If you have been living in Taiwan and are returning home for holiday or family obligations, then your friends and co-workers will have already given you their lists. My friend went back to London and brought me back some Harrogate of Yorkshire loose leaf. But if you are a newbie and have kids you still might not know what to bring. A new friend moving to Taichung with her daughters recently asked me what to bring and about making friends for her daughters, etc.
This is a bit of my email back to her:
Usually when I go to a new country or travel its very quick for me to connect w/ kindred spirits. But this time it took me about 6 months to find people I connected deeply with and find people my age w/kids. But thats me, I would not say that will happen for you. Most of my coworkers are 10 years younger than me and no kids so we dont have so much in common, but I do have some very close friends now. Most of dear friends here are Taiwanese. I lived in , Tamsui for 1 1/2 years in 2000-2002 to pay off my undergrad loan and I made friends for life there, who still come visit me and vice versa.
Hiring a maid or even an older auntie to help w/the kids is very cheap. You dont need to bring anything, no bedding, clothes, electric equipment uses the same voltage as in the States and you can find anything and everything here. I do recommend bringing vitamins, supplements, essential oils as what you can find here is sparse and not good quality--there are no Whole Foods here and the small mom and pop health food stores dont have big supplies or much variety. Also if you are very tall, have big feet or in my case a big butt you will find alot of the clothes wont fit, but in bigger cities like Taichung and Taipei there are neighborhoods w/alot of foreigners and stores that carry bigger sizes. Taiwanese women have flat asses and I definitely dont so that can make for probs buying pants. All the bras here are super padded w/lots of under-wire, I just cut the under-wire out as for me I think its unhealthy. I-phones are cheaper in the States, if you brought some back you could make some $ in Taichung w/ the foreigners for sure!
I think if you join a gym, chinese class, tai chi or an english speaking church, etc you will meet more foreigners. Take your girls to the park and you will meet the same kids and their folks everyday, thats how I met my Chinese "parents". Taiwanese are super-friendly and they absolutely adore kids, you will actually be annoyed at how much attention you all get. Its very bothersome to always be bombared w/ attention, strangers touching your kids faces, taking their photo w/ their cellphone w/o asking etc. You will get so much attention and invitation to tea, dont worry about meeting people and making friends, it will definately not be a problem for you or your daughters. Taiwanese parents actually force their kids to talk to me or my daughter to practice their English so I dont think finding playmates for them will be a problem.
- Kathy (杜 言 艷)
- Yilan, Taiwan
- I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.