If you’re going to west Maui, I recommended staying at a bed & breakfast called The Maui Guest House.
Our favorite restaurant was called Aloha Mixed Plate. Get the lava flow. Yumm.
If you want to go on the road to hana, be wary that it’s 2 1/2 hours of the curvy, puke- inducing roads. I would suggest going to the first waterfall hike- Twin Falls, and calling it a trip if you get car sick. I thought it was the best one anyway.
1) Their facebook-loving, no-child-left-behind, everyone-is-included, attitude towards their peers. Even towards strangers. I’ve never been around a community in which nearly every person in that community is eager to welcome you into his/her social circle; few people are looking for power or looking to stand out among the crowd- especially at the expense of others feeling uncomfortable or alone.
2) How they cook their street food: immediately, outside, on the spot, right in front of you so you can watch how they make it from scratch. All fruits and vegetables are fresh and bought day-of to sell. All meat is bought that same morning- and animals are even killed that same morning, right in front of everyone.
3) Their night-life… I mean, bars/ clubs don’t close till 5, 6 a.m. You could say I fully exercised my new rights.
4) How easy-going and laid back their culture is. No one appears to give a fuck really. Noted, this is in Tainan, which is populated by 99.9% locals. But everyone seems to be accepting of a lifestyle that consists of chilling, managing the store, doing some Tai Chi.
I believe this largely contributes to the fact that I see 80, 90 year old people on their mopeds, walking the streets, still going strong. I saw so many elderly people that I felt sad comparing this reality to the reality in the U.S.
5) How cheap their food is. On average I paid $1-3$ for every meal bought on the street. And I’m talking good-sized, I’m too full to eat anymore, meals. Living in Taiwan felt like my mom was cooking on every street corner, and I could just go up, pay $1 cause she loves me, and she’ll provide me with a home-cooked, yummy dish- except in this case, I had no idea what I was eating half the time.
Still tasted amazing.
6) Dumplings. I think I would go back just for the Dumplings…sad but true.
By learning to teach, I not only discover potential- I create it. I find the opportunity to progress. Now I know that I’m capable of unearthing parts of me that are currently hidden. Now I know that success has nothing to do with talent, and it has everything to do with hard work. I want to improve. I want to reach out to people in the most effective, loving way that I can. I want to lead. And I’ll accomplish this by following- by learning from others. I want to give all of myself.
I’m in a car with a Taiwanese mother and daughter who do not speak English. We’re driving on roads I’ve never driven on, passing by mountains I’ve never seen. I’m eating food that, two weeks ago, I never knew existed. But these roads, these mountains, this food, is all most Taiwanese people know. It’s all they’ve ever seen, and it’s all some them will ever see.
Ninety-nine percent of the people I’ve asked tell me they’ve never been to the United States. Of those 99%, about half of them have never even left Taiwan. And they are happy. They are content with their familiar life-styles. Who am I to tell them they are “missing out” if they don’t visit the U.S.? What exactly are they lacking, if they are happy? Awareness? Maybe, but most of them do not even have the means to be aware. And by that I mean money. They are poor by U.S. standards.
I gaze out the window and I smile to myself, knowing that there are so many sources of happiness in this world, and that pure amazement is one of them. I stare out the window and I feel warm and appreciative of simple things-like the fact that I’m in a car with this mother and her daughter, who is a student in my classroom. And the fact that they are simply there, offering me awareness of another life’s course.
Frequently my surroundings stimulate a powerful realization, one that is becoming more and more apparent to me the longer I’m here: there are very few customs that can be universally defined as “good.” You can argue which customs make you happy- but they won’t please everyone. You can argue that a certain way of living is ethically good. But there will always be someone who disagrees with you. What I think I know is good and just- I will be re-evaluating, exploring, doubting for the rest of my life ( hopefully). I want to doubt. I want to reconsider. I want to welcome criticism and I want to know better so that I might be able to do better.
1) Mel’s Cafe- Charlottesville, Virginia. Well-priced, southern soul food that has my mouth watering at the thought of going back there.
2) Badou- Chicago, Illinios. Amazing Seneglese dishes that are delicious and affordable. The owners are from Senegal and are genuinely nice people who work EXtremely hard. They deserve every penny I paid for my meal.
3) Dad’s Kitchen- Sacramento, California. Humongous Burgers.
4) Goodfella’s- Atlanta, Georgia. Philly Cheesesteak. That is all.
5) The Chatterbox- Minneapolis, Minnesota. I’d go again just for the atmosphere. There’s every board game imaginable there- and you can play while you eat.
8) al di la Trattoria- Brooklyn, New York. A delicate, romantic setting matched with perfect Italian food. The risotto was my favorite. This may be the most expensive restaurant I dined at (considering I was a homeless person wandering the states), but the prices were still not too bad.