Raining would be an understatement. There is no more air in Taipei, only water. I sometimes feel like I live in the ocean. I’m Spongebob, and Carrie is Patrick. She’ll never know she was cast as the considerably dumber character if you don’t tell her. She said she likens reading this blog to looking at photos a couple hours after they were taken. She JUST lived that, she doesn’t want to read about it. She says she’ll really value these stories/ramblings in a couple years or so. We’ll see about that. I will now make it my goal to surprise her future self in a bad way.
Our landlord is Squidword. If he would just let us not pay our second deposit (each one is a month’s rent), I would allow him to be the much more pleasant snail, can’t remember the name, which is a better fit since we share no common language but somehow did business together.
My current sub job is soooo close to being over with next Monday, the last day of school. I will miss those kids, but I won’t miss substituting. I can’t wait to have my own classroom of kiddos again.
More important than classrooms or kids is our time off! The two week unpaid summer vacation is actually more like 2.5 weeks. I’m stoked. My summer break has been long overdue. I went from the last day of my old job, to packing up my classroom the next day, to packing up my house the next, driving away from Austin the next, party at Carrie’s parents the next, fly into Taiwan the next, go on interviews the next five, and start my substitute job the next week. The money will be tight, but once I get over this hump of having to pay four rents in two months (because of the deposits), having to buy new things for our apartment including setting up services like internet etc, and having this next pay check be tiny, things will be good. All the other breaks, Christmas, Chinese New Year, and Spring Break) are paid ones. I have the potential to save a lot of money. Of course, I’ll have to stay away from shopping. I’ve been to this store chain called NET a few times lately. It’s like a mix between American Eagle and Urban Outfitters. The latter and I were quite good friends in the States, so this new store is my style, and a perk is that the clothes are made for shorter people! Yippppeeee! No more, “Well, this would be perfect if two inches were taken off the top of the shoulder area so the neckline doesn’t go below my boobs”. There are about 6 tall Taiwanese girls here, though, so I don’t know where they shop, but I don’t feel sorry for them. I do feel sorry for Carrie though because I know her and know she needs clothes. She wishes she packed more of the ones she had back home. When we were packing, she was thinking like this, “Wow, I’m so great at packing light!” and I was thinking, “My mom is right, I don’t need to bring all 50 of these tank tops, but… Taiwan IS a sub-tropical climate”. Carrie and I have decided that we want everyone who moves far away to have this advice: BRING AS MUCH AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN BECAUSE YOU CAN NEVER GO BACK UNTIL IT’S TOO LATE. This might seem a little dramatic, but you try holding up the 20th pair of triple zero shorts from Korea and see how you feel about your cute, black shorts you left at home that would have been exactly what you need (want).
I’ve found that when dressing for work, I avoid most of the clothes I brought specifically for work. Wearing pants in the summer here is torture, and when you wear shorts you are no longer thinking about how much you want to die. Luckily I am allowed to wear appropriate shorts here of which I have about 5 pairs.
NET isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s affordable, especially the items that have been mark down to their “Special Price” which is about half the store. I got a super comfortable pair of longish black shorts for about $12 USD at NET. They fit like a glove. In NT, though, $400 is not exactly cheap. I mean, it’s not a horrible deal for shorts, especially for those of us who cannot buy the cheap triple zero Korean street vendor clothes. But, since most people’s salaries are around 20,000 NT/month, they have to shop sparingly. They don’t go around racking up large debts either, I don’t believe. I make about 50,000/month (and more when I get my tax return), so I can afford to not budget so closely. It’s not beneficial to marvel at how the pants are only $12 USD, though, because it tricks you into wanting to buy more and my salary is about $400/month lower than it was in the states. So, I’ve stopped converting things to USD, and am beginning to get a feel for fair prices in NT. I want to save money for travel and just for the future, too.
I have met many people here who have been able to save a large sum of money by having my job or a similar one. One girl started an import/export business with her boyfriend after they jointly accumulated the equivalent of 3,000 USD. She also travels home twice a year and sends money back home to pay her credit card. Another girl sends a lot of money back home each month to pay her student loan debt. I think her plan is to stay in Taiwan at least until all her debt is paid. That would be miraculous if I did the same. I just figured I would be paying the government back until I’m about 40. I might just keep paying a little above the minimum, and use my saved money to move to a new place or take a year off to travel. I recently met a guy who just got back from traveling around the world with his girlfriend. They saved 1.5 million dollars total for a year abroad. “I like saying it in NT because it sounds so impressive”, he told me. It is about 50,000 USD. They went to Australia, Eastern Europe, Asian countries, and then Western Europe, but maybe they had friends to stay with? It’s impressive that he was able to save that much! He didn’t actually use all of the money, just 43,333 thousand between the two of them. By the way, flights from Taiwan to neighboring countries like Japan, Thailand, etc are quite cheap, only about 300 USD.
Someone is singing in the rain.
Next Wednesday Carrie and I are taking a trip down south to a peninsula area near Kaohsiung. It is called Kenting. We will take the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) for about 15 minutes to the main station in Taipei where you can catch the HSR (High Speed Rail) to various cities on the western coast of Taiwan. We will hop on the one to Kaohsiung for a 25 USD, 2 hour ride. It’s kind of pricey. Then, we will go to a bus station to catch a 3 hour bus to Kenting for about 12 USD. OR we will take a taxi that will get us from Kaohsiung to Kenting in half the time for almost the same price. Decisions, decisions. Then, we will check into our hostel. THEN, we will walk to the beach. THEN we will get in the water. THEN we will see a double rainbow and cry. Another quite entertaining video on You Tube. Watch the WHOLE thing, though, no matter how pathetic the guy seems; it will change your life.