Monday, March 25, 2013

Final Thoughts

This goes without saying but I miss all of my new friends from Taiwan and all of the people that I had the opportunity to meet from all corners of the world. The past month has been a journey unlike any other experience that I have ever had and I will never forget how kind and generous each person was to me and my team. There have been many lessons learned in such a short amount of time and I feel as though my outlook on life has forever been changed thanks to this great program. I would like to thank each member of Rotary International for providing the funds that allow not only myself but each past, present and future GSE member to have an opportunity to learn more about the world that we all call home. Taiwan will always have a special place in my heart and I hope that I may one day be able to return the generosity to each person that made this experience special. ĉˆ‘ĉ„›è‡şç£

Thursday, March 21, 2013

District 3510 farewell

I was lucky enough to use my Chinese one last time saying goodbye to my wonderful friends from Taiwan. I hope it warms up for you guys here. Have fun in Harrisonburg.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hong Kong Airport

Well, when I took this photo, I was about to get on a flight home. After sitting on that plane for three hours at the gate, we were taken off and flight was canceled for "technical" reasons. I was able to get re-booked on a later flight and then that one was delayed for two hours but finally went wheels up to Frankfurt at 1:30 am. Three hours in Frankfurt and landed at Dulles thirty minutes early. Forty hours traveling, two hours of sleep but it is good to be home. Already missing my good friends in Taiwan.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Taishin National Bank 03-18-13

The visit to Taishin National Bank felt like I was visiting an Edward Jones office in the US. Their Wealth Management Team uses many if the same financial services practices that we do. They focus on customer need, lifestage and risk tolerance before making any recommendations and all of the product offerings are placed through a rigorous peer review before being offered to their clients. This was a very special vocational visit for me.

Art Walk

Kaohsiung is a city that is alive with culture. On our last afternoon, Terry and Gary took us down to the port where a thriving art scene exists. There is a walking and biking trail with different art all along the way as well as old warehouses that have been converted to art galleries.

We had seen these sort of cartoonish characters all around town and they had some really funny ones by the peer.

Take down Kaohsiung Police style

Our last vocational visit of the trip was to a Kaohsiung Police Precinct or District office. We continue to be amazed at the crome statistics in Taiwan. In Kaohsiung a city with almost three million people, there are less than ten homicides a year and in 2012 there were only two.

We also had some fun when we visited a physical training session and Anthony was able to experience a take down from the instructer and then he showed the Danville technique to them.

Kaohsiung Harbor

Kaohsiung's harbor is the fourth largest container port in the world and it plays an important role in Taiwan's economic development. Over the past month, many of our travels have involved the harbor in some way: it comes up in conversations about international trade, tourism and agriculture. We've ridden in boats across it, stood on the beach beside it, and eaten incredible food atop a tower in a revolving restaurant while watching the ships arrive and depart. The harbor is an ever-present reminder that Taiwan, despite being a small island, is an important player in the global arena. It also reminds us that we, as individuals, are part of a larger global community. Whether we want them to or not, the effect of our individual actions ripple across the globe.

I think this idea is one of the driving forces behind Rotary International's mission as well: each individual has the capacity to impact our global society. Rotary enables individuals to join together and make those positive contributions have an even bigger impact.

Therefore, it was very fitting that on the last day of the GSE program, our team sat on the deck of a restaurant and watched the sun set over Kaohsiung Harbor before walking to our final Rotary Club meeting with the Kaohsiung Southern Star Rotary Club.

This iPhone photo does not do justice to the beauty of this sunset or the location, and I will never be able to fully convey the impact the GSE trip has had on me to my family and friends. I will have to be content to store the image of the sunset in my mind's archives and to share the impact the GSE experience has had on me through my actions in the future.