Each day I feel more and more at home. As you can see, I've included some photos of my humble, but comfy studio in Taipei. The pluses are lots of space, two A/C units and a big, comfortable bed. The negs are no Internet, five flights of stairs, and being alone. Hopefully I start making friends who are willing to come over and hang out with me!!

Other pictures included are from this hot pot place called Mushroom Park that does mushrooms, almost exclusively. Just loads and loads of different kinds of mushrooms (there are many!) When Jan first told me about this place, I thought she was inviting me to get high. Because I have been saying Yes to almost everything here, I answered sure though with hesitance adding that I'm not that into drugs. This misunderstanding was soon resolved. It was delicious.

At Mushroom Park, Jan introduced me to her bf, her roommate Rob, her friend Felicia, Felicia's bf and Felicia's two friends Edward and Ernest. E&E are both in their early 30s and were very kind. Edward said my Chinese was pretty impressive!! He said I look like a white person, which I get sometimes from locals here and chuckle at because...Really?! Ernest is preparing to propose marriage to a Latvian woman he met 6 months ago!! He will do this in Italy. They are traveling through Europe for about a month, starting next week. We had the funniest conversation about this all. We asked tons of questions in Mandarin. Here are some highlights translated into English:

Us: So how did you decide to propose?

Ernest: I thought, Not bad, so why not?

Us: She must be smart if she works for the European Parliament.

Ernest: No, she is not very smart.

Us: OK??

Ernest: She is not very smart if she likes me! When I told my mom that this girl likes me, she was shocked "Really?! Is she normal??"

Us: OK, you're right something must be a little wrong with her in the head.

There was more, but it's too long and too tied to the moment to explain well here. :)

I also took a couple pics of the Zhishan MRT station, because that has become and will continue to be where I begin and end most of my days. The other day I got a little cheat sheet of the MRT system in English. It's pocket sized so I bring it around with me everywhere. So useful.

Also, A TYPHOON IS COMING! I incl. a picture of a graphic from the News. Today and the rest of this weekend Taipei will experience scattered showers and a mighty wind. The annual fireworks show has been postponed. My birthday weekend will be a rainy one, but that means a cooler (literal) one, so I am OK with it.

Next post will be a series of video from Ximen. Stay tuned...

Authorjustine lee