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A bit of culture shock

Maria Niechwiadowicz


I knew it would be a little hard to come back to China after a month in Taiwan, but I wasn’t expecting to be smacked in the face by culture shock. After a long day of traveling from Taipei to Hong Kong to Xi’an, I exited the airport to a gray sky. In the mere 20 hours I spent there before catching a bus to Guyuan, I found myself annoyed at the pushy crowds and the loud way in which people speak, things that did not annoy me before. Similarly, after navigating through Taiwan where pinyin or bits...

Recipe: Shao Bing

Maria Niechwiadowicz


I have been back in Ningxia a week now, and am missing Taiwan in many ways. After posting Tasting Taiwan, I received many comments asking me if I learned how to cook anything. Funny enough, I did not have many “lessons” despite all the fabulous meals I ate, but came back with a long list of items that would be worth recreating in my own kitchen. So being the foodie I am, I have vowed to post more recipes this semester that could easily be made in any kitchen! With a snowy Saturday morning ...

Tasting Taiwan

Maria Niechwiadowicz


If I could, I would eat my way through every city that I go to (and arguable do so). Taiwan is certainly a place to do just that! No matter how much research I did on where to eat and what do eat, my options were limitless, as every local joint claims to be “the best” at whatever they provide. From cheap, street-food at the various night markets to high-end Western restaurants, Taiwan has it all. Here were some of my highlights from the tasting I did in Taipei and Kaohsiung! Street food can be ...

Lunar New Year in Kaoshiung

Maria Niechwiadowicz


The Chinese New Year is the biggest and longest holiday for the Chinese/Taiwanese or anyone else celebrating the Lunar New Year! The traditions and rituals are varied according to family and location but all celebration stems from traditional legends and customs to honor deities and ancestors. This legend tells of a beast, Nian, who would come on the first day of every year to eat livestock and children. To protect themselves, the villagers would place food in front of their homes for Nian to ...

Year of Yang

Maria Niechwiadowicz


Happy Chinese New Year! So there is no ‘exact’ animal associated with the Chinese word yáng ?. However, supposedly Chinese people and experts on folklore believe that the Chinese zodiac animal is the Goat because the Chinese zodiac is an invention of the Han Nationality, and goats were widely raised by the Han people (unlike sheep), so the zodiac animal is more likely to refer to a goat. However, the sheep is seemingly more popular and “cute” so I have seen more sheep icons.      ...

Hiking in Hualien

Maria Niechwiadowicz


While staying in Taipei, I had the chance to visit Hualien for a couple days. It is a quick trip east, only 2 hours by train, or about 3 by driving. I was able to take the train there and drive back to Taipei with the host family I was staying with, for a chance to see the amazing scenery and winding roads! Hualien provides a laid back atmosphere from Taipei. But though the city is smaller, there is so much to see! Though the rain hindered me a bit, I was still able to enjoy my time. The ...

Taipei: busy in the city

Maria Niechwiadowicz


Everyday is a new adventure in Taipei! As I mentioned in my last post, so many people were willing to take me places in and around the city to experience Taipei at it’s best! But the city is also great for solo exploring. I got a combination of both! If you ever make it to Taipei, I recommend the “organized wanderer method.” Taipei is conveniently sectioned into 12 districts, easily accessibly by bus and MRT. Each district is unique – offering historical sites, tourist stops, but also hidden ...

Introducing Taipei

Maria Niechwiadowicz


After living in the small town of Guyuan for almost 5 months, I have felt like a kid in a candy shop here in Taipei. I have always considered myself a smallish town girl, but I love to travel to big cities. Taipei is filled with a buzz. Just looking at my city map, excitement grows in my stomach as my mind calculates where to go and how to get there! I don’t know if this is a fair comparison, but Taipei feels a lot like Hong Kong, Westernized but still holds on to tradition. The streets here are...


Maria Niechwiadowicz


The excitement I felt in entering a church on my first Sunday morning in Taipei was overwhelming. I hadn’t been to a real, community worship service in over 4 months, so walking into the sanctuary of the Tai’an Church sent chills down my spine. A blue cross glowed from behind the pulpit, same design as the golden cross at First Presbyterian Church in Sioux Falls, SD (the sister church to this congregation). The church choir, in formal robes, sat to the right. Hymnals and bibles were tucked into ...

Endings and beginnings

Maria Niechwiadowicz


For the first time in the 4 months I have been in Guyuan, I have gotten the blogging prompt from family and friends…You haven’t posted in a while? What is going on in China? The truth is, it has been pretty slow around here yet my mind I has been constantly processing. 2015 has brought a new year but the end of a semester at Ningxia Teacher’s University! I finished classes, gave final exams, and had my grades calculated by January 12th. The result was a huge sigh of achievement but also an air ...

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