“What causes culture shock? It is basically an accumulation of stress caused by a lack of the familiar…. Culture shock can hit the young, the old, the experienced, the naive. It might be a fleeting moment of melancholy, or a brief loneliness, but it can also be a profound and deep depression.” — Culture Shock! Taiwan
So the honeymoon is over. Over. It’s been a fantastic introduction to Taiwan, but as I bid good bye to my heady first few weeks here, I realize with a shock that I am living in Taiwan, not visiting, vacationing, or galavanting. So if I haven’t been in touch, don’t worry, I’m just culture shocked. Continue reading
Hey there folks, it’s hard to believe another week has veritably flown by! This week was marked by the start of my Chinese class at Zheng Da– which included mind-blowing panic about my ability to speak, understand, and learn this fine language–some delicious meals, a trip to the Taipei IKEA and other adventures with my roommate, interesting new people, intense bus rides, and in just the last 2 days, Fulbright Orientation! The latter was particularly exciting because it felt like a real kick-off to the year. And there are some amazing people doing research grants, teaching assistantships, and faculty exchanges.
Anyway, the majority of this week’s photo highlights can really be summed up by two categories: eating cool new Taiwanese fruit, and commuting to class and back! Continue reading
Hello, dear blog readers! As I write this, I have finished my first full week in Taiwan. So far, I have found Taipei to be wonderfully accessible, vibrant, and welcoming. This week, I successfully moved into an apartment in Taipei where I will stay for a year during my Chinese language class and research fellowship. I registered for my class that will begin on Monday. I’ve even made some friends, and have pushed myself to speak, listen, observe, and experience the world past my comfort zone.
So here’s a little week in review in some favorite photos not yet posted: Top Five Things that Have Made Life in Taipei Easier and Fun. Continue reading
Photo by ctsnow courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons
Blog readers, meet Eva. She is my Taiwanese college roommate from Stanford, one of my best friends, and kind of a sister to me. She and her family have been my cultural translators for Taipei and Taiwan (although she currently lives in Boston), and I will be referring to their help and guidance throughout my adventure.
She has also been a great language buddy with whom I’ve been practicing my burgeoning (and bumbling) Mandarin. And at the risk of turning this into a food blog, one of the most effective ways to learn Chinese vocabulary I’ve found is through discussing food!
So before I left, I asked Eva what her top 5 favorite Taiwanese foods are, that I must try when I arrived in Taiwan. Her answers provided a great lesson in Chinese language and the fascinating etymologies of meaning that lie embedded in each combination of characters. Eva’s list of Taiwanese highlights was as follows:
1. Beef noodle soup- 牛肉麵 (niu rou mian)
2. Stir fried vegetables, in particular, watercress- 炒空心菜 (chao kong xin cai)
3. Potstickers- 鍋貼 (guo tie)
4. Grilled Sausage with Basil- 烤香腸和九層塔 (kao xiang chang he/han jiu ceng ta)
5. Stinky Tofu- 臭豆腐 (chou do fu) Continue reading
My lunch at Sweet Dynasty: won ton soup and fried turnip cake, with jasmine tea
I’m finally here!! My first day in Taipei was spent eating and not getting hit by cars, not necessarily in that order.
I arrived in Taiwan safely and without too much fuss. It was 19 hours total travel time, one layover in Anchorage, Alaska, and several hours spent sleeping, thanks to a potent combination of sleep deprivation prior to the trip, a double vodka tonic served up by a bartender in New York (that tasted like rubbing alcohol), and some NyQuil (taken after the layover, NOT with the cocktail, don’t worry). I was met by a friendly woman who works for the Foundation for Scholarly Exchange (Fulbright Taiwan), who made me feel very welcome and helped me check in to the hotel.
Breakfast in the room: carob covered rice cake from Sag Harbor, apple pear from the hotel, water, tea, and books.
I didn’t feel too jetlagged, so after securing some WiFi and checking in with my family via Skype, I decided to take to the Taipei streets and seek out some lunch and temporary groceries, like fruit or snacks, to keep me on the right side of hunger and foreign-country-distress. Continue reading