Before my classmates and I left for Pingtung, we all felt uncertain about the upcoming days ahead. How could we survive with no internet connection and weak phone signals? Our professor, Alice, also warned us about the “extremely” rural conditions we would be experiencing. Despite being briefed by a representative from Mudan Township, many of us were still full of worries, unready for the “sacrifices” we would be making, even as we got on the bus to Pingtung. I, in particular, had never ventured out of a city before, so I desperately wished to soon return to the comforts of my home. While sitting on the bus with everyone on 13th January 2018, I never once thought that I would end up loving Mudan Township so much that I would want to visit the place again.
Immediately after our arrival at Mudan Township, all of us were warmly welcomed by Shihmen Elementary School students, who taught us that life can be very simple. Although they do not have any cellular phones or computers, the students there are much more contented than us. They, in fact, pitied us for needing to rely on our phones for everything. Some of us decided to put less emphasis on taking photos to understand their way of life. I am glad that I followed suit and let my eyes do the work instead, as the beauty of the breathtaking totems, paintings and architecture of the school felt more surreal without my phone in hand. The next morning, a tour guide fully dressed in Taiwanese aboriginal clothes vividly summarized the Paiwan tribe’s history and culture to us. Additionally, he gave us a tour around Shihmen Ancient Battle Field, which is surrounded by picturesque mountains and valleys. Every sight I saw was so astonishing that I quickly forgot all the worries I initially had. Furthermore, upon entering Mudan Incident Memorial Park located in the Battle Field, the peace and serenity overwhelmed me. I guess because I never knew about the Mudan Incident before, I was feeling much more emotional than my Taiwanese classmates who learnt about the Incident in high school.