Tuesday, August 2, 2011

你好台灣!(Hello Taiwan!)

Saying goodbye
My first view of Taiwan!
Well, I did it. I loaded up all my stuff, kissed my parents goodbye, and hopped a plane (or three) to Taiwan! It was a looooong ride, but I still managed to be pretty dang excited when I looked out my window after traveling for 26 hours straight and could finally see the island!

Since we all arrived in Taipei at 6am Taiwan time, we still had a long day ahead of us before we could look forward to finally sleeping in a real bed. I drank lots of 7-11 coffee. The good news is that the Fulbright Taiwan staff is all super friendly and energetic (despite the fact that they too had to get up very early to meet us).

 So we all gathered up our bags, hopped on a swanky double decker bus (I felt like I was in Harry Potter), and headed down the road to Yilan. More good news: the drivers in Taiwan are not nearly as scary as the drivers in China! We also stopped at the neatest rest area ever on the way. Outside, there were some rather odd statues that, as far as I can tell, have something to do with the Folk Art Festival held in Yilan every year. Inside, they had a big tank of nautiluses (nautili?) that they were feeding sardines. Sure beats the plain old bathroom and coke machine we have at rest stops in the US!

Nautilus! Can you see his sardine?
My new roomies: Christine, Emily, & Lauren
Anyhow, after we got to the teacher center in Yilan, we did some orientation-y things, ate some pizza (Taiwanese style: my favorite was the shrimp and pineapple), and drew lots which apartment we would be living in for the first month of orientation. We'll be moving to different apartments next month based on which school we're assigned to teach at. My new apartment is in Yilan City. I'll post more pictures of it later. Right now, I have to go catch a bus!

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