In all honesty, it’s been difficult adapting to small town life after living in bustling Boston the past year. It’s really forced me to think about what I like and prioritize in my life, which has been helpful from a personal development perspective. There is a comfort in the familiarity of the same 5 streets I drive every day, but there’s a frustration that comes with it as well. I’m still trying to figure this out, and making my peace with living here. My group of ETA friends here are really my saving grace. We’ve dined, laughed, argued, traveled, and adventured together all semester, and I’m grateful for their friendship and camaraderie. It feels almost college-y, in a good way. We keep each other occupied in this small city, and I’m glad we do! We’ve had our fair share of adventures just figuring out what restaurants are closed on which days, having close calls while scootering, and finding things to do together in the city.
Sub-Plot Point: Local Hostel Life
To follow up on my last post–I’ve only been to Dulan once or twice after my initial visit, mostly because after hanging out in the hostel after my first surfing lesson (!) back in November (which was not great, unfortunately), I realized it was a little stuffy and a bit cliquey, if one can even be cliquey in a town of less than 500 people. So, I’ve turned my sights a bit closer in Taitung City proper. I had a college colleague unexpectedly visit Taitung back in November, and after dinner we went back to her hostel and had a lovely long conversation with a few other travelers staying there, and the hostel owners themselves. Jackson and Halsey own Hostel Who Knows? downtown and are super friendly. I gave them a visit back in November saying I’d love to help volunteer and help out at the hostel (trying to channel my HI Boston vibes), which they said would be great. Unfortunately, due to a nasty cough that lasted weeks and the craziness of holiday festivities, I haven’t been back yet. Will definitely be back after the Chinese new year, though.