We can hardly believe it, but our time here in Taiwan is through. Tuesday is the last day of school and our flight back to America is on Wednesday. So, as of Wednesday at about 4:00 we will no longer call Taipei, Taiwan home. Though we’ve only been here two years, it has been a very significant time in our lives and it is bittersweet to have this time come to a close. So, to honor the place that has hosted us crazy foreigners for the past couple of years, we have come up with a top ten things we will miss about Taiwan.
10. Mango bing. It might be that this is fresh on my mind since mango season just started, but seriously, Taiwan’s greatest achievement. The only reason it is number 10 is that the good stuff is only available for such a short time.
9. Movies. Movies here are so much fun. We’ve grown quite accustomed to being able to choose our seats and not have to sit in the theater answering random movie trivia questions. We’ve also enjoyed having permission to bring in whatever food we want without pretending that a giant beach bag is our purse. However, ticket prices have recently gone up to compensate for loss in concession profits. Sounds to me like it is time to get the heck out of dodge…
8. Getting a hair cut. The best and cheapest way to pamper yourself after a tough day. A two hour head and shoulder massage session that leaves you completely uncaring about the 80’s-inspired layers that they gave you. All this for the low, low price of around $15USD.
7. KTV. What better way to spend an evening with friends than singing at the top of your voice in a private VIP room? We’ve made many memories taking part in this better-than-shown-on-TV type karaoke.
6. Public transportation. I’m afraid that we’ve been a bit spoiled in this big city where practically any location is easily accessible, as long as you know which bus or subway line to take. Plus, using public transportation makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside knowing that I am reducing my carbon footprint… wait, maybe that “warm fuzzy” feeling came from that mystery meat I had at lunch…
5. NanGang Park. I fear that never again will we have such a pleasant experience in transit between home and work. Many a Monday morning has been drastically improved due to a Mary Poppins sighting or a group of elderly women doing tai chi to the unstoppable beat of Ricky Martin.
4. 7 – Eleven. That’s right, a convenience store scored the number four spot. Why? Because 7 – Eleven is awesome. Stores are everywhere throughout the city (including one right outside our apartment) and in every store, there is the promise of whatever you might need at that particular moment. From coffee and candy bars to toy cars and toothbrushes, 7 – Eleven is like a miniature Wal-Mart except the employees are actually friendly and concerned with customer service.
3. Being able to count. I will be the first to admit that our Chinese is terrible and I do wish that I had learned it better during our time here. However, I do know a few survival phrases and can usually communicate what I need. I am proud of us that we now understand our numbers and can ask for prices for various things with ease. Moving to a different country means starting over as a mute until we make some headway with Korean. I foresee lots more charades in our future.
2. Low cost of living. It didn’t take long for us to grow accustomed to $3USD dinners or $5USD doctor’s visits. We know that we are in for a rude awakening not only this summer back in the States but also as we make the transition to Seoul, with the reputation as one of the more expensive cities in Asia if not the world. It’s been a fun and cheap ride. Maybe we’ll spring for a $10 taxi ride to the airport to celebrate one last time.
1. Friends. Of course, the number one thing that we will miss will be the wonderful friendships that we’ve made over the past two years. There is something about being a stranger in a strange land that pushes people together and strengthens relationships. We’ve been there for each other through culture shock, homesickness, and “did you see what that guy’s t-shirt said?” moments. These are the times that solidify friendships and all of the friends that we’ve made here will be greatly missed.
Thank you for supporting us through these past two years on this crazy Taiwanese ride. We hope to keep you entertained for a little while longer as we transplant ourselves to Seoul, South Korea and share those adventures with you in the coming years. We’ll be taking a blogging break for the summer and we’ll be back at it in August when we land in Seoul!