Whew, the last week has been amazing. I need a book to encompass it all, and obviously haven't had the internet to tell about it. I'll begin by briefly recapping the WYAAP DDD conference. Huge success! The participants were all amazing, and after the certificates were given out and Ren had officially closed the conference they took the initiative to speak up, each one, and share their own experiences. It was amazing to hear of the friendships formed, and generosity of individual participants to others. They had bonded in a powerful way and I think most of them will remain involved with WYA and close to each other. Saturday we toured Tagaytay's volcano surrounded by a lake. The lake is the sunken volcano so you could say it is a lake within a volcano within a lake within a volcano. The days of the conference had been beautiful and sunny, the minute we arrived to the volcano it started to rain and once we had finished touring the volcano the day was sunny again. Regardless, I think I got some beautiful pictures - to be uploaded soon :)
Sunday, I played Ultimate again. The girls, over the course of one week, had improved so much. Especially the captain is an ultimate sponge. Anything I had done the last week she was already doing on Sunday. The pressure was on to perform well and only teach good habits. This is the rainy season, hence only a chilly 30+Celsius. I am definitely the only one on the field finding the temperatures and humidity difficult to play in. Thankfully by game two we had some light monsoon rains and I was able to start running a little closer to my usual speed and energy. We won both our games :) very exciting compared to the prior week's 3 losses. I also had a great time on defence as I got to poach in the back of the field and was able to knock down most throws thanks to my (rather substantial) height advantage.
Monday, Ren and I met for another 5am rendezvous to catch our flight to Taiwan. We were met at the airport by two members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and taken to our hotel. We stayed at the Howard Plaza Hotel - one of the nicest in Taipei as VIPs!!! We were each given our own room, with welcoming fruit basket, personalized stationery, L'Occitane bath products and the beautiful white bathrobes (as seen on tv/chick flick movies). We only had 20 minutes to soak it all in before we ate lunch downstairs with one of our two guides for our trip at one of the amazing hotel restaurants. Lunch was delicious and for desert we ate almond tofu. It is amazing! I will attempt to describe it...
You know those dreams you have where you are flying? Imagine that in the midst of this dream a large, fluffy bubble appears before you, you float towards the bubble and slowly take a big bite out of it. The bubble melts apart in your mouth leaving a delicious almond flavour behind. You continue to float on and feel yourself drawn towards the creamy bubbles floating in the distance to continue enjoying such a flavour.
In the afternoon we met with a research and youth empowerment organisation then with one of the ministers in MOFA to discuss WYA. For dinner, the NGO vice chair organised for CEO's of some of Taiwan's top NGO's to meet with us. He ended the meal by singing a song for us in 4 languages, he even had the music on his phone to demonstrate his karaoke prowess. Then, he demanded that each of us sing a song from our own cultures in return. Ren sang a Filipino love song, and I sang a Swahili song I remembered.