If you haven’t heard from me in awhile, it’s because I’ve been surviving my first typhoon and my first earthquake!
That’s a bit of an exaggeration. But it has certainly been a week with a deluge of weather, Chinese, meeting new people from around the world, and having some unique experiences in Taipei, including life at a hostel that’s a bit like camping: 3-pronged outlets only exist in the common room, and (paid) air conditioning in our rooms is only available from 11pm – 7 am.
Now, onto the weather: this past Monday and Tuesday, we were hit with two “Tropical Depressions” that created a good deal of wind, rain, and general mayhem among the already chaotic Taipei street traffic. Monday morning, I had my Chinese placement test and Orientation at National Chengchi University (Zheng Zhi Da Xue, 政治大學), and then lingered after lunch with a fellow classmate for much of the afternoon due to torrential downpours. Nothing like lousy weather for making friends!
After parting ways, I went to Starbucks to write, when all of a sudden I felt a vibration from the wall to my left. I thought at first that maybe my cell phone’s ringer had gone into overdrive, when I realized that something far more powerful was shaking the wall. Two women talking at a table looked up when the hanging track lights above us started to shake, and laughed. Laughed!! Which made me relax and just enjoy the sensation of being jarred out of my comfort zone. It was a small tremor, to say the least (I don’t even know that my table or chair shook much, just the walls and the lights), but it was my first.
The next morning, while watching the weather news and seeing the orbits created by the two tropical storms that were drenching our lovely city, a fellow hostel resident told me about the time he weathered a tiny earthquake during a barely-passable “Typhoon.” He had been pretty excited about the bragging rights it earned him—and that night on CNN, the headline was, “Taiwan ROCKED by Earthquake and Typhoon.”
We had a good laugh, and I thought to myself, Now I too can join the Taiwanese Earthquake and Typhoon club! I celebrated my residential rite of passage (and desire to not get soaked) by staying in, cleaning my hostel room, and taking a lovely afternoon nap.