so today, I went to visit some former classmates in 儸東。 It was an adventure, especially after the last time I took the eastern line. I ended up in the same train car as a student of mine who scared me by telling me that rather than stopping at 八堵 which was where I needed to get off, the train I was on kept going to 七堵. Eventually the woman sitting next to my student got involved when I asked her whether I could take the train. And eventually a second woman solved the problem by saying that actually the train did stop at 八堵. On the way to 八堵, the first woman involved me in a conversation, mainly asking me how long I've been in Taiwan, how old I am etc. It ended with an exchange of business cards and phone numbers. I'm not really sure why. Afterwards, the second woman took me to the right platform and told me which train to get on and the right place.
The visit was also pretty nice. It was good to see my classmates again, and also good to get out of the Jilong-Taibei area and see something different. It helps put things in perspective. Jilong is way bigger than Luodong although still smaller than Taibei.
It also sounds corny to keep saying it, but people here are unusually nice. Being a foreigner here also elicits a different sort of reaction than the same statement would in the States. It's not that people are overly friendly. Usually their niceness is really a sort of impersonal helpfulness, however at the same time, when you're lost, it's pretty welcome.