Luckily, there is plenty to keep me occupied in Taipei outside of work. First of all, the food is quite cheap, so from 4:30 to midnight it’s basically one giant pigfest. I’ve tried to make a point of being social every day. That ranges from going to eat out (for about $2) to hitting up one of the bars/clubs of the city. On Wednesdays and Thursdays there are many ladies nights at the nightlife spots, some of them with free open bar for ladies. That gets interesting. The thing is that Taiwanese don’t usually dance until they’re really drunk, at around 1 am… until then, it’s just me and a few expat friends. Other nights, it’s fun to walk around the night markets. They’re so colorful and exciting. Occasionally, I’ll find something pretty tasty there, like sandwiches made with a donut as a bun, or bacon wrapped bok choy. Other times, I’ll find a pig staring back at me.
I’m glad that the expat community is very social here. It’s small, but very social. It’s likely that you’ll run into another group that knows some people in your group, so you get to meet new people all the time. There are some pretty strict areas where most of the expats hang. And it’s also nice that people are willing to go out every night of the week– that’s one of the big perks of living abroad and resolving to enjoy life, rather than save all of our energy for careers.
Another thing I’ve been enjoying are the public gyms. They cost about $1.50 for an hour in the fitness center, which is pretty well equipped and air conditioned. I need to go there often to work off all of the rice and fried foods I’ve been eating.
The thing about life here is that everything is so convenient. It was easy to settle in here– a real boon since I was feeling lazy when I got here. I experienced next to 0 culture shock– many elements are similar to either the US or Thailand. A few examples of what I mean: Electrical plugs are the same as in the US. The MRT has the same layout as Thailand. 30 Taiwanese dollars per USD, 30 (Thai) baht per USD. My job is a 15 minute walk from home. 7 elevens with a variety of dinner options on every corner make it unlikely that I will ever starve (or lose any weight). Bathroom in every metro stop, complete with an LED light display that tells you which stalls are open. Metro arrival countdown to the second. Easy Card that allows you to get on almost any transportation in the country, as well as many restaurants in the metro/bus stops. Basically, I’m not wasting any energy on the everyday demands of life, and so I have a lot of energy to apply towards my social life and personal interests.