Anna-Mazing Impact Trip (AKA Paiwan Learning Showcase)

So last week I had my impact trip, which is a school trip (most are about 3 days long) that is supposed to teach you some overall lesson. Each grade has a different theme. This year’s theme (seventh grade) was Building Bridges. We went to a village home to the Paiwan people. The Paiwanese people are an aboriginal group in Taiwan. After the impact trip, we were assigned a project to choose a way to show our learning from the trip. I chose the form of a blog post, and decided that it would be fun to publish it on my actual blog as well. I hope you enjoy!


The Paiwanese people have lots of really cool aspects of their culture that we learned about on our trip. We learned several traditional songs (all in Paiwanese) which were really cool and (I think) really helped people hang on to their original language. Pretty much all of the Paiwanese elders spoke fluent Paiwanese and they were all really into the songs. It seemeed like a really fun way for them to connect with their culture while having fun.

We also did several different crafts with the Paiwanese. Some of these were making headdresses and bead bracelets. The headdresses were really fun (although challenging and sometimes frustrating). They had woven flowers and a little fern tail in the back. The hardest part was getting the leaves to stick up so the headdress “wouldn’t make you look like you were 80.” The bracelets were also really fun and we learned some really intricate knots in order to keep the beads from falling off!

We learned how to make traditional food as well. My favorite was grinding millet, which is a grain that is the Paiwanese staple food. You ground it in what was pretty much a huge mortar and pestle. It was really fun learning how grinding millet gave families quality time, because it was a daily chore and you could talk and laugh with your family while doing it.

We also took a trip to the original Paiwanese village, which they left because of inadequate availability to medical sites and other problems. It was a beautiful stone village, and I really enjoyed seeing it. The stone school that was built during the Japanese Occupation of Taiwan was still there and it was just fascinating to learn about the history of this place. There were even some elders who spoke Japanese and were able to communicate with some of the students who spoke Japanese. It was really interesting to see how their lives were actually shaped by this occupation, and to think about whether it was for the better or not.

The lifestyle of Paiwanese people today is much like that of other families who live in rural, less populated areas. I do think that it was really inspiring to see how hard they were working to stay connected with their tradition and heritage. Overall, it was an amazing trip and I would love to go again.


Anna-mazing Update

Disclaimer: I wrote this in May of 2020

So this isn’t technically Anna-Mazing post because it’s about COVID-19 😦 but I have to start it with ‘Anna-Mazing’ sooooooo….

My school isn’t shut down completely, it’s still functioning (after approx. 3 weeks of online school) but everyone is required to get there temperature checked before entering school and wear masks all day, which can get kind of annoying. I live in Taiwan, where it’s actually relatively safe regarding COVID and all that, but we’re stuck here for the summer instead of going to Europe like we were going to :(. We’re planning on vacationing in Hua Lian with some other families and travelling around the island. I’m going to a camp for water sports, which is definetely a first for me.


I went to the water sports camp and it was really fun! We learned how to do paddleboarding and windsurfing. I was with some of my friends and we got to do all sorts of things that I never would’ve gotten to do otherwise.

Anna-Mazing Friend

This blog post is about (and dedicated) to my best friend Eliana Zahira Gregg.

Eliana is 11 years old. She is in 6th grade. She lives in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. She has curly blonde hair and hazel eyes. She is half Caucasian, half Portuguese. She loves playing volleyball and is very good at it. There are 6 people in her family. She is the youngest of 4 children.

Eliana and I are having a sleepover tonight. I’m writing this while watching Spider-Man: Homecoming with her. Once it’s over, we are going to go to my room and talk. Tonight my sister had gymnastics and we had to drop her off and bring her and her friends back. We went and dropped her off, then my mom brought us to Starbucks. We watched YouTube and then went to go pick them back up and bring them home. It was really fun.

Lucy’s having a sleepover with our next-door neighbors (AKA family of Lucy’s BFF) and my mom’s going to bed early because she has a cross country race early tomorrow morning, so it’s just Eliana and me out here. By the time we wake up, she’ll be gone. At 9 AM tomorrow she’s holding a party at our house for the end of cross country season. Eliana and I are allowed to be in here, but we have to clean everything up.

That’s about it for now! See you guys soon!

-Anna-Mazing Writer

Anna-Mazing Family Update

I was looking at my last Anna-Mazing Family post and decided I should update it. Here it is! Enjoy!

Paul Shaffner: 37 years old. Enjoys birdwatching, exploring Kaohsiung on his scooter, and going hiking and adventuring in the mountains. He does a college course in Tanzania during the summers.

Kate Lao Shaffner: 37 years old. Enjoys reading, running (she is on her school’s cross country team!), interior design, blogging, and organizing. She works as an AP Literature, English 3, government, and yearbook teacher at Morrison Academy Kaohsiung.

Lucy Shaffner: 8 years old. She is in 3rd grade. Enjoys reading, playing outside, heelying, rollerblading, watching TV, playing video games, and playing (basically all) sports. She is in the dance after-school-activity and the drama club. She is very outgoing and is (just a little bit) crazy.

Anna Shaffner (ME!): 11 years old. I am in 6th grade. I like reading, blogging, writing fanfictions, listening to Why Don’t We and Hamilton, and doing (not very good) roleplay with my friends. I am very obsessive and when I like something I will think about it all the time and, well, be obsessed. Some of my obsessions are: Hamilton, Why Don’t We, Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger, Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan, and Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

That’s it for this post! Thanks for reading!