jingning: (Chihiro and Kohaku)
[personal profile] jingning
Taiwan has a very distinct spring-soaking culture; people from all over Taiwan will dedicate entire vacations to enjoy soaking in the blue-green pools of scalding-hot mineral water. Soaking in these hot springs claim to bring many health benefits, so Lara and I had to check out these pools for ourselves.

The entire island is dotted with access to hot springs, ranging from the very posh weekend spas to very free public pools. However, the most notable of hot spring soaking areas closest to Taipei are located in small towns on opposite ends of New Taipei City (新北市), formerly Taipei County (台北縣).

Enter Wulai (烏來區). )

Enter Beitou (北投區). )

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Happy Year of the Rabbit~!
兔年快樂~!

There's nothing like friends from afar to make stories with and friends back home to read them. Thank you all for being in our lives -- looking forward to another great year and wishing you all the best~!

-- Sara
何靜寧



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jingning: (Simon and Nia)
[personal profile] jingning
Just wanted to leave a quick update in light of the recent earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan. The images from this disaster have really shocked us, especially since memories from our trip to Japan just two weeks ago are very fresh in our minds. While we weren't traveling in the areas that suffered the most damage from the quakes and tsunami, we cannot help but imagine the country in turmoil over its losses. Our hearts go out to Japan and all those affected by this tragedy.

Taiwan was put on the tsunami warning list shortly following the event, however, reports state that the East coast of Taiwan saw waves peaking at 50 cm, so we are very safe. While Taiwan made it out of the danger safely, there are many communities across the Pacific that are dealing with earthquake and tsunami damage, especially those in the Northeastern parts of Japan.

If you'd like to help the relief efforts through donation, please make sure to research the organizations you are interested in donating to beforehand, so as to not waste your contributions.


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Blog updates: We apologize for another long gap of silence. We have been spending our winter break from school like no other, reuniting with our good friend in Hsinchu (新竹市) and traveling by scooter all throughout the northeastern and eastern coast of Taiwan, followed up by a thirteen day side trip to Japan (which will be featured in a separate blog in due time; please bookmark and subscribe in the meantime). We'll be chronicling all of our adventures here within the next month and sorting through thousands of photos, videos, and thoughts so please bear with us.

In the mean time, please check out our Tumblr microblog for a glimpse at some pictures that didn't fit in anywhere else and some Taiwanese cultural tidbits.

As always, thank you for your support~!
感謝你的支持喔~!

-- Sara
何靜寧



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jingning: (Ginko)
[personal profile] jingning
About a month ago, after weeks of intense research, meticulous planning, and tense negotiation, I finally entered the world of apartment life in Taipei. My new place is a mere two blocks from my previous residence and a bit more expensive, but the privacy, convenience, and comfort of living in an apartment more than makes up for these slight drawbacks. As I would eventually come to discover, however, finding out how to pay the bills and work the quirky-shaped keys would be the least of my worries. It wasn't until two weeks later that I fully realized the significance of previously neglected facet of my daily life: taking out the trash.

Within two weeks, I had accumulated enough garbage from moving in, ordering out, and general laziness to fill two large bags, one for trash and one for recyclables. At one point, I ran out of room for garbage in the first bag, so it moved to a temporary home by the door, another bag covering the top so that the smell wouldn't flood the room. The bottles and containers threatened my living space in their own way, forming a toppling plastic mountain in the corner of my room. The drink boxes needed to be flattened and rinsed out to prevent a TetraPak mountain filled with mold spores and festering strawberry soy milk; those, in turn, came to fill a medium-sized paper bag. Needless to say, I needed a solid solution, and fast. Otherwise, that solution would have to be The Ghostbusters.

I ain't afraid of no ghosts )

-- Sara
何靜寧



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jingning: (Sazh and Dajh)
[personal profile] jingning
The late afternoon sun broke out from between the clouds as Lara and I approached Joyce sitting on a bench outside of the main entrance to NTU, one day before the Moon Festival (中秋節: literally, Mid-Autumn Festival). The streets were very busy, as many people return to their homes and families during this time to celebrate the fullness of the moon as a representation of the wholeness of the family. We were lucky to get a glimpse into the life of a traditional Taiwanese family that night as well as have Joyce and her older sister guide us through the famous areas around Sansia (三峽).

家家戶戶都團團圓圓 - Every Family Reunites )

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Sorry for the unusually long hiatus. We will be updating more regularly now that we have adjusted to moving into a new apartment and schoolwork/language exchange. We've done much exploration and documentation during our break from our blog so rest assured that there will be more to come~!

Also, Lara forgot to bring her camera during this journey, so we apologize for the lower quality of the photos and the lack of photos for some parts. We do plan a re-visit of the aforementioned areas and will post pictures in a later blog and on our online photo album. Thank you!

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-- Sara
何靜寧



Disclaimer: Photography in this post done by Joyce and Joyce's sister. Thank you~!



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jingning: (Totoro Playing)
[personal profile] jingning
The Moon Festival (中秋節) is a very important holiday in Chinese culture that signifies the reunion of good friends and family, in which people make their way back home to spend an evening eating delicious food and Moon Cakes (月餅), while enjoying the beauty of the full moon. The holiday is held every year on August 15 of the Lunar calendar, which usually ends up being near the end of September and the beginning of October. This year, the festival was on September 22. First, however, there was a need for some spontaneous exploration of downtown Taipei, graciously hosted by a Taiwanese friend of ours that we had met in the States.
Enter Joyce.

捷運台北車站 - MRT Taipei Main Station )

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When you've lived on the other side of the world, you begin to feel an indescribable feeling welling up inside of you. It is a feeling that transcends all the feelings of doubt and worry, one that makes you feel like all of your troubles are ephemeral, that the world is vast, and that while you stay up late at night writing inane things in your travel blog, there is someone back at home getting ready for work in the morning, making breakfast out of last night's leftovers, or just starting to fall asleep from a long night of video games and energy drinks.

Indeed, the world is so vast I almost feel as if I will be consumed by it. However, being all the way over here while everything I have ever known is all the way over there is not swallowed up by loneliness. I feel that I have friends that are going about their lives all across the globe. And, even while I sleep, there are amazing things happening and amazing people thinking of me, of you... somewhere. There is always something in between the distance, connecting you to me.

我們一定有緣。 (We are definitely tied together by fate.)

Thank you all for being in my life.



-- Sara
何靜寧




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taiwanderland: Sara and Lara outside National Palace Museum (Default)
何靜寧 & 何靜嵐 --- Sara & Lara

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