One hundred ways to summer

As I have spent the summer on a different continent as the enginerd, and nothing much has been going on, this blog has been a bit dry lately. However, now that I’m almost done with my summer vacation (working…), it’s more than appropriate to update this blog again. Here is a list of things that have happened this summer to either me, the engineer or both.

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Mother nature makes the most beautiful things ❤
  1. Work
  2. Ice cream
  3. Buying tickets
  4. Making money (sort of… enough to ensure we’ll be fine until next year, that is).
  5. Visiting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (legalising documents for registering to school).
  6. Beer
  7. Emails. Like, thousands of them. As I’m currently in Finland, but desperately trying to arrange things in Taiwan, this had been the most convenient way to do.
  8. Skype, WhatsApp call, Line call… When half of your social life is across the world, it is essential to make the best of every free call app you can, especially as it seems the quality between them changes daily.
  9. Changing one of my savings accounts’ name to “Kilimanjaro”, and one from “China” to “Taiwan”. What this means (yay!!!) is that we’re planning a trip to Kilimanjaro as soon as we can get enough money together ❤
  10. Calculating our budget. Apparently, climbing on Mount Kilimanjaro is expensive.
  11. Studying German  with the help of Memrise). It’s a language learning app designed for faster learning without crying over
  12. Studying Chinese (the enginerd with a book from Mandarin Training Center).
  13. Speaking Chinese (mostly the enginerd in Taiwan).
  14. Visiting the Taipei Representative Office in Helsinki (super fast and friendly service).
  15. Coffee
  16. Figuring our the train system in Taiwan. Since we’ve never left Taipei to visit any other parts if the country (OMG…), we’ve made a decision to travel around the island and visit all the cool hiking and climbing spots. More on the topic will come later 🙂
  17. Pizza
  18. Shower with constant pressure and temperature levels ❤ ❤
  19. Hiking on Yangmingshan. This was a task left for the enginerd since it’d been rather difficult for me to do it from Finland, right?
  20. Planning a trip to Yushan (Jade Mountain).
  21. Working at the ED. By the way, why does it sound so much cooler to say ER (Emergency Room) than ED (Emergency Department)? Could it be thanks to this TV show?
  22. Working with friends 🙂
  23. Beer
  24. Rain. Turns out it rains a lot in Taiwan in the beginning of June. Although I wasn’t there, I was informed that “it’s been fucking raining for like three weeks in a row now, and the only survivors left are the roaches and even they have bought little canoes” (fine, some editing happened here, I may have added the swearing and the roach part, but other than that, there really was some heavy rain in Taipei in June.
  25. Running. As in general the weather in Taiwan is very anti-running (especially if you’re a potato and used to cool and dry), I have been enjoying the Finnish weather conditions, and improved my general performance and fitness more than in years whilst here.
  26. Working out. The enginerd has continued his quest to become a multi-talent athlete (my words, not his) and has frequented our local gym in Taipei to achieve an even more of a CrossFit type of a physique.
  27. Beer. And tequila with the beautiful and only slightly less alcoholic co-worker of mine who joined us on our visit to Vietnam earlier this year. (An update: I think she might, as a matter of a fact, be more beer soaked than I am after her summer holiday 😀 )
  28. Planning a new tattoo (only lately been able to flash the 30 cm tall one on my back to my elderly relatives). One of my numerous sisters will draw it for me ❤ (A sad update: had to cancel with my tattooist since applying for a Resident Visa turned out to a bit expensive, nearly 500€ to be exact.)
  29. Minding plants. This summer I’ve surprised my family and some plants by keeping them well and alive for almost two months now.
  30. Making a birch whisk. Also, getting treated like the royal I am with a whole home spa experience by my friend in Helsinki ♥
  31. Did I mention coffee? As I got into a habit of drinking cheap cappuccinos in Taiwan, but had to settle with instant coffee at home, I have been really having my way with my good old coffee maker here in Finland, drinking extended amounts of this black drink of gods. Should the world ever actually run out of coffee, I think I’d be fine, my body tissues must have absorbed so much caffeine by now I’ll have my own personal source of this borderline drug in my system til I’m like 50…
  32. Using the occupational healthcare services. As our employer seems to actually care about the employees’ well-being, our healthcare covers pretty much everything that’s wrong with me 😀
  33. Planning next summer. Working or studying? Taiwan or Finland?
  34. Cleaning up. One of my projects for this summer was to umm… arrange and tidy up the apartment I’m staying at (a very nice, beautifully decorated apartment with only a slight problem of two many objects and items lying around). Nothing is more therapeutic than dusting, washing and cleaning things just to put them into newly bought, matching plastic boxes which I get to label, too.
  35. Buying new running shoes (Adidas Adios, with somewhat custom made soles)
  36. Testing H&M compression socks. TBH, I usually root for their sports clothes and accessories since they are really cheap but relatively good quality, but these won’t become my favorite. Then again, maybe buying the right size might’ve helped…
  37. Receiving a birthday present from Germany.
  38. Ordering stuff online during night shifts, only to return them next week. (It’s a thing. I’m always very surprised to see what the package contains when I pick it up. One thing is always for sure; it’s sports stuff..)
  39. Convincing  coworker to order stuff online during a night shift, only to return most of them the next week.
  40. Going to the gym.
  41. Aching muscles. As my good friend and borderline personal trainer Tuomas has been able to torture me a couple of times this summer, and as I have been, with his help, changing my gym routine to a bit should I say, heavier, I have also experienced, for the first time in ages, how it feels when your muscles are so sore you can barely lift stuff
  42. Mock meat. I was shocked to realize how much vegan and vegetarian products have been brought to stores during the 6+ months I was gone from Finland. Test tasting them has been an adventure…
  43. Wondering what overdosing caffeine daily for years might be doing to my system.
  44. Programming (the enginerd. Coding, programming, all the works).
  45. Booking hotels
  46. Spiders
  47. Hanging laundry outside. Line drying is the best. It’s also very doable in Taipei, but here most apartment buildings offer very good lines outside and the smell of the dry laundry is just divine…
  48. Wondering if we should buy a heater now, when it’s still like +37 degrees in Taipei, and they may not be too expensive, or should we leave it until winter when it’s + 15 both inside and outside, and the selection might be better. Ugh…
  49. Beer. In various locations…
  50. Obviously not writing this blog for the better half of the summer. I sort of figured that me working and the enginerd nerding wouldn’t make much stories. I was right…
  51. Saving up. I was surprised how much living in Finland costs, although I’m staying at my sister’s place, and haven’t been traveling or anything. But beer, clothes and food are just. so. expensive. here! How could I have forgotten?
  52. Planning how to continue studying Chinese. As I’m not going to continue at the Mandarin Training Center, I am yet to figure out how to ensure I’ll keep on learning. My future studies at another university will be in English, and they only offer 4 hours of Chinese per week. I’m sososo worried it’ll be a bit too easy level for me. As my main goal was to learn Chinese a bit better in Taiwan, I’m wondering if I’ll get to speak any the next two years. I’m already on a level where I can semi comfortably handle every day life in Chinese, but umm taking care of patients or reading newspapers? No way, not yet! (An update: turns out a ton of my new classmates will be Taiwanese so with any luck they’ll be nice and patient enough to speak Chinese with me and teach me.)
  53. Making plans and schedules on how to teach the enginerd more Chinese.
  54. Nature
  55. Mosquitoes
  56. Learning more and more about acute nursing. It’s awesome to notice my job can teach me so much new stuff every day!
  57. Going more and more organic. I’ve been switching to more organic and natural cosmetic array while in Finland, since it seems that compared to previous years, the selection has gotten better and prices a bit lower.
  58. Bathing orchids
  59. Yes, you heard me. I’ve been giving baths to my sis’ orchids. Yes, seriously. And talking to them…
  60. Visiting Helsinki
  61. Visiting Tampere
  62. Visiting Mikkeli
  63. Visiting Uuusikaupunki
  64. Coffee. And beer.
  65. Trying to calculate if we should hang onto our American Express cards; they’re expensive, but for two people who travel a lot the extras, like Priority Pass and hotel elite status cards are really worth it.
  66. Recycling. It’s so strange in Finland you actually have to take your own electronics, plastic and such to the nearest recycling center, there’s no trucks coming to your house every day to collect them (Taipei <3)
  67. Absolutely no driving. I haven’t driven a car in ages. Considering giving back my licence 😀
  68. Umbrellas, or more like the enginerd giving up and apparently finally buying one in Taipei.
  69. Watching German learning videos by Roman Schatz, Finns’ favorite German.
  70. OITNB. OMG. I’m hooked. Binge watched the first season, now almost done with the third.
  71. Dirk Gently (the enginerd’s summer hobby)
  72. Inventing more new English words, e.g. “Comanday”. It’s the first day after your last night shift, when you’ve come home early in the morning, went to bed but have to get up quite early in the afternoon so you’d be able to fall asleep in the evening and get your rhythm back on track (which rarely works, but it’s worth trying).
  73. Absolutely no cooking. I have thrown a random selection of mock meats on a frying pan and maybe added macaroni I prepared day before (or two…), but other than that, at least the half of this couple located in Finland this summer has been living on protein snacks and veggies. And chocolate.

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    Does it count if it’s made from frozen peas and oat cream and nothing else?
  74. Blood, gore, IV lines…
  75. Procrastinating. Sort of with this blog post, but more with paperwork for the university, buying plane tickets, washing my sister’s windows… ugh, so boring!
  76. The enginerd calling me from Taipei that I’m waiting for a bus at a wrong stop here in Finland… Still not sure how that happened.
  77. Making plans for the future.
  78. Trying to figure out how to keep on learning Chinese as I won’t be studying it full day anymore. Am I already on a level where I could just continue learning it simply by using the language? Taken, of course, that anyone speaks Chinese to me. Taipei is like the easiest place to get around by using only English. As I am often seen and treated as American, being blonde and all, no one really accepts the fact they could have a conversation with me in Chinese. Or at least try to (insert a crying emoji here).
  79. Avoiding Finnish pop music. I’m very happy to tell that I’ve been here for almost three months now, and still don’t know what is the biggest hit song this summer 🙂
  80. Stretching. A shit load of running requires a shit load of stretching.
  81. Sleeping. To my surprise, sleeping in my nephew’s super old, narrow as hell bed has given me the best sleep I’ve had in years.
  82. Booking a doctor. Gotta get myself checked for TB and syphilis and whatnot to get the Resident Visa to Taiwan. I called the Taipei Representative Office in Helsinki (love the lady who works there!!!) and the agent sounded really concerned when I suggested I’d apply for the visitors visa, instead, since the medical examination in Taipei would be like one sixth of the cost of what it is here. Her main concern seemed to be that I wouldn’t get the ARC as soon, since I’d have to apply for the Resident Visa there, and I am not sure I still quite understand how ARC works since everyone seems to panic if you don’t have one.
  83. Planning hiking trips to mountains. We love nature, and every now and then wanna go and see things from a bit higher than the sea level. I’m super scared of heights and spiders, and what a good way climbing on tropical rocks, hills and mountains is to combine experiencing them both? Since Taiwan is practically like made of these things, and we haven’t ever left Taipei to visit rest of the country, I’ve been pressuring the enginerd to start planning trips around the island.
  84. Blood tests. Okay, so when you apply for a Resident Visa to Taiwan, they want to make sure you don’t have syphilis. I see. Well, that was a new one. To China they want you to not have HIV, going to Uganda and like a trillion other places you need the Yellow Fever vaccination, but syphilis? Okay. (An update: Got tested, negative. Phew!)
  85. Love
  86. Visiting Mikkelin Asuntomessut aka a housing fair to show you houses you could never afford. Like, yes, I would also love to afford a place to live which costs like 200 000€ and up, but since I currently make like 15 000€ or less a year (the literal price of travelling around and turning down jobs), I’m living at my sister’s for the summer and sharing a student apartment with my husband in Taipei.
  87. Missing friends in Taipei 😦
  88. Being super happy to know that a couple of friends I’ve known since I lived in Beijing have moved to Taipei this summer.
  89. Missing friends and family in Finland. Since I’m maybe the most antisocial person sharing their travels with thousands of people, I have mostly kept it to myself this summer. However, the enginerd has been in Finland like two weeks now and is on his Grande Tour visiting every single person in Finland (I think). He’s only going to be here for a month and is going to make it matter. Although, occasionally, my friend the other nurse and some other people like family have also dug me out of my cave into the daylight (which in Finland is plenty, thank goodness for dark curtains) and forced me to be social and realize it’s actually 100% worth it seeing all these awesome people now that we’re here.

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    T-Rex ❤
  90. Learning how to sport my naturally curly hair. After years and years wearing it straight, I learned last semester that that’s not gonna happen in Taipei, thanks to the ahem… tiny bit humid climate. The fact is, after 5 minutes I step out of the door there, my hair looks like something a sheep would proudly wear. So, now I’ve been on a sort of a mission to get used to the look I’ve been avoiding for 15 years, especially since the stupid hair seems to be getting more curly the older I get 😦 Plus, to be honest, I even once brought my hair straightener to a safari, and I think that was a bit too much and such behavior should end. It’s just not very convenient, you know.
  91. Coffee. Pots and pots of it. For me, not the enginerd.
  92. Getting super pale again… Especially my torso. I’m like all shades of white now, except for my hair which hasn’t seen a hairdresser in ages and is now just a dirty grey.
  93. A shit load of gasping in shock due to how expensive it is to get the Resident Visa to Taiwan. As Finnish citizens, we have been hanging out there on visa exempt, but in order to get my ARC (Alien Resident Certificate), I need to enter this time with either Visitors Visa or Resident Visa. The latter is better, since then I’ll get the ARC much sooner. But it requires a health check up with blood works and a chest X-ray, legalising a ton of documents, the actual application… they all cost money, and so far, excluding visits to Helsinki, I have spent about 400€ on them, and still haven’t even paid for the application. Sigh… (An update: Finally got everything it takes to apply, dropped off my application last week and am now waiting for my passport back for the office.) (A second update: My visa arrived yesterday!!)
  94. Having a lengthy and beer soaked conversation with my friend about how to define if one can speak a language or not.
  95. Finding a job in Taipei – Yay enginerd. As this was part of our plan from the very beginning, I’m very proud of him and happy  🙂
  96. Enjoying the fact that I’m not soaking wet unless it’s raining or I’m exercising; in Taiwan you’ve already sweat through your clothes twice before leaving the house 😦 😦
  97. Trying to finish this post. I’ve been writing it for weeks, but now it’s finally done 😀
  98. Catching up with social media again. We can be found on Facebook, Twitter and, of course, Instagram 🙂
  99. Starting to pack our stuff for returning to Taipei.
  100. Avoiding saying our goodbyes. It is always so hard to say it, and as far as I’m concerned, and from what we’ve learned in life, one can never know when a person or people from your past appear again. We’ll be back 😉

So, last May this blog started getting really annoying spam comments (rude!), and although I did moderate and report all of them, the notifications to my email got really annoying so I blocked all comments (because I can.) But now I have some questions for you so the comment section is open!! 🙂

  • How has your summer been?
  • Have you too become a borderline alcoholic when traveling?
  • What was your first tattoo about and how long did it take to start yearning for another one although you promised you would never?
  •  What is the most annoying/ difficult Visa you’ve ever applied for?
  • Are you planning on moving to Taipei or perhaps already living there? Hit our email and let’s connect!
  • Sprichst du Deutsch? Wanna teach me? I’ll be happy to do it over pints of beer and/or sweating at the gym 😉 (In Taipei, sweetie, in Taipei.)
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