One post was just not enough! There are too many weird things for one list, so here is a continuation. I wrote this months ago (like the end of November to be exact….) and forgot to post it. So, here it is. They were weird then, and they still are now. If you need a refresher on all the other weird stuff, please consult: www.sammieherrick.com/posts/the-good-the-bad-and-the-just-plain-weird
Onto more weirdness:
1. Trash cans. Have some trash? Well, you can hold on to it until you get home. Then put it in your own trash can to run out to the trash truck yourself. There are no public trash cans. If you have trash you literally have to take it home with you….WHY?!
2. Everyone here knows their blood type and it’s a get to know you question to find out yours. “What’s your name? Where are you from? What’s your blood type?” Lakyn and I saw Gone Girl in theaters here and everyone in the theater (besides us) erupted into laughter when Nick didn’t know his wife Amy’s blood type. Not that funny…but here that is simply absurd.
3. Being white. Taiwanese people do anything and everything to hide from the sun. I thought they were doing it to be healthy until I went to buy lotion and had to search for some that wasn’t skin bleaching lotion. We use tanning lotion, they use whitening lotion….no thanks.
4. Platform sneakers. They like sneakers….with 4 inch platforms underneath….it’s not attractive…
5. Discipline in school. When we first got here we were led to believe the teachers would punish kids or yell at them in ways that might make us uncomfortable because we are not as strict in America. Man, were they wrong. Classroom management here isn’t really existent. Kids are allowed to talk while you’re talking and no one cares. Except me….
6. Bad smelling food in small spaces. People always bring the world’s worst smelling food onto the train, with no regard for anyone. It is miserable…but not any worse than smelling their B.O I guess….
7. Yes, even the sidewalks here are weird. The sidewalk is not a city maintained thing…each store front or home owns the sidewalk in front of their property…aka each part of the sidewalk is completely different from all the other parts. So, as you're walking, there will be major drop offs, huge step ups, and small ledges (that trip you every time)…and this happens every 20 feet or so. Lesson learned: look down while walking.
8. Being the only Jew in all of Taiwan this probably doesn’t bother anyone quite as much as it bothers me but…swastikas are a Buddhist symbol…which they kept after the Nazis twisted it into something awful. So, being in an Asian country…there is a lot of Buddhist stuff and in turn, I am surrounded by swastikas. What’s worse is that Buddhist restaurants are really the only vegetarian food around, so not only do I see swastikas but I actively seek them out.
9. Hand gestures. Everyone always tells you to learn body language before you go to a new country because you might offend someone (which Im sure I probably have) because the gestures here are just odd. When telling someone to ‘come here’ people do one of two things: Either they do the American gesture for go away by like shooing you (but really they want you to come…confusing) or they do a weird flailing gesture that I have yet to master. Either one they choose, they do not wait for you. They walk in and they say, “Sammie, are you busy?” I say, “No”, they do some weird gesture and literally run away. I sit there looking confused having no idea what just happened and everyone around me is telling me to go follow them. I don’t even know where they went at that point. Just lost and confused. And in four months I have gotten no better at it.
10. Pork Floss. Yes, it’s what it sounds like. It’s like pulled pork but dried and completely pulverized. Literal floss. As if meat couldn’t gross me out any more. Oh wait, it can, and it comes in the form of pork floss. Also ps. It’s a breakfast food. (Ask Jamo…he ate it and almost threw up)
11. The voltage is 110 and America is 120, you’d think there’s not a noticeable difference. Except I have not ever once blow dried my hair successfully. The voltage makes the hair dryer give you a pleasant light breeze of warm air. Great for a summer day. Not great for trying to get my hair dry.
12. Not only do I have to run after the trash truck and have nowhere in the whole country to throw my trash away but in my own room, you can only have four bags of trash per house. PER HOUSE. So Lakyn and I just cleaned out the fridge and we each had a bag from our room and each of our bathrooms and another general trash bag for the house. We run down after the trash truck, struggling with all our bags, so glad to throw it all away. Jokes on us. We can only get rid of four. They will not let us throw it in the truck, instead we must bring our trash back into our house….NOT OKAY.
13. Store hours. They don’t exist. If a store has hours posted, its a miracle in itself, but you will never come across a store that actually goes by those hours. It’s more like, “Oh, the boss had a late night last night, so were just not going to open today….oh well!” Well, when I want a curry wrap, and he decides not to come to work…its a huge deal!
14. Scooters. Scooters are in replacement of the family car here. This means two parents, two children and a dog will use the scooter as transportation. And yes, 4 people and a dog do fit on a scooter, and yes it is very common. The parents will sandwich the children between them while the dog balances on the front. Some very clever parents will leave their baby in their stroller and literally balance the stroller on the front of the scooter. SAFE.
I kept forgetting to post this, so I had to sneak it in before my last day of school post coming tomorrow!!!! I literally cannot believe I’m writing a last day of school post. AHH!! IM NOT READY!
Also I'm going to put the same disclaimer here as with my first post: As a fair warning if you are reading this as a potential expat, I literally adore Taiwan. These were just too funny not to list...and it's always better to be prepared, right?!