Taiwan Day 6: I Made It on the News!



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Tossing the Chinese yoyo

The only time that I’ll ever be famous was the day local Miaoli reporters flocked to the elementary school with their load of technical equipment, ready to interview the principal along with its fellow volunteers, such as me. We had known the day before that the reporters would come, so we prepared a simple medley of talents for the camera. I felt composed knowing that the reporters were coming, but the moment I saw the white van roll up in the parking lot with three people hauling out massive tripods, video recorders, and a box of microphones and audio devices, my composure escaped my insides and was replaced with queasiness.

The schoolchildren upstairs had been sweeping floors and tidying up the classrooms since the first bell, when suddenly from below I heard thumping footsteps and echoes of children repeatedly hollering, ” 他們到了! 他們到了!” (They are here!) To keep all procedures organized, the principal, calm yet assertive, spoke on the intercom for all students to gather in the foyer and instantly all the schoolchildren frantically raced each other, competing who could sit down criss-crossed applesauce first. When the children had arranged themselves in columns by grade, the principal spoke with authority, “Today is the day, and we are so thankful for our volunteer teachers here. The local reporters have come and are ready to report all that has gone on in the past week at our school. We have been preparing for this for a couple of days so try your best and just have fun! All the yo-yo kids, head downstairs first and let’s attempt the “dragon”!” While the yo-yo kids set up on the grass, me and my fellow volunteer mates were approached by the reporters, who set up audio microphones on our backs and told us to write our Chinese names on a sheet of paper. Having the cameraman clip the audio box onto the back of my jeans and guide the wire to the back of my neck was tremendously awesome. I was about to be on Taiwanese News! Who would’ve imagined my first time on television would be in a foreign country?

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Elementary schoolkids

After I was set up, I waited to be interviewed. My stomach felt empty because I didn’t know what type of questions the reporter would ask and I had to respond in Chinese, which I am quite good at, but having to spontaneously respond on the first try on camera was frightening. In my head, I predicted some simple questions she could possibly ask, so I repeatedly rehearsed my responses in my head until I was called on. The double emotions of excitement and nervousness was overwhelming, but I confidently greeted the reporter and stood in an area of good lighting. She instructed me to speak loudly and about 2 inches away from the microphone and within seconds, my two minutes of fame began.

Initially, the reporter asked me elementary questions which thankfully I had rehearsed in my head, but I was at the highest extent of nervousness that I even had to ensure I wouldn’t butcher my Chinese name. Eighteen years I have lived with this name and even such pressure could’ve caused me to forget. More advanced questions were thrown at me and the camera was fast and rolling, but surprisingly, I briskly soared past them one by one, and by the end of two minutes, I had only stuttered once. I felt proud at the moment. Public speaking was never my forte and I personally know of my low self-esteem, but the girl that would appear on the Miaoli News later tonight would be someone of full confidence.

But my fame did not end there. I eagerly moved on to the patch of grass where the children were warming up their master yo-yo skills, and boy was I an amateur among the kids, but I had picked up Chinese yo-yo quickly in the past few days so I agreed to join the yo-yo squad on camera. The first trick performed was the “dragon”, which is great for cameras because it shows teamwork, unity, the Miaoli elementary school as one. It took only the second try for the yo-yo to smoothly move down the line of ten people, from one persons string to the next, and the toss back reached great heights and was successfully caught. We all happily cheered and we, as a school, truly were one in unity. Following the “dragon”, we performed toss ups, around the leg, spider web, and throw and catch. I performed around the leg, which can be perpetual for the ultimate yo-yo guru, but as a non-guru I was currently at 21 loops, when everyone, including the reporter and cameramen, gathered around and loudly chanted the counts in unison. I had reached 40 loops when I saw my yo-yo wobble in which I tried to straighten, but once I hit 43, my yo-yo tumbled off and rolled away on the grass. Everybody joyously hollered, clapped, and laughed and I put on a broad smile because 43 was a great number for a dilettante like me.

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On the Miaoli news

After the yo-yo portion was recorded, I was approached for a second interview on how I was so talented on the Chinese yo-yo, which, umm… I honestly wasn’t, but because I am an American who had just picked up the sport, it was pretty impressive. They then moved on to the Chinese top acts, which I had no place in because I actually had zero talent in Chinese top.  An hour had passed as I watched these little town children, flawlessly execute impressive top tricks, only wishing I was as skilled as they were. Performance can be exhausting, thus when the medley concluded with one last top trick, a lunch of fried oyster mushrooms, fresh bamboo shoots with Kewpie mayonnaise, bitter melon with salted egg, and leafy vegetables was served for all the hungry performers. All plates were later emptied of their food, and classes resumed as usual.




Broke College Student #6: 4 Ingredient Vegan Overnight Oats

Broke College Student, food, healthy

My intention for going to Target was to purchase party supplies for my friend’s birthday, but damn does Target know how to do business. I immediately walked and saw to my left their extremely aesthetic dollar section filled with pastel colors, gold calligraphy words, and vintage looking items, all for $5 or less. I always ignore the snacks or little toys, but there was a section of mason jars and glass spice containers that caught my attention, and they were only $3. How do I even pass on such a deal? Deciding that mason jars are too large for my food portions, I selected the pack of 4 small spice jars for $3 with the idea of testing overnight oats. Several years ago I made overnight oats and thought it was the grossest thing ever, until after self-reflection I realized I made “48 hour oats” rather than “overnight oats”. I despised the mushiness of the oats as I wondered why overnight oats were even a thing, like do people like eating mush? But that was my mistake. Do NOT soak your oats for over 7-9 hours, it’ll be disgusting.

Eagerly ripping over the package of 4 glass jars, I improv’d with a simple dorm-friendly, 4 ingredient overnight oats recipe. I am not certain what the measurement are since I eyeball’ed so all measurements are estimates.

4 Ingredient overnight oats (yields 1 jar):


  • 1/2 c. microwaveable instant oats
  • 1 tbsp. nut butter, I used peanut butter in 2 jars and almond butter in the other 2
  • 1 tsp. chia seeds
  • 4 tbsp. almond/soy milk


  1. add all ingredients into a jar and mix
  2. place in the fridge for 7-9 hours and enjoy

Tip: since I bought 4 jars, I prepped each jar with the recipe above except the addition of the milk. I recommend to add the dry ingredients and add milk only if you will be eating the oats 7-9 hours after to prevent oversoaking and mushiness.

Note: Do not eat if it hasn’t soaked for 6 hours. I tasted my first jar after only 3 hours and I got a major stomachache.


Broke College Student #5: 3 Ingredient Chia Pudding

Broke College Student, food, healthy

It looks rather offputting, like a colony of fish eggs, but I swear that it’s completely animal friendly. Chia seeds are a new product to me, so I simply sprinkle some on top of my oatmeal, cereal, and wraps, where I barely noticed eating it. All I knew was that I was getting some sort of health benefit without the taste of it. However, I recently browsed the web and discovered that chia pudding is a thing! It looks extremely unappetizing, but it’s a great breakfast staple-a great swap for oatmeal/ cereal on certain days. The more jaw-dropping part was that I actually had all the ingredients sitting in my teeny tiny dorm room! How so? Because my “Broke College Student” version requires only 3 ingredients: chia seeds, almond/soy milk, and honey. If you have 30 seconds to spare, I recommend you make chia seed pudding, by pouring milk into the chia seeds along with a dash of honey.

Chia pudding:


  • 1/4 c. chia seeds
  • 1 c. vegan milk (I used unsweetened almond)
  • 1 tbsp. honey


  1. combine all three ingredients together and mix thoroughly to incorporate
  2. Place in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hr. and make sure all chia seeds are submersed the the milk
  3. Top with your favorite toppings! I used banana, pumpkin flax granola, and pumpkin seeds.

There are multiple variations of chia pudding recipes online, many which require 6 + ingredients such as cinnamon or vanilla extract, but I find that honey adds enough flavor and sweetness to the pudding. The pudding is packed with flavor, fiber, protein, and antioxidants on its own, but additional toppings is recommended for a more flavorful and filling meal. You probably have some nuts, raisins, or chocolates lying around your dorm, so toss them on and enjoy the gooey, crunchy pudding in your mouth.


Broke College Student #4: Movie Night

Broke College Student, food, healthy

I watched Safe Haven on a Monday Night. Seriously? A Monday night? Do you even study? Yes, I do. But I had just finished an exam and my class on Tuesday isn’t until 2 so I needed to treat myself and celebrate! As the ultimate foodie, of course there were loads of food as I and a couple friends brought our food stash together to create a delicious movie night. Pizza came into our minds, but we’re all quite health conscious so we had a healthy movie night sponsored by Trader Joe’s. And by “sponsored” I just mean we bought our products from the store… they didn’t send us snacks or pay us (I WISH).

Our food stash consisted of:

  • Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger snaps
  • Trader Joe’s Raises the Bar Chewy Granola Bar W/dark Chocolate Chunks
  • Trader Joe’s Beet Hummus (This tastes like heaven) and baby carrots
  • Blue Diamon Pecan Nut-Thins
  • Baps Shayona salt + pepper banana chips
  • dark chocolate covered cashew, walnuts, and almonds
  • pears
  • oranges
  • oatmeal raisin cookies
  • “Grilled” cheese sandwiches (Made of toasted bread and provolone cheese, melted in a microwave- wasn’t soggy though)

As I snacked on every single food item and gasped at the thrilling scenes in Safe Haven, I physically felt good eating these items instead of a pizza. The total cost of all these items was close to the price of a Large Papa John’s pizza- around $12, and we had plenty of leftovers that aren’t perishable such as the granola bars, nuts, banana chips, etc. Eating healthy can be completely affordable for a college student, especially when shopping at Trader Joe’s. I highly recommend swapping chips for Nut-thins or hummus and carrots. Go to Trader Joe’s or whatever affordable grocery store nearby and get your cheap and healthy snacks for your next movie night!


Broke College Student #3: Ordering Groceries for the First Time Ever (it was amazing)

Broke College Student, food, healthy

fullsizerenderAlthough current millennials are fast-paced, on-the-run, and multi-tasked, I found myself to be quite the opposite of that. You see, I’m very old fashioned, and that’s the way I like to live. I’ll stretch my arms as wide as I can to hold each end of the newspapers. (wait.. millennials read newspapers??) I’ll air dry my clothes out under the sun, because why not save energy and use nature’s resources?  And I’ll spend a couple hours in a grocery store, scrutinizing each product, looking at nutrition facts, and admiring the packaging design.

However,  as a college student, living in a college dorm, I’m unable to be as old-fashioned. Yes, I still hang my wet clothes throughout the room (my roommate openly scorns me for this), and yes, I’ll read the newspapers once in a while. But with no car and no reliable source of money, it’s difficult to purchase the “luxurious” foods that I crave. Almond milk for $2.19? Chia seeds for $8.99? ALMOND BUTTER FOR $10.99? UHH NOO I DON’T THINK SO. But I’m tired of feeling lousy from cheap junk food. The sad part is that the junk food  is not even that cheap. $7.50 for 2 tacos or $5.50 for a filling burger is quite pricey. And so I went online and began to compare prices for certain products I’ve been wanting. I compared prices for chia seeds, whole almonds, almond milk, quinoa, and other healthy items, and the company that rose above all other companies was Walmart. Neither my parents nor I have ever shopped at Walmart before, but the prices for these items were extremely affordable. It was almost shocking how affordable the products were, and so I went a little ham in ordering the items, but I’d say it was the greatest $40 I have ever spent in my life.

Order cart:

  1. Great Value Whole Natural Almonds, 14 oz. – $5.98, (compare to Blue Diamond Whole Natural Almonds, 14 oz.- $7.40)
  2. Sam’s Choice Slow Roasted Creamy Almond Butter, 12 oz. -$5.98, (compare to MaraNatha no stir almond butter, 12 oz.- $15.50
  3. Healthy Cooking Chia seeds Organic bag, 16 oz.- $4.42, (compare to Nutiva chia seed, 12 oz.- $7.17)
  4. Joyva sesame tahini, 15 oz.- $3.78, ( compare to Al wadi sesame tahini, 16 oz- $7.87)
  5. LouAna 100% Pure coconut oil, 14 fl oz.- $3.68, (compare to Nutiva Organic coconut oil, 15 oz.- $8.04)
  6. Village Harvest Red Quinoa, 16 oz.- $3.58, (compare to Trader Joe’s Organic Red Quinoa, 16 oz.- $11.99)
  7. Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate chips, 12 0z.- $1.98, (this price is about the same as any other store)
  8. Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almond milk, 32 fl. oz.- $1.84, bought 4- $7.36, (this price is about the same as any other store).

TOTAL: $36.76 + Free shipping

My order arrived in 2 days and the products are just great. I have absolutely no complaints about any damage, and now I am stocked up with healthy foods that can last me for a 2+ months. On days when I want to just eat clean in my dorm, I can just grab my Walmart goods and make almond butter toast, microwave quinoa, or snack on whole almonds. This was my first experience with Walmart and I highly recommend purchasing from Walmart in-stores or online.


Broke College Student #2: The Ultimate 2 Ingredient Snack

Broke College Student, food, healthy

img_8075-1.jpgThere are many variations of a no-bake protein ball on the web, but I’ve never seen a 2 ingredient variation. Many of the recipes call for pricey ingredients such as medjool dates, vanilla extract, or flax seeds that college students would not typically buy, so I have tested a two ingredient peanut butter protein ball recipe. The great thing about this snack is that it is extremely filling because of the dense peanut butter packed with heart-healthy monosaturated fats, potassium, and protein mixed with rolled oats. For a snack, I would snack on one or two balls maximum (depending on how hungry I feel). Doing so prevented me from snacking on low-nutrient snacks such as potato chips or cookies, which I would eat about 3 servings of.


Disclaimer: keep in mind that college students in dorms probably don’t have measuring tools, so I am approximating. Approximation is not a big deal for this recipe because you just keep adding the amount of oats to the peanut butter gradually until it fits your preferred consistency.

  1. 1/2 c. peanut butter or any nut butter
  2.  1 c. rolled oats
  3.  1 tbsp honey (not necessary, I used to add flavor:)


  1. put peanut butter in a microwaveable bowl and microwave for 25 seconds
  2. The peanut butter is easy to mix now, so add handfuls of rolled oats, mixing after each batch of oats.
  3. Add oats until you cannot see the whites of the oats. The oats should be brown (peanut butter). If the oats are not brown, the mixture will be too dry and the balls will not stick together.
  4. Refrigerate mixture for minimum 30 minutes. Roll into 1 tbsp. balls and place in an airtight bag or container.