FOBISA in Taipei…

Hi all, Bailey typing! I recently returned from Taipei for FOBISIA (a sports competition that competes in athletics AKA track and field, football AKA soccer, basketball and swimming). I only competed in athletics this time but if I go again next year, I’m going to try out for football or swimming as well.

On the day of my competition, it was swimming in the morning and athletics in the afternoon. I was really nervous and I couldn’t sit still during the swim meet. My team swam really well, even snagging a couple first place medals. After swimming ended, we ate lunch (which I hardly ate because I’m so superstitious before my races that I can’t eat anything flavorful). I stuck the sandwich and cookie in my backpack along with the bread, cherrio’s, granola bars, and chocolate and at this point I had so much food shoved in the front pocket that I would have a feast after my races. My parents then came in the middle of lunch because they were going to walk with us to the stadium to watch me run. Then they gave me some snacks which I stashed away with the rest of my food. Then my friend Anne-linh and I walked over to the track with my coach to get warmed up.

The track felt like running on soggy carpet but when I  wore spikes, I hardly noticed. For some reason, I wasn’t nervous at all and I was so amped up and excited. The only problem was that it was cold and rainy. My first event was the 1500. I sat in the chairs with the other athletes waiting for our call. When we walked out on the track, it felt so serious and real. Everyone watching us intently waiting for the whistle to sound. When it finally did, we went off, our start fast. I stayed behind two girls for the first lap and a half remembering what my coach told me, “Keep in contact Bailey, don’t waste your energy at the start.”

Nobody was trying to break away so I decided to make my move. I passed them hard so they couldn’t catch up. I finished the last two laps fast, leaving everything on the track. The last hundred meters was where I typically got passed so I turned it on and sprinted hard, grinding my teeth. I crossed the line in a time of 5:30. I stood graciously on the 1st place block of podium grinning from ear to ear congratulating my opponents.

5 minutes later, I had to head out to the 300. During the 1500, I wasn’t cold but suddenly, during the 300 I was shivering like crazy, the icy rain drops landing on my arm making me colder. I ran the 300 with stiff arms and legs. I was sore and freezing, certainly not enjoying the sprinting. I finished in 4th place.

Then 2 minutes later I walked back over to the waiting tent. I had to do the 800 now. We walked over to the track our legs shaking from the cold. The whistle sounded and we went. I led the whole way. The last hundred meters I started to feel the limpness of my legs as they began to feel as if they were turning to JELL-O. Rain or tears or sweat streamed down my face I couldn’t tell. The girl behind me began to sprint but my legs couldn’t keep up. She passed me and ended up beating me by what couldn’t have been more than a second. I was happy with my second place award although I wished I could have kept up with her sprinting.

I headed back up into the stands with wet clothes. My parents congratulated me and my mom went to starbucks to get me a hot drink. Then we headed back to the hotel where I took a long shower to warm up. It was such a great experience for me, I made so many friends and I really hope I get to do it again.

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Ni Hao Taipei

We’ve settled back into our daily life after a very exciting week in Taipei, Taiwan. We traveled to see Bailey & her school compete in FOBISEA Sports Competion (Federation of British Schools in Asia). That’s a mouthful don’t you think? They compete in Swimming, Athletics, Football (soccer for our American friends) and Basketball.

I’m not going to talk about it too much because I know that Bailey wants to give you all a recap of the experience.

So…that leaves me to tell you all about Taipei. I’ll be honest, I had no idea what to expect. Will it be a big city like Bangkok or Hong Kong? Will it be completely un-navigatable because I can’t read or speak Mandarin? Will I be able to find anything to eat?

To answer those questions, it’s big but in a different way from other large citys. Not a lot of skyscrapers that I was expecting. We got around just fine because taxi’s are literally everywhere and will stop in the middle of the street for you plus they have a great subway system. Eating…never a problem for us.

Oh the food!

                      Oh the food!

Of course we had dumplings (several kinds) plus lots of local specialties like scallion pancakes, fried squid, taro bowls and these crazy sugar covered strawberries. Ask Tony about the sugar covered tomato!  You really couldn’t eat more than 2 at the most. Our first night, we hit up a night market where I don’t think I’ve ever eaten as much in one sitting. Sausages, oyster omelette, a (huge) steamed spring roll, dumplings and the most amazing fried chicken. We ate everything so fast, we didn’t even get pictures! I’ve discovered that the American South has nothing on Asia when it comes to fried chicken! Still dreaming of the night market fried chicken.

Our first couple of days were cold and rainy. It was a shock to the system. It felt good to wear sweaters but I’ve forgotten how much I dislike being cold. Sitting out watching Bailey compete in the cold brought back many memories of previous track seasons.

We had lots of time to visit many of the major sites but weren’t able to hit them all. We missed the big Shilin Night Market because it was just too cold and rainy. We couldn’t fathom being outside in it without coats (which we didn’t bring-oops!).

Taiwan sightseeing

We had a chance to see the Martyr’s Shrine and the changing of the guard, the President’s palace, the National Palace Museum and of course the 101 Building. Our lovely friend Caroline was in town visiting her family so she graciously showed us around. It was really fun having the insider’s view and helped with that whole no speaking Mandarin problem. We even had a chance to visit outside of the city, places we wouldn’t have gotten to without someone in the know. We went to Grass Mountain to have tea at the president’s summer house and see the hot springs. The next day we had a chance to visit Jiufeng and Pinghsi, where we got to write wishes on and release a sky lantern.

jaifen

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Even without knowledge of the language, we know this says to watch for falling coconuts!

I’m glad that we had a chance to go and would put it on my list for future visits if the opportunity comes up.

Until next time…April, Tony & Bailey