Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wo Ai TAIWAN.....(i love taiwan)

Well hey y'all, it's been a hell of a long time since I wrote on here last, and I don't know why I haven't, but I guess I've just been busy with life.  Since I last checked in, I visited Hong Kong, returned to Taiwan (due to visa issues here in Manila), went to Cebu after Christmas, finished my exams/coursework for my masters degree, went to El Nido, Taal Volcano, and Boracay...all in the Philippines...so I guess life hasn't been that rough! hahaha.  Well this post is about my 22 month stay in Taiwan!!

So, after my Eurotrip, which ended in late November, 2007, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, and I needed to make money and I still wanted to travel.  One option I had was to teach overseas, and since a had a few good friends living in Taiwan at that time, I decided I would head there.  So, I was literally home for about 2-3 weeks then took off for Taoyuan, Taiwan.....just before Christmas (my first away from home).  After a few travel delays, and staying an extra night in LA, I made it to Taiwan, and I was astounded from the start.

My first experience was landing there.  We arrived at the break of dawn, and as we were landing you could see tons of rice fields and actually see groups of people practicing Tai-Chi in public areas!  To me this was awesome, and a sure sign I was entering a very different cultural zone.  Upon arriving, there was a mix up as to where I was to get picked up by my school....but eventually I met up with Steve, and I was taken to Taoyuan City.

I had pre-arranged employment with GLORIA ENGLISH SCHOOL, and I'll say this, what a lifesaver! They picked me up at the airport, gave me accommodation (there's a teachers dorm room - first 2 months free), and pretty much got me working within the first 48 hours!  They honestly made the transition so smooth!

Once I got settled, and met up with some friends from home, it only took about 2 or 3 weeks for me, Mike and Nat (friends from halifax) to find our own apartment and move out of the dorm.

I'll spare the details of everything that happened and get to it!

Taiwan is really awesome.  For those who have never visited, it is quite a modern little country.  It IS NOT so English friendly outside of city centre's, but that's what makes part of the adventure!! One has to remember that the culture is totally different that what we're used to in the West, and unless you're willing to embrace new experiences, you might want to leave this, along with many other asian countries, off your list.

While there I got to see lots of the island, and do some crazy things, such as: bungy jumping, daily commutes through insane traffic on a scooter and not getting in one accident!, eating crazy foods (snake, wild rat, wild boar, chicken hearts/ass/intestines, pigs blood...you name it), along with DELICIOUS Taiwanese foods (stinky tofu...yuck!!  ji-pie/breaded chicken breasts, kung-pao chicken, hot pot/shabu shabu, dan bing!)  And of course the infamous  night markets, especially Shi-Lin in Taipei.  I also got to see Taipei 101 (the former worlds tallest building), meet tons of great friends, and hit up some unbelievable clubs.

Thanks to Taiwan, I also found out that Teaching is my passion!  I got to learn Mandarin-Chinese!  Make lifelong friends. Finally get my tattoo!! Go on awesome vacations (including my trip to Boracay, where I ended up meeting andy :) ) AND most importantly have memories that will last a lifetime.

It was honestly one of the best experiences I've ever had, as I was forced to become and take part in a culture that was sooo different than what I was used to.  Even now, living in Manila, it didn't take much to get adjusted here, but in Taiwan it was a different ballgame. 

I recently read an article from a Canadian girl who lived in Taichung, Taiwan for only 5 or 6 months, and the whole article was a list of complaints and how her life was hell.  I think the point she was eventually trying to make was to know where you're going and prepare yourself. So I once again say, for those of you who are looking for something different, beautiful, and unique, PLEASE visit Taiwan. Yes, it has it's problems like most countries, but it is truly a wonderful experience.  And for those of who are intolerant of other cultures, not ready to see "animal cruelty" or perceived rudeness by complete strangers.....please either stay home or check your opinions at the immigration desk and prepare yourself for a world you've never thought of!

1st week in Taiwan - Christmas celebrations
Jeremy, Nat, Josh, Me - Thai Disco
Taiwanese minivan
My Tattoo
Superman for Halloween


Xie Xie Taiwan!!