My fellow students there were very smart, but the really novel thing was that they actually seemed to put a lot of effort into their school work. By the end of my first semester there, I began to get into that habit as well.
It was there I met my future wife, Celeste Landry, although our lives took us separate ways for many years and we were not to marry until more than ten years later.
Six months after that, I left Taiwan, first for Hong Kong and then for mainland China, where I spent another three months studying still more Chinese and generally kicking around the country.
The postdoc explained to me how to distinguish different sorts of particles on the basis of the amounts of energy they deposited in various sorts of detectors, spark chambers, calorimeters, what have you.
Travel provided many interesting experiences, but perhaps the most useful lesson I learned was that I really had no proficiency for learning the thousands of characters of the written Chinese language.
I certainly remember building model rockets. It was fun to watch the rocket blast into the air, suspenseful to wonder if the parachute would open to bring the rocket safely back.
Between rounds of speed chess I read enough of a programming manual to teach myself to write programs on the school's DEC mainframe in the language Basic.
My head was always bubbling over with facts and it seems to me this had little to do with my paying close attention in school and more to do with my voracious and omnivorous reading habits.