And we’re back

By Julia Werth, Student Participant

I sit awake, cross-legged on my bed at 3:00 on Monday morning (thank you jet lag) thinking about the fact that spring semester classes start in just over 24 hours. It seems an impossibly short period of time, how can I possibly be ready for an 8 a.m. Tuesday lecture? But, then again, if it’s possible to travel more than halfway around the world, through 12 zones, between 7:30 p.m. and 9:10 p.m. what isn’t possible?

And doing as much as humanly possible in short periods of time is something many members of geoscience and geohazards in Taiwan have become quite good at.

After wrapping up the course last Thursday at National Cheng Kung University with individual presentations and traveling from Tainan to Taipei in under two hours (a distance we spent nearly two weeks traveling in the other direction) we arrived back at our old abode, The Friends Hotel.

And it is strange how much like home it felt when we walked through the frosty glass sliding doors and saw the leather couches where we had all met for the first time not quite three weeks before. Then we were a little shy, a little awkward and a little nervous about what we were getting into. Now, we were so worn into each other that shy and awkward had no place in that lobby. We had truly become friends as the hotel had presumed upon our arrival.

“So we will see you all at our final group dinner tomorrow night,” Tim told us. “Have fun on your last full day in Taipei.

And with perfect weather – maybe the last sunshine we will enjoy for months – we did just that.

But the best part of the day came at about 3:00 a.m. – funny how that works out – when we all stood arms wrapped around each other in our personal room in a multi-story karaoke palace singing one last song together. We knew it was late, we knew we would have to make a drastic time change very soon and we knew it was unlikely we’d ever all be together again, but, the time we had together in Taiwan we are even more unlikely to ever forget.