On September 29th we arrived in Huwei, Taiwan to start our first year of teaching English abroad. This is one of our greatest adventures for sure. Here is our first day in Taiwan, and the journey to Huwei.
The Flight – Getting to Taiwan
Our first flight, from Houston to Los Angeles, was jam packed, and easily the most uncomfortable I have ever been in my life. The 3 hour ride seemed super long, and wasn’t helped by the fact that it was a pretty bumpy ride, and some lady screamed out like we were all going to die. I wasn’t even close to panicking until that point. There’s just something about hearing someone yell “OHMYGODOHMYGOD” that will get YOUR pulse rate up, even if you are not normally fazed by slight turbulence.
The 2nd plane ride, while much smoother, was also almost 5 times as long. I had plenty of room, because if I had been as cramped as a I felt on the first flight, I don’t think I could have made it all the way. We departed from LA at 1 am and headed west, so we were in darkness for pretty much the entirety of the plane ride, except maybe the last 2-3 hours of it.
Arrival in Taipei, Taiwan and the car ride to Huwei
So we arrived in Taipei after our 14 hour plane ride from Los Angeles around 6 am this morning. What this means is our bodies, already sleep deprived from travel, actually felt as if it was the evening when the day was just beginning in Taiwan. So what happened today was a mixture of an adrenaline rush by being overloaded by everything new and amazing around us, and being extremely fatigued. But guess what? We did it, and it was awesome!
After we made our way through immigration in a matter of minutes (only questions asked were, where are you staying? and when are you leaving?) and went out to the lobby to meet our driver who was driving us to Huwei, we were on our way.
Our drive drove like someone straight out of Nascar. We made it to Huwei in record time. What should have been a 3 and a half hour drive, was more like 2 and a half. This dude was FAST.
Getting settled in in Huwei
We met up with our boss, Ame, she is super nice! She showed us around the school, and then bought us lunch and got us a hotel. So she sent us off with food and orders to take a nap and try and be somewhat awake by 3pm to go and meet the other staff members at the two schools. I was actually more tired after a 3 hour nap, Liz felt refreshed, but my eyes were so dang heavy.
But I soldiered on and we met the staff who in turn brought out their students, who marveled at the giant of a man towering above them. It was really kind of embarrassing, but not something that I haven’t dealt with before. I know over time they will get used to me just like I will get used to teaching them. The kids were so cute, most came up and introduced themselves, but a few were too shy to approach us.
Apartment locating in Huwei
After we left the school we went to check out a few different apartments. We settled on one that will run us about $250 USD per month, which is less than half of what we paid in Austin, oh and by the way, TWICE THE SIZE. A few of the apartments were pretty gnarly, and not in a good way. One had a bathroom under the main staircase of the building, and no shower, it was a shower head hooked up to a hose that was hooked on to the sink faucet. So I guess your bathroom floor is just soaked all the time, but maybe that makes it easier to clean the toilet, who knows.
So Ame then took us to get dinner and dropped us back off at the hotel. Tomorrow at 10:30 AM we will be heading to the doctor for a medical examination and also moving our 3 pieces of luggage into our new digs.
After dinner we walked a few blocks and checked out the different shops and such. We were heading down a street off the beaten path when Liz made the comment “Yeah this looks kind of sketchy.”
Already recognized by the locals
Lo and behold, a guy pulls up in front of us on his scooter, but instead of holding us up, he is holding a small boy in his lap.
“Hi, this is my son Lucas, you are going to be teaching him very soon. You work at GRAM school right?”
“Actually, yeah we just got here today”
“My daughter was at GRAM school today and said the new teacher is very high” (pretty sure he meant tall)
So I’m already a celebrity, haha.
I actually can’t say I saw a single angry person this entire day. Everyone smiles at you. People constantly cut off and turn right in front of you while driving, no one honks or even bats an eye. I’ve yelled at people in my car for much less in the USA. I think I will learn a lot from the Taiwanese, hopefully I can return the favor to them, and not just English.
Peace and love.