Ten-thousand kilometers. That’s the distance from my hometown- Taipei to here- San Diego. To reintroduce myself, my name is Kiki, and I’m from Taiwan. It’s my first time to leave my home city to study, and also my first time to study abroad. The distance from Taipei to here isn’t just literally 10,000 kilometers, but also the large cultural differences between West and East. So it’s a little bit challenging for me to study here. But I’m all ready to take on that challenge. It has been approximately one week since I got here, and just in this one week, I faced many eye-opening experiences that not so usually, or never happened in Taiwan, and I’m gonna share with you guys in the following!
“You Good! You Good!”
First, I strongly recommend people who are going abroad, especially exchange students- book the nonstop plane or transfer for only one time, though it will be more expensive, don’t save this kind of money! It took me thirty hours by plane to get here from Taiwan. However, it normally takes only approximately 14 hours.
I booked the airline ticket which transfers twice. In the second stop, I got only two hours to check-in, take out my luggage, and pass the security check again. As I arrived at the security check zone, I merely had 20 minutes left to get to the airplane. I saw many people like me, had to catch a flight, and they just cut into the line and passed the security check quickly. Therefore, I asked the ground staff whether I could cut the line or I would miss my plane. He just responded, “You good! You good!” and let me stay in the original line and wait.
Eventually, it took me more time to pass the security check, and I arrived at the boarding gate right at the departure time, so I couldn’t get in the plane. It a shame to see my plane right in front of me but I just couldn’t get in! I had to wait three more hours to transfer to LA first, then finally arrive at San Diego.
Thirty hours. Four planes. What. An. Adventure.
“It’s America, be whoever you want to be!”
So far, the most impressive thing I have witnessed in America is that people of all kind of body shape are all really confident about themselves in skimpy or special outfits. I extremely appreciate girls here; everyone is so beautiful and attractive from the inside out. Although they have different style in appearance, the great charisma they possess fascinates me and makes me eager to learn from them.
In Asian countries, including Taiwan, people who wear this kind of outfit may incur some peculiar look, especially chubby people. Therefore, when I was in Taiwan, I dress relatively sensibly. However, here, in America, I don’t have to worry about how others see me, I can be prouder of my appearance and my body shape, and wear whatever I want. Just as my homestay mother said to us, “It’s America, be whoever you what to be!” After all, that’s the true “me”. Why would I have to hide myself just because of other’s thoughts?
Every morning as I went out to school, almost everyone I encountered on my way to the bus station greeted me. It’s warm to receive “good morning!” and smiles from my neighbors, and it serves as a vitamin for me to spend the rest of my day energetically. I’m surprised that even strangers would greet and chat with each other naturally in San Diego. When I was in Taiwan, I merely greet and chat with my neighbor, not to mention the strangers I met on the road. Here I realize that even a short greeting or small smile can make people’s day, and I will definitely bring this back to Taiwan after this exchange program.
In this short one week, I met lots of great people and friends at my homestay and school, and I really appreciate every one of their kindness and openness to others. This is just a beginning, I still have 120 days left to stay in San Diego, and I will keep discovering interesting and unique things happen here!
Hsiang-Chi Lin is a foreign exchange Business Administration major from Taiwan studying abroad at SDSU for the fall semester
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