Monday, August 29, 2011

Moving day & how I almost got struck by lightening

Last Friday, I moved.  I pretty much didn't sleep the night before because I was dreading having to move again. I mean, really, packing up all my stuff and moving to a new city twice in one month is a little bit excessive. Thankfully, I had Siena to help me move from my temporary apartment in Yilan to my permanent apartment in Luodong.

Good news: Luodong is an absolutely BEAUTIFUL city! I'm in an awesome apartment building that's surrounded by cute little restaurants and right across the street from the Luodong Sports Park (which is huge, very green, and comes complete with a lake and a public swimming pool). My new place even has two balconies.
The front balcony facing the Sports Park (and what appears to be a castle)
A panorama I put together of the view from the balcony by my bedroom
The entry way and courtyard of my building
The bad news is that the apartment was trashed (literally) when we moved in. My new bedroom is right next to the kitchen and all the trash in the apartment (possibly several weeks of it) was left piled up in my doorway. Which meant that there were bugs. Lots of bugs. For our first order of business as the new tenants, Christine and I sorted and bagged up all the trash and threw it on the back porch so it wouldn't keep attracting creepy crawlies to our kitchen. Then came the Raid. We pretty much used an entire can of Raid on the kitchen alone. 

Our LETs were nice enough to take us to the store to buy cleaning supplies before they had to go back to school, so we got to spend the rest of the day mopping, scrubbing, and generally disinfecting everything in the apartment. By the time we had finished and unpacked, it kind of started to feel like home. My new room even has a window to the outside world!
My room
The kitchen. I promise it's cleaner right now!
Then came the part of the evening I'm sure you're all wondering about: how I almost got struck by lightening. The trouble all started with the fact that Christine, Lauren, and I had all moved to Yilan while our bikes had not. So, of course, the only logical thing to do was go get them and ride them the 5-6 miles back to Luodong. At night. During a massive pre-typhoon thunderstorm.

The plan started out innocently enough. We were going to get one of Christine's LETs to take us back to Yilan at around 3pm, a reasonable time for a leisurely bike ride to be sure. Then she had to push the time back. Then she had to cancel. By the time our replacement ride dropped us off at our old apartment, it was around 5:30 or 6 and darker out than it should have been at that hour because of the clouds that had just rolled in. But, we reminded ourselves, we were already there and didn't have any other way to get home. We had to ride our bikes and, besides, it was hardly even drizzling outside.

In the beginning, the ride was actually rather nice. Between the light rain and the fact that it was getting dark out, it was the first time it had felt cool outside since we arrived in Taiwan. Then, as we got to the bridge connecting the two cities, the thunder started. Very loud thunder and very close lightening. Christine, deciding that she was definitely going to get struck by lightening if she stayed on the bridge, declared "every man for himself" and rode like the devil to the other side. I myself have a greater fear of getting hit by a speeding vehicle than I do of getting struck by lightening, so I proceeded with a slightly less frantic pace.

On the other side of the bridge was a bike path along the river. On a sunny day, I'm sure it was beautiful. When you're riding your bicycle 5 or 6 miles in a thunder storm, the lightening is a little more breathtaking than the view. When we finally made it to the far side of the Luodong Sports Park (which was totally deserted), we stopped to take refuge at the little cafe by the lake right as it started pouring. We had a nice little ice cream break under the overhang while we sat out the worst of the storm. After it had more or less rained itself out, we finally got back on our bikes and rode the rest of the way home.

We were so happy to have made it back to our nice, dry apartment in one piece that Christine and I decide to just get some take out food from the dumpling place next door for dinner, watch some reruns of It's Always Sunny on my computer, and call it a night.

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