Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ni hao everyone! I finally made it to Tainan, Taiwan where I will be living for the next month, and life is great! It feels as if we have been traveling for at least a week when in fact I think it has been only a day and half or so. I spent over 24 hours either in an airport, on an airplane, on a bus, or on a high speed train going 186 mph and finally made it to this beautiful place:
View from our apartment

 For those of you who know me or have taken a trip with me, you know that I am notorious for over packing and would be proud to know that I made it all the way to the other side of the world with only this amount of luggage. That's pretty good if you ask me!
We passed the airport time by playing some Nertz
and making new Asian friends.
 Then at last we finally boarded our 14 hour flight across the Pacific. I was able to sleep about half of the flight and either read or watched movies for the rest of the time. The flight seemed to go by quickly until meal time came. What ensued next left me with weird tastes in my mouth and growling stomach.
Exhibit B

Exhibit A
That right there my friends was called Chinese porridge. My stomach was saying, "I can eat anything," while my taste buds and gag reflex were failing to follow suit. I began to wonder what I was getting myself into. This apparently was not going to be like eating P.F. Chang's for every meal. However, on an empty stomach and 14 hours later we finally arrived! 
View from the webcam TV on the airplane

 Taiwan is spectacular! There is a lingering aroma that smells of an open sewage everywhere you go, humidity that makes showering completely pointless, food that you quickly learn not to ask what you are eating until after the digestive process has begun, and is filled with the some of the kindest people I have ever met. I seriously LOVE being here! We have met a couple of the hospital staff that we will be working with and they showed us around town and the hospital. Jane, a nurse in the ICU decided to hang out with us around town for a bit today, which was lots of fun. She loved taking pictures with us and probably enjoyed laughing at all of our deer in the headlights looks.
Jane and I (you will have to excuse the super jet lagged and nasty look that I have. I have resorted to the fact that this is just the way it is going to be.)  
My first meal in Taiwan consisted of something that I don't remember the name of, found at the local 711. It actually wasn't too bad, but this picture was caught on my very first bite.
It was some white roll type thing with meat of some sort stuffed in the middle. Also featured was my luke warm banana milk. Not to shabby for a first meal. 
The city here is piled with people and mopeds (probably more mopeds than people). We quickly learned that pedestrians here DO NOT have the right away. You really have to pay attention to what is going on around you.

We will be working at the Chi Mei Medical Center (featured below and to the right) in various different units throughout the Hospital. This hospital is a Level 1 Trauma Center, which takes high acuity patients and provides them with great care. I am SO excited to get to experience this!!

It is not uncommon for people to slow down on their mopeds and stare at us as we walk throughout the streets. It's true, we stick out like a sore thumb here!
You don't have to be in Taiwan long to get the privilege to experience a whole new take on public restrooms. Buy hey, it's all part of the experience right?!
A "squatter"
After all of this exploring, we were wiped. We live about a 15 minute walk from the hospital (about 3/4 of a mile) and will be walking to and from work everyday. Our dormitory-style accommodations come equipped with 2 sets of bunk beds, 4 desks, a mini refrigerator, and a bathroom. Don't you just love the colors?

Everyone who lives in our apartment building are staff of Chi Mei Hospital. Jane, our new ICU nurse friend lives here with us too!

We are up on the 10th floor with a great view of the city streets and life. I think the place we are living in is perfect! It has just what we need and not to mention our room is equipped with air conditioning!
Occasionally you will hear random bursts of fireworks that continually sound like the finale of a 4th of July fireworks show, and it continues for a few minutes. Once you get over the initial scare that there might be a massive shooting going on outside your apartment, you begin to settle down and realize that this just must be part of the life! Other than that, about every half hour or so you hear the ambulances go driving by. (Random fact: Instead of being 9-1-1, here it is 1-1-9. No one probably cares about that unless you are in the medical field, but I found it interesting.)

Oh and just for you Mom, I have yet to see a stray dog like we saw all over Europe, but here is something else I stumbled upon today:
I'm not even sure anymore if this blog post makes any sense or if it is even following a chronological order because the jet lag is hitting hard. But there you have it! A short synopsis of my first 12 hours in Taiwan. I already love the people here so much and am loving the culture and everything there is to learn about it! As my roommate said earlier tonight, it is Taiwan-derful!


  1. What a wonderful blog Chelsea! You did great for being jet-lagged (you would never have been able to do that in Barcelona). Even though I do not like cats, that one has pretty colors. I do not think it is stray though - it is fat!

    Keep the pictures coming and keep tasting everything until you find something to eat! Jane looks like a great new friend. Go everywhere you can and have lots of fun.


  2. Taiwan looks aWeSoMe Chels!! Beautiful sunset that you got to see first day there even! And the food looks... interesting... Haha! Glad you are having fun and that the flight was good! The hospital sounds like it will be fun and the people there sound fantastic! I'm super glad you decided to make a blog. Keep enjoying yourself!

  3. I was laughing out loud at the expressions on your faces at the food served on China Air...reminded me of the food I got on Korean Air between Seoul and Hong Kong! And I had the same reactions in my after tastes and stomach! Great pics and commentary, looking good!

  4. Awesome intro to the country! What a long first 24 hours! But, I gotta know...did you intentionally post the picture of the "squatter" and follow it with the line "After all this exploring, we were wiped..." That seems a little gauche. :)

    Anyway, super cool pics! Keep taking them! Good luck and soak it all up. Hopefully, your stomach can adjust quickly. :)