I safely arrived here in Taipei and have been loving every minute of it. I've woken up the past two days promptly at 6:00 a.m. covered in a layer of sweat, feeling healthy, well-rested and ready to start the day!
I've been staying with my aunt (mom's older sister) and will move into my studio, about a 10 minute walk from my aunt's, either today or tomorrow.
It's humid. It's hot. In the low 90s almost all day so people walk around in hats and holding umbrellas to block the sun. I now carry a little towel around with me to periodically wipe the sweat from my brow, under my neck and under my arms. Also, after every shower, I douse myself in baby powder (that smells of Magnolia petals) and then spray my exposed skin with 15% DEET bug spray. This is my life now and I accept it. Though the heat/humidity is really sometimes unbearable, it makes walking into an air-conditioned room feel like Heaven.
So far, It's been a lot of time with my family. Speaking to them in broken Chinese, them correcting me. My favorite memory to do with family is the moment I introduced myself to my 92-year old grandfather who suffers from serious Alz and is only really awake about 20 minutes each day. My aunt said "This is Justine, Wu Chonglin's daughter," (in Chinese) and much to my surprise - all of ours, actually - he nodded his head and then SMILED a huge, drooly smile. I smiled back, grabbed and squeezed his hand. My heart exploded with joy. This was a big deal given his condition and how rarely he reacts to his surroundings. He fell asleep seconds after that smile, one I won't forget...that is unless my fate is his and I develop Alz (abbreviating this because i don't know does the i or e come first, etc.)
The other majority of my time has been walking around, eating and buying food. This morning my two aunts, uncle and I went to a market about a 7 minute walk away. Most of it was outdoors. As you'll see in my pictures, there are lots of animal parts, vegetables and fruits here that you probably haven't seen before. Their carrots are very thick and rounded and there is a long thin variety of eggplant.
I'm currently working on uploading a video from my market experience and will share as soon as Vimeo is done uploading. YouTube is upset with me right now for posting Glee Live videos of copyrighted songs by Beyonce, so my account there is currently suspended. Hates it.
For now, enjoy the photos including two pictures from my new, peculiar and kinda scandalous Chinese workbook.
Things I'm excited about right now: Learning Chinese (expanding my vocabulary every day), making new friends and experiencing the nightlife.
李昌瑞 （Ｍｙ ＣＨＩＮＥＳＥ ｎａｍｅ！）