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Vivian, met (#18).

“I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen?”

On Monday, 1/13, I had dinner with Vivian. How did we meet?

Well, when I had dinner with Wendy the week beforehand, she suggested looking for a Berkeley network in Taipei. “We’ll form one if it doesn’t already exist,” she said. I then typed “Berkeley alumni Taiwan” and found a gargantuan of results.

Amongst one of them was Vivian. Studied at UC Berkeley and National Chengchi University (one of Taiwan’s best), lives in Taipei. Looked friendly and approachable, so I sent her a message.

Summary of the message: Hello, I’m a recent Cal grad, relocated to Taipei, don’t know many people, don’t know the city, chat some time?

I honestly didn’t expect her to reply. We hit it off!

Vivian studied abroad in Berkeley this past summer. She lived in the co-ops on North side and took classes on T/TR. One semester is all that remains in her college career.

We have a few similarities. She studies international relations. She’s interested in diplomacy and foreign service. She enjoys traveling. She enjoys exercising, including dance and yoga. Her blood type is O.

Her English deserves a paragraph in itself. It’s fantastic. Out of every Taiwanese person I’ve met here, she has by far the strongest speaking and listening comprehension. I can count on one hand how many times she’s asked me to clarify my words. Don’t worry, I only have five fingers.

She’s also charming, great smile, great eyes, great voice.

After a great conversation over dinner, I joined her and her friends at a hookah lounge and conversed some more. Her friends are fairly diversified as well: one will be studying/living in Japan while the other in Germany. The last one majors in accounting (basically the one who will never worry about having an unstable job).

Vivian also gets the Asian flush. Water sufficed on my end, company was more than enough. Y’all know Andy don’t drink anymore. I had a couple puffs of hookah, the first time in years. Y’all know what I’d rather inhale… natural stuff. Oxygen 😉

I met Vivian again today. She showed me around Songshan Airport 松山機場. I may be flying out of this airport to Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, or Singapore in the future, definitely less busy and easier to access than Taoyuan International Airport 桃園國際機場.

She then gave me a tour of her campus, National Chengchi University 國立政治大學. It was founded by the KMT and is a powerhouse for social sciences and languages. Go figure, her English skills, I’m telling you.

College of International Affairs, where she’s taken many classes.

She showed me the library. I got to see the underground study halls, which reminded me of Main Stacks.

I don’t miss Main Stacks. I really, really don’t miss studying.

She’s originally from Chiayi City 嘉義市, same as my family! Her Taiwanese ain’t shabby either. She’ll be back home for Chinese New Years and the winter holidays. I’ll be seeing her again when I see my relatives for Chinese New Years 過年.

Vivian has been met, but I wonder… how many people have I looked at all my life and never seen?

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