This first week back in Taipei has certainly been a lesson in adjustment. Even though being here again has meant that I am happily returning to the life of unbelievably delicious (and incredibly cheap!) Taiwanese food, over the past few days I have once again also become aware of the difficulties of living in Taipei.
One of main difficulties has been surviving through the heat. Growing up in the small coastal town of Half Moon Bay has not exactly helped to make me resistant to intensely hot weather, as in this town temperatures rarely rise above 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius).
So, when temperatures rise up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) as they sometimes do in Taipei summers, to me it feels a bit like I am burning alive. This makes me extremely grateful for the unpredictable rainstorms that are frequent during summer months, as they generally cool off the city quite a bit.
Lately I have been finding that it has been far too hot to take photos during the day, so these I decided to shoot at night- and was quite pleased with the results! But even in the late evening (the first set was taken at about 9:30pm) it is still very humid and muggy!
These first shots were taken at a park near my apartment- a beautiful little square near the Jingmei night market. I had tried carefully before arriving not too bring too many clothes with me as Taipei is a bit of a fashion- forward shopping heaven- very cute on trend clothes can be found at nearly every night market and many shops that are priced often at only 400 TWD per item, which ends up being about $13 USD- very cheap!
However, the items that I am wearing were all priced even less than that at 100 TWD each, which comes to about $3 USD! The whole outfit here is priced at a total of $10 USD, if you can believe it! I am very lucky to be so small since everything this cheap is generally only sold in one size- which is a problem for many other foreign women who visit and live in Taipei.
One of my very favorite things about living in Taipei is the night markets. The roads and alleys filled with so many different food carts with hundreds of options of delicious things to eat (again, for so little money!) is totally and completely incomparable to anything I can imagine in the United States.
The food along with the fashion-forward and unbelievably cheap clothing stalls (which are placed right alongside each other) together create a world of ultimate temptation.
As I am trying to save money for future endeavors I have managed to hold back a bit more than I would otherwise, but I also see no reason to deprive myself of a little bit of fun while I am here!
The other challenges I have encountered have mainly been due to getting used to not using English on a regular basis while pushing myself more to learn Chinese, but sadly I also had the unfortunate experience of finding a cockroach in my bathroom flying right towards my head as I entered- a shocking encounter that reminded me once again of the downsides to living in a tropical country.
The swollen mosquito bites that cover my legs bear testament to this new lifestyle as well, and I find that I am left with far more than my Taiwanese roommate because as she says, “it’s like the mosquitoes are trying a new food!”
I guess I am not the only one appreciating the culinary delights in my stay here.
And now after my first day of work teaching (which was actually quite a bit more fun than I had anticipated!) I am finding myself becoming more and more settled into my new life here, happy to be somewhere that in many ways still feels new, but also glad to be back to this place I love so much.
Now all I need is a good night’s sleep to get me through tomorrow’s adventures!