Saturday, April 25, 2009

Update

So I've been long overdue for an update on my life.  Honestly, I have been very much preoccupied by several things going on in my life.  I am getting ready to move back to the States in about three weeks so there is a ton of little things that need to be taken care of before I can get on that plane.  

I am very excited to come back home after about 9 months living here in Taiwan.  This won't be good-bye but only a brief farewell.  I've greatly appreciated the time I've spent here and I feel that I've grown a ton as a person as a result.  

I have been studying for the LSAT almost every single night that I get a chance.  My scores have been improving so that is a plus.  However, every day that I count down to go home is also one day closer to the big day of the test.  

I can't wait till the day I can go back and see my family and friends.  Life abroad really makes you appreciate the small things that make a day:  a good debate on politics, a bowl of macaroni and cheese, the sound of your best friend giving you advice, and the expectant meow of your hungry cat.  

Hope all is well with everyone!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Mexican food, waffles, and basketball



Pictures are courtesy of my friends.  My past weekend consisted of going to Danshui, a town on the coast of the Pacific ocean, to check out a popular Mexican restuarant called Eddy's Cantina.  I had a really good quesadilla with surprisingly a little too much cheese, or perhaps my taste buds are getting acclimated to Taiwan's flavors.   Afterwards we walked around the night market where my friend played a dart game and won me that Spongebob inflatable toy!  Really random, I know.  Even more random was that we were obligated to take several group pictures with Spongebob before I could stash him into my purse.  

Later that night we went back into Taipei to check out a really famous waffle place called Coffee Alley in the Eastern district (an increasingly popular upscale area of Taipei).  The waffles were great, I had the pictured strawberry waffles, although after I finished my strawberries, I could have used some syrup to finish off the rest of the waffles. 

Anyway, the next day, a bunch of us got together to play basketball at the National Taiwan University basketball courts.  For the first two hours, Yicheng and I just watched while the guys played 3 on 3 with some strangers and then afterwards we got to play 3 on 3, except it was an easy version with a 10 year old kid!  It was a lot of fun, I ended up jamming a finger but I also made a lot of baskets!!  So yay for random weekends of Mexican food, waffles, and basketball.  

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tax Question!

Perhaps you guys can help me out since I seem to be tangled in Taiwan's seemingly endless bureaucratic system here... but if I am an overseas Taiwanese citizen, meaning I hold a Taiwan passport but I don't have a Taiwan ID number and I have an ARC, do I still have to pay the 20% income tax that other non-citizen, non-residents have to pay?? Honestly I still haven't figured it out yet and I am sick of getting the run around when I ask about it at work. Help!

Sorry this post is so boring and probably makes no sense to the people back home! I've recently been stressing out about job prospects for when I get back to the States along with getting the LSAT blues (and trying to figure out Taiwan's tax system!) so I have been unable to post with my more upbeat personality. I will update later on my wonderful past weekend which included Mexican food, basketball, and waffles. Yes, this all happened.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What I miss most about the States


I've been feeling reminiscent so I thought I'd make a list of what I miss most about the States, people excluded and in no particular order.  

1. driving!
2. TexMex
3. people saying "bless you" after sneezing
4. speaking English
5. personal bubble space
6. living in a house (vs. apartment)
7. actual enclosed showers
8. ovens
9. air conditioner/heater
10. people saying "excuse me" when they bump into you
11. cheese! on everything!
12. sandwiches
13. Target, e.g. one stop shopping

Conversely, this is what I'll miss about Taiwan.

1. MRT
2. cheap food
3. night markets
4. all of the convenience stores
5. speaking Chinese
6. buses
7. walking everywhere
8. the close mountains and ocean

Well this is all that comes to mind right now.  If you'd like to add to the list, let me know!  

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spongebob!

I like Spongebob, it's a really funny show that I think is great to watch when you don't need to work your brain.  That, and it actually does have some pretty witty jokes mixed in with ridiculous kid humor.  So because I bought a Spongebob planner and other... Spongebob-y incidents... I am now known around the office as the person who loves Spongebob.  

On my birthday, my coworkers set up a small surprise lunch party for me.  It was really sweet.  I had delicious chocolate cake and my presents were these cute sponges that were decorated to look like Spongebob.  Sure, I can't really do my dishes with them, but they're a really cute souvenior to take home with me.  

 

After work, a group of my work friends and I went to a Mexican restaurant called Tequila Sunrise, where I had pretty good chicken quesadillas, Mexican style not TexMex (my favorite).  We also ordered a pitcher of strawberry margarita where we had the option of a normal amount of tequila or extra tequila, at no extra cost!  Only in Taiwan...  Then when we asked what freebie I could get for being the birthday girl, I got a shot of tequila.  My first, it was predictably strong and gross in my opinion but not bad with the salt and lime.  Afterwards, we went to one of our friend's apartment to play Wii Mariokart.  It was difficult to get the game set up in the teeny apartment but it was really fun and interesting to see someone else's home in Taiwan, excluding my family.  

So that is the story of my first birthday out of the country!  I guess I can report that birthdays are pretty much celebrated the same way as they are in the US.  Unless there is some crazy Taiwanese birthday celebration method that I am not privy to, I'd say I had a pretty satisfying birthday.  Thank you to everyone who helped me bring in year 23!  

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Birthday


So, tomorrow is my birthday. This is actually one birthday that I'm not that excited about. For one, I'm turning 23, which is altogether a very unexciting year. I mean it's not 21 and I'm only getting older right? And for two, this is pretty much my first birthday away from my best friends. I miss them like crazy.

Regardless, my friends here have set up a very nice night for me. After work we're going to a Mexican resturant, I'm really curious to see what Mexican food in Taiwan will taste like. No doubt it'll be different, but we'll see how good it is. Afterwards, we're going back to a friend's place to play Wii. Kind of random, I know, but I'm sure it'll be fun. Oddly enough, I think this night will be sans alcohol, but I'm ok with that.

One year older, I hope that makes me one year smarter too. Well, I'm glad to say that I was brave enough to spend the majority of age 22 living in a foreign country. This experience was definitely worth whatever I sacrificed for it. I feel that I know myself better and I definitely know the world a little better. My time here is nearly over though, I just booked my one way ticket back home yesterday and I could not be more excited. I'm scared to see where my next adventure takes me but I know the experience will be worth having.

So here's to getting older! I hope everyone has a great Friday the 13th!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Seoul and Gwangju

I am back from Korea! It was a long but really great trip. I chose a bottle of soju to represent and commiserate my trip because as far as I can recall, I had soju every night I was there. Soju is a great, traditional Korean alcohol that everyone drinks. It's pretty much mandatory. Anyway, Seoul was great, its a really pretty city with lots of hills everywhere. It reminded me of San Francisco because every building and apartment seemed to sit on a tall hill. There's also a large river that runs through the city that I thought gave the city a nice water-front charm. I did some typical touristy things like visiting the Gyeongbok Palace and the DMZ. My good friend Thomas, who I also went to Japan with, showed me around town and we had good food, good soju, and good company!

I also made a side trip to the city of Gwangju, about four hours outside of Seoul to see my friend Charlie. We had a good time wandering around downtown and finding the best bottle of white wine ever. I also bought a pair of purple low top Converse shoes and learned how to shoot a pellet gun! Charlie won me a little penguin with red ear muffs. Overall, it was a pretty hilarious day.

All in all, it was a great trip and I can't wait to make more of them! Below are some pictures I thought I'd share:


Seoul Tower

The view from Seoul Tower

The only normal picture of Charlie and I, from the bajillion he took with my camera.

Inside Gyeongbok Palace


A wall near the DMZ.

I think in the distance that is a gate at the DMZ.

The only picture Thomas let me take of him, judging from my entire photo album, you wouldn't be able to tell that I was with him for practically the entire trip!

BONUS:

video

This is still moving octopus, its pretty disgusting but apparently its kind of a delicacy (I assume anyway). It's pretty gross, it crawls off the table when you try and eat it.

Well I hope you enjoyed the pictures!