Spending a birthday in a foreign country isn’t new to me because since I turned 20, I’ve been spending my birthdays in different places. But this is my first time to celebrate in a country where I live alone. Everyone I talked to felt really sad for me but actually, it wasn’t too bad. On the contrary, I really enjoyed my day!
My day started pretty well. I slept in because it was the weekend, and honestly, I think I really deserved that after a long and stressful midterm week. But I must admit that I really didn’t know what I should do for the day. I don’t like parties, so throwing a party is not an option. Everyone seemed to be busy anyway, so I decided to just go somewhere I haven’t been during my last vacation here. I decided to go to Beitou, a district in Taipei known for its hot springs, to see the Thermal Valley that my friends have been talking about.
The trip from my dorm to Beitou was really long (more than an hour) and I really regret going in the afternoon because I was looking forward to visiting more places within the area. But it was okay because I still managed to see lots of places.
As I was strolling around the area, I passed by Beitou Public Library and the Plum Garden, a historical building and tourist information center. I thought I would only get to see a garden, but it turns out that Plum Garden is part of a historical building. The house where the garden is situated is an old Japanese-style house belonging to a well-known calligraphy master and government official Yu You Ren. Besides serving as a historical landmark and tourist information center, it’s also a great place to relax. Plus, his original calligraphy works are still displayed in the house and it adds to the overall elegance of the place.
I also passed by this pretty building, I believe it’s the Hot Spring Museum. But it was really late in the day and the Thermal Valley park closes at 5, so I had to hurry along. Oh well, now I have another reason to go back to Beitou!
So, after long walk, I finally got to the Beitou Thermal Valley. It’s a natural sulfur spring with scorching hot water – so hot that you can see the steam rising out of the water. This also means that it can’t be used for bathing (it’s actually corrosive), but it’s still a pretty sight that I’m glad I got to witness.
It was pretty late when I finished exploring Thermal Valley so I went back to have dinner. I didn’t know what I wanted to have for dinner that night, but I ended up eating night market food (no photos though) and then for some reason I ended up at Yongkang Jie. There were so many restaurants and stalls to choose from, I wished I had dinner here instead! But no worries, I decided to try this popular shaved ice store called Smoothie House, and it was so good!
After dessert, I went back to my dorm and my roommate arrived with a cake for me! So cute! And there was also a candle, which took us a REALLY long time to light up because we couldn’t get the lighter to work. Lol. It was so nice of her to do this for me and we had a great time celebrating in our room and just talking. No big parties needed, I was just so happy to be celebrating with a good friend.
Now, I’m just worried about my midterm scores! I hope everything turns out okay, the midterm exams really stressed me out. Maybe after this I would be able to write more detailed posts in the next few weeks!