Hey there! It’s nice to talk with you again. Can’t believe it’s been over a year since our last one-sided conversation. I want to apologize for how abruptly I cut off our contact in Paris, but life got busy, and I just didn’t have time for such a demanding relationship. I can’t guarantee that it will be any better this time, either, so if we’re going to make this thing work, you’re just going to have to agree to compromise. Deal? Deal. So, what have you been up to lately? I’ve been, you know, just killing time: graduating from college, doing a publishing internship, becoming an aunt, flying to Taiwan. The usual.
In reality, though, the last few months have been far from “usual,” and the next eleven will be, too. I landed yesterday at 5 a.m. in Taipei, Taiwan, and took a bus to Yilan County, where I’ll be teaching English through the Fulbright program until next July. I know pretty few details about my position right now, but we’ve started a month-long orientation that should clear things up soon.
When I say we’ve started orientation, I actually mean that we’ve moved into our apartments and bought sheets and enough food to last a couple days. Beyond that, all of our activities have been pushed back a day by a nice little welcome called a typhoon. I was stoked about starting things out on an adventurous note, but the most intense part of the storm took place while I was sort-of-sleeping last night, and it has all seemed pretty mild compared to the images of palm trees snapping and debris flying through the air that come to mind when I think of tropical storms. Sadly, the typhoon did cause a few deaths elsewhere, and the government declared today a typhoon day (like a snow day, only warmer!). The Fulbright people made sure we bought tape to put X‘s on our windows to keep them from bursting, and we followed their instructions, but from the looks of the other apartments, none of the Taiwanese did. Guess they can tell when you don’t need to get worked up over these things. As one of my roommates put it, “X marks the foreigners.”
So far today, a few other Fulbrighters and I have read, walked to 7-Eleven, played cards, walked to a noodle shop (where the woman was kind enough to just ask how many bowls we wanted and bring us something she figured foreigners would like), and walked to a nearby track to scope out the running situation. It’s been great for adjusting to the time change, but I’m sure the relaxation is going to end soon enough. And then—one last warning—this relationship might become a little more strained.