Tag Archives: travel

Five Reasons I ♥ Taiwan

25 Mar

I’m still a Taiwan rookie–it’s been just over a month–but there are already so many things I love about this amazing place. Here are five of them:

 

1. Milk Tea

It comes in a million flavors, usually for around NT$20-40, which equates to between 60 cents and a dollar and change. Oatmeal, caramel, and strawberry are just a few of the flavors available. And you can get it with bubbles. Super delicious, and so much cheaper (and more readily available) than home!

 

2. Shrines

These guys are everywhere. Smell for the incense, turn the corner, and there you are. Many are open air. You just don’t see this with places of worship in the U.S. Let’s be honest…they’d get vandalized. There’s so much more trust and respect here.

 

3. Scooters

Go down any street and you’ll see them in rows by the hundreds. They zip by, and daredevils squeeze between cars in the crazy dance that’s Taiwan traffic. Mind you, they also add to the air pollution, but they make getting around so convenient. You can actually drive your scooter into some corner restaurants. Plus, I want a strawberry helmet.

 

4. Umbrellas

The weather here is erratic, with lots of rain, so umbrellas are de rigueur. Everyplace you go will have an umbrella stand AND people aren’t going to take your umbrella unless it’s an accident and it looks like theirs. That isn’t likely, considering how many colored/patterned ones you can buy. Fair-skinned ladies like myself (i.e. photophobes) can break them out parasol-style as soon as the sun comes back.

 

5. Food

Obviously, the last one was going to be food. It is so good, and so cheap. As a vegetarian, I’m always delighted by the veggie options. Tofu is plentiful, and seasonal vegetables are always on the menu. Teppanyaki has become my favorite. For NT$50 ($1.70) I can get a full dinner with tea, soup, rice, a fried egg or tamagoyaki, and two kinds of vegetable. This time of year, it’s beansprouts and cabbage. I get mine “la” or spicy…and they mean spicy! The little red peppers are not for the weak-of-tongue.

 

I’m looking forward to more exploration, and many more additions to this list!!

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Stop Waiting

19 Feb

Back in 2008, when I was doing the corporate/editorial/9-5 thing and feeling adrift, I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish. It wasn’t a long list, but it changed my life.

It went a little like:

  1. Write books
  2. Travel the world

I decided that these were going to be my priorities and I did what I needed to do to make them happen. First, I left my job and got my M.F.A. in fiction. It was liberating to focus only on writing, instead of trying to write around work and the headaches that followed me home.

I couldn’t stare at a computer screen all day and comfortably come home to write. People do (and props if you’re one of them), but I knew I’d make excuses not to and would never accomplish my first goal. Not to mention goal number two. It would take 30 years of earning seniority and saving before I could see the world, and though I’ve got nothing but respect for people who do it that way, I am not that patient.

Now I’m moving to Taiwan. I’ll be teaching ESL with plenty of time to write and travel, and I couldn’t be happier. In the past few months, I’ve had too many reminders that time is precious. My cousin–who was a year younger than me–suddenly passed away as I was packing for my TEFL course in Prague. As much as I wanted to be there for my family, what could I do? She was finishing her degree, had a boyfriend she probably would have married, and big dreams for the future.

Gone.

I think of her when I need to make big decisions, and remember that there’s no time to waste in life. I’m not making excuses anymore. I will do exactly what I need to do to get where I want to be.

So many people have told me they’re jealous of my move. “I want to do that!” is the most common response, usually followed by a big, “but….”

If you want to do something–whether it’s writing, traveling, getting in shape, or learning a new language–you need to start in now. The longer you wait the less time you’ll have, and the more excuses you’ll make. I don’t have a family or a house or many attachments –I value my independence too much–so it’s easier for me to turn a 180, but it doesn’t matter if you have five kids and a mortgage. Take small steps. I can’t tell you how, but if you take your goal seriously, you’ll find a way to get there. Be a little selfish and stop waiting for the things you want to come your way. You will be happier.

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