This past weekend, we experienced a number of firsts here in Taiwan.
1. First Doctor visit - Friday afternoon, I had a fever and wasn't feeling well. When I went to talk to the Director, I was reassured that they would cancel my classes but that I should go to the doctor right away. Being the type of person who rarely goes to the doctor, even when I need to, was like "no, no, I just need to sleep, I'll be okay tomorrow." Then I was told that if I canceled my classes the day of, I would not only be penalized (standard procedure) but I would have to make up these classes without pay. However, if I went to the doctor and returned a doctors note, I would be able to make up these hours with pay. The other issue with seeing a doctor, was that we had yet to receive our insurance....I, of course, was concerned about the cost involved with the visit. After some discussion involving the location of the clinic and costs involved, I was taken there by a secretary at the school. The visit lasted less than 5 minutes-from the minute I walked in the door to the minute I walked out, medicine in hand-and cost only $12US!! I went home and slept, knowing that this was truly what I needed. Saturday morning, I slept in and by noon was feeling mostly like myself again.
2. First Movie - Saturday evening we were able to meet up with our American friends from LA. We met near the train station and took a free shuttle to a new department store FE21 (new to us anyways). We wondered aimlessly through the store for a while, trying to find out way to the top floor where we were told the movie theater was located. There were a number of escalators and elevators, but they were strategically placed and would only allow access to certain floors. We eventually found the food court, where we enjoyed some wonderful Italian pasta then headed up to the theater. We decided on two movies that would be good, but chose "The Informant" as it had an earlier show time.
3. First time being lost - After our movie - which we loved - we headed out of the mall. Unfortunately, because all the shops were closed (it was midnight) we were ushered out a different entrance than we used to get into the building. Once we found the front of the building, we were confronted by the fact that the free shuttle that we had taken to the mall was no longer running. Feeling adventurous, this didn't concern us...Susannah luckily had a map, so we headed out to find the bus stop. Of course our lack of reading Chinese and the confusing directions, we soon realized we were going the wrong way. We turned around and back tracked, only to find that we in fact were headed in the correct direction the first time! Once finally arriving at the bus stop, we were faced with yet another challenge as the city buses cease to run beyond 10:30pm! Even on Saturday night! Feeling defeat, and knowing that there was no way we'd be able to walk home, we hailed a cab. After Susannah was dropped off near her house, we took the cab a little longer...only as far as we could explain to the cab driver. Unfortunately, were we were left off was 2.5km from home (1.5miles). So we walked. And walked. And walked. Once we finally arrived home, we were ready to crash!
4. First bike ride - Sunday afternoon we headed to Nanliao. This is the location of Hsinchu Harbour and the beginning of a 17km bike trail that follows the coast south. We rented bicycles for the day (only $8US) and headed out. It was a lovely afternoon to spend outside, not too hot, not too cold, and a wonderful breeze coming off the ocean. Once we headed the end, we stopped for an afternoon snack (or a late lunch!) - fried rice noodles - they were oh, so yummy after a long trek. After devouring our meal, we headed back north to Nanliao. Unfortunately, the ride back was much more difficult for a number of reasons. One, it was getting dark, so everyone was headed back. The pathway is only made for two bicycles, one in each direction, however the path was 3, 4, even 5, bicycles wide at times. Secondly, our bums were super sore. These bikes were not built to fit us, the seats were either too high or too low, and the handle bars were too far away. Dan's seat actually began to loosen and was moving around the entire ride back. Despite being a little uncomfortable, we thoroughly enjoyed the ride, we really miss our bicycles though!
5. First ARC - Yes, finally! We are officially ALIENS! (Alien Residents that is.) So now that we have our cards, we can open a bank account, get insurance, and get a cell phone.
6. First Bank Account - This too was not the easiest experience as there was some confusion as to why Dan and I wanted a joint account and how we could not want the various "extras" available with out ATM card. After about an hour, we were able to leave with another item checked off our list!
And last, but not least, our first broken camera...hence the lack of photos on this post! We have been in the market for a new camera, but weren't planning on buying just yet. The camera we're interested in is to be released this month, hopefully by November we'll have a new one!