Happy Birthday Taiwan!!!

So when Dr. Vocke said 10/10 would be the coolest thing well do this year, he did not exaggerate. It was SO cool. We had school off on Friday and I woke up at 9am to pack my bag for the weekend. I got on the shuttle to the station at noon and excitedly waited at the bus station for Matthew. If you remember from a previous blog, only four out of the 16 of us got to attend the 10/10 party in Taipei, so I went with Matthew and we met Emily and Sam there since they live in Yilan. Matthew and I arrived at the hotel early and went to get some lunch with ETAs from Taidong. They were really nice! I got a grilled cheese (wahoo Taipei food! And good cheese!) so that was exciting! We chatted about school and our different areas. It’s the first year for Fulbright to be in Taidong so they are having their own sets of issues but they couldn’t believe the problems we are having with our LETs (way to go Yilan).

Anyway, we wandered back to the hotel when it was time to check in. I met my roommate, Mary. She is doing research here in Taiwan and she was so nice!! We quickly got ready (we only had 45 minutes to look good enough to meet the President! Pressure!) and all met back downstairs ready to go to the party! Everyone associated with Fulbright met at the MRT station to get guest passes in order to enter the party. Then, we made our way. (May I mention, it started to rain and I was wearing a fancy white dress! AHH!! But luckily, I brought a rain jacket and umbrella, which many people were trying to share with me). We crossed through this barrier of barbed wire to get to the entrance. Frightening. It was not just a little barbed wire. It was about 10 feet tall from the ground up, all the way across the road and up the sides. I was so afraid I was going to get caught on it! But, thank goodness we all made it in alive.

We followed a red carpet into this huge building. I checked my jacket and umbrella and was escorted in. We walked through a tunnel of waitresses offering us wine and juice and water and alcohol and anything we wanted. We saw a huge stage surrounded by smaller stages, ice sculptures, and tons of food. And when I say tons I mean….TONS. Like enough to feed all of Taiwan. Emily and I spent the first hour of the party just trying to take it all in and see everything. In typical Sammie fashion, I ate dessert first (and last…and some in the middle). They had actual cake! Not this weird airy cake with unsweetened whipped cream Im used to here…real delicious homemade cake with frosting. I ate chocolate cake, cheesecake, and macaroons. YUM! Then, I ate noodles, scallion pancakes, a pineapple smoothie, bread, ice cream and more!!! I wish I could eat more because it was definitely the best food I will have all year. Good enough for President Ma, good enough for me!

Speaking of President Ma, we didn’t even see him!!! He was there, but we missed it!! I don’t think he stayed very long because he is not very popular at the moment. But, I didn’t even need to see the president to make this the best night ever. We watched acrobats, dancers, magicians and singers. We met people from all over the world (very important people at that) and just had an absolute blast. I could not be happier I got picked for this event. It was definitely the highlight of my year!!!!!

It was also really fun to be able to spend time with ETAs from other areas and get to know them better. I saw a few kids I flew over here with, so it was fun to catch up! The pictures below are just a small taste of the night!!! (The double cross you keep seeing is the sign of 10/10 in case you didn’t know!)


P.S. Sorry they are mostly selfies…we kept asking people at the party to take our picture and these were the results…………so selfies it was! That’s what we get for asking old Taiwanese men to use an iPhone….


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