Hey everyone! It’s already the Mid-Autumn Festival in Taipei, and looks like summer finally noticed that it has already overstayed its welcome. It seems like the leaves just suddenly turned yellow and the summer flowers just randomly started falling. We got a nice breeze and light showers today too. A perfect time to celebrate!
In Taiwan, the Mid-Autumn Festival (also called Moon Festival) is the time when locals get together with their family and friends for a night of great barbecue and stories. Since foreigners like me don’t have family in Taiwan, some people from our department arranged for a barbecue for all international students and some local classmates who aren’t coming home for the holiday. Of course, I’m always game for a local experience, so I went!
We started cooking at around 4:30 PM, and we set up our barbecue place at a riverside park near school. We chose the place under the bridge so that we wouldn’t get wet just in case it rained.
At first, I thought we were the only ones meeting up at that place, so just imagine my surprise when I saw so many people there!
Our classmates bought a large selection of meat and veggies for grilling; in the end, they didn’t fit into normal grocery bags so they had to put them into two boxes and carry them all the way.
At first, it was kind of awkward because I was the only foreign student in the group. I mean, I know these people because they’re from my program as well, but it just felt weird being the only one in the group who’s not speaking in Chinese. But like I said, I did want to have a legit local experience, and plunging in and speaking in Chinese just like them would be as local as I could get! Surprisingly, they understood what I was saying and nobody laughed at me, so that was pretty encouraging.
After an hour, a freshman from Thailand and another one from Japan came and it was so nice that they were actually the ones who approached me. Maybe because they’re also foreigners, and I’m the only foreigner out there. Lol. But anyway, we got together and during the course of our conversation, we realized that we were all beginners in Chinese so we came to a random decision to practice our Chinese with our local classmates. It was loads of fun and again, I didn’t realize that I knew so many words!
I really admire the Thai freshman’s determination to practice the language. He literally just started learning Chinese 2 weeks ago, but he really just wants to go out there and talk to people, despite his accent and all. While we were practicing, I realized that I should be more like my Thai classmate; I shouldn’t be too self-conscious when trying to speak Chinese. I think that’s one of the best things that happened today!
Everyone just gathered and talked while eating until sundown, which was very chill. Somehow, I really like it. I’ve been so used to our house parties in the Philippines where we would always have a karaoke machine and big tables, so I didn’t realize that I would enjoy something as laid-back as this barbecue party. I would love to do it again.
PS: I don’t usually include a lot of photos along with my posts, but I guess I should do it more often to force me to document stuff! I only have a few months left in Taiwan so I really should capture every moment 😛