First day, DONE! After 18 hours on a plane and a two hour layover at the peak of morning, I arrived in Taiwan! After collecting my absurd amount of luggage, I met up with the other Fulbright grantees at the airport and the Yilan group was taken on a bus to go to our new home. The ride from the airport to Yilan county was beautiful…so much greenery and mountains, it was truly picturesque. (But, I dont have any pictures, sorry! But, who likes pictures from a moving bus anyway, right?!) We picked our apartments from drawing out of a bag, and I am now living in Luondong (home to the greatest night market, yay!) with two other girls. Our apartment is nice…two decks, hardwood floors, two fridges (?) and a nice sitting area.
After we had settled in a little we filled out paperwork for our ARC applications. It was there that I found out I had a new Chinese name!! I cant write the characters yet, but in English it sounds something like, He man san. He for Herrick and man san, sounding something like Samantha? So, that’s what you can call me for the next 12 months!! Then we were taken to get cell phones and household items. I did minimal shopping due to my overwhelming desire to sleep (its been days) but got the necessary goods for the moment. We then went out to dinner with the rest of the Yilan Fulbrighters. It was delicious but they also served us the oddest dish I have ever encountered. A bed of lettuce, surrounded by pineapple wedges. On top of the lettuce were tempura shrimp…and to top it all off….a generous helping of mayo….and sprinkles. Yes, sprinkles that belong on ice cream…it was culturally different to say the least. But in the true spirit of adventure many people tried it…but not me (one of the many reasons I',m thankful to be vegetarian!) (:
I have had a great (and long!) first day in Taiwan. I have learned it is overwhelmingly hot at all times of day including what feels like 90% humidity at all times. Luckily I have a strong AC in my room and lots of damp rid. I cannot wait to explore more of Yilan this weekend and start to tour schools on Monday!!!! I will post pictures as I take them! (: Let the Taiwan travels and adventures begin!