Never ending gifts and Watermelon Cup

Today was a great day! Last Wednesday I heard from a friend that this weekend we have a Watermelon Cup at university’s bascetball courts. First I was really not into that. I knew I had some writing to do to keep my schedule on school stuff. I was lucky and my schoolmate talked me into participating. I actually started to get a bit excited about the happening when I waited this Saturday to come.

When I walked to the bascetball courts a bit before our meeting time there, I was surprised. It was a proper festival feeling with music and market tables full of food and games. We started the Cup with Tug of War (we won our battle!), then there were 8 minigames that all included eating watermelon and in the end we had a really short all against all waterballoon war. Usually I don’t like these kind of games or things that much, but here I have learned to enjoy them a bit. It is nice to be outside with friends and do some active stuff instead of doing school stuff all the time. This is something I should try to add to my life in Finland too.

markkinafiilis

Enjoying the market day feeling.

Tug of War

Tug of War!

waterballoons

Ammo for the final war.

There was actually something else  I wanted to write about too. While working here I have noticed that most of the patients are really friendly and nice (like almost all people here). With us foreing students it sometimes feels that locals are almost too nice. This topic rised up this week when the amount of gifts got a bit out of hands. Yes, patients are bringing gifts to us and not just patients but other students too. Usually they are really small and something they wanted to give us to bring home with us. Sometimes the gifts get bigger though. I have recieved six tickets to a fine hot spring and my class mate just recieved a book this week. Sometimes our patients ask can they take us out for dinner and that kind of stuff.

lahjoja

Some of the gifts I have recieved.

This really confuses me. In the beginning I was just really happy and surprised that someone wants to give something for me. Now when I have 8th weeks behind me and the gifts just keep on coming I started to wonder about this habit. It seems to me that also the Physical Therapist recieve some amount of gifts and looks like they don’t pay much attention to those. Gifts vary from fruits and other edible things to small memorable stuff to really bigger stuff like those hot spring tickets. I am having problems to adjust my behaviour to this phenomenon. First reaction now days is more like “Really? Again? Why?”. I’m still happy and impressed that someone had thought about me, but it is a bit awkward.

This just proves that the level of kindness here is really impressive.

2 Comments

Anna
Posted 26.5.2014 at 13.30

The gift-thingy sounds interesting! Very nice, but I can see how it can start to feel a bit creepy, too! Could you ask some local friend about this? Do they get gifts from their patients? And what do gifts mean in Taiwanese culture? Like, are you expected to give something back?

Ida
Posted 27.5.2014 at 3.14

I asked about this and according to my friend I’m not expected to give anything back. They just think of us to be like guests for them, so they give something small.

I have noticed that at least other physical therapist in the hospital where I work recieve gifts from their patients. Maybe it is a cultural habit of somekind.. Especially one of my hydroteachers gets gifts. Every day someone gives hime some food or coffee or something. 😀