(Almost) a month in…

It’s been almost a month since we landed on this “little” island. We are now more or less in the “settling in” phase of figuring out life here. That means, we’ve tested out the local grocery stores, gotten a feel for how much things cost (see my point on that later on!), started school, and learned a few things along the way. 

For example, in less than a month, I have….:

  • Killed and chased away too many roaches to count.
  • Become an expert in pest control and raised my OCD-level of cleanliness through the roof (“If I see anyone leaving even a crumb of food anywhere in this apartment that is not in the dining area, so help me!”)
  • Eventually moved on to not see this as a “oh my gosh, we have a HUGE ROACH PROBLEM IN THE HOUSE” to a “oh, well, there’s another bug…let’s name him Bob and let him know he’s not welcome here” situation. (Insert picture of me running to find a shoe and a bunch of paper towels and more Raid spray). 
  • Have gotten soaked down to my underwear in torrential rain coming at me from every and all directions – and no, the umbrella that Amazon advertised as “protective” was far from helpful. Thanks a lot. Also, my rain boots are still taking the long voyage to this island and I learned that flip flops are not a great alternative. 
  • Have gotten in trouble for throwing away cardboard boxes in the “paper” bins in our basement recycling area. Yes, garbage and recycling are BIG here – so much in fact that plastic bags and straws are frowned upon (yes! This is great) with the marked downside that you will literally have to carry your garbage throughout the entire city because there are virtually zero garbage bins anywhere. And it turns out our doorman has eyes everywhere – in the forms of cameras that monitor how and what residents throw away. And he will quickly let you know if your recycling skills are not up to par. 
  • Have gotten in trouble for putting a doormat on the outside of our apartment to keep soaked shoes away from my amazing inside mopping skills. Yes, our doormat is now on the inside of our apartment. Perhaps I’ll install a door bell to ring outside as well – you know, to keep the zen consistent? Although on second thought, I might get in trouble for that as well.
  • Tasted way too many local bakeries and cafes.  
  • Wondered a few too many times how to best cut off the head of those chickens at the local market and how to cook those feet. Do you think they are chewy? Shall we find out?
  • Experienced sticker shock at local prices – don’t expect cheap eats and thrills unless you’re at the night markets (hello $5 peach and the most amazing shrimp I bought in my broken Chinese at a local market for an absurd price). 
  • Have not developed a taste for Taiwanese bubble tea. I like the bubbles, just not the emphasis on milk in the teas here.
  • Started building my village (Xièxiè/ 謝謝 to my new friends for our adventures exploring and eating our way through this fun city!).
  • Thoroughly loved the fact that we are back in urban terrain! As a NYer at heart, I miss nothing more than stepping out of our apartment to be able to walk anywhere I want – shops, grocery stores, markets, malls, restaurants, cafes – you name it. It’s all within reach. And keeping my technology skills high, I’ll let you know that I have walked almost 150 miles (miles!) around Taipei since we’ve arrived (as of this writing 145.9 to be exact!). Thank you Apple for keeping me on my toes (literally!). 
  • Lost a fight against the tiniest oven with unreadable instructions and knobs. Oven – 1; Granola – 0.
  • Gotten beat up…. Or rather “enjoyed” a local Thai massage. I would not call it relaxing but let’s just say it definitely found those tough spots and loosened up muscles I forgot I had. And as an extra souvenir, I walked away with 2.5 bruises (think black and blue marks that may have raised some questions for some people?).

What’s in store for us here in month 2? Looking forward to finding that out!

2 thoughts on “(Almost) a month in…

  1. Didn’t know food was so expensive there, come to Beijing! I have to get back to my blog and document all those weird things that are just “normal” after a year (soon our anniversary!).

  2. Ah, the cockroaches. I found one crawling on my bed the other day, they are just part of life here, (as are the terrifyingly large spiders). The market fruit is usually pretty cheap though, unless you buy ‘special occasion fruit’, just follow the seasons, (currently we are in the tail end of watermelon and mango season). Although I believe the market is the only place I have ever been ripped off by a Taiwanese person, so be careful.
    Oh, and three years in, I am still getting to grips with the toaster over.

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