Sunday, August 23, 2009

Goodbye for now Taiwan

Do I really have to go back to... eek, the US? In years past, I'd always really look forward to the day where I could return to American soil. I'd miss American food (looking back, I'm not really sure why), American TV, and my friends (who just so happen to also be American). Not that I don't miss all those things, but for some reason, this year feels really different, I just don't really feel all too excited about hopping on a plane back to, what should be, my home country. Maybe it's anxiety, because I don't really want to graduate just yet. Maybe it's because I don't really want to deal with graduate school apps, which I inevitably have to as soon as I return. Maybe it's because I'll miss the octopus burger from Mos Burger way too much.


Since I have to write a final retrospective essay on my experience in Taiwan... I figured I might as well respond in the form of a blog post. No point in wasting words right? As far as what I did this Summer, I've never really explained that with any kind of depth. I was assigned to work under Dr. Wu Maw Kuen at Academia Sinica's institute of physics. Essentially the national lab of Taiwan, I wasn't entirely sure of what I'd be doing, if anything (given my past internships). For 8 weeks, I slaved away in the superconductivity lab. Given no solid project, I was told to find something interesting myself. Naturally, I opted for the road less traveled, picking the most obscure project I could. My project manifested itself in the form of Barium Iron Selenite. The lab itself is focused on Fe based superconductors, so obviously I was a bit limited in the variety of projects to choose from, but it turned out okay I guess. How did I do in this role? Would it be too arrogant to say... 'quite well?' Maybe that's a tad presumptuous, since my project hasn't yielded any concrete results as of yet, but as far as what I gained in lab experience and networking, I'd say this summer was pretty rewarding.

Now to describe my experience this Summer, as well as how my views on Taiwan have changed. Can I answer with just, amazing... and not at all? My experience this summer... hmm, how should I address this question? Well, this was the first Summer in which I've gotten to hang around people my own age (usually it's a variety of infant relatives, or a collection of senior citizens), so that was quite refreshing. Being able to just... meet up with people with similar interests (i.e. not knitting) meant that I had people to relate with when I was bored. Given my background as an engineer, I realize there's no way for me to verbalize how large an impact this had on my stay, but the difference was significant for sure. Oh, and if you're curious about that picture, it's my 2 coworkers, Willy carrying Andrew, since Andrew gimped his foot playing basketball (lol, I think that actually deserves its own post, but I'll refrain... since he'd kill me). As for how my perception of Taiwan changed... it didn't. I loved Taiwan before this Summer, and I love it about the same now. Maybe I enjoy the subtleties of the cuisine more now, but I don't think my perception of Taiwan changed much at all.

Anyway, as I'm sitting at the airport, I find myself increasingly sad that I'm leaving. Whoever says that NYC is the greatest city in the world... should do themselves a favor and buy a plane ticket to Taipei. Having lived in both, there's no question where I'd rather spend the rest of my life.


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oh snap. I can control the text here?