We finally signed our lease last Friday, and we will be moving into our new apartment this week. I’m looking forward to it partly because the sunrise is really early here, and the curtains in our current room block out maybe 5% of the light that comes in through the sliding glass door. I woke up around 6, and we don’t start work until 12:30. (Before you get jealous, I should tell you that we don’t get off work until 9 to 9:30 pm, and we often don’t get home until ten or so.)
We live in Chiayi City, pronounced ji (rhymes with “guy”) ye (as in “Hear ye, hear ye). We have heard from some other teachers that there is an expat community here, but we’ve seen like 5 other foreigners since we’ve gotten here. There are some signs in English, but they serve as entertainment as often as they tell us useful information. Never Too Old Steak restaurant comes to mind, for example. We intend to start learning some Chinese pretty soon. The city is really compact–more people than Knoxville, but much smaller in area. There are lots of trees and parks, and the area we are in town in mostly pedestrian friendly.
We can’t cook for ourselves yet–another reason having our own place will be a nice change–so, as in Thailand, we go to 7-Eleven pretty much every day. Breakfast is usually orange juice and some kind of bread or a banana from the 7-Eleven near the house we’re staying in, and lunch is often a microwaved bowl of dumplings from the 7-Eleven near the English school. I don’t know what American 7-Elevens are like, but I suspect the ones here have more tea. Black tea, black tea with lemon, black tea with apple juice, tea with milk, tea with chocolate milk, tea with strawberry milk, tea lattes, green tea, green tea with lemon, green tea with apple juice…None of these are made-up. This is not even the whole list.
Food is mostly inexpensive and really good. It deserves its own post, actually. I’m surprised by how much I like the food here and simultaneously surprised by how much I miss American food. Grilled cheese sandwiches, baked potatoes, homemade spaghetti sauce, broccoli and cheese soup, apples, guacamole, milk and cereal in the morning–I’m hoping all of these will be within reach once we have a kitchen and nearby grocery store. I don’t miss vegetables. Actually, the cabbage here is really good, which is a nice surprise, and I’ve had some green beans that taste just like my grandmother’s.
Okay, so, I intended to tell you about the city, and I’ve mostly talked about food. I think it’s time for breakfast.