My status: I’m legal!

My ARC was delivered today! (That means I’m a legal resident of Taiwan now, as long I have a job, that is!) I also received my business cards (one side in English and the other in Chinese). Woohoo!

A few thoughts on status…the word conjures up images of jewels, yachts, palatial homes, designer clothing. Oh, I’m sure there are those in Taiwan who can afford and enjoy shopping for those items (Taipei 101 mall is chock full of shops you’d find on Rodeo Dr.) but it seems that it’s the little things we don’t think about that define the “haves” and “have nots” here. And oddly it really doesn’t seem like a great divide. We are, after all, sharing the same limited real estate.

It’s strange how something that is taken for granted in one country is elevated to a status symbol in another. In Taiwan, most everyone lives in an apartment, renting a space smaller than a college dorm room! The apartments don’t have kitchens; you’re lucky to get a sink, one burner, and a mini-fridge. No  storage drawers, or microwave, no oven either – but they do have a dish dryer! I looked at some apartments I’d be scared to boil water in! And bathrooms…several of those I looked at had a showerhead attached to one wall and a drain on the other side of the room – and a sink and toilet in between. So those that have an apartment with an actual kitchen (2 burners, larger fridge, and possibly an oven – gasp!) are higher up the status ladder than those of us that don’t. Then there are those that OWN their apartment and finally, those that own a house! I don’t know anyone here who owns a house.

Most folks walk, use public transportation, or take a taxi. Next up the ladder is those that ride a bicycle, then a scooter, a motorcycle, and finally a car. I don’t know anyone here who owns a car.

Finally, pets. It’s a sign of status here to own one. I see a lot of folks with dogs. They bring them outside to do their business in whatever small patch of green is found close to where they live. The smaller, more common dogs are less of a status statement than the larger, furrier dogs (golden retrievers mostly and I’ve seen a few of those around). Since this is an island, space is at a premium, and spaces where dogs can roam – I haven’t seen any of those. But then I’ve only seen a small part of this lovely country!

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Harold
    Jul 27, 2011 @ 16:40:33

    Congrats on your legal status……if you need anything, just let me know!


  2. Syurati
    Jul 28, 2011 @ 15:43:57

    Congratulations twgurl54! No more threat of a visa run…


    • twgurl54
      Jul 29, 2011 @ 04:48:01

      Eek. I didn’t know that that was even a possible issue! lol Ah, the joys of ignorance! btw, I’ve passed your blog link to my Taiwanese co-workers. Keep writing!


  3. Roger Lippman
    Aug 08, 2011 @ 03:30:56

    It is ironic that so many foreigners struggle to become legal residents of a non-state (Taiwan) which is in itself controlled by a non-recognized (i.e. illegitimate) regime — the Republic of China government in exile.


    • twgurl54
      Aug 09, 2011 @ 09:18:39

      Hey Roger, my post was not meant as any sort of political statement. I’m in Taiwan, doing a job, trying to give the folks back home a taste of what life here is about. As a resident yourself, you know that nothing happens without that ARC!


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