So Saturday morning I arrived in Taipei. I managed to cause a chaotic scene as soon as I stepped outside the airport doors as taxi drivers started calling for backup as they tried to figure out just where it was I needed to go. Somehow this tiny little lady muscled the men aside and grabbed both of my nearly 60lbs bags and tossed them into her taxi and motioned something that I interpreted as, "get in my taxi or I'll toss you in." I don't think I can adequately describe the feeling I had when I settled into the taxi and watched the sun rise over my new city.
Fast forward through what seemed like an activity you would find on an academic version of Amazing Race and you would have experienced my moving in process. Dante's Inferno and all the rings of hell would also add to illustrate the experience seeing as I got stuck outside the gate, then inside the gate but outside of the building, then inside of the building but outside of the dorm room, and then finally inside the dorm room in general. A nice girl (Laney) helped me out and with her fantastic linguistic skills, and convinced Den Mama to let me in etc. She then helped me move in and took me to find breakfast, which ended up being egg rolls (but not the type that typically accompany Chinese food...literally bits of egg rolled around various ingredients such as corn or ham)! Eventually the nice girl (Katy) who works in the Office of Intl Cooperation met up with me and took me to the University store to buy a mattress, a few pillows, and other essential dorm stuff (like a card to buy air conditioning). She also showed me this wonderful dumpling hut and I've been living on dumplings and soy milk for practically every lunch and dinner since then!
Sunday was awesome! I got to ride on a scooter and have my first near death experience in Taipei!!! In situations such as scooter v. bus, always place your money on the bus! I found it quite hilarious that all the ladies riding around on their scooters were wearing oven mitts. Why they wore oven mitts baffled me, so I asked Laney and she said it was to protect them from the sun! These same ladies also never go anywhere without an umbrella 1. because it rains quite frequently here and 2. because they don't want to get a tan! I can only imagine the strange looks I would receive if I wore oven mitts while riding about or carried an umbrella on a beautifully sunny day.
Today was pretty awesome as well...I got internet in my room and was taught by a Russian how to ride the bus & metro, and then he left me at a bus stop and told to find my way back to school by taking Bus 236 all the way over the bridge. It was highly exciting and I wasn't really good at going in the right direction to the right metro stops. I blame it on the fact that they seemed to announce the stops in English only after leaving the stations!
It's great here and I'm having tons of fun...I met a classmate of sorts from Nicaragua and convinced her to join me in my quest to find a Dragon Boat Festival rowing team! My classmates are super helpful and I think I'm going to enjoy classes...it should be entertaining at least! Well it's almost dinnertime and I'm about to run out and grab more dumplings and soy milk...it gets dark here around 6.00pm, so I try to do all my getting lost prior to the sun going down. (Don't worry, Mum...it's rather safe here!) Since classes don't start til next week I'm spending most of my time getting lost, perfecting the look of confusion with light shrugging, and going to various orientations. I have Intl Students Orientation on Weds and a Fire and Disaster Prevention workshop on Thursday...I'm also kind of scared the mythical creature named the "Military Instructor" who lives in our dorm and apparently does drills with us?!? I'm also kind of scared of the antiquated exercise equipment and hula hoops provided on all floors in all the common areas! It would appear that I'm going to need to learn how to hula hoop before I go to work out!!!