During the past two months of living in Taiwan, I’ve noticed and experienced the following.
The number of adorable stray dogs with collars
I photographed this doggo for over an hour my first week in Taoyuan. I thought to myself, “surely, this is someone’s beloved house pet.” Nope. This cutie is one of a dozen roaming the streets of Luzhu.
I play tennis on a regular basis
Before I left for Taiwan, I played with Peter a few times (since this is his beloved sport). I went from hitting stray balls, to hitting a balls with limited accuracy. Now, I play at least three times a week – depending upon the rain – and I have greatly improved my strokes, volleys, and serves. (Side note: this is a very strange court; it’s sandy yet slippery like a clay court.)
Fried chicken Sandwiches for breakfast is the move
This isn’t ~entirely~ shocking since I hail from the land of fried chicken (Chick-fil-A, Zaxby’s, Cane’s, KFC, Popeyes) and I was low-key addicted to Chick-fil-A in college. But, fried chicken was typically reserved for lunch or dinner. Now, all I crave is a $45NT ($1.53USD) fried chicken sandwich in the morning. The bun varies – waffle, hamburger bun, crust-less sandwich bread – but the sweet fried chicken and egg combo remains the same. It’s heavenly.
Living without a car is bittersweet
It’s exciting and convenient to live in a community where work, grocery store, and 711 are all within a 900 meter radius. (Talk about carbon footprint reduction!) However, the only places close to me are work, grocery store, and 711. If I want to go to a coffee shop, movie theater, mall, or rock wall in the closest city, I have three options:
- 1 hour walk
- 1-1.5 hour bus ride
- 30-40 minute bike ride (on heavily congested streets with unrecognizable travel patterns)
Even though it’s satisfying to not drive a car on a daily basis, it’s quite the challenge to go anywhere beyond 4km.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is heavily practiced
On a similar note, I’ve noticed that waste reduction is practiced by everyone on a consistent basis. Everywhere I go, people are separating recyclables, using reusable mugs for coffee, and using reusable tins for take-out. Additionally, the government has banned plastic bags, and some stores will give you a discount for using reusable containers. Rumor has it Taiwan plans to ban plastic straws and cups by 2030!
Students Clean the school
A few years ago, I saw a video on Facebook about Japanese students cleaning their school to learn responsibility and reduce janitorial costs. I thought it was limited to that Japanese school. I’ve learned otherwise. Every morning, students arrive to school by 7:30AM to deep clean – classrooms, bathrooms, outdoor areas, offices, everything! Around lunch time, a flurry of students burst into my office to sweep, mop, organize paper work, and tidy the room. Honestly, it is shocking to witness because I cannot imagine my 15 year-old brother cleaning anything.