We have….arrived.  It’s been a whirlwind.  I still haven’t fully processed the fact that I’m in Taipei, and 16 hours away from my life.  It feels a little like a dream, but that may be because of the insane time difference and lack of sleep I felt yesterday up until our big adventure.  Let me update you on my life in Taiwan.

We arrived at six in the morning Taipei time and though I barely slept on the plane it was go go go once we arrived.  We boarded a very fancy bus that was nearly too small for our ridiculous pile of luggage and set off for the Chinese Youth Center, Chien Tan.

The bus ride took us over a highway past many different areas.  Some places looked like third world countries with high rise buildings in horrible disrepair.  Other areas were full of industrial buildings with huge signs on them stating their company name and slogan.  As we got closer to town the lush trees and plants became more groomed and orderly.  Finally we arrived at Chien Tan.

The Youth Center is a huge brick complex that feels similar to a hotel.  There are several wings.  I am staying in a two person room with Carolyn on the eighth floor.  Carolyn is super sweet and it will be fun spending the month with her.  Our room has two single beds, a little desk and a tiny little cabinet that functions as a tiny closet.  We have Ethernet in our room which makes updating this blog easy enough.  The view outside out window is the fabulous Grand Hotel.  It’s amazing and huge, right outside out window.

I’ll have to take a picture of the actual view because it’s quite shocking.

We stowed our baggage and went on an excursion through the bus station en route to Taipei American School (TAS) where we will be spending most of our time.  We stopped at the bank (apparently they won’t convert $20 bills from 1996 because of a high level of counterfeit in that year) and found the first Starbucks where I bought a vanilla latte and a Taipei coffee cup (that was quick!).  From there we took a tour of the school.  It is beautiful and sprawling and we all agreed way cooler than any of our schools back home (more info on that to come).

After our tour we came back and got ready for New Years.  That’s a story for my next post.  Off to the shower and to the rest of my day.  More later.

Lindsay


I am sitting on the carpet at SeaTac airport waiting for my flight to begin boarding. It has been a long and busy day that started with coffee and final to-do lists, a bunch of episodes of Dexter while we finished packing up all of my stuff, and a really sad goodbye at the front of the security line. I fought back the tears (and seriously lost) while matt held strong for me. All the security guys were so nice and gave me Kleenex as they guided me through the line. As you can see Matthew tried to come with, but it didn’t quite work. Ruby could have fit, but she would have been pretty mad on the other side. The next post will be from the other side of the ocean. See you there!


Retail Rush

27Dec09

Hello shoppers.  I am your friendly neighborhood cashier.  The day after Christmas is like a day at the races.  Everyone’s moving a mile a minute except for me.  They’re all headed in my direction.  I like it busy, though.  It makes the time go by quickly and keeps my mind off of the stress of packing and the panic over leaving my husband behind when I leave on Tuesday.  It’s already here.  Wow.  I find myself hugging Ruby (my cat) a little tighter than usual.  Luckily she enjoys this, although I suspect she knows something’s up.  I’ve been letting her do that kneading thing all over my favorite blanket which I would usually be yelling at her for, but hey…I’m already having guilt that I’ll be gone so long so it’s cool.  I haven’t pulled out the big suitcase yet which may be panicking me more than anything else.

I’ve been making the rounds of telephone calls to friends and family so that in the case of any slim chance disaster situation I can have had those last memorable conversations.  More so it’s the fact that I won’t have the use of a phone for a month.  My mother and I have made a pact to speak everyday and though I know that sounds silly you’d have to know us to understand how crazy close we are.  It’s not exactly to Gilmore Girls level of joined-at-the-hip-edness but ironically similar.

Frankly, I’m also a little worried about Matthew.  I know he’s an adult and all, but when  I changed the sheets last night I had the eery feeling that they may not get changed again prior to my return.  These kinds of thoughts alarm me.  I have to put them out of my head before Matthew starts reading my thoughts and getting offended.  I know this isn’t likely, but if it happened it would be very unfortunate. (Oh, whoops.  I think he subscribed already.  Hi Puppy-face.)

I had plans to go to the movies, but those were cancelled by my husband who was a little worried about my level of stress and the length of my to-do list.  Hopefully tonight we’ll finish up my packing so we can enjoy our last day and a half together before my flight.

Adieu.  I mean Zaijian…(I think).


Happy Christmas

25Dec09

Today I woke up to a Christmas filled with the sweet ringing of my cats’ collar bells and the welcome beeping of the coffee maker. I unwrapped presents with my husband beside the glow of our lovely Christmas tree, sipped coffee and laughed with him. We spent the morning together and the rest of the day with my Mom and stepdad Rick who spoiled us with gifts and fantastic food. Once we got home and sat on the kitchen floor to give the cats their gifts (annual Fancy Feast dinners) I felt the tiniest twinge of sadness mixed with the teeniest nervous knot in my tummy. In four days I’ll walk away from all of this to get on a plane for an unknown land and the promise of adventure.

Now I may seem a tad overdramatic, but if that is the case you must not know me very well. Beyond my tendency to “think really hard about things,” I know that this is going to be one of the most important events of my life. The father of one of my third graders said, “You know, this is going to be one of the most memorable experiences of your life, don’t you? Good luck.” I agree completely.


Hello again.  There is so much I haven’t told you about my time in Taiwan and I figured I might as well begin now.  Carrie (my cat) did something stupid (knocked down a glass candy dish) and now I’ve locked her in the bathroom for the obligatory punishment so I’ve got a little time while I forget about her incessant whining. (Oh, how I’ll miss her…)

I am leaving with my fellow travelers from Spokane on Tuesday December 29th at 7:45 in the evening.  We board the plane here and then fly to Seattle where we have a four-hour layover before boarding our flight to Taipei.  From Seattle to Taipei it’s a direct flight, but that’s the long one – 13 hours.  We will take off from Seattle at 12:55 am our time and arrive in Taipei at 6:05 their time.  Ouch.  Apparently the time transition is much worse coming back, but that remains to be seen.  I have trouble sleeping on planes, but am bringing my cozy blanket and a pillow so that I may have a chance.

Our itinerary says that we will cover 224 miles to Seattle plus 6,074 miles to Taipei.  I have been to Europe three times, but this feels much farther away.  I can’t wait.

I’m going to be teaching high school art at Taipei American School with a fantastic teacher who is also from Washington.  We haven’t had too much opportunity to get to know each other by email, but I look forward to meeting her in person.  We begin teaching bright and early on Monday January 4th, which happens to be my husband Matthew’s birthday.  It will be a thrilling day, but I just hope I have a chance to speak to Matthew at some point to let him know I’m thinking about him.

We’re staying at a Youth Center there, which is essentially a dorm situation.  I will be sharing a room with some of the other ladies traveling with me.  We will have a bathroom to share within our small group.  I plan on showering at night to relieve some of the bathroom hustle and bustle in the morning.

We’ve been told that Taipei is a very safe city and that we should be able to explore during the evenings and weekends.  I plan to lead the crowd to the Taipei History Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, among others.  I have a feeling that I will be making multiple visits to the MOCAT.  There’s also the National Palace Museum which is said to hold the largest collection of ancient Chinese art dating back 5,000 years.  Another thing I’m very interested in experiencing are the famous Taipei night markets where residents go to eat and shop after dark.  There are six major night markets within walking distance of the MRT (subway) station and they should be easy to visit on a regular basis if we choose.  The real trick will be figuring out where to go and understanding the signs that are in Mandarin Chinese characters.  Hopefully our hosts will be able to help us out when we venture out for dinner.  More to come.

xo, Lindsay


Yesterday at the supermarket I got to thinking about how different things will be in Taipei…or not. I can’t really know until I get there. Taipei is the capital and a huge modern city. Regardless it will be very different from little old (actually new compared to Taipei!) Spokane. One thing I am really excited about is figuring out the day to day routines of my life there. It will be so interesting to figure every little thing out like my question to Peggy, “So, is coffee as popular over there as it is here in the states?” and other things like finding out what kinds of fruits are plentiful and popular over there. Plus, the age old question…how much shampoo will I use in a month abroad?

Matthew and I came across some seriously too large apples.  They have to be the results of hormone overload.  We compared the huge apple with an organic one that was about a third of the size.  Silly.  Alas, back to packing and laundry and list making and overall deep thoughts.

xo, Lindsay


I’ve been working on preparing myself for Taiwan, but I can’t say I’ve done too much yet. As soon as the semester ended at Whitworth I kept moving so fast I hardly had time to sit down.  Currently my to do list is a mile long and I have the afternoon free, but all I want to do is lay on the sofa with Ruby (my cat) and watch TV.  That’s funny.  I just said that like I have already prepared my list.  I should probably do that.  The mental list thing doesn’t actually hold much salt when you’re traveling internationally.

Pretty much all of my Christmas shopping is done.  Now I just have to worry about Matthew’s (my husband’s) birthday which is January 4th.  I feel terrible that I won’t be here for it, so I’m feeling the pressure to come up with some good surprises.  The only problem is I never know what to get him.  Ugh.

Somehow I got my mother to pick up the mosquito lotion for me at REI.  I love that woman.  I guess I should probably get back to my laundry since I leave in a mere 7 days and nothing I own is clean.  I’ll keep you posted.