Lowdown on Luodong

After approximately 16 hours on a plane with a 4 hour layover in San Francisco, we finally made it to the beautiful township of Luodong, Yilan. Despite not sleeping consistently for about a day, we managed to get our phones/SIM cards, our first paycheck (“allowance”) and apply for our ARC residency cards. Oh, and take some very hilarious photos at a shop near the teaching center. Of course, the first three of us are Asian, so the photographer kept telling us to open our eyes wider. I kept laughing which made my already small eyes smaller, so I had to take nearly 6 shots before he let me go. Adventures for sure.

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Our apartment is pretty nice, a 3 bedroom flat on the 4th floor of a two-tower, 20+ floor building in the fringe of Luodong, a good 20 minute walk from the nearest train station. It’s definitely not city, but not really off completely into the boonies either. There is a really cute ice cream and cake shop right near the lobby of our flat, called Kiki’s (Studio Ghibili, anyone?). I was really tempted last night to grab a bite, but our heft dinner at a nearby restaurant stopped me.

Otherwise, pretty eventful and hectic first day. We landed at 4:30am or so and it was already 81 degrees…so…that bodes well. After waiting a bit, we got picked up by a giant blue bus through numerous mountain tunnels. About an hour later, we had drawn lots for flats and flatmates. My roomies are pretty awesome and our rooms are pretty generously sized. The important thing, of course, is that each room ensures major AC action, plus de-humidifiers left by the previous ETAs. We’re supposedly only staying a month before switching it up, but I’m pretty moved in already, so we’ll see about that.

A quick box lunch accompanied by a info rundown and photo taking session left us closer from all the tired, bumbling mistakes we made. We then made a trip to the supermarket and spent our first NT dollars on household amenities and food. Bedsheets are ridiculously expensive here, but you learn to deal. I had to take a major detour away from the bakery because it smelled so amazing.

After shopping, we went to dinner a few blocks down from our place. I tried Mu Er juice, this gelatinous, brown jelly substance which was surprisingly alright. The dishes were your standard Asian fair, with plenty of green onions, tofu, meats in savory sauces and vegetables galore. I found myself peering suspiciously at fried shrimp covered in mayo and…sprinkles. Yep, that was definitely the most creative dish of the night. We polished the night off with a long talk amongst the ETAs in the building which left s all feeling a bit closer and more at home.

Excited for the weekend, which heralds in Taiwanese Valentine’s Day and the rest of ghost month. Still on the search for a church, but haven’t been too successful just yet. Might have to book it to Taipei next weekend if I really want to go.

Excited for more adventures!

Cheers,

S.

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