Dowagiac Rotary's exchange student, Lacey, drapes herself in a Republic of China flag. (Leader photo/JOHN EBY)

Archived Story

Lacey shares heritage

Published 4:45pm Monday, December 24, 2012

Rotary exchange student Tzu-Han Tsai has a twin sister living in France as an exchange student.

“We don’t look alike,” she said. “She’s taller than me, but I am the older sister.”

“Lacey,” as she’s known in Dowagiac, also has a younger brother who came to America last year, to Nebraska.

Lacey, 18, lives with Ken and Lynn McCalley in Burmax Park for this school year.

Her father is a Rotarian whose job in sales takes him to mainland China, where she’s not been yet. Her mother is a housewife in Chishan. They have a small dog.

“I live in the countryside” of her hot homeland of 23 million people, where it’s 60 to 70 degrees all winter.

She was excited Thursday by the prospect of a big snow storm bearing down on Dowagiac.

“I like here because snow is cool,” she said.

“Taiwan is really small, near China, Japan and the Philippines,” Lacey told Dowagiac Rotary Club Thursday noon at Elks Lodge 889.

Her PowerPoint presentation depicted Taiwan’s diet and culture.

They eat fried salty chicken, pig blood cake cooked with rice, pearl milk tea, “stinky tofu” and oyster omelets with vegetables.

“We have McDonald’s, too,” she said, and watch the Disney Channel.

Here, she rarely watches television, but has laughed at the CBS comedy “The Big Bang Theory.”
Lacey talked about playing Mahjong and poker during the Chinese new year, the Moon Festival in September and the Dragon Boat Festival, which look like vessels raced on the St. Joseph River in Niles.

Another section of her presentation was devoted to “hot spots,” such as the capital city, Taipei, home to the former world’s tallest building from 2004 to 2010, now No. 2; Alishan, a national scenic area where a train transports riders to the summit for sunsets; Kenting, a national park Lacey likes for its beaches; and well-lit Love River.

Fireworks launched from Taipei 101 are featured prominently in international New Year’s Eve broadcasts. It comprises 101 floors above ground and five floors underground.

Lacey said her family doesn’t see the fireworks because “we don’t like crowds.”

She was familiar with basketball, but football surprised her: “So many people crunching each other to get points.”

High school students attend class from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Taiwan is susceptible to typhoons and earthquakes.

“I fear earthquakes,” she said, recalling tremors which evacuated her school.

Typhoon season spans June to October.

Lacey was surprised that Dowagiac didn’t offer outdoor “sports classes” twice a week.

She doesn’t have a boyfriend because her father doesn’t want her to have one.

Art is her favorite class: “No tests.”





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