Often times I feel the need to put forward “the best version of me”. I believe many of us are like this, but what is really funny is when this sort of attempt is coupled with a cross-cultural flare. Below you will find just a few small examples of how I still am “me” here in Asia. Do not be mistaken, although putting on “the best version of me” has potential to be endearing, I assure you the examples below are far from endearing and more so… inevitable.
So, here are just are just a few examples of every day life here in Taiwan. Unfortunately for me, everyday life in Taiwan has a few differences than every day life in Montana. Because of this, the potential for those “trips, slips and accidents” has greatly increased.
Caution, slippery when wet: This phrase has taken on a completely new meaning for me. As many of you probably know, tile flooring dominates here in Taiwan. Because of this, I am limited in my choice of footwear. I have found that Old Navy sandals will ensure an almost near death experience. (Trust me on this one….I am speaking based on numerous experiences) I am learning to walk differently here, should I choose to wear sandals in the rain. The unfortunate part about all of this is that no matter what my choice in footwear happens to be, I will probably slip and or fall regardless.
Toilet paper goes in the trashcan, not down the toilet: Nothing entirely drastic has happened with this one. I just feel nervous every time, that I will accidentally put the TP in the toilet and something horrific will happen. There are certainly no take backs on this one should it go down.
Trash: The trash system here is quite detailed. First of all, we are all to separate our trash into the following categories:
3. Compost (Banana Peels, Coffee grinds etc)
4. “Piggy Food” This is perhaps my favorite title. It is quite literally called “Piggy Food” aka: Anything a pig could eat, or could possibly chew on for a while.
There is no dump to take your trash to. There is no can to set outside your apartment. Oh no, there is a truck that drives down every street in Dan Shui to collect trash. Directly behind the trash truck is the Recycle Truck. The thing with the trash truck is that it drives very slowly and plays a song on repeat in order that people know it is coming. It sounds quite similar to an ice cream truck, only kids are not rushing out the door with coins to buy ice cream (and if that were the case, they would be sorely disappointed). So, heres the deal: You hear the “ice cream truck”, then you run and grab your 4 separated bags of trash and then you run down the stairs to throw it in the slowly moving truck, along with the entire community. I have yet to have an “oops” moment with this one, but I am anticipating one very soon. However, I was informed by a friend of mine that a guy once got his hand broken/crushed in the trash truck. Awesome. After hearing THAT story, I have contemplated creating a pulley-system…to lower my trash into the trash truck from my apartment balcony. Or even a pole….a very long steel pole could work. I’m open to suggestions if anyone should have one or several.
Motorbikes: They are everywhere. They are fast…and, they have no peripheral. I have had many, many “close calls” with dodging motorbikes. I have yet to have had an accident while on one of them or walking beside one of them. The best version of me that I try desperately to put forward, is trying to walk as a confident pedestrian. Many times this confidence is met with slippery tile. Great.
The MRT Station: I am pretty sure that “MRT” stands for “Mass Rapid Transit” it is much like a subway. Like a subway, you slide your card or put money in a slot to get through the “metal waist bar thing” (not sure of the proper name for that) There have been numerous accounts of me just walking straight into one of the metal waist bars after having swiped my card. Again, I walk into the MRT station with confidence and “I got this” type attitude, only to be abruptly stopped by Mr. Metal Waist Bar. What’s that? OH….I have no money on my card and people are walking closely behind me and when I slam into the bar, they slam into me. Fun times.
Starbucks: Yes, there is a Starbucks here in Dan Shui! The thing that I am learning about this Starbucks is that no matter what you order, you will always be given a plastic tray that your drink (usually full to the brim) will reluctantly rest on, waiting to be devoured. As you walk up the stairs to find seating, (There are 4 floors to this Starbucks) you will find above your head/right shoulder area, a slightly padded ceiling/corner. (I know, a little elusive in the explanation…it’s a bit hard to explain) I believe that this was an act of “genius assumption” that there will in fact be people like me, who carry their tray up the stairs with a boiling hot cup of coffee full to the brim, on a flimsy plastic tray who concentrate so intensely on not spilling their coffee, that they forget there is a little bit of a ceiling. (long sentence…insert breath here) Thank you Starbucks!!! I have been spared many times from cracking my head open. The bummer is, I don’t know what to concentrate on: the ceiling/head cracking potential, or the coffee spillage likeliness. Because of this, it pretty much so happens that every other time I go to Starbucks, I either spill half of my coffee or nearly hit my shoulder/head on the padded siding. I have not quite mastered the art of carrying coffee on a tray up several flights of stairs.
So, there ya go! Those were a few examples of “Anna in Asia” I look forward to sharing more experiences with you all. Here’s to putting the best version of ourselves forward for the world to see.
It is with great confidence that we sometimes put the “attempted” best version of ourselves forward, and it is with great humility that we get to experience when we have those “oops”, “did that just happen” and “I hope no one saw that” moments.