Sunday, June 29, 2008

American Teen in Taiwan as Exchange Student - Interesting Articles

Over the past year, our Vail Daily newspaper has had a series of articles posted by a student that did a foreign exchange student program to Taiwan. Scott Harp is a 16-year-old Battle Mountain High School student who is traveling through Taipei, Taiwan and China as a Rotary Youth Exchange Student. He has written a few articles about his travels. I have found the articles to be extremly interesting and though you may enjoy them also. So, here they are:
Student travels to the Far East
Chickens’ feet taste better than old eggs

Tremendous times in Taiwan for Battle Mountain teen
Local student witnesses China’s coming of age

Talking with our Friend about Taiwan

Tonight we had a special Family Home Evening night with Dustin. He just returned from serving a 2 year church mission to Taiwan. It was great to have him in our home as he loves Taiwan and was so excited to answer any question we have about the country. Here are some interesting things that we learned.
1. Most toilets are non-existent you squat and do your thing. You may want to take some toilet paper with you as it is sold in vending machines. Also many times men and women have joint public bathrooms. The men go to one side and the women the other. There may be a small wall separating you, but most of the time you can probably see each other. (Scary)
2. Taiwan is very safe. They have a low crime rate. No guns are allowed.
3. Most meals outside of McDonald's probably cost around $1 a meal. Most food is safe to eat, but purchase bottled water.
4. Kids are cherished in Taiwan. Kids go to school year round and are always studying for some large test. They have a lot of pressure to do well. If they do well in elementary they can get into a good middle school. If they get into a good middle school, that determines your future. If you do poorly, you probably won't go to college. Although they go to lots of school, they don't get a great education.
5. Banana spiders are huge, they catch birds and I really care to see any. Thank you, but no.
6. Sun Moon Lake is gorgeous and if able stop and visit it. It is the most beautiful place Dustin has ever seen. It is in the middle of the island in the mountains.
7. Most Americans have an odor coming out of us that the Taiwanese notice. We smell like rotten milk. That's just lovely!
8. Because we have white skin, a lot of children will come up to us point and say something. They are most likely saying "Foreigner". They will point and then run away. A lot of people may say "Hello" and that's all, because that may be all of the English they know. The tourist areas will have many people who speak English. Overall, people are friendly. My husband and I will really draw lots of attention because we are so tall.
9. The night markets are very safe and a must see. At times the crowds may feel like you are in Disneyworld.
Overall we had a great visit and it was fun for my children too. They are so excited to have a little sister. We can't wait!

Our Taiwan Adoption Journey

I figured it was time we start our adoption blog. My name is Krista and my husband and I are currently on the wait list for a Taiwan adoption of an infant girl. I remember having feelings that I would like to adopt someday starting about my first year of college. At one point in college, I almost went to Russia to work in an orphanage for 6 months. I was so close to going, but didn't go. While deciding to make that decision, I really began to have strong feelings towards adopting a child someday.
We have been blessed with 4 beautiful, healthy and amazing biological boys. However, we feel there is still one more child to come to our family. So, in January of 2007 we began the process of International Adoption. We have a cousin that adopted from Taiwan, so having watched their process, we prayed about adopting from Taiwan and have felt really good about it. So we began our journey. On April 16, 2007 we were officially placed on the Taiwan Adoption waiting list with For Every Child.
The last update we received said they estimate a referral around September. We are trying to be patient, but it is so hard. We are supposed to get an update when we are estimated to be within 90 days of receiving our referral. So far, no luck but hopefully soon!