Trip Start Jun 18, 2009
Trip End Aug 01, 2011

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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Well after a crazy summer I have made it back to Taichung to start my second year. The past two months have just flown by. I spent the month of June enjoying the last weeks with some great teachers before they headed home for good and July was spent in America enjoying time with my friends and family.

My three week vacation to America in July became somewhat of a blur. I want to say a big THANK YOU to all my friends and family for making a wonderful trip home. Spending time with all of you made me realize just how much I have missed you during this past year. 

I will fill you in on some of the highlights of my trip home! I arrived back in MN during 4th of July weekend. Initailly it was very strange to be back. Everything looks so much different than in Taiwan. It is crazy to believe that it is all part of the same world. It took some time to get used to things being different. Luckily, I was able to spend my first weekend home relaxing at our cabin. I spent most of my time sleeping off my jet lag but it was still nice to get to experience Northern MN on my trip home. During our weekend we fit in some of the usual cabin experiences, fishing, jet skiing, tubing, relaxing on the lake, doing puzzles and eating lots of yummy food. After a weekend at the cabin we headed back to Elk River, I got to drive my truck back! It was a little weird at first but it was nice to be able to drive in the comfort of a vehicle. Things I missed about driving my truck, listening to music while I drive and the air conditioner! :) 

Upon returning to Elk River I spent the next couple days meeting up with friends. Later in the week I headed out to Eau Claire to spend some time with Krystal. We had a busy 3 days. The first thing on our to-do list was.....shopping!!! I was so excited to go to a normal shopping mall where things come in more than just size small and I could try things on! We hit the mall and did a lot of damage to my credit card. Shopping was a little difficult at first. I was a little sticker shocked coming from Taiwan. I am not used to spending more than $10 on any clothes that I buy. But eventually I got over it and we had a fun day shopping. We ended the day by relaxing and getting pedicures! As we were leaving for our pedicures Krystal pointed out that I had forgotten to tip. Opps! I am so used to not tipping for anything here in Taiwan! So I apologize to the lady who did my toes...you did a great job! :) Krystal and I spent the rest of the time meeting up with her friends and eating lots of great food and enjoying some drinks. 

On my way out of Eau Claire I was able to meet up with a friend from Milwaukee who happened to be in town for some softball. I spent a day watching middle school softball with my friend Amy. It was a nice surprise to get to see her! The rest of the week was spent with more dinner dates and shopping trips! It was so nice to get to catch up with friends!

While I was home I had a Welcome Home/See ya later party. Despite having some nasty weather come through we were able to still have a good time! Thank you to everyone who braved the storm to come and see me. It was nice to see you all! 

Another fun night was our annual Mother/Daughter Night. This is a night where a good group of friends from high school get together with our moms for a night out. It is usually a night filled with lots of chatter and even more laughter! We always have a good time. This year we went to Granite City for a nice dinner. 

While I was home there happened to be a St. Mary's Alumni event going on. They had chartered a boat on Lake Minnetonka for a boat cruise. I was able to meet up with some old St. Mary's friends and enjoy a beautiful night out of the lake. After enjoying some drinks on the cruise we then went over to Maynard's for some more drinks and fun! We had a great night in true SMU style! ;)
After a very busy three weeks and an empty bank account it was time to return to Taiwan. Though it will be my most expensive vacation I have ever taken....it was worth it! Thanks for the gifts, hugs and well wishes! They all mean a lot to me! I am already looking forward to seeing you all next summer! 

Before I finish this blog I will fill you in on some of the "reverse culture shock" moments or the little things I liked or disliked about being home:
- hearing everyone speaking English.....it was really hard not to want to eavesdrop on everyones conversations because I could actually understand
-upon landing in San Fransisco traveling immediately became not fun! Americans are so rude and crabby! I stood in a line and listened to everyone around me whine and complain! So annoying! All everyone cares about is themselves! 
- GAS!! I spent just about the same amount on gas for my truck in 3 weeks as I did for my scooter all year! That is crazy! I think I need to buy a scooter in MN! 
- walking into a cold house was weird! I am used to needing to turn on my air conditioner when I enter a room and then turn it off when I leave
- I enjoyed the simple things.....no helmet hair, the lack of humidity, cool summer nights
- I loved being able to call people and not think about a 13 hr time difference and think about if they would be awake or not! 
- it was nice not being limited in what I could do or eat because of the language barrier
- I did not like how expensive everything is! It is crazy! I don't think I can afford to live in the states now! haha
- I enjoyed eating lots of good Mexican and American Chinese food! YUMMY! They don't have that here in Taiwan! 

Though I am sure there are many other things I will leave it at that for now! I will write another blog soon and catch you up on my transition back to Taiwan! As always, love you and miss you! 
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