Back in the USSR!! (or Taiwan, yeah, that’s it, same difference)

So, here I am, back in the land of rice, tea, and crazy drivers.  I had a great trip back to the US.  It was wonderful seeing all of my friends and family again.  I miss everyone already, and the trip convinced me that no matter where I go, or what I do, or how global my outlook becomes, I will always be an American.  My mannerisms, my expectations, my behavior, and my outlook on life are so fundamentally shaped by the American culture that, even though I seem to be able to adapt to just about any culture I find myself in, it doesn’t feel natural to me. 

And now, back to Taiwan…

 I’ve now been back in Taiwan for three weeks, which means it’s time to start blogging again.  I wish I had a good reason for not posting, but I guess it’s all down to the fact that Lazy is my middle name.

(Ok, actually, my middle name is Hugh, not Lazy.  But “Hugh” means lazy in Chinese.)

(Yes, I made that up.)

(Look! More parentheses!  Wheee!)

So, anyway, I landed at Taoyuan International Airport at about 7am local time, breezed through immigration (LAX could definitely take some notes on that one, ’nuff said), and boarded the express bus into Taipei city.   The only strange part was that when I had left Taiwan, the airport I had flown out of was called Chiang Kai Shek International Airport, not Taoyuan.  This surprised me, since my ticket said Chiang Kai Shek Airport, too.  Also, the airport looked really familiar.  It turns out that the day after I got on the plane for America, they changed the name of the airport.  The reasons for the change have much more to do with the politics of Taiwan, and not the culture, or my life in Taiwan, so I’m not going to elaborate on it here.  Suffice it to say, not everyone in Taiwan likes Chiang Kai Shek.  (Amazing how brutal dictators do that to a country.)  If you want to know more about the amazing morass of political confusion that is Taiwanese politics, go read the articles about it on Wikipedia (  The articles there say it better and more concisely than I could.

Anyway, after I’d gotten to my apartment, I dumped my things and called my girlfriend, who came over to help me unpack.  She lives just down the block from me, so about 1 minute later she was calling me to come down and open the ground-floor door for her. (No doorman for us.)  I live on the eighth floor of my apartment building, so I went out to the elevator to go downstairs.  This I did as you would normally expect: I opened the door to my apartment, walked through it, and closed it.  Then, I leaped back at the door, screaming “No! No!” and banging my fists on it.  This may sound strange until you consider that I was outside the door, and my keys, cell phone and wallet were all inside the door.  Which had just locked.  So I got to live every tourist’s nightmare: you’re in a foreign country with no identification, no money, and no phone; what do you do?

Well, in my case, I found a really pretty girl outside my apartment building who was willing to buy me breakfast.  (Before you congratulate me on my skill with women, please refer back to the beginning of the previous paragraph, where the word “girlfriend” figures prominently.)  Then we went back to my apartment and rang the doorbell for a while.  My roommate was inside, but couldn’t hear the doorbell.  Then my girlfriend went to find a locksmith to open the door.  (I hadn’t even thought of that.  I could blame it on jet lag, or just general lack of common sense.  Or I could just say she’s smart, and leave all consideration of my )He was about to get seriously involved with my lock (apparently it’s really hard to pick, which would be a good thing on any other day) when my roommate blearily opened the door, two hours after I’d first gone out to meet my girlfriend.

At that point, my girlfriend and I unpacked my things, and put my room and apartment back in a livable state.  Actually, I sort of moved things around while my girlfriend cleaned my apartment.  Just picture a really, really aggressive maid.  My cries of “Here, let me do that!” were mostly met with blank stares and directions to go put stuff away.  Having been up for about 30 hours at that point, I didn’t really argue that much.  We had a very quiet day, and I went to bed around 7pm.

Other interesting stuff has happened, which will be blogged about at some point.  I hope to be able to do this in the next few days, as my school has no English classes this week, giving me some free time.


4 Responses to “Back in the USSR!! (or Taiwan, yeah, that’s it, same difference)”

  1. Sabrina Says:

    Come back to DC.

  2. taiwanben Says:

    Not yet

  3. mitesh Says:

    funny…I need to find me someone to buy me breakfast and clean for me…in fact, I’m going to use that as criteria for the next girl I meet! 😉

  4. Kallen Says:

    *grins* Oh, the joys of being locked out of one’s apartment…that happened to me two months after I arrived in Taiwan. I had my phone, luckily, but its battery was dying, and I had no money, and didn’t know where any of my friends lived, and it was two in the morning, and the buses weren’t running, and……….

    …yeah. LOTS of fun. ^^

    I found your blog on the Taiwan Bloggers thing…mine was added a few weeks ago (“An Exchange Student’s Tale”), and I’ve only just got around to checking out some of the other blogs listed there. ^^

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