It seems almost unreal to say that we’ve been in Taiwan for just over a week. So, so much has happened in the last week. If I wasn’t here to witness it all, I might not even believe it myself!
But let’s back up a bit…
We got the the airport with about 15 pieces of luggage (we=me, Dave, my mom, and my dad) and all of them were overweight. For some reason our airline was weighing all carry-on items, and they couldn’t be over 7 kg—which is not a lot—and all of ours were. We did lots of shuffling, rearranging, and Dave even had to fill up a plastic bag with clothes and other items for his parents to bring to Taiwan later this year. Thankfully, by the grace of God and some very helpful airline employees, we were able to get on the plane without paying a single extra fee.
Here’s my last pregger photo in the US:
Once we arrived in Taiwan (around midnight last Tuesday night) we promptly went to bed, and then I was promptly woken up at 4:30 by a little monster known as “jet lag.” For the next 3 or 4 days Dave and I both battled jet lag, but I’m pretty sure we’re over it now. On Thursday we went to a cell phone store and experienced our first taste of the unbelievable Taiwan hospitality (and God’s blessing). Not only did we have a few fees waved, but the cell phone I picked out was given to me for free. We signed a 2-year contract which made our move feel a little bit more real and less like a vacation. We were also amazed at the differences in cell phone plan costs. In the US we were paying around $160 for our phones (for talk, text, and data) and here we are paying $60. Major difference.
Thursday afternoon we had our first interview with an English cram school or buxiban (pronounced bush-ee-bahn.) The interview went well and later we were called back to do teaching demonstrations which also went well. We are waiting to hear the final word about signing a contract, but I’m 98% sure the jobs are ours.
Last week we also went to a large outdoor market which sells massive quantities of fruits and vegetables for wholesale prices. (Dave wrote about the market in his first Man Cave post if you want a manly perspective.)
Can we just talk about the size of the green onions here? Take a look at the first two photos in the top left corner. Wowza! I also love the mountains of watermelons that divide the vegetable section from the fruit section. I wanted to climb up the side of them but I figured that kind of behavior might be frowned upon…even for a foreigner…
On Friday we started looking at potential apartments thanks to the help of our wonderful friends, Lawrance and Amanda. Lawrance is Taiwanese and Amanda speaks Mandarin so they made all the calls to set up the appointments and our chauffeurs—err my parents—drove us to each place. The first apartment we saw we absolutely LOVED, but it was out of our price range and did not include any appliances. We told the listing agent that if the landlord was willing to come down in price we’d be interested, but she told us that this property was already a good value for the area and would likely be rented fast.
The excitement from the first apartment was quickly forgotten as we looked at several more, hmm how shall I say it, “less desirable” (aka frightening) places. We couldn’t help comparing everything to the first apartment, but again didn’t feel we had a chance in renting it. On Saturday our friend Amanda called and told us that the landlord from the first apartment was willing to get us a hot water heater and a refrigerator, and she believed she could talk the landlord down to the price we wanted. Um, WHAT??? Why would the landlord do that? The agent told us that several other people were interested in the property, and yet she was giving us a deal??? It was such an awesome God thing! We had two other properties to view on Saturday, which were ok, but we still knew that we wanted the first place. We told the agent that if the landlord was willing to come down to our price level that we would take it.
And guess what? She accepted! Last night (Tuesday) we signed a 2 year lease on an apartment we absolutely love, just shy of a week after arriving in Taiwan. Wow. When God answers prayers quickly it’s pretty overwhelming and awesome.
Here are some pictures of our new place:
Here’s a shot from down the street-- quintessential Asia:
The view from the front door looking into the living room towards balcony doors (terrible lighting is this picture, it’s actually very bright!):
View from balcony doors facing living room:
Hallway shot, hopefully you can visualize where all the rooms are:
I couldn’t take a picture of the kitchen since my mom had blocked the doorway with our *almost* new fridge. She and my dad are cleaning rock stars! They cleaned both bathrooms and all the floors in the whole apartment while we were gone. Believe me, the floors (if you can’t tell from the pictures) were NASTY!
Here is our balcony looking from right to left:
And the view from left to right:
One of the great things about this apartment is that we have a mountain view from the balcony and 2 of the bedrooms:
In addition to the balcony, the 12th floor also has a special outdoor area that is just for us and the other family on our floor. I didn’t take a picture of it, but it’s awesome for drying clothes or even having a dinner party. Oh, and we can use the rooftop for parties/star gazing (when pollution doesn’t cloud the sky).
So, what do you think? We love this apartment and can’t wait until we start getting furniture and for our shipped pallet of goodies to arrive from the US (scheduled for February 22nd).
So in one week God provided cell phones, an apartment, *almost* a job, and one more thing.
Yesterday (Tuesday) we went to see a pediatric geneticist at Kaohsiung Medical Hospital. We had sent her our latest ultrasound results, and to be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to seeing her. I was tired of going to see doctors and hearing devastating news with no hope or compassion offered. As soon as we got into the room with her I knew things were going to be different. She greeted us with a smile, friendly handshake, and she began to speak in English. We had a translator who came with us, but she was never needed. The doctor spoke English very well and went through the ultrasound report with us. She didn’t sugarcoat anything, but offered everything in compassion and love. She told me that nothing was certain since we were just using ultrasounds, and for me not to worry but to enjoy my baby. She said that when our little girl is delivered she will make sure that she gets all the special care she needs and that she’ll make sure to have a team of qualified doctors on hand. She even gave us her personal cell phone number in case I ever wanted to talk to her. Praise God! I had to keep myself from crying/reaching out and hugging her during most of the appointment. I really felt that God had answered my prayer of providing a qualified, and compassionate doctor for our precious baby. She also got me an appointment with a well-qualified OBGYN for tomorrow. This OBGYN not only speaks perfect English, but she is a female, which is very rare in Taiwan.
When we got home from the hospital I went into my room and just fell on my knees. God has been so, so good to us since we got here and I feel so undeserving of all these blessings. I just thanked Him over and over and praised Him for all that He has done and all that He will do for us. We definitely feel His presence and peace with us each and everyday, and that’s all that we could ever ask for!