Why I still love TAIWAN!

From springtime

From springtime

From springtime

From springtime

1. People are oh so friendly and accommadating. People will either try their darndest to speak English with us or find someone else to help us no matter where we are. To them, foreigners are respected, not hated like in most places. ( except the Chinese, which needs a blog of it's own).
2. People are honest. For me, in most us big cities or foreign countries, I automatically put up a trust guard against all those jerk con artists. But here in Taiwan, we have yet to be taken for a ride. Because of this, I take people at their word and I keep mine as well. It's an incredible feeling to trust a society and also be trusted. (i did have my first run-in creepy guy experience this week. First he asked to be my friend, to which i said, Of course! But then he invited me to take our friendship to another level...in his bedroom, to which I told no way, and then mentioned my gun-owner husband. but that NEVER happens. only this once)
3. Fresh, organic produce anytime. The fruits and veggies are consistently some of the best I've tasted. And we haven't even hit mango season yet!
4. Active nation: Taiwan people are very active. It's super trendy to cycle the country side, and here will often be biker gangs scattered down the roads. Man I wish my legs looked like some of theirs'. And they're not wusses either, since most of the north is mountains and they are serious hill climbers. People walk more places, dance more, are just more physically engaged, especially where we live.
5. Environmental focus. About 20 years ago, taiwan had a terrible pollution problem with river contamination and smoggy cities from many factories and lack of trash management, but through major government and volunteer efforts, most people recycle almost all of their household garbage, and the rivers and cities have been cleaned up. There's still a ways to go, especially with the garbage management, but i believe people are more educated on ecological issues than previous generations and care what happens to their island.
6. Public transportation:
Taiwan has spent in th billions on its city and nation wide rail and bus systems. It's cheap to ride, extremely convenient, and efficient. Compared to US cities, Taipei MRT and bus system rivals those of Washington DC or San Francisco. Today, we're going to ride the high speed rail line, which would take about 6 hours on the bus, but we'll get to taipei in 90 minutes. Amazing! On a monthly basis, we probably spend about $30USD on public transportation, taxis and gas for our scooter. A bit of a savings from car insurance and gas in the States.
7. Cell phones. Our cell phone bill for 2 phones and text messaging is $24USD/month. No joke. The US is the most expensive country to own and operate a cell phone, and it's ridiculous.
8. National health care. I know this is a hot topic in America right now, but I just want to rub it in that we get to see any doctor we want, for a fraction of the price that healthcare usually costs. We went to a Chinese medicine practitioner and paid $6usd to try out acupuncture. I'm going to get an MRI on my acl while we're here and it will be under $25USD.
9. Friends. Our friends that we've made from here have helped us learn about Taiwan, been patient with our dumb questions, given us gifts, rides, places to stay, and have really made our time here a truely positive experience. Thank you Evonne, Ichong, Michael, Elvie, Jamy, our t-staff (Tristen, Eric, Frances, Sherrill, Sam, Tina and Smee), beautiful&breakfast ladies, and coco's!!!
10. And finally, our other American teachers have been great at going through this cross-cultural experience with us. Sometimes we really just want some cheese or a good pizza and people like Chris and Lisa or Eric and Leslie are just what the doctor ordered to vent, talk, laugh, advise, pray for, or listen. Chris and Ashim and some other teachers and us are starting a house/church to foster more of a community and I just think that's grand.


Anonymous said...

Don't I wish that I could do that at myt age!

Rika said...

Hey Anonymous person, We think you could do this at your age, whatever it is. If you come to Taiwan, we'll take you around and introduce you to sights and things anyone, including my 94-year-old grandfather, could do. Tell us about some of your lifetime adventures too!

dennis said...

and this is a pretty grand post :)

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