Would You Believe? [Year in Taiwan, Ed. 1]

Maokong Gondola ride in Taipei
Maokong Gondola ride in Taipei

Time for my first update! As mentioned before, so much happens every week that It’s impossible to fit it all in. The first few updates will be lengthier to make up for all the weeks missed so far, but hope they are entertaining enough 🙂

1 — The Red Bean Popsicle Incident

Looking back at what has become my most hilariously pitiful moment yet, I wonder if I could have laughed about this as much as I did if it had not been for all the other health-related shit I have been through.

One particularly hot evening led me to a 7-11 to purchase a red bean popsicle, which Hsuan had introduced to me previously. Then alone at my apartment, all I remember while biting on the ice pop was the sound, the horror, and then the panic as I saw what was literally one of my front teeth in my hand.

Now let’s back up a bit. Said tooth has caused me trouble for most of my life, it having endured two root canals and a veneer over what has become a shell of a dead tooth. And for an impressive 10 years or so, I have accepted it, forgotten about how delicate its foundation is, and happily enjoyed various foods.

So for it to break with my veneer, leaving a cosmetically embarrassing gap in my smile, well, I’d like to think this was bound to happen sooner or later. In fact, as if fate willed it to happen, at least two dentist offices were located within a minute’s walking distance of my apartment. And so having finagled the broken tooth back in my mouth, I rushed into the fancier-looking one, frantically described my emergency, and made an appointment for the next morning—leaving the office dejectedly with tooth in plastic baggie at how I couldn’t get it reattached immediately.

Well, I ended up getting a minor surgery to take out what was left of the tooth and then received a dental implant with my old veneer before I can get the permanent one in a couple months. Look closely, and you may mistake the temporary glue used to ensure the tooth stays on for food in my teeth. Nope, just actual glue.

2 —Starstruck with Influencers

波浮 habu juice&foods
Delectable smoked salmon and cream cheese baguette sandwich from 波浮 habu juice&foods in Taipei.

I’ve been working on a piece about cafĂ© culture in Taiwan and used the excuse to reach out to my favorite foodie influencers, photogs, and even local cafĂ© owners. Yes, of course I already have my favorite cafĂ©s.

This past week I surprised myself by conducting interviews both in person and via email using Chinese, albeit mixed with English. After one particular chat with an established photographer, I felt like I was on cloud nine. It just felt amazing that people so much more talented and cooler than me be willing to talk. Earlier that day, I had coffee with an Instagram influencer who has more than 105,000 followers, and two days before that, I met a 23-year-old owner who makes the best quiches.

While I do not see a career in journalism for myself, what I do love about it is the ability to connect with the most admirable and interesting people.

I look forward to sharing the article with you guys soon. ❤

Duomo Café in Taipei
A chill afternoon watching Netflix’s Terrace House at a cat cafĂ© near my apartment.

3 — Fitness Fun

Much of life here reminds me of some of the better times in Guangzhou, including regular escapes to fitness classes. I tried two weeks of unlimited cycling classes at a private studio, as well as a UBOUND trampoline class, before deciding that they were too expensive. Instead, I’m choosing to be a regular at Da’an Sports Center, where entrance to the pool—complete with steam rooms, saunas, showers, and whirlpools—cost just NT$80, or under US$3, each time. This is an unbelievable deal and inevitably means that there will be crowds, but they’re manageable and even entertaining (ahem, gossipy sauna grannies).

4 — Language Partners

To fill my time before officially starting my Chinese classes this fall, I have been meeting locals (only female, lol) found via Facebook language exchange groups to chat and practice my spoken Chinese. It hasn’t been easy for me to overcome this mental barrier I have created for myself when it comes to chatting comfortably, but I have been increasingly willing to, as evidenced by my interviews in Chinese.

It will take time, and I am grateful for the strangers that have been so willing to help.

5 — Weekends

I feel so lucky to have been able to spend every weekend with Hsuan, whether in Taipei, Kaohsiung, or somewhere in between. I always look forward to the moments we get. More details to come soon.

Cijin, Kaohsiung