radiuju: (travel)
Joaru ([personal profile] radiuju) wrote on January 12th, 2016 at 11:26 am
First Month in Taipei -- Milestone Achieved!
 Belated but happy new year to everyone! I hope you guys had a wonderful winter break!

I already moved to Taipei on December 1st, but I thought I'd give myself a month to get used to things before doing the usual social media stuff. Hahaha. I'm kinda late by few days, but I thought I'd do it now while waiting for my laundry to dry.

Here are some things to summarize my first impressions of Taipei:
  • It's really hard to survive by relying solely on English. Despite language being a global language, Taiwan is really like a world on its own. Most of the youngsters don't understand English much either, because their English education only aims on making them pass tests rather than for practical use. Most cab drivers don't understand addresses/names of their landmarks in English. Even in the capital city, Taipei, it's even more common to know locals who can speak Japanese rather than English. So if you ever plan to visit Taiwan, better download translator/dictionary apps. It's better than nothing. On the other hand, though, it's the perfect environment to learn Chinese.
  • People are really nice and helpful even if you know zero Chinese. I have not travelled to other parts of Taiwan yet, but in Taipei, this is true. During my first week here I can barely other food without pointing fingers/bahasa tarzan whatsoever, but people are always patient, some locals would even step forward and help when they noticed that I don't understand the language. However, they are also more likely to make small talk and try to converse with you if they know that you are a foreigner. No harm intended by them, but it might get on the nerves for some people.
  • It's super relaxing. I have lived in Singapore for 4 years before I came here... The difference in stress level is blissful. There is a balance between the usage of public and private transports, so even during rush hours, the MRTs are packed but people will queue up nicely and nobody pushes around like in Singapore. It's also very rare to see people rushing on the escalators and stairs.
  • People sure eat a lot here. It's not that they are gluttonous, but it's just very amusing sometimes to see petite Taiwanese ladies gobble up a portion that I'd probably able to split with two or three other people. It's not even that rare to see, in fact I think 80% of the time they do eat that much... Can't blame them though, good food is relatively cheap and easily found everywhere. The only problem for me is the lack of hot sauce (I like my food spicy). But if you fancy western cuisine or fast food, it's relatively expensive here.
I'm also halfway through my first semester here. Learning Chinese (surprisingly) is not that difficult, because the grammatical structure is pretty similar to Bahasa Indonesia. I didn't have a very hard time trying to learn the characters either, maybe because I treat it more like drawing. My main problem is differentiating and pronouncing tones!

P.S I got hooked up on this Mainland Chinese drama called Nirvana in Fire, and I'm on episode 51. After I complete them (the final is 54) I'd like to blog some impressions on it because!! MY!!! FEEEEEELS!!!!! I'm on a hunt for my next wuxia though, it's a very good motivation for learning Chinese.
 
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