Archive for the ‘Itinerary’Category

Taichung, A Love Story

Location | New York City

Introduction: I completely forgot to write an itinerary entry for my trip to Taiwan & Australia… so in the introduction here, I’ll set out my itinerary for my trip…

October 15, 11:50pm – Depart from Newark to Taipei

October 17, 6:30am – Arrive in Taipei, head to Taichung

October 23-28th – Fly to Brisbane and Sydney in Australia

October 31st – Depart to return to NYC

As part of my pre-preparation for going to Taiwan, I’m going to write a blog series about Taiwan and everything it has to offer. For the first part of the series, I’ll focus on Taichung and surrounding areas. It’s where my family is originally from. For the second part of the series, I’ll focus on Taipei. I know about Taipei the best because I’ve spent the most amount of time there (in total about 7 months). Hopefully I’ll be able to provide some insights into what characterizes Taiwan to be it’s own unique nation.

It’s really not a love story, rather my own love for Taichung. This is going to focus on general information on Taichung as well as some stories from my family history.

Taichung, A Love Story

Taichung (台中 simplified or 臺中 traditional) is located approximately 86 miles SW of Taiwan’s capital city, Taipei. The third largest city in Taiwan with a little over a million people. Located in a valley surrounded by mountains with the Taiwan Straight to the west.

My ancestors left China in the mid-1600’s to move to Taiwan. In the present, we are at the 14th generation of the Lee family (my mother’s side) while my father’s side it remains unknown on how to trace a scattered family tree. To tell the story correctly, I’ll have to discuss my mother’s side of the family because there is more information readily available. My hopes is that I’ll also be able to find pictures and collect more stories during this trip when I have time to talk to my grandmother who is turning 80! (Happy Birthday Ah-Ma! 生日快樂阿姨!)

My Grandma and me in 2006

My Grandma and me in 2006

The Lee family left China and moved to Taiwan sometime during the mid-1600’s. As most historical sources have stated, during the 1600’s mainly men were allowed to travel/immigrate to Taiwan, therefore, to establish themselves, they’d often marry aboriginal women. So it’s relatively safe to say that besides Han blood, I also have aboriginal blood.

My great-great-great grandfather was a wealthy man who was a part of the local government in the early to mid-1800’s. He was well known in Taichung and his eldest son was also growing in popularity and power.  In those days they were carried around on palanquins through the street. One day, the eldest son was stuck behind a palanquin while crossing a bridge. He yelled out at the palanquin ahead of him, cursing the person for blocking the way. Unfortunately the person ahead of him peeked his head out of the curtains and it… was… his father! Oh my… a story we often laugh about in our family.

So much of my family history is steeped in Taichung that it’s easy to understand why I love a love affair with the city. Known as a very friendly city with it’s own uniqueness that can be described as a big city with a little town’s personality.

My great grandfather was a doctor (as his son was and so on… there were apparently many doctors in my family). His friend was also a doctor and tried to convince my great grandfather to start a hospital together. My great grandfather declined, because my great grandmother felt that his services should be offered to those who really need it, who are often those who couldn’t afford hospital care. My great grandmother was an extremely devout Buddhist. She devoted her time to helping those in need. So my great grandfather would often help those who needed a doctor and accept what they could give, monetary payment or not. Meanwhile his friend went on to be the founder of one of the top hospitals in Taichung.

Although I’m not religious myself, my morals and values have come from a mix of Buddhist & Taoist teachings. It’s so deeply entrenched in the teachings that have been passed down from mother to daughter in the Lee family. There are many shrines and temple throughout Taiwan. My grandmother grew up in the nearby town of Dajia (大甲). Dajia is well known for it’s temple to Matsu, a goddess of the sea that protects those associated with water. My family goes to Dajia annually to pray at the Matsu temple (Chenlan). There you can actually find my name in one of the many (hundreds if not thousands) of lights. Those seeking guidance can have any of the monks put their name in a light (or a prayer book) to be prayed over for protection. Offerings include food (particularly Taiwanese pastries and fresh fruit), the burning if incense as well as the burning of ceremonial money.

My hopes is to further explore temple culture in my short visit to Taichung.

On a side note, all I know of my history of my dad’s side in Taiwan is the Lin Family Shrine, dedicated to the Lin’s that traveled from the Fujian province to Taiwan.

I’m hoping to continue my love affair with this city with a photo journal. I’d like to find some books on the history of Taiwan to translate. We’ll see how it goes.


09 2009

Puerto Rico Bound!

Location | New York City

It’s almost as if this trip to Puerto Rico snuck up on me. On Wednesday, I’ll be off to Aguadilla, Puerto Rico at the ungodly hour of 6am. You know how much I enjoy those early morning flights.

When we arrive in Aguadilla, Greg and I will be staying in the beach town of Rincon, apparently known for being the host of the 1st World Championship of Surfing in 1968. From there? Laying out in the sun, surfing, kayaking, hiking, swimming, snorkeling and so on. Hopefully there are some great adventures to be had. There’ll be pictures and other updates from me, no worries. Just check back here on Wednesday or Thursday!


09 2009

Down to Savannah & Hilton Head

Location | Astoria, NY

Heading down to Savannah today. Excited to take a lot of pictures and share the beauty of old Savannah with ya’ll. Not only that, since my parents moved to Bluffton, South Carolina, outside of Hilton Head, I’ll hopefully have a lot of nice resort-y pictures to post.


08 2009

The Itinerary

Current Location | New York City

The first entry should always lead off as an introduction. Well, this is my little introduction into why I am creating this blog. Although I’ve had my fair share of travel in the past 24 years, I hope to diversify and see all that I could possibly see while I am still young, able and have a disposable income. I decided to create this blog as the beginnings of my travels – aptly naming it “Explore!” although I am sure I could come up with a more creative name with some time and a little thought.

The first trip on my itinerary will be my late July 2009-early August 2009 Europe trip. Although I won’t be bringing my computer with me, my friend (and travel buddy) will be bringing hers along. The itinerary is as follows:

July 31st – Arrive in Prague from NYC

August 2 – Arrive in Budapest via overnight train

August 4 – Arrive in Rome via air

August 8 – Return to Prague via air

August 9 – Return to NY

It’s not the longest trip, but we should be able to thoroughly enjoy what Prague, Budapest and Rome have to offer! I will update with more info and also links to my new Flickr account once I get it set up!

More to come!


07 2009

Shibuya, Japan

Location | Ann Arbor

I’ve chosen a topic for my trip to Japan. It’s going to be focused around the Shibuya Subway Station and the square outside of the station. I want to focus on the people and how people use the station. I also want to look into the above ground and below ground culture. Sounds abstract eh?

Anyway, I’m excited to go to Japan. More on my topic later!!

[This entry was taken from my old blog, Building Tokyo. Formatting may have changed when moved to Explore!]


02 2007

Building Tokyo

Location | Ann Arbor

Course Description:
This course explores the relationship between social and political forces and architectural production in Tokyo from 1868 until the present. Since Tokyo became Japan’s capital in 1868 its urban form has evolved through a perpetual cycle of construction and destruction. The Kanto earthquake of 1923, the air raids of 1945, the Olympic games of 1965, the “bubble” economy of the 1980s, and current proliferation of neo-Corbusian “cities with the city” have collectively produced the elusive spatial character of Tokyo. Significant historical events frame the discussion of key architectural projects and urban spaces in Tokyo. The course is divided by themes including spaces of modernity, commerce, death and memory, religion, sex, leisure, culture, and dwelling. Examining Tokyo through the last 150 years enables us to understand not only the development of modern and contemporary Japanese architecture, but also the influence of socio-economic and political forces on the built environment, as well as how the resulting spaces are utilized.

Throughout the semester, we will engage in a close reading of the text The Production of Space by Henri Lefebvre. It is noted in the syllabus as PS. Whenever a reading from this book is assigned, we will dedicate some time to discussing it in class (it may or may not directly relate to the designated theme for the week). You are to incorporate some aspects of this reading in the written component of your final project.

The final paper must consist of a written and a visual component. The paper component is to be 12-15 pages long, double spaced, with reasonable font size and margins. The visual component is to be determined with instructors’ consent.

Tokyo trip:
A one-week trip to Tokyo (February 24 – March 3) is a mandatory component of this course. During the trip, you will conduct research on a chosen site, from which you will develop a final project. Expenses for the trip will be covered by the History of Art Department, School of Architecture, Office of International Programs, and the Center for Japanese Studies. You are required to pay a $150 fee for the trip (due January XXX), and must cover most of the meals in Japan. A passport is required for the trip.

Regular attendance, completion of all required readings, and active participation (30%)
Assignments #1 and 2 (10%)
Presentation of collected visuals (10%)
Final presentation (20%)
Final paper (30%)

[This entry was taken from my old blog, Building Tokyo. Formatting may have changed when moved to Explore!]


01 2007

Thinking About Going

Location | Canton

I’ve pretty much finalized my plans for going to Taiwan, here’s how it looks thusfar:

Depart from Detroit: June 19th
Arrive in Taipei: June 20th
Arrive in Taichung: June 21st

Report to Kaoshiong for Orientation: June 26th
Return to Taipei: July 2rd

Begin Internship: July 3rd
End Internship: August 6th

Return to Taichung: August 7th
Depart Taiwan: August 10th


Ok so I need to buy a whole bunch of things before I go. Not to mention make some cash before I go so I can buy everyone gifts.

*sigh, so much work to be done.

[This entry was taken from my old blog, Away from Home. Formatting may have changed when moved to Explore!]



05 2005

Going Back Again

Location | Canton

It’s late at night, but today I got awesome news. I’ll be returning to Taiwan this summer. YAY! I’ll be interning at the National Palace Museum in Taipei. So the dates I’m returning are approximately June 20th or so to around mid August.

Please find me and play with me. :)

[This entry was taken from my old blog, Away from Home. Formatting may have changed when moved to Explore!]


05 2005

First Entry

Location | Ann Arbor

Welcome to the first entry of the travel journal of Joanna. Well, I haven’t gone to Taiwan yet, but this lovely journal will capture all my moments when I’m away. Here’s the low-down.

I’m going to Taiwan from May 19, 2004 to August 29, 2004. Yes, I do realize that this is a long time, but I must go. I am going to go learn my native language — Chinese.

Ok, so I already know HOW to speak Chinese, but I really need to learn how to read and write it. What good is it to me if I can’t read anything or write anything?

I’m going to be at National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei, Taiwan. So I’ll be living in a major metropolitan city — the biggest city in Taiwan.

Most of my family lives in Taichung, Taiwan, about 2 hours south of Taipei. It’s the third largest city in Taiwan.

I really love Taiwan. Though at times I may complain about the dirtiness (I’m a clean freak) it’s still better than many places. I’m especially excited about living in Taipei because it has the new tallest building in the world, Taipei 101. I’m also excited because I might get to experience and earthquake (but not a major one hopefully) for the first time ever.

Anyway, this is my first entry, and hopefully before I leave, I’ll begin to add more to the diary. Thanks for reading.

[This entry was taken from my old blog, Away from Home. Formatting may have changed when moved to Explore!]


01 2004