Last week we shared what we miss most from our lives in Taiwan. Now it’s time to divulge a few of the things we don’t miss so much.
No matter where you call home, there are going to be both pros and cons to the location. If you’re one of our dear Taiwanese friends reading this, please remember we love you, and the pros to our life in Taiwan far outweighed any of the things that bothered us.
Although we wanted to keep the lists balanced, we could only come up with 8 things we won’t miss. See? Told you we loved more than we didn’t.
8 Things We Don’t Miss About Living In Taiwan
1. The Umbrellas
The average height of an Asian female is 5 foot 2 inches. Dan is a comfortable 5 foot 9 inches —just the right height for people walking around crowded areas with umbrellas to stab him in the face. This happened more often than you might think: Taiwanese women prefer white skin, so they often choose to shield themselves from the harsh rays of the sun with their handy- dandy umbrella! So no, Dan won’t miss the jabbing.
2. The Nervous Giggles
‘Wai Goa Ren’ means ‘white person’, but it is not an offensive term. If you are light-skinned, you’ll likely hear the name called out when you enter an establishment where no one feels comfortable conversing with you in English. If Taiwanese girls are present, they will probably get flustered, which in turn will become an uncontrollable spell of giggles. We got really tired of this, especially when we were trying to get something accomplished quickly or attempting to speak our limited Mandarin. It became difficult to keep from asking the teenage girls to take a breath and calm down. Some might find the giggling cute. We found it tiresome.
3. The Facemasks
Taiwan is an extremely crowded place to live, and it is easy for germs to hop from one person to the next. We get that. As a result, many Taiwanese people wear facemasks in crowded areas, when sick, or while driving. Fair enough. That doesn’t change the fact that teaching a foreign language to students is exacerbating when you can’t see the student’s mouths. We’re all for sick students wearing a facemask, but otherwise, please leave them off in the classroom.
4. The Disregard For Oncoming Traffic
We already said that we loved getting around by our two-wheeled transportation. And we are aware that driving in Taiwan is much safer than most other places in Asia. However, that doesn’t change the fact that many Taiwanese (especially the older generation) pay no attention to oncoming traffic. If they want to pull out in front of you, they will. We never use to speak profanely—and then we began driving in Taiwan.
5. The Long Working Hours
The Taiwanese work extremely hard. It often starts when they are as young as three and sent to bilingual kindergartens; it continues through grade school with extracurricular classes most nights of the week and even Saturday mornings; it is concreted as adults when those same hardworking students begin to work ten-hour days, six days a week. We admire the work ethic, but personally believe it to be a bit much at times.
6. The Lack of Microbrews
Asia is not really the best place to go for microbrews, which is fine. We enjoy local beers, but you can only take so much Taiwan Beer before you begin to crave something a bit darker.
7. The Crowds
There are a lot of people competing for space in Taiwan. If it’s a public holiday, expect people shoulder-to-shoulder on the train and hotels booked full. If you’re attending a festival or night market, leave your personal bubble at home. This wouldn’t be a huge issue, except for the fact that Casey gets a bit claustrophobic when she feels trapped in a small space. Has she mentioned she doesn’t actually love flying?
8. The Smell of Stinky Tofu
We admitted to trying stinky tofu on multiple occasions, and even kind of enjoying it by the end. But that doesn’t mean the smell ever got better. Try training for a marathon and getting a big whiff of rancid tofu at mile 15. You’ll quickly understand.
Again, while we don’t miss these particular elements of life in Taiwan, they are greatly shadowed by the many things we do miss. The crowds and facemasks don’t define our time in Taiwan, but the wonderful people, places, cuisine and experiences do.
Have you lived in Asia before? Do you agree or disagree with our notes listed above? Share your experiences below!