2020-2021 gap year memories

Making the decision to take a gap year wasn't easy.

But I was so grateful I did it.

Here is a timeline of my 2020-2021 gap year :)

May 2020

Interviewed Elsewhere Cafe's founders for a documentary class! Because of this, they remember me whenever I go!

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The month when I heard Vicky 陳忻玥's voice for the first time. And the rest is history.

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  1. Performed for the first time in front of family (Fast Car-Tracy Chapman)
  2. Performed 魚仔
  3. Failed my first driving test... But surprisingly my coach was rather encouraging
  4. Accidently met President Tsai at the bookstore
  5. Great afternoon tea with friend and teacher! 
  6. First time playing at a golf range! Though I'm still very amateur...

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June 2020

  1. First day of intern at CTBC!
  2. First cafe after first day of internship
  3. Created cafes_diary and began my cafe blogging journey :))

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礁溪 Jiaoxi Trip with cross country boys. Man did I feel bad when I saw their ripped bodies...

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July 2020

花蓮 Hualien Trip with family friends :)) I have to say... the photographer surely did a great job making the room "look" a lot bigger

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August 2020

8/28 marks the end of my 3-month internship at CTBC! Learned a lot and onto to the next!

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September 2020

Right after my internship, I wrote down some goals for my gap year on Notion. Funny how I really didn't follow any of these in the end 🤣

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I passed my driving test 😭 Finally...

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First time at a reading group (for UX design) at Taipei!

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I participated in my first ever hackathon - PennApps!!! Had amazing teammates and, though we didn't win any prizes, I had a great experience and minimal sleep!

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9/20 - Vicky 陳忻玥's concert. Lined up for around 5 hours. It. was. AMAZING. Period. I even got to talk to her! 😭😭😭

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9/23 - I literally screamed when I saw this... Wrote a post about the concert on my cafes_diary account few days after. And she LIKED, COMMENTED, AND FOLLOWED MY ACCOUNT. I'm dead.

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Reality check... Went to pick my lottery for the army service that's coming up...

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October 2020

2nd hackathon at Sunhacks! We ended up winning the "Best Home Approvement Hack" with our timezone conversion extension!!!

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10/20 - Thought about this so much before this day. But eventually still had to face the most dreadful moment - Army enrollement day. Onto the four months...

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  1. These small notebooks were a life savior for me in the army... Only place to pour all of my negative emotions into.
  2. I wrote this during an extremely boring class. I vividly remember how slow the clock went that day...
  3. Tried to make sure that I will find some kind of meaning/purpose throughout my service

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November 2020

  1. Me wearing my army outfit at home
  2. First phase army company 金六結 153 旅步一營步一連 11149
  3. Undoubtedly my best friends in the army. Really couldn't imagine army without them :")
  4. Gradually transformed into a bookworm so every weekend I went to the bookstore to buy books

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December 2020

Went to a lecture hosted by Nelson Chen (ex-Google UX Designer). At the end, he mentioned that his startup - TChat - is looking for interns. So I began to prepare my application.

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Began arguably my favorite personal project - Cafe Co (an app to help people more effectively find suitable cafes based on their preferences) with my friends.

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  1. Drew this during an outdoor class about cleaning guns. Time sure passed by quickly when I was drawing!
  2. Me planning out the visuals of my portfolio.
  3. Weekends were precious, so I wrote out everything I wanted to do when I get back every week.

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It was also around this time, my left and right toe became extremely swollen for reasons unknown... It was really painful. Though I do have pictures, you wouldn't want to see them. I ended up wearing flip-flops until the end of service.

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So grateful that I got to come back for end-of-the-year fireworks!! Had a great time with my family!! 

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January 2021

Cafe Co team trying to figure out the overall direction of our app and brand during a team meeting

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  1. Me brainstorming Cafe Co logos
  2. I thank my parents SO much for letting us learn calligraphy when we were young- funny how I got to write calligraphy in the army!

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February 2021

"Last" official gathering to head back to camp - not last for me because I still need to return one more time after this, but by myself

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After a full week... WOW This really is my last, LAST return to camp... Surreal how four months has passed by. But man was the taxi expensive at Yilan... One more day left!

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2/8 - AND. I'M. DONE. WITH. ARMY!!!!! HUGE MILESTONE AND CHECKLIST DONE!!!!!

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Been crossing out days since the first day... Felt so god damn good crossing out the date 2/8..

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Internship started two days after I got out of army. Time to grind!

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Met up with my army friends after service!! Felt surreal to be over with service.

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Took the gondola up to Elsewhere cafe with elementary school friends :)) Good vibes! 

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March 2021

Decided to give electric guitar a try! Rented it for a month for 1k! A steal!

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3/12/21 - This has to be the best moment as a fan... Will never forget this day... I met Vicky 陳忻玥 in Penny University Cafe... AHHHHHHH I WAS SO NERVOUS BUT ALSO JUST SO HAPPY :")

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Went to KKBOX music festival the next day and WOW was it great! Also got to take picture with Vicky :D 她真的好親民啊 😭

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So... I got into a singing competition. Practicing everyday and studying other people's singing techniques.

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An amazing exhibition by a graduate student! This was located above a cafe!

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I find Meng Chih's (a designer I follow) Q&A insightful. Here are some screenshots of her responses!

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April 2021

Great trip with cross country boys - went to three cities in four days. Quite the hastle but very worth it :))

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Was able to go watch Vicky and other amazing Taiwanese singers perform during our trip!! This was at Tainan! Also Vicky's company SKRpresent 陶山音樂 saw and commented on my post :))) It was during this trip that I created my fan account (one of the best things I did)!

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4/17 - My first ever singing competition!!! Prepared SO MUCH for it and wow was I nervous :") But was super memorable and fun! Only concern was that the other participants were just WAY too good!

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Even more 追星 content after the trip!! Have to do this whenever I have time in Taiwan!

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May 2021

  1. Vicky performing at 5/8 東森生活節
  2. Picture with Vicky
  3. Picture with 99 Sophie
  4. SKR 戰隊 - Still pretty surreal how I got to meet people by being fans of singers!!
  5. Love listening to SKRpresent's podcast :))

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金門 Kinmen trip with my Cafe Co team (one person couldn't come)! Learned so much about the island's history, and the food was amazing!

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However, during our Kinmen trip, covid cases in Taiwan erupted... Little did I know that the concert I went this month might be my last before I head back to the states...

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  1. With Taiwan entering 3rd degree lockdown, I started practing guitar and became motivated to try making music and pause my design committment.
  2. Call with Rob Lawless! Glad to be part of his robs10kfriend project!
  3. Vicky's livestream during lockdown 😭❤

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MY FIRST EVER SONG!!!

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June 2021

Wrote three more songs~

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I have an incredibly unstable sleeping schedule... But, here are my favorite 7-11 late-night snacks

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SKRpresent's new song [Changing] is SO GOOD!!! 😭😭😭

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Recording a family song with my sister :))

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Because dad does commercial, so we had people over to film a MV for our family song 有你真好!!!

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  1. Family song OUT! (Due to privacy reasons, I won't show the MV!)
  2. Vicky's 2nd livestream during this lockdown 😭
  3. Will start to grind on my music + this blog!!

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I don't expect anyone to see this. But, if you do, I want to say a huge thank you :) 

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It took me awhile to organize all of my photos and captions. And, looking back, I've realized that too many things have happened during this gap year. I am very grateful for everything that happened during this valuable year.

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If I travel back to May 2020 and was asked if I wanted to take a gap year,

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I will 200% say yes.

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