Miles upon miles of prodigious mountains, royal blue oceans, bustling , and family love really can fit in the tiny country of . Nine years have passed since I last visited my family in Taiwan . Feelings of excitement bubbled up inside when my mom saved tickets for a three week trip to Taiwan in the summer of 2009. The chance to reconnect with the family members I once knew and still love brought excitement. After finishing a stressful junior year of high school, this trip to Taiwan was the best sigh of relief. Once I saw the warm familiar faces from nine years in the past all waiting in one line at the Taipei Airport , the twenty two torturing hours on U.S. Airlines disappeared. Looking out the car window, I spotted mopeds covering every curb, parking lot, and sidewalk. Coming from the small town of suburbia, Pennsylvania , mopeds were for seven year olds, and minivans ruled the streets. We finally arrived at my grandma’s apartment, and I worried, “Would my grandma and even recognize me?”. Three flights of stairs later, I took the first step into the home I once frolicked in nine years ago. My grandma’s stoic yet gleeful eyes gazed at my callused feet all the way to my jet black hair. Although words were not spoken, I noticed the recognition in her eyes. Forgetting about the conservative Chinese culture, I tossed my suitcase to the side and threw my arms around my grandma’s fragile body. Nonetheless, she was overjoyed to finally see me again. After several days of ‘re-meeting’ my cousins, aunts, and uncles, we all reconnected, closing the nine year gap. One morning, my grandma decided to take me grocery shopping. Grocery shopping at Taiwan ’s chaotic morning markets revealed such unique culture (farm4.static.flickr.com/3374/3186655431_bc118b9514.jpg). I almost disappeared in the never ending wave of shoppers and the loud, beckoning vendors. Whole slabs of beef, chicken, and pork lay on shopping carts outside next to rows and rows of live fish. The morning market even sold eels and frogs. As if my morning couldn’t get any more eye opening, a butcher decided to take me behind the scenes. I didn’t even have time to cover my eyes before the butcher snapped a chicken’s neck and drained the blood. The pungent smell suffocated me, but the butcher continued to prepare the chicken by tossing its body into a tumbler so the feathers easily shed. As I kept walking, I learned to never keep my wallet in the front pocket; it’ll end up in someone else’s. Shopping in the local Giant Eagle grocery store will never compete with the amusing morning market. Other than culture, Taiwan ’s wondrous landscape attracted my eye. To witness the scenery, my family and I decided to travel to Kenting (http://www.asiarooms.com/taiwan/kenting.html), a city in Southern Taiwan , by train (http://www.trtc.com.tw/e/service.asp). During the whole six hour train ride, the misty, rich green mountains were flowing by as I peered through the window. The intricate Buddha shrines hidden in the gargantuan mountains defy humans’ capabilities (www.theodora.com/wfb/photos/taiwan/zhinan_temple_taipei_taiwan_photo_wikipedia.jpg). Craving for more spectacular scenery, I walked to Kenting Beach after our train ride. The sand on the beach resembled brown sugar, but the ocean water shone a deep royal blue. Out of pure ecstasy, I flew into the water and swam out as far into the horizon as I could. The water blended into an even deeper navy blue as I swam farther; the sun hugged every angle of my face. This moment being the climax of my vacation, I looked back and smiled at those warm, familiar faces, standing in a line on the sunset shore
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