Day 21

I’ve been in-country for three weeks and it should only be another few weeks before I get my ARC (Taiwan version of a green card).  It’s amazing how quickly the government entities here respond! It’s also amazing how I haven’t missed not having a phone (go Skype). lol

At breakfast today I talked with a friendly native who is in Taipei with his wife and daughter on business, looking to buy some property here. I gave him the business card of my real estate broker and raved about my experience at the National Art Museum. Turns out he’s the CEO of a high tech company based in Taichung (the city I visited last weekend).  We discuss art for a while and he invited me to stay with them the next time I’m in Taichung! Nice, huh?

At lunch time today I had my first scheduled Chinese lesson. The  teacher started off with pages xeroxed from a children’s book! Hah! It’s humbling being considered an expert in one language only to be a rank beginner in another – and the one I can’t speak is the one I need most for everyday life! I am starting to put some sounds and words together. I think the spoken language will come long before the written one.

This weekend I’m doing some final comparison shopping (for household items) at Costco (go figure) and on Sunday I’m heading to Yingge (ing-guh) just outside Taipei to see the Ceramics Museum and to find some unique plates. Next week: moving day!

Day 7 pm

The apartment hunt is ON! The goal is to set up appointments with landlords who will rent to foreigners and take someone with me to check them out, and negotiate a lease. I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

I found out that I can use Skype for making phone calls to the US. For a small fee (6.99 USD) I can use Skype VOIP to make actual phone calls. (No clue though if I have a “phone number” for return calls….ah, the learning curve continues.)

I read about a fancy Taiwanese restaurant in the Air China magazine and wanted to try it out. A foodie co-worker cautioned me about eating alone at nicer establishments. He said local families eat in groups (that makes sense) and order many dishes to share, plus many of them order drinks.   You know me, I’m just ornery enough to try it anyway. I figure my money is as good as theirs and what I lack in volume ordering I’ll make up in sheer charm and “tall, white foreigner” interest points. In all fairness, I did have the hotel staff try to make a reservation at my aforementioned co-worker’s recommended sushi restaurant but the chef was going to be out of town. Back to Plan A. Hah!

One of my co-workers invited me to go a boxing class with her after work. How hard can that be, I thought? I’m in decent shape and it’s a beginners class. Think again! It’s just a bit intimidating to realize your teacher has zero percent body fat, which enables her to move so quickly on her feet. It was a lot of fun despite be TOUGH physically and I made it through the entire class. I’ll see how I feel tomorrow.

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