On the first day, we went to the Aquatic Marine Museum. There, we saw lots of beautiful fish, sharks, and we even got to see a beluga show! You'll see pictures in this album: Taiwan Photo Set 29. During the beluga show, if you answered questions about belugas correctly, you were given an opportunity to be kissed and professionally photographed with a beluga for free. Of course, I couldn't answer any of the questions in Chinese, but I was lucky enough to be given a free photo pass by an elderly women who answered a question correctly and was leaving the show early. Quite an experience! When I put on the life jacket and pet the beluga, the beluga felt squishy and soft. I was a bit nervous when the beluga came to kiss me on the cheek and I was hoping it couldn't tell I was nervous. Anyway, it was fun.
The mid-year conference was different from the orientation conference in September because we actually got two days to explore Taiwan instead of sitting in a conference room all day. During those two days, we hiked in Kending National Park and saw two caves, orchids, and several unique trees. Pictured in the photo above is a tree whose roots grow vertically--really amazing! We also saw a tree that was wrapped in vines. The vines knotted themselves to keep from squeezing the tree to death, according to our tour guide. You can find the picture of the tree in this album link.
The Fulbrighters took several group shots and I'll post two of them here. You may not recognize me because I'm wearing glasses. One of my contacts ripped and I had to take it out so I wore glasses the entire weekend. I thought I was so smart because I actually brought an extra pair of contacts with me to Kending. Unfortunately, when I opened up one of the new contact lens packets, it was empty! There was no contact in there...so much for my luck, eh?
In this picture, I'm in the middle, popping the peace sign...
In addition to going to the Marine Museum and Kending National Park, we visited a beach and observed egrets. On the last day, each grantee and group of ETAs (English Teaching Assistants) presented on their experience in Taiwan so far.