Sunday, August 22, 2010

Caitlin Versus the Love Motel

Some people say, “Home is where the heart is.” But I like to think, “Home is right across the street from the OhYa Love Motel.” (Which, according to is completely booked tonight...for love.) See photo: my very own love motel. Kidding, Mommy!

Now before someone starts wondering what bed of sin I have made my nest in, “Hourly Rate” motels are apparently very common in Taiwan, a country where many married couples share a bedroom wall with their in-laws. It’s all very sensible when you consider that this is also a country where women protect their skin from the sun with umbrellas and recycling is not simply sorted as “Recycling” and “Garbage,” but into paper, plastic, metal, and garbage. Absolutely sensible.

What’s sensible about my new home in Taoyuan? (Thanks, Wikipedia!)

(Location, location.)
Within a thirty minute walk to school, I can wave hello and give a goofy sounding “Tsao” to about 50 shop owners (dumpling shops, crap stuff shops, mobile phone shops, 7-11s, noodle shops, rice shops, pharmacies.) This country loves to buy stuff, and so there are so many people to say good morning to. Within 30 minutes of bus travel, we can be smack dab in the center of Taipei.
We are >1 minute to the nearest Family Mart/7-11 (though that’s hardly a bragging right. They are literally on every corner.) Two minutes from school is Taoyuan’s most awesome outdoor market, complete with dozens of fish, meat, and veggie vendors (and everything in between) – I will give a full account of the market scene later, but its simply too awesome to fit into this vignette.
We are five minutes walk to the nearest dan bing vendor – Chinese style crepe filled with egg and whatever else you want/they have – I order veggie, which always has canned corn, and the other day had sprouts, iceberg lettuce and cucumber…and hot sauce.

Our rent is less than $350 per month – split between two.
The apartment is on the 6th floor of a nearly new building, with several fabulous security guards, a small pool, a gym, a movie viewing room and a well decorated reading room. At night, the kitchen window is filled with the purplepinkblue lights of the OhYa sign. I love it. It makes me feel like I’m in New York City.
Except way cheaper.
Ohya, and I really like the Japanese sliding door to the bedroom and weird extra room that may become a dining room. And I really like the built in giant desk thing next to the kitchen that I also use to store food and dishes. Ohya, and the enormous closet, and the shoe closet by the door (no shoes in the house, suckah, this is Asia), and the laundry dry rack that lowers down like a chandelier.

Didn’t I come here to work?
Ohya, I guess I did come here to work. After surviving nearly two weeks of 9-6 days sitting in an igloo of a training room, apparently I have enough knowledge to be trusted with dozens of children. What kind of children? Tiny ones, no older than 3 years old. But if their poopy diapers are as cute as their tiny faces and hands and feet, there should be no problem. Plus, how cool will it be to be the one person who will ultimately begin to mold them into bilingual beings? So cool.
I also get to teach older kids, I think in the 6-10 range. The curriculum/teaching methods are chant/song/game crazy, so it will be great to get some sillies out. Plenty of room for creative expansion, plenty of hours in the day to learn and teach. And, no weekend work. Singing songs and playing games with the world’s smartest and prettiest children, paying peanuts for rent and eating dan bing and taro steamed buns (they are purple!) all day long.
It just goes to show that everything happens for a reason. I already feel at home here, for better or for worse.


PS. I am buying a scooter, end of discussion.


  1. Oh, Caitlin! I am so excited for you and hope you continue to have a wonderful experience in Taiwan. We'll be following your posts!

  2. Hey baby girl...

    Another great written word snapshot into your new life in Taiwan. Keep up the great posts and your spirit of adventure. I understand that helmets are mandated by law when operating a scooter in Taiwan (thank goodness). Protect your noggin and ride smart. Give James a big hug from us.

    Love you this much (arms stretched to infinity)

    - Dad

  3. Hi my name is Gloria.
    Its very exciting to hear about what other expectations other country's have. Like Taiwan, I would of never guess a lot of thing's that i have read through your blogs. Its sounds like such an adventure and i would like to just one day go there and see how people would treat me. Oh and especially the babies im in love with babies. Your so lucky that you get to work with them. Hopefully one day you'll be great mother and Ms. Kenney will be a great grandmother, ha ha i'm just playing. Loved your articles your such a good writer aswell.

  4. Hello! I am Selenge in your mom's class. Your article sounds so fun and you seem content with living in Taiwan. I like to travel all around the world, and to learn countries' cultures. Also, I liked to read your article and I think you are a good writer. I think I can travel around the world one sunny day like you working with babies and living just like that country's citizen. That is my biggest dream. So thank you for making me more powerful to reach my goal! And learn more about Taiwanese culture and take care.

  5. Hi! I'm Nori in your mom's class. I think that you are so lucky to be able to travel and do what you love at the same time! The vendors sound really cool, especially the taro bun. The location sounds very nice. Is the weather nice over there? New places always fascinate me, so thank you for sharing your experience.

  6. Hello! So nice to hear your exprience. You know I hope to visit Taiwan so much. People said there are a great place to visit. And if you have chance you should travel to Hong Kong!
    Hong Kong also a perfect place!