Happy New Year! We’re back at home in Taiwan and starting our third week of school after a three-week winter break. It’s hard to believe that February is already around the corner when the new year has only begun.
Over our break, we got to spend almost two weeks in the Sarawak region of Borneo. It was incredible. We all enjoyed being outside the city and among so much green space, breathing in clean air, so much. It also was good for our souls and minds to get away, disconnect from all the chaos of the “real” world, and be present to take in and enjoy our surroundings.
We got to see rescued orangutans in various stages of rehabilitation back into the wild; stay in a charming cabin at a resort in the rain forest; wade and swim in, and ride on the choppy waves of, South China Sea; go frog hunting in pitch-black darkness; hike and clamber for miles and miles on the rocky surfaces and giant roots of trees in mountainous terrain and forests; and ride in a longboat down the quiet waters of a river. We got to see orangutans; proboscis monkeys; macaque monkeys; bearded pigs; all kinds of lizards, frogs, and colorful insects; birds; and such interesting and amazing plants. We stayed overnight at an Iban longhouse. We walked through the magnificent insides of caves in Mulu. We got to visit Kuching, a charming city with a rich history and so much diversity, visit its mosque and temples and museums, walk through its markets, and take in its street art. We visited a cultural village that serves as a living museum and learned about the seven ethnic groups of Sarawak. We ate all kinds of delicious food–so much fresh fish, laksa, roti, curry, wild jungle fern, local spinach, rambutan, dabai. The list goes on. Everything was so fresh and flavorful.
Overall, it was an unforgettable experience and adventure of a lifetime. It was rejuvenating and inspiring, and re-ignited our sense of wonder about the world. We returned home feeling more optimistic and ready to tackle the second half of our first year in Taiwan.