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Puli, Taiwan

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Tree in Puli, Taiwan

In the rolling mountains and valleys, Puli, Taiwan is an often over-looked, quiet city with extraordinarily beautiful scenery, nature and fresh air.

This picture was taken at Cingjing Farm, which is a one-hour bus ride from Puli.

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Chinese Classroom Culture

“Facebook started the wars in the Middle East.” “ALL boys like watching soccer. ALL girls like shopping.” “Girls should find men who are handsome, rich and good at cooking.” These are some snippets of the misled comments I hear in my Chinese classroom everyday. At first, I just blamed my poor Chinese skills and assumed I had misunderstood their sexist …

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Beijing Street Food

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Beijing street food

Some travelers are afraid of street food, but I think it is not only cheap and delicious, but also a great way to experience cultures like the locals.

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My Mandarin Classroom

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Typical Chinese classroom at Beijing Normal University

This is where I spend 20 hours each week learning Mandarin In Beijing, China.

The biggest pro of language classes: if you stop listening for a little bit, it is very easy to zone out and go into your own, little world.

The biggest con of language classes: if you zone out just a bit and go into your own, little world, you have NO idea what is going on…

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Typical Chinese Food

Typical Chinese food Beijing Normal University chopsticks noodles
Typical Chinese food at Beijing Normal University

My newest obsession: Vegetable and Egg Soup (青菜鸡蛋面 qīngcài jīdàn miàn). This is a very typical, Chinese cafeteria food that I eat nearly every day. Add a little spicy pepper and some clean water, and you have yourself a rather healthy, filling Chinese meal for ¥10, which just under $2!

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Problem Child: Language and Culture

Learning a foreign language goes beyond the skills of being able to communicate using different sounds and grammar patterns. When you deeply immerse yourself in the culture and the language, you that the two are more deeply intertwined than you ever thought. We don’t always realize it when we just speak our native language, but language inherently includes a culture’s …

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It’s worth it.

I’m sitting here in the dimly lit hospital waiting room surrounded by 3 dozen Chinese people all bundled in their poofy winter coats. No one is smiling, but there is plenty of yelling. As Mandarin bounces across the room, I shiver and inch closer to my Swedish friend for a little more warmth. It’s 30 degrees inside the room because …

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