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Published: October 9th 2017
If you know me then you know I'm a researcher. Any time we plan a new trip, I'm researching where we're going, the best way to get there, the best place to stay, etc. The dog gets sick and I'm researching what's wrong and how to change his diet and nutrition to best help him. So when Matt said "They sent me the job offer for Taiwan!" I went into full-blown research mode 😊 I read blogs, got on Facebook forums, read travel sites and government sites. Here are some of the fun things I've found about our new home for the next couple of years:
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• While just about everything is written in Chinese characters there, we're going to see some things that will be familiar. In Taichung (where we'll be living) there's an IKEA, Costco, TGIFridays, Ponderosa, Starbucks and, of course, McDonalds.
• Peanut butter can be difficult to find, brown sugar and powdered sugar are available but are different than what we use here, deodorant and shaving supplies can be hard to find and expensive when you do.
• The medications that are considered over-the-counter here aren't really OTC there, so we've been told to stock up on things like Nyquil, Advil, and Pepto.
• When you're invited to eat at a Taiwanese home (especially in southern Taiwan) if you clean your plate they bring you another. If you're done eating you need to leave a little bit of everything on your plate to signal that you're full.
• Regardless of signs, traffic lights, and road rules, the biggest one gets right of way. So, trucks come before cars, come before scooters, come before people. I'm personally planning on taking advantage of the awesome bus and train system on the island and skipping the driving lol. Matt, of course, wants a scooter (does anyone remember my blog post from Sardinia when Matt laid over the scooter with me on the back? https://www.travelblog.org/Europe/Italy/Sardinia/Alghero/blog-196368.html)
• We've learned a LOT about the history of Taiwan and its relationship to China. It's a bit convoluted to get into but basically China says Taiwan is part of China. Taiwan says it's not. The U.S. is sitting on the fence and we essentially won't say that China isn't
in charge but we won't say that they are
either. It's really interesting! There's a whole Taiwan agreement that says, in a nutshell, "we'll sell stuff to you and buy things from you, and if you get attacked we'll try and help, but we're otherwise keeping our noses out of your business".
• Taiwan is one of the safest places to live in the world and is extremely friendly to Americans. One person I talked with in a Facebook forum said that there I'll be special and parents and grandparents will want their children to talk to me and practice their English. It will be a nice change from our time in Europe where we either claimed to be Canadian or British (only in Turkey...they assumed and we didn't correct them).
• There's a huge expat (expatriate) community there, and not just Americans either. There are people living there from all over the world and the available food in the major cities definitely reflects that. There's a Canadian guy that started a local pizza chain, a French guy that started a restaurant, and tons of American burger joints and steakhouses, in addition to traditional Taiwanese, Chinese, and Japanese cuisine.
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