Greetings from Taiwan! It took a layover in LA, then a 14 hour flight, followed by a 45 minute drive to our new apartment, and about an hour wait for our friends to bring us our apartment keys, but we are here!
Our new apartment building was just constructed in the last few years and is a grandiose sky rise in the scrappy outskirts of Taiwan. The lobby is a showy display of marble, chandeliers, and elegant French-inspired furniture. There is a swimming pool, a second pool feed by natural hot springs, a nudie pool, a small gym, free bike rentals, and a roof garden/patio area that I know I’m going to love. Chris and I are living on the 28th floor and have a beautiful flat that is fortunately less ostentatious than the lobby.
The apartment is small by most standards but large by city standards. It is amazing how innovative and flexible the design of the space is. Everything is multipurpose and there is storage in every nook and cranny. Chris and I literally fit ALL of our cloths in two drawers.
Because we have a corner flat there are huge windows on two of the four walls. One of the major windows is the exterior bathroom wall. The entire bathroom is glass—from the outside window to the shower to the wall between the bathroom and bedroom. So when standing in the entry, you have a straight shot through the bedroom, through the bathroom, to the river. I think our toilet has the best view in Taiwan. J Although the bedroom is also open to the flat, it can be enclosed with glass screens that can be arranged to provide some privacy from the rest of the space. I love the modern simplicity of our new home because it is designed in a way to create an open, metropolitan experience that takes advantage of the spectacular views.
These are some of the odd-ball impressions that I have noticed about Taiwanese living:
The Taiwanese use Kleenex in place of toilet paper, napkins, and paper towels. Even restaurants have a box of tissues at each table for napkins. I went through about 8 during dinner last night because they practically desinigrate when wet.
The eating utensils, bowls, and plates in our apartment are tiny. You could make a place setting for dolls and it would look totally proportionate. Each plate can hold a roll… and maybe a tooth pick. The cups are the width of a silver dollar, and the serving bowls are the size of a regular American cereal bowl. No wonder American’s are chunky monkeys.
There isn’t an oven in our room. We have a cook top (which we are fortunate to have—most people eat on the street), and a toaster oven.
Taiwan is very strict about disposing of trash. We have to sort recycling by glass, aluminum, etc. and also have a separate trash for any food waste. Failing to separate food can get you a ticket which means we have a really smelly bin of old food outside our window.
There is an oriental shoe cupboard near the front door, because it is extremely disrespectful to leave ones shoes on when entering even their own house. It’s a hard thing for me to remember to do and it requires more tying and untying than I would have thought. It’s kind of a smelly cupboard.
The tap water is bad, so neither visitors nor natives drink it, but I keep forgetting and have probably ingested some nasty parasite.