Written by Jason
Replying to a Canadian friend's warm invitation, Peruvian Percy E. Guevara B. arrived in Taichung in 2005. After a long flight with four transits to get here, he was certainly ready to begin this new stage of his life.
Although he was a native Spanish speaker, Percy had always been interested in learning English and Chinese. Following his friend's enthusiastic recommendation, he
enrolled at Providence University's Chinese Language Education Center to learn Chinese.
"I believe learning a language also means immersing oneself in the local culture. The friendly people and secure environment of Taichung is why I fell in love with the place!" Percy says today in fluent Chinese.
Because of his Inca cultural background, he shares a passion for life here with local Taichung residents. He notes that he wasn't bothered by the fact that many Taiwanese classmates and friends originally mistook him for a local Aborigine, and believes that it actually brought him closer to the people here.
After learning Chinese for over a year, Percy was accepted to the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature at the National Chung Hsing University with full scholarship in 2007 to learn English with local Taiwanese students. Now in his junior year, he often rides his scooter through the streets of Taichung, experiencing the traffic firsthand. He says that he thinks the traffic is smoother and drivers more law-abiding here than back home in Peru, and sees the situation improving every year. Last year he also bought a stylish bicycle for weekend excursions with friends along the Taiyuan Road bicycle paths.
The hardworking Taiwanese have shown Percy that one can still find markets and stores open late at night in Taichung. This is completely different from the quiet evenings of Peruvian life. His friends taught him how to find delicious and cheap fruit at the evening traditional markets, and over the weekends he often seeks out various hot pot restaurants in Taichung with friends. As he's so far from home, the "spicy hot pots" really hit the spot and warm him up from the inside. Having lived in Taichung for almost five years, Percy loves enjoying Moon Festival barbecues with friends, the dumplings and red envelopes of the Chinese New Year, and the Taichung Lantern Festival celebrations. Through the variety of different themed lantern displays at Wenxin Forest Park over the years he has been able to observe the growth and changes of Taichung.
Percy's Facebook page records his life in Taichung, including hiking in Dakeng, visiting the giant Buddha at the Baojue Temple on Jianxing Road, or playing soccer with friends from all around the world at Morrison Academy. The development of the Internet and fiberoptic communication infrastructure in Taichung has also allowed him to remain connected with his family in Peru via the Internet. Fast access to websites has also helped him learn more about the Chinese language.
During this interview, Percy pulled out a Chinese version of Andersen's Fairy Tales. He hopes to gain a greater knowledge of expressing himself in Chinese by reading about the colorful worlds and characters in these stories, filled with fantasies, dreams and happiness just like his living and learning experiences in Taichung have been.
Name：Percy Enrique Guevara Barrientos (Percy E. Guevara B.)
Job：Student at the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, National Chung Hsing University