One year in Taiwan

I’ve officially been in Taiwan for one year! In that time, I have had many adventures, made some new friends – and here’s what I’ve learned:

  • the Taiwanese are a happy, friendly, patient people; they will wait in orderly lines (for elevators, to check out, at the MRT)
  • if you at least attempt to speak Chinese, they will attempt to speak English
  • the Taiwanese love art –┬ápainting, sculptures, and colorful signs are EVERYWHERE
  • there are two prices: the foreigners-who-don’t-bargain price and the locals-I-will-bargain-for-EVERYTHING-EVERYWHERE price
  • it is safe to walk home alone after midnight
  • many stores and shops and foot massage places are open late or 24/7
  • the Taiwanese are a generally conservative people, yet you’ll see giant billboards advertising (very) skimpy lingerie, girls with super short skirts, and “betel nut” girls in bikinis selling their wares (I mean the narcotic nuts)
  • ┬áthe few foreigners you see on the street either pretend you don’t exist and walk on by or become your best friends
  • if you are a “normal” size (not a “tiny” person) you’ll have trouble finding clothing here (size 8.5 is the largest shoe size available for women)
  • foreign (European and American) goods are vastly overpriced (I once spent 6000NT/200USD on a pair of CK jeans)
  • thank goodness for UniGlo – I was actually able to find some reasonably-priced, quality clothing
  • when they say “rainy season” they mean it!
  • most people eat out for all meals (they don’t have actual kitchens here), and the food is relatively cheap (relative to the wages that is)
  • having a clothes dryer is a luxury few can afford
  • trash must be taken to the garbage truck in official blue bags
  • taking public transportation isn’t so scary anymore (I can ask directions and understand the answer!)
  • 30 verbs
  • Google Translate and 7-11 are a godsend!
  • Good customer service is a given, as is no tipping!

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As for me, I will take the road less travelled…