I know you are all dying to see my new digs. Am I right, or am I right?
Besides being the new home of me, Da’an District is also the home of National Taiwan University, National Taiwan Normal University, the 24 hour branch of Eslite Bookstore + the Tonghua + Shida Night Markets!
Now, for the crib! We are located on a lane off of XinSheng South Road. (Note the mountains to the North + regal Taiwan flags along the way!)
Walking one block off of the main drag on our lane will bring you to this park located just across the way from our front door.
The green + red boxes above are mail boxes! + there are always motorcycles + scooters parked outside of our place, keeping in step with just about every where you can go in Taipei.
+ here’s our building!
Who knew that we would be living on top of a historical place (which I will discuss in a later post, I promise!)?
I was really excited to see this sticker on the building door:
The fact that Taiwan does not have a seat in the UN has been a major political issue since 1971, when the China seat was taken from the Republic of China (aka, ROC or Taiwan) + given to the People’s Republic of China (PRC, which we think of simply as China). The UN has a “One China” policy + since both countries claim to hold China’s true government, this is where it gets tricky. This is the nutshell of the nutshell, but I will definitely continue to expand on this theme as the year goes on. The sticker on the building door (+ an apartment door in the building) leads me to believe that there might be some political thinkers here. I hope that once I have learned enough Chinese to have a conversation, these people will be willing to speak with me about these issues!
The front door to our apartment has a gate that is opened with a baller key (unlike any key I’ve ever seen in the U.S., it’s pretty much a skeleton key with a button that allows it to expand + contract) before you get to our main door.
Then we have the common room, dining room + kitchen.
Not too shabby, huh? Also, we have a modern bathroom, ie not a wet bathroom, so showering is pretty much like home. (Except toilet paper is not flushed but placed in a little garbage can next to toilet…)
I put on a tough front, but to be honest I really felt like a fish out of water my first few days here. Feelings of being an outsider hit me like a ton of bricks. I had never experienced anything like it. Anywhere I’ve traveled before–Asia, Ecuador, Mexico, Europe–I was just traveling thru, not trying to establish a life. Studying in London, I was there with some of my best buddies + we were all new when we arrived. I kept thinking, “What the hell (+ that’s a nicer word than the one I actually thought…) are you doing?!? Did you just make a huge mistake??”
I realized that I knew 3 people, had 2 friends who I could call on at all for help. I didn’t even feel comfortable contacting them because I did not want to seem too needy, or that I needed them as a crutch. I found myself wandering the neighborhood when the hunger pangs hit, sheepishly looking into restaurants to see if they had pictures or English menus. Standing in lines at food stands trying to see what people were ordering, trying to copy their behavior, pointing at what they ordered, saying, “Yi ge…(points at delicious-looking article of food),” hoping that the servers would be gracious or have any idea at all what I was asking for.
All of this changed once I set up my room. It has never been so clear to me how necessary having my own personal sanctuary is to me as it was moving to Taiwan. (So necessary.) My room is about half the size of all of my roommates’ + is still fairly spacious. (Hey, if I can do crunches + stretches, a li’l pilates on my floor without hitting anything, I’m happy!) Drumroll, please:
I’ve been going on many adventures these last few days, so get ready to follow me through some awesome Taipei experiences! Peace. 再見!
Sing it, Gloria.