedule. I only teach one Kindy class in the morning, so I go in and teach my yo-yo class and then I am off for the day. Some Tuesdays I spend the rest of the day relaxing or going out and exploring. This particular Tuesday I was invited to one of the Taiwanese families’ home that I had met a couple weekends ago. Ariel, the wife and mother of the family, said she would make me beef noodles and we could talk. I was very excited so I quickly left the school and hopped onto my scooter to make my way to their home. If it wasn’t for Google maps leading me astray I could have reached their apartment within 20 minutes.

Now the Chen/Chou family lives in a really nice apartment. Compared to my little one room apartment I couldn’t stop starring at everything. Ariel made me lunch, which was delicious, and then we chatted about life over coffee and cream puffs.

Ariel is great because she is very accepting and she also knows enough English to be able to have a conversation with a deeper meaning to it. She shared with me a lot about what it is liking being a housewife in Taiwan and how it is now going to affect her trying to find work when her two boys are finally both in school. She also shared her love for adventure, but explained how hard it is now that she has two young children and a husband that works. She also asked me more questions about me and my life. It was a great conversation and she can make some pretty fabulous coffee. I don’t think Ariel will ever be able to understand how welcome she makes me feel and the hospitality that I so greatly appreciate.

Homemade Beef Noodles

Homemade Beef Noodles

Ariel's Living Room

Chen/Chou’s Family Living Room

My plan for the rest of the day was to go hiking in Dakeng Mountain. With a little help from Ariel I scootered there with the promise to come back and visit her soon.

Dakeng Mountain is the mountain that lays on the outskirts of Taichung. It has 10 different hiking trails. 1-5 are difficult, 6-8 are medium, and 9-10 are easy. I was originally going to find trail 7, but I was having such a hard time finding it that I actually ended up just scootering around the mountain. That was rather annoying, but it was an amazing view so the trip up the mountain wasn’t a waste. At one point I figured I had found a trail so I got off my scooter and started heading up the side of the mountain. Well it turns out that it was actually just the path to a farmer’s field. Haha! I appreciate the farmer just letting me hike on by without making me leave his land.

DSC_0202 DSC_0198

Frustrated with my lack of knowledge as to the whereabouts of these trails I scootered back to where I knew Trail 9 & 10 were. I parked my scooter, and just started following these people walking down a path. I figured that had to be it, or just hoped it was. It was Trail 9! I was so excited because this was my first time hiking ever; like in my entire life ever. I am a little surprised it took me 23 years, oh well. My legs were not very happy with me, but I made it all the way to the top of Dakeng.

Stairs...yuck

Stairs…yuck

View of Taichung

View of Taichung

I made it!

I made it!

Getting myself to exercise is a challenge, but hiking was enjoyable and I felt great afterwards. At the top of Dakeng I had another “I live here” moment. Life seems to move so quickly the older you get and the one thing that I have tried to do, whether it is through my blogging or on my own, is reflect on the reasons I am in Taiwan and all the things I have done here so far. My “I live here” moments are the best because I get this overwhelming feeling of happiness and just overall awe at the beauty that I get to see while in Taiwan.

To make my hiking experience even better while walking back down Dakeng a Taiwanese man started chatting with me and said that he wanted to welcome me to Taiwan because he wants foreigners to feel welcome and at home in Taiwan. I also walked by a man that was singing his heart out to a song on his radio, and he did it with no shame.

I can check another first off of my Taiwan experience. I will definitely be going back to Dakeng, hopefully soon, and continue my hiking venture.