Photo credit: Mario Calvo

One Month Anniversary in Taipei

Today marks exactly one month in Taipei. I can’t believe it’s gone by so fast. Between school and work, I hardly have time to explore the city, but I’m hoping at least my weekends will free up soon.

My big and small observations for the past 30 days:

  • One should never, ever, drink the tap water. My first week here, I got very sick from doing so. Filter it and boil it thoroughly before drinking.
  • It rains in Taipei a LOT. I estimate it has rained 85% of my 30 days here. Days and days go by without seeing the sun or keeping my shoes dry. It’s a real drag and I’m hoping April forward is drier. Carry an umbrella always and invest in waterproof shoes.
  • Studying Chinese at NTU is as effective as you want it to be. I want to be fully fluent in reading/writing/speaking by the end of 2016, and I think it will take a lot more studying and practice outside of class/homework to get there.
  • There are not nearly as many Americans in the NTU Chinese language program as I thought there would be. It’s incredibly diverse. My four classmates are Japanese, Kyrgyz, French (New Caledonian), and Thai. In the class I switched out of, my five classmates were Japanese (2), Korean, Slovakian, and American.
  • New York City’s on-demand economy spoiled me. Push Button, Receive What You Want doesn’t really exist in Taiwan. Time to re-learn brick-and-mortar shopping.
  • International cuisine should be viewed with much suspicion. I’ve not tried any American, Italian, Indian, Mexican, etc. food here, and that’s because everything about it screams ersatz. “American-style breakfast” usually means hamburgers, McDonald’s-style hashbrowns (the fried ovoid-patty kind), and other extremely salty, greasy, heavy foods. Google image search “taiwan+american style breakfast” to see what I mean:

    "American-Style Breakfast" in Taiwan
    Looks like McDonald’s is actually America’s most effective ambassador to Taiwan.
  • Pleco is a(n  inter)national treasure and I can’t believe it’s free. I would gladly pay big bucks for this app. It’s indispensable for learning Chinese.
  • In the U.S., I thought I didn’t like bubble tea. I was wrong all along and I actually love it. Enjoyment of tofu and bean curd still elude me.

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