Friday, October 30, 2009

Gamer Shame

Apparently, no one plays video games in Taipei.

There are games and accessories sold and advertised everywhere, but I have, in 2 months met 1 person who will admit to ever having played a video game.

It is just not cool here...or more accurately, it is not proper. It goes against the work ethic. Its not just games either. People also tell me they don't go out to bars or clubs either.

I'll admit though, that I have yet to actually get into a cyber cafe (maybe I will have more luck at one of those) but in my defense, it took me a long time to find one. They seem to be hidden, but once I knew what to look for I saw them everywhere.

From the street all I can see is a small doorway. During the day I must have passed dozens of them without ever noticing, but it was nighttime that finally clued me into what I was looking for. At night the doorways get lit up, sometimes in neon lights, and this is what drew my attention into a small doorway where I recognized the mural of a Night Elf leading people down a narrow staircase.

As it turns out there are a number of them near my home, but I just couldn't see them before. Now that I know where to go it won't be long before I succumb to the Night Elfs alluring eyes and follow her down into the depths of the Internet.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

"I'm not Afraid of Death Anymore."

When I first came to Taipei I met an awesome American girl who would yell "DEATH!" every time a scooter or cab was approaching us. This happened frequently as it were, as the traffic in Taipei is freaking scary - and the cabs and scooters are the worst. After sometime all of the foreigners coming through the hostel began to refer to cabs and scooters as "death."

Last week, I was walking through the middle of a smaller street (smaller by Taipei standards) with this girl when 2 scooters came towards us and swerved around us. Meanwhile, we had stopped (still in the middle of the street) to watch as 2 other scooters came within inches of hitting each other right in front of us.

Neither of us even flinched. My friend turned to me after the scene was finished and said, "You know that you have acclimated when the scooters and cabs no longer phase you. I am not afraid of death anymore."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I was Supposed to Start this in August?!?

I have been in Taipei since the end of August, and although I promised everyone back home to blog and update Facebook is my first blog post.

It literally took me 5 weeks to get adjusted to the point that I could even begin to focus on anything other than getting by. Of course this wasn't all just due to culture shock (though there was that too). Jet-lag, extreme heat, the break up of a 6 year relationship, and people back home wanting more attention than I was capable of giving all came into play. The Internet in the hostel was temperamental (its fixed now :) the academic culture of perfection, and the time consuming element of trying to communicate in a language I am not fluent in also contributed.

That being said, I have no complaints. I love Taipei and I am glad I decided to come here. I'd stay forever, but I think finishing my PhD may require me returning to Milwaukee at some point ...