An American makes plans to move to Taiwan.


In the year 2008.

Last year, on this blog, I commented that 2007 still sounded like the future. Even though its in the past, I guess it still kinda does. But 2008, that's different for me. Jan 21, 2008, which is only about 3 weeks away is when I am leaving the US to start a new 'chapter' in my life. Anyway I'll be here for the first month of 2008 but you could say that this is the year I am thrusting myself into the unknown. I think it will be a challenging year, but I hope to grow up a lot from it.

I was hoping to have a small New Year's Eve party here at my dad's house, however, almost everyone I know is out of the state and/or country. That's what I get for having international friends. Well at least 2 or 3 people will come, we can play Wii and goof around as usual. I am thinking maybe I should plan another get-together thing sometime soon before I leave, 3 weeks isn't long at all.

Taipei 101, tallest building in the world.
On New Years they shoot fireworks directly off the building!

Well my Aunt and Uncle are coming next weekend so I am happy about that. I am hoping we can go to the Zoo and take along his video camera. We used to go down there all the time when I was a kid. I am also thinking of buying a camcorder for myself so that I can start video-logging, in addition to this web-log.

Well have a happy new years! Good luck to you all- and please wish me some too!


Taiwan Prep - House Hunting

I went back to DC and got my Visa, nicely placed in my passport- awesome! So now I can arrive with no issues in that department. I will need to find if it is renewable like I think it should be. At least the first term is 60 days, so thats what I planned for. Hopefully I can get a job and an ARC (alien resident card,) that would allow me to apply for the resident Visa.

So now I am looking for apartments in Taichung City. I found two pretty different ones that are both suitable. One is a tiny studio, it is 8 pings (1 ping is about the size of a tatami mat.) It comes furnished and has 1 bathroom and a washing machine. The rooms in this complex cost about $7400 - 8200 NT which is about $320 - 350 US per month, a decent price. Here is a photo:

This other place, its only $50 US more, $10,000 NT but its 50 PINGS! Thats very large, about 166 square meters. My taiwanese friends are warning me to find out more about this place, possibly a bad location or something else would cause a large studio apartment to go this low, possibly it just has extra fee for everything, such as cable, apartment fee. I will find that out and get photos too. I might just be lucky! They mentioned there are 2 French people and a South African living there.

Anyway, at least I know there are places available. Actually there are some Chinese Language only sites that have tons of listings in Taichung, but I am stuck with English sites. has plenty of places in Taipei, but not as many in other cities. Hopefully I can get a pretty good idea of where I want to stay before I am set to leave.

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Visa Adventures!

Oh man, I am so dumb! Haha! Let me tell you what I did today. Well I needed to get my Visa for Taiwan, as you see in my list its written in RED so it's very important, haha! Well the TECRO website sucks I have to say. Nowhere on the site does it give you their phone number or address. So I have to search around google to find other sites that referenced them in order to find that info. So then I called to confirm it was correct.

Next I needed to get all the requirements together. $100 fee, 2 passport style photos, a bank statement with over $4000 in it, an itenerary printed from the airline showing you purchased tickets to arrive and depart, and the Visa Application. On the application there is a section for a reference in Taiwan. I wasn't sure if I needed that so I didn't fill it out, but I brought a paper along that had a friend's info on it. On that paper I had also written the directions to the TECRO Office. I might as well say it here, their office is at 4201 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20016, and the phone number is 202-895-1800. Maybe someone else doing a google search will find this information helpful.

So I took the Metro into DC and stopped at the Teneley Town AU stop. On the google map it appeared that the Metro stop was south of Albermarle Street. Therefore to continue south to the TECRO Office I should not cross Albermarle and instead follow Wisconsin Ave down towards Van Ness. Well actually I came out on the North side, so when I avoided crossing Albermarle I was going North. I noticed the numbers were going up and i wasnt hitting any of the cross streets, but I couldn't figure out how I could be going north if I didnt cross Albermarle. Well I walked all the way back to the previous Metro stop before I figured it out. I jumped back on rode back to Teneley Town and went the correct way. When I arrived the front doors were closed. There were no signs to explain why. So I called the TECRO Office using the number I had written on that piece of paper. They said, oh theres a side door facing Van Ness- so I went around. I showed them my form and they said I needed to add the reference person's info on the sheet. So I put my things down on the table. I had all the forms there except one thing. That piece of paper I had JUST been holding was suddenly missing, and it had the only info I needed on it. I searched like mad to no avail. Finally I gave up and thought to myself, how can I get a replacement reference. Lucky for me I have other Taiwanese friends here in the US. I called one of them and they were able to give me all the info I needed, including their ROC ID number which was lucky. So I turned in all the pieces of the puzzle and the lady gave me my receipt. I went to pick up all my items and as I picked up my clipboard, there underneath was that paper I had been looking for. AIYO!!! Apparently that was the only place I didn't think to look.

Oh and I forgot to mention I don't have a printer at my house so I had to go to my dad's office first in order to print my Itinerary. So in the end it actually didn't take that long, and I had everything I needed, they said it would be ready next Thursday, due to the fact the office is closed for a few days because of the Holidays. If I had paid extra I think I could have had it done today.

So all in all, if you aren't a retard like me you can easily go and get a Visa to Taiwan. I hope this is useful to someone, but most likely it will just others laugh at my expense, haha!


Flight Plan

I just wanted to post my flight Plan here so I can use it as a quick reference. I've removed the Flight Number so others won't be able to track it easily.

Washington DC (DCA)
Depart 9:15 am
to Los Angeles (LAX)
Arrive 12:03 pm
2,294 mi
(3,692 km)
Duration: 5hr 48mn

Los Angeles (LAX)
Depart 1:50 pm
to Taipei (TPE)
Arrive 8:20 pm +1 day
6,774 mi
(10,902 km)
Duration: 14hr 30mn

Total distance: 9,068 mi (14,594 km)
Total duration: 20hr 18mn (22hr 5mn with connections)

As you can see, its a long flight. Almost a full 24 hour day of travel time including waits in the airport. Once I get to Taipei I will have to stay in a hotel, then later catch a bus to whatever city I will be living in. I still want to go to Taichung but I have some other back-ups in other cities.

I'm Freakin' Out Man!

Well, not really freaking out, just nervous. I have only about a month until I will be out of here. I really can't believe it. So now I will go back to my 'Things to do before Jan 21' list.

RED = High Priority - Still not done.
BLUE = Low Priority - Have some options
GREEN = Can't do that yet.

  1. Visitor Visa (Planning to do this tomorrow.)
  2. Find apartment/make housing plans (I have some offers for temporary housing at least.)
  3. Get international drivers license (Not sure I even need this, trying to find if it's accepted in Taiwan.)
  4. Trash/sell/donate unwanted items (I donated some clothes.)
  5. Pack items to be shipped by sea
  6. Create bank account accessible in Taiwan and US (I got a Citibank account.)
  7. Get copies of College records (I need to call Towson about this.)
  8. Have passport size photos printed for use on forms (I got 2 for my Visa.)
  • Find housing that opens in January (I plan to find a place to live in Taiwan first.)
  • Find a Scooter to buy (Same as with the jobs.)
  • Find someone to buy the car (Mom donated it.)
  • Set up Skype so I can talk to parents (I set this up on mom's PC, she still needs a mic.)
  • Find a way to brush up on English and Chinese language skills (I have some ESL books.)
  • Prepare entertainment for the long plane ride (I have books, a laptop, and I can get another drawing pad.)
Well - Now after going through that list I feel a little better. I think its the 'holiday' things that are stressing me out. I have gifts to buy and so forth. I allready got a few though. So now, looks like I really just need to focus on getting this Visa and finding out about my College documents.


Cold Weather!

GAAAAHHH!!! IT'S SO COLD! Well, cold is sort of a relative term, but to me, right now, it's friggin' cold!

Taiwan is sub-tropical in the north and tropical in the south. If I move to Taichung, that's in central taiwan. Actually it is my understanding that Tai = Taiwan and Chung = Middle, so the city name basically means central taiwan. It uses the same character as china to mean middle. ChungGuo or something like that- meaning Middle Country. America is MaiGuo meaning beautiful country.

blue green blue 藍綠藍 - By Paogao

So- back to the weather. It's already snowed once this year, and it was a pretty good one too, I got to take off of work that day, but I was already sick at that time. Cold weather just makes me feel slower, more reluctant to do anything, getting out of bed in the morning is painful. Putting your warm tender little feet to the ice cold floor is like torture! It might as well be hot coals!

When I was younger though, I hated hot weather. I think mainly because I was a teenager and embarrassed about sweating. My concept at that time was that cold weather was easier because you can always add more clothes, but you can only take off so much. But these days I really hate the cold. When I leave here it might be snowing, when I arrive in Taiwan it will be sunshine and palm trees, or if not, at least it will be warm, haha!


Work is over!

Karlos and I, proud ERHS Alumni

I just got home from work. It was a good last day, I didn't really do much, thanks to Karlos for that! We ended up having Pizza, it was good and I was able to pick my favorite toppings, haha! Too bad I don't think many people like black olives and mushrooms. It still doesn't feel finalized to me in a way, I won't need to work for about 2 months! I hope I can make the best of my time! Thanks for the Pizza Irma! Haha!

Irma and I in the parking lot


Last week of work!

My co-workers said they will take me out to a Vietnamese restaurant I like on my last day, I am happy about that, we can talk about all the crazy things that happened this past year. There are only two days left to go before I am done! It's really hard to believe, but I guess once Christmas is over the reality of it all will start to become apparent. In january I will need to visit a lot of people and make preparations to leave. I keep thinking about how I will feel the day I leave, and the day I arrive in Taiwan. I think I will feel I am in a dream, but as the challenges hit be I hope it doesn't turn into a nightmare! Haha!


Friends - US and Taiwan!

I just wanted to make a post to discuss my friends. Here in the US I've moved around a good bit. I used to think I hadn't made any lasting friendships, but recently I realized that even though I lost contact with some of my friends, we are still good friends and if I see them again I'll be happy to hang out. I have made a good number of friends during the last year and I am really glad I was able to get out and socialize more. I am still reluctant to get out and do things sometimes but I think I am getting better about it. Once I get to Taiwan I hope I can make a lot of good friends and have fun!

Then there are my MSN friends, people I met on various websites, most of which live in, or have something to do with, Taiwan. Most of them I have to admit are girls, partially because I am single, and partially because its kinda hard and awkward making friends with guys online, guys just aren't all that chatty with each other, and I usually get bored when discussing guy things with people I am not already friends with. My online friends have been really helpful, just discussing cultural things, stuff about taiwan, about international relations, and so forth. A lot of people have offered to look for apartments for me, or just give me some hints or suggestions if they hear anything useful. I hope I can meet a lot of them when I arrive, it will be fun to visit the different cities and all that!

So in conclusion, thanks to all my friends! My Greenbelt Friends, Towson Friends, UMD Friends, my Co-workers, and everyone else! You all mean a lot to me and I think about you often, even if you don't hear from me!

Foreigners in Asia.

I was talking with a white guy from Canada on MSN today. He lives in a smaller city in Taiwan. He was telling me that many of the foreigners in Taiwan, and Asia in general are losers who basically couldn't cut it in their own country. They fled to Asia in hopes of making money and meeting girls, things they had failed at doing in their Country. He was telling me that the bigger cities were full of drugs and trashy people and they are polluted and expensive.

I guess a lot of that is true. Cities are known the world over for this, and me being a guy who doesn't go out to party and stuff, he was thinking I am an idiot to put myself in that situation. I mean I see his point, but I have always been good at staying out of trouble, even in some bad situations.

It does kind of piss me off though, to think the local Taiwanese will have these ideas about me. Like "Just another ugly foreigner, no skills in his own country, just wants to come take advantage of us, use us, date some silly girls who are blinded by the exotic thought of dating a foreigner." Well I guess every country has stereotypes. Many Americans look down on immigrants, thinking they are taking advantage of us and so forth.

I guess there is no point for me to worry about this though. I mean I already know I have a lot of marketable skills in graphic design and the IT field, and I don't consider myself ugly or desperate for women. I've never had a problem holding down a job or a girlfriend or anything like that. Just hope people will give me a chance.

I said it before, but my main goal is to just live in a culture that suits me, is comfortable, convenient, and friendly. I know every city has its bad points but I can't image that Taichung is going to be any worse than DC or Baltimore when it comes to the lowlifes, haha!

Updates! Progress!

Just a few new things going on, gotta give another update. I have only one week left of work! Thats 5 weekdays! I have been working with a temp agency since February, only one assignment. I have been working IT, fixing computers, doing some small network administrator things. Its been pretty good, my supervisor Karlos has been especially helpful in teaching me a lot about the field and keeping me out of trouble, haha! I'll be sad to leave my friends there, but at the same time I am really excited to have a break and be moving on to Taiwan.

This morning I set up a Citibank account. I know they are big in Taiwan, the lady who set up my account assured me I'd be able to use the ATMs there as usual and do most of my other banking things online. I will have to set up another Taiwan account to deposit earnings in. So looks like that wont be a problem, I hope! I need to apply for a credit card next.

Next Monday when i am off I think I will go to try to apply for my travel Visa. I am thinking I will try to do it in person, I don't know exactly how it works yet but I'll figure that out next weekend.

So I will have some free time to enjoy the holidays, then a month to prepare. My original purpose of this blog was to explain what I was doing to prepare to move to Taiwan, so I hope that it's useful to someone in the future. I think it's important to plan a lot of this ahead of time, don't just dive in, unless you have to, for financial reasons.