So, as we have now stayed in Taipei for over two months now, all we can say is we love this city.
First of all, the most important thing we’ve learned is that this city is full of absolutely beautiful and awesome people. One of them is my Chinese teacher, Mrs. Huang, who has in a very short time introduced my class some practical vocabulary related to men’s bathroom habits, going to a bar crawl and vomiting on the ground, Donald Trump, global warming and, of course, military. While we’ve been rushing through some essential vocabulary, our teacher has been able to teach us an amazing amount of Chinese in just five days.
Sitting in a small class with just 8 students circling an elliptical table, and an insanely talkative and brilliant teacher helping us through verbs and adverbs and directional verbs and such, it is easy to notice one of the main reasons I never learned Chinese too well in Beijing; the groups were so huge there was no space to talk and practice in class. Our teacher does not use CD’s or PowerPoint slides, but lets us do the talking and corrects us only where it is really necessary. Although we have an exam of a sort daily, sitting in the intensive class has proved to have been a great idea; I just got my first perfect score ever for an oral exam 🙂
I and the enginerd have also learned how to pay bills at the ATM (use the “Transfer money” option instead of “Pay bills”), met some awesome new people and figured out how to purchase data online (to avoid social contact with other people, of course) and mastered our garbage truck skills (proud to tell you our YouTube video on the topic has got 2.8K views already 🙂 .)
Right now I’m trying to adapt to a normal daily routine, with getting up early and doing some actual stuff every day (school, that is), and finishing homework on time. The enginerd is doing his stuff, while I got my old job back for the summer (gonna keep my sister’s couch occupied), and will spend the summer in Finland (to make money to pay for this sweet adventure). However, I’m coming back to Taipei in September, either to study Chinese or start in a university if I get accepted in a Master’s Degree Program. Looking for a job is getting more and more current, as well, as based on what I’ve heard, hospitals here are in a desperate need for qualified RN’s.
Speaking of hospitals, due to some minor health problems (not related to local food), I visited a hospital first time while here today. Had to call and book an appointment instead of online booking since I thought I’d need to specify I’d prefer an English speaking doctor. The secretary on the phone started laughing and said as far as she knows, they all are. Turns out, that’s true. However, my visit to the NTU hospital might not been as smooth without some Chinese skills, since I somehow found myself at the Children’s hospital and had to be very nicely escorted to the actual grownup’s department. I did protest a little, asking if I could still count as child. It was a no. On our way to the actual big people eye clinic, I had a nice chat with an elderly volunteer lady about where she volunteers, what her husband does and how great it is I’m here to study Chinese but isn’t it a bit difficult for me to read the traditional characters since I’ve previously studied in Beijing. All this in Chinese, making it maybe one of the longest sensible conversations I’ve ever had in the language.
The hospital itself was really nice and modern, and my doctor spoke absolutely fluent English. (He was also very good looking). The visit was super cheap, too, with a ton of examinations and medicine just a bit over 30€. Mind you, I’m not yet covered by the National Health Insurance (NHI), so that was the actual price. I can really recommend NTU hospital, but yeah, some Chinese skills may be needed while registering.
So, basically all that’s going on now is me going to see my awesome new classmates five days a week, doing a fuckton of homework and trying to speak as much Chinese as possible. I am also a bit nervous about if I’ll be accepted to a university here, but if not, then I’ll just continue at the MTC. We’re also waiting for the rain stop. It hasn’t for the past two weeks…