Here’s the thing about private school students in Taiwan – our summer vacation is only one month long, because starting from the last week of July till the third week of August, we have summer school. During this time we take classes like any other normal day during the school year. The goal is to finish all the courses earlier than public schools so we have more time to review for the university entrance exam. I say that the summer vacation time is one month because it consists of the first three weeks of July and the last week of August, but since the last week is only days before school officially starts, most people don’t go too far during this week. So, to be very very exact, we only have three weeks of summer vacation each year. Yup, you read that right.
Being an exchange student who is about to go abroad for an year, I’d already paused my academics at my Taiwanese high school, so naturally I had the full two months of vacation (yay!!). Besides preparing for my departure, I also spent quite a lot of time with my friends, because the next time I see them would be an year later.
04 July – CLUB SHOWCASE
FuHsing Hot Dance Club (BEASTLY BEAT), Hot Music Club, and Pop Music Club
I did not take part in the showcase, but as a proud member of the BEASTLY BEAT family it is of course my duty to be there and cheer for them!
08~10 July – Trip to Southern Taiwan
Chimei Museum (台南奇美博物館)
The Chimei Museum is located in Tainan city and a private museum with the largest and richest collection in Taiwan. The building is of Greek architecture, with a large garden in front and a bridge completed with statues of Greek gods and goddesses. I’ve already been here once with my school when we had our graduation trip in eighth grade, but we were with a tour guide so the entire process was pretty sped-up. I wanted to come back here again to take a good look at every artifact.
KaoHsiung / Qijin Island (高雄 / 旗津島)
Day two of our little trip to the south was equally fun, and sweltering! But we visited so many places in just one day. We rented bikes and took them with us onto the ferry to QiJin Island, just fifteen minutes off the coast of KaoHsiung. We climbed all the way up to the QiJin lighthouse (旗津燈塔), which gave a pretty impressive view of the ocean and coast area. Then we headed towards the QiJin fort (旗津砲台), which was just beside the lighthouse. The wind at the fort was strong and I had to be very careful or else I might’ve fallen off the wall! We retrieved our bikes and pedaled along the beach, stopping here and there to take some photos.
After a seafood dinner on the island, we took the ferry back to KaoHsiung and biked to the Pier-2 Art Center (高雄駁二藝術特區) close by. The heat was intimidating, so we decided to find a nice café and sit down for a while. The thing I love about art centers is that the boutiques always have such creative interior designs and atmospheres.
That night, we were fortunate enough to join with another Taiwanese family for dinner. We’ve known each other for many years, because back in Shanghai we lived pretty close, and now they live in KaoHsiung.
The British Consulate at Takow (打狗英國領事館文化區)
The last day – we visited the British Consulate at Takow, which is now a cultural and educational ground open to the public. The red bricks really gave off a foreign vibe, with a beautiful garden and a great view of the ocean.
The afternoon we did some serious shopping at the biggest outlet in Taiwan – Eda Shopping Mall. Then we began our drive home, and arrived in Taipei around 11 pm.
That’s all for our trip to the south!
11 July – Coco Café
w/ Evelyn and Cynthia Lee
Evelyn and I have wanted to go to the Coco Café by Chanel every since it opened. It was a limited-time boutique that combined coffee time and shopping – you can browse all Chanel beauty products while you sip a hot brew of latte. Besides all that, there were also photo corners and a room for you to take theme videos. The place was no doubt a must-visit, so the two of us and Cynthia went! Here are some pics from our enjoyable day.
We had dinner at Sneaker’s Café (yes another café… we love cafés hahaha)
20 July – Girl’s Date with Cynthia Chan
Cynthia Chan is my best friend from junior high. Sadly we were not able to be in the same senior high school, but we still try to see each other from time to time! This day we chose to check out a café (you’ll be seeing this word REALLY often…) that is known for its beautiful marble cheesecake. Sugar Miss is a marble-themed space that also provides free wifi and other cake choices besides the most famous one. But we were here for the cheesecake, so two cheesecakes it is.
21 July – Grandma’s Birthday Dinner
w/ the family on my mom’s side
24 July – The Exchange Students Visit School
Evie is one of my good friends in my class and also an exchange student, but she chose the United States. Like me, she had the full two months of summer vacation too, so when we got bored, we would call each other up and eat lunch together, then buy some drinks and snacks to sneak into school for our classmates.
29 July – HELLO PAUL SMITH Exhibition!
w/ Jonathan and Johnson
I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time! I can’t say I am a Paul Smith fanatic, but I do love fashion-related things. This exhibition is more about the early days into his career and his inspirations. There were exact replicas of the hotel room where he held his first exhibition of his designs, and his workshop. The exhibition is held at Huashan 1914 Creative Park, also an art center.
06 August – Dinner with BEASTLY BEAT
So it’s finally time for the celebration dinner of the BEASTLY BEAT family – 4th and 5th years members. During this gathering, we thank the 4th year senior sisters for the hard work of the past year, and the 5th years take over the club. Though technically I am not a part of the 5th year anymore, I still went along to celebrate with them.
08 August – Reunited with elementary school best friend!
We were best friends in elementary school back in Shanghai, and then I moved to Taiwan. A few years later, she moved to San Francisco, California. We haven’t seen each other in a loooong time and we had a great time catching up! Our date started out with a “food hunt” – cakes at Sugar Miss, and smoothie bowls at Café by Juicy Diary. Then we took the MRT (subway) to Huashan 1914 Creative Park to visit an exhibition of Antoni Gaudi, the famous Spanish architect known for his incredible designs. We ended the day with a great dinner at the Trio Café just at the entrance of the park, then I decided to join her and her parents for some shaved ice at the popular ice shop Ice Monster.
12 August – LEOFOO VILLAGE AMUSEMENT PARK
w/ Celia, Judy, Jonathan, Eliana, Jason, Albert, Leon, and Shane
I was ultimately surprised by my friends! I actually didn’t know exactly who would be going – Celia said she would handle everything. They planned everything meticulously, and the mystery guest of the day was my best friend Jonathan. I was told to meet everyone in front of the school and we would take the shuttle to the park together, but then Celia was nowhere to be seen… Judy then told me that Celia overslept and got held up by her mom, so she would take the next shuttle. I believed her.
When we got there, we walked towards the meeting point where we were supposed to wait for Celia. But in fact Celia was already there, with Jonathan, hiding somewhere. We were just standing around “waiting” when suddenly the two of them jumped out of nowhere and surprised me with balloons they’d bought early that morning. The eight of them also wore white t-shirts because they believed I wouldn’t wear white – which was right.
And then we had a blast! I was super grateful that they did all this for me, and this day was the last major event before I left Taiwan. What great memories…
14 August – Dinner at 51BBQ
w/ Mom and mom’s cousin
My mom’s cousin, who is my aunt, was very kind to suggest that we have dinner at a new Koeran BBQ restaurant around the area where we lived – her treat. I really love that restaurant and it was super tasty! The most interesting dish would be the “meat bomb” – it was this huge ball with rice and kimchi inside, wrapped with strips of meat. The “bomb” is grilled and then cracked open, served with dried seaweed and melted cheese.
The restaurant had a nice interior design and it was a little bit hidden because of the large amount of plants placed at the door. Overall, I enjoyed the meal and even got a free bag!
19 August – Last Dinner with the Chu Family
The family on my mom’s side decided to gather everyone together for a dinner party to wish me a good year in France. We went to the same restaurant where we ate at for my grandma’s birthday dinner, because it was so good that we all wanted to eat there again!
21 August – Day out with Hannah
Hannah is a good friend of mine from my class in junior high school. We wanted to see each other before I left, so we went to Juicy Diary for smoothie bowls and delivered some boba tea to the school for our friends.
23 August – Celia’s Birthday and French Dinner with my parents
Ever since their surprise for me at Leofoo Village Amusment Park I’d wanted to do the same thing for Celia. So I lied to her about some “bad news” – because of Hurricane Hato, the flights had to be rearranged so I was scheduled to leave a day early. And she was really sad because she thought I wouldn’t be able to celebrate her birthday with her. Secretly, I had already bought her the newest album of Jessica, her favorite Korean singer. I even blocked her from my Instagram story and posted that I’d already gotten the album, just to make sure no one else bought it too. Near noon, I walked towards school from my mom’s office and stopped by a shop to get a chocolate mousse birthday cake. I entered the school and Judy met with me at the elevator, then we lit the candles and crept slowly towards our classroom, where someone else was prepared to shut the lights and call Celia to the front door. Then I walked in holding her birthday cake and her gift – the look on her face was priceless! She was equally surprised as I was the other day. I’m really glad the plan worked out and I got to celebrate her birthday with her. She was also super excited when she peeked into the bag and saw what her gift was.
French Dinner with my parents
Mom and dad decided to take me out to dinner at a fancy French restaurant, Un Petit Pas. Each element of the dishes were delicately placed, and tasty as well. The most interesting dish was the dessert – it was the daily special, a bubble tea flavored soufflé. The dish was a perfect combination of French and Taiwanese culture. I was also glad to receive two wonderful gifts – a custom laptop slipcase completely designed and handmade by my mom, and a beautiful piece of Hetian jade from my dad. In Chinese culture, wearing jade is said to keep one healthy and safe. A French dinner before going to France… Perfect! Bon appetit!
The Mou Family – my dad’s side
After our French dinner, we visited my nana (grandma on my dad’s side) and uncle.
24 August – BYE TAIWAN!
Time to go!
That was my Summer 2k17! Thank you so much for reading my post!