I have been here just over a week and am settling in ok. I started the week on Monday with a mandarin lesson. Dave had signed me up so we went together, no I don’t think I will be fluent anytime soon, it is another tonal language like Thai, only mandarin has four tones instead of five. Anyway it is interesting and I learn other stuff as well as the language. The lessons are held at a place called “The Centre” which was set up in 1987 to help the expat community cope with life here in Taiwan, one of their major roles is providing counseling.
We live on the 17th floor (yes it is high, only 10th floor in Bangkok) mainly because we had a choice of 2 apartments and the other was much lower down and had no view. We have a big picture window in the lounge which looks over part of Tian Mu (a nickname for the part of Taipei we live in) and also has a view of the mountain which reaches up out of this area. The whole area is very hilly which makes for good exercise when we/I go out. We are walking a lot more here because it is cooler at the moment and taxis are more expensive than Bangkok. Walking is one of the hobbies people round here indulge in a lot, hill walking in particular. We hope to give it a try.
Yesterday we went to Ikea, yes it is very big over here and exactly like Ikea stores the world over except this one is full of black haired Asians! I enjoyed the experience and we got a few items for the apartment. Today we will go to church, their is a nice little one called “Mother of God” or Tien Mu (yes their is a story there and I will tell it later). The pastor is Dutch and last Sunday the parish celebrated his 74th birthday.
We bought a vacuum cleaner last week and ended up getting a Dyson simply because it is the only brand here in Asia that works on carpets and we bought two Oriental carpets before we left Bangkok. The cleaner is excellent and I would recommend it to anyone.
Wednesday was another mandarin lesson, followed by me staying for a coffee morning at the Centre and meeting a few people as well as getting an invite for a British group coffee morning on Thurs which I went to and met some good people, not all Brits., ended up going for lunch with some of the ladies. One of the ladies I met, Helene, is originally from the Eastern townships in Quebec, we had an interesting conversation, she had also lived for a time in Brampton Ontario, she is older than me and her husband would like to keep working until he is 70!
Friday my other bag arrived and we went to the airport to pick it up, an interesting experience of visiting 3 areas, some more than once, to get papers signed and pay money and finally receive my bag after having to cut the lock off (forgot the code number, bane of my life!) so they could check the contents! Everyone was very pleasant and helpful as we, of course, could not speak mandarin, always an English speaking person was found to help us. The people here are very pleasant and helpful.