Before I came to Kinmen, I disliked being outdoors for extended periods of time. I could enjoy my favorite pastimes - reading, listening to music, and playing video games - indoors, while avoiding unpredictable weather and insects. However, my views on the outdoors have changed since I first arrived here.
In the U.S., I went to the gym about four times a week. Although, I had intended to go to the gym regularly in Kinmen, my schedule and the distance to the gym made it difficult. Since I wanted to exercise regularly, I decided to rent a bike. Unfortunately, my dislike of the outdoors resulted in me only biking about once a month for my first six months in Kinmen.
At the beginning of the spring school semester, I started to bike to and from school once a week. It was about 6.5 kilometers both ways and a hilly commute, which was challenging for a beginner biker. Although I was tired and sore after the first few rides, it was worth it because I noticed a lot of new things in the environment that I had never seen before. Even though I now occasionally arrive to school soaked in sweat or drenched by the rain, I have come to enjoy biking and seeing the natural surroundings of Kinmen. It is more beautiful when I see it up close rather than out of a bus window. Also, since I do not have a scooter, biking has allowed me to explore new areas in Kinmen that I would not have otherwise discovered. For example, one of my favorite biking adventures was when I biked from Shanwai to the top of Mt. Wuhu. From there I could enjoy the beautiful view of some of the villages in Jinsha. During the spring semester, I have biked over 500 kilometers.
The recent opening of the new gym in Shanwai has allowed me to exercise on days the weather is not as conducive to biking. However, I have found that more often than not, I prefer biking over going to the gym. Although I would not say that I love being outside now, I do like it a great deal more than I ever thought I would. After biking so often here, I have decided to continue this hobby once I return to the U.S. However, in suburban Maryland, where I live, places are far apart and most people rely on driving to get around. Dealing with the traffic will make biking long distances quite difficult. However, I plan to bike occasionally in nearby neighborhoods and on forest trails.