Saturday, June 4, 2022

My Worthy Experiences in Taiwan (Part 4)

I have always been fascinated talking about friendship. I have come to the realization that friendship is not only about spending time together but also building connections which bring positive vibes. In building friendship, we learn to be honest, supportive and just like family-friend. As the core practices of IofC, friendship needs to be fulfilled with purity, honesty, unselfishness and love. In the fourth article, I would like to express how I am deeply thankful and blessed to have many caring friends in Taiwan. My circle has grown and I would love to spread the kindness and blessings I got from different individuals in Taiwan after coming back to Indonesia or wherever I will be staying.

This semester I participated with a Chinese singing competition at the language centre. I found that this would be a chance for me to practice my Chinese. I also found that singing can make a difference in language learning. When we learn the song lyrics, it will expand our vocabularies. I didn’t win the competition but I had enjoyed the learning process and the whole experience was priceless. I truly appreciated and valued support from people around. I was happier since my family could watch the competition online.

One of the persons I had looked forward to meeting with in Taiwan is Yu Ting, my roommate during the Asia Pacific Youth Conference (APYC) in India in 2017.  After the conference, we stayed in touch, shared experiences and challenges and supported each other. Till I got the scholarship to learn Chinese language in Taiwan, finally we met again. I am amazed about what she does where she is passionate about helping animals to live healthy and happy lives. She discovered how animals become one of human’s best friends and she has some birds as her pets and emotional support animals. Animals have been one of the huge parts of her life. Once, one of her birds got sick and she tried some ways to recover the bird. She then found that the bird required therapy and healing and she was then keen to learn more about animal healing. She has created her own products, @healing_flowerland, providing some flowers essential oil energy for human and animal and this business has run for half a year.

Yu Ting also introduced me with her high school friend, Weihua and they came to visit the IofC office. We had an interesting conversation about the core values and quiet time practice. Practicing regular quiet times helps us reconnect more with ourselves and find more meaning and value in life. IofC has strength in its people who are committed to living their lives with IofC values, giving their times and energy and taking initiatives to make a better world, and I have found this during my stay in Taiwan.

As Taiwanese celebrate Mother’s Day in May, I was glad to join Shufen, an IofC friend to spend times with her family celebrating Mother’s Day and honouring their mother. Thoughtful words from an IofC song said, “Live a day with another man’s family, live a day by another man’s side”, I found that it was interesting to understand cultural practices through the eye of the local and simple observations. I cannot be thankful enough for the warm welcome, food, laughter and stories we shared.

Last month I also had great times with Dinger and Flora for visiting Anping, one of Tainan’s main tourist and place. Dinger kindly shared her times and knowledge as she has experienced joining the local tour guide association in Tainan. Anping is known with its deep history and beautiful view. Some places we visited were tree house, castle house and the former residence of Chu Jiu Ying (朱玖瑩故居), a master of calligraphy, where the building houses had his contemporary calligraphy collection.

I will return to Indonesia soon and travelling during the pandemic situation required some processes. I am beyond grateful for Oufang’s and other IofC friends’ care who help me with this process. Overall, through the experiences I have been through, I am blessed more than I ever thought I would be. Some friends may come and go, and some may stay. We may not be able to see our friends so often and talk whenever we want but we can still support each other and pray for our friends. Fellowship and friendship are lasting.

Yofrina Octika Gultom