Personal Update · Segue · Taiwan

{Segue} Are We There Yet?

Are we there yet? That’s the question I keep asking myself. Are we home? Will we ever be settled? When will the transitioning end?

The End of Summer

After our wedding on June 29, Charles and I spent the next three weeks visiting with family in New Jersey, Virginia, South Carolina, and New York. It was quite the road trip, and we were so blessed to spend time with our loved ones. The summer seemed to go by too fast though, and before we knew it, we were boarding the plane to fly to Taiwan. Though it was bittersweet as always (crying with Mom as Dad led us all in prayer at the airport), I was happy to be traveling with Charles this time. After about 30 hours of travel, groggy and jet-lagged, we unloaded our bags at the guest apartment at Morrison and attempted to rest for the night.

Settling, sort of…

The following week was a blur of unpacking, navigating our way through unknown roads, simply trying to adjust to the time change, and relying on new friends to help us with little tasks that seemed quite daunting. This is what our living room looked like during the unpacking stage:

unpacking

Thankfully, my dear sisters helped me pack in Kaohsiung, and I had very informative labels on my boxes, like the one below.

cream of stuff

Charles and I live on the 11th floor of a tall apartment building in a busy part of town. We’re a 20-minute drive from school which is significant when you consider that most of the staff families live on-campus or within walking distance. We don’t mind the distance though. We have a very nice apartment, our area is convenient for shopping and eateries, and we are experiencing more of Taiwan by living outside of “the Morrison bubble.” Here is the view from our front balcony.

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One thing I miss is the exquisite view I had in my apartment on the hill in Dashe. Not a day went by that I didn’t enjoy looking out my window. But it’s a trade-off because being in the city gives us a lot more conveniences within walking distance. And at least we can still see some mountains in the background here. I love the beautiful landscape of Taiwan.

Another huge blessing about the apartment we live in is that we are allowed to keep Emi here. Though the building technically has a “no pets” policy, the building manager knows we have a dog and will allow us to keep her unless Emi starts causing problems for neighbors. Remember, things are different in Taiwan. We’re working to train Emi not to bark when she hears keys in the hallway or loud noises outside. She’s doing pretty well overall, and we haven’t heard any complaints from our neighbors yet. We would appreciate prayers for this training process because we (particularly I) really love this little pup and don’t want to have to give her away.

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After our first several days of unpacking and trying to get over jet-lag, Charles began new teacher orientation. I didn’t have to go to the meetings, so I spent my time working at home. We were busy that week, and at times we just fell into bed at night, completely exhausted. Our “bed” was only a mattress on the floor, so we were rather excited when we made it down to Kaohsiung on the Saturday after new teacher orientation to buy a bed frame at IKEA. We also got to see my sisters and some MAK friends, visit the tang bao restaurant, and pick up Emi that day. I have more to share about our visit to the restaurant, but I want to devote an entire post to that. It was a very long and exhausting day, but it was very productive.

The next day, Charles put together the bed frame with a little help from Emi. I was working on other parts of the house, but I still found time to snap a few photos.

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Emi also had some playful moments during the bed frame construction.

Exploration

Part of the fun of moving to a new place is finding the local specialties, and while doing so can be rather challenging with faltering language skills, we have been introduced to or discovered on our own a few good places. Within a block of apartment, we have a dan bing (蛋餅) breakfast shop and a shaved noodle place. Both have delicious cuisine and have become our go-to stops for breakfast and dinner. Read more about how we found these places and what their food is like in my post, “Two Local Gems.”

We’ve also found some old favorites like the fried dumplings and hot pot chain restaurants that I loved in Dashe, the one Tea and Magic Hand in Taichung (my favorite tea shop for milk tea), our favorite ice cream snack at 7-11, and a mango bing place that might even be better than any mango bing I’ve ever had (and that’s saying something!).

Successes & Challenges

The school year started on August 12 this year, and we’ve been living life at turbo-speed since then. Charles is fitting into his role as Educational Technology Coordinator, and I am finding my place again in high school English. It’s quite a shift for both of us since the job is very new to Charles and I have been teaching elementary and middle school for the last four years. I think we’re both enjoying our new roles very much. One unique transition for me is adjusting to a new name! I am still not accustomed to hearing “Hello, Mrs. Prezalor!” all day long from students.

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There have been a few challenges for us since the school year started. One is that we are just so busy trying to excel at our jobs and also attempting to develop a structure and routine at home while still unpacking and settling in. Everything takes time, and extra time is a rare commodity. We are facing a lot of transition all at once: marriage, moving, and new jobs.

The second challenge is that I have been rather sick since school started. It began as a nasty head cold for the first week of school. I was miserable, but I made it to school every day. Unfortunately, my head cold developed into an inner ear virus called Labyrinthitus. This virus causes vertigo and nausea. Stress heightens the vertigo and the vertigo raises one’s stress level: it’s a vicious cycle. After trying to fight the sickness at school and becoming very overwhelmed, I talked with Charles and we decided that the best course of action was for me to take a couple of days off and rest at home. That’s what I’m doing now. This is a slow-moving virus, and though I have some medication to ease the symptoms, there’s not much I can do to push it out of my system. Thankfully it’s not contagious, so we’re hopeful that once I heal from this, we’ll be healthy for a while. I would appreciate your prayers for me as I recover from this illness.

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Convalescing with Nurse Emi

Home Sweet Home

It’s not home sweet home yet, but it’s getting there. In the moving process, we are trying to celebrate the little victories like having a real bed or successfully creating meals in a kitchen that is even smaller than my last one. We’ve been doing a fair amount of cooking at home, and that’s been a fun process for us as newlyweds who are making our own home. We are hoping to buy a new couch for our living room, and we are waiting on the shipment to arrive from America with the rest of our goodies and household items. Here are few photos of our unfinished home in its current state:

Life is slowly settling into a routine, and more than anything, I’m thankful to have Charles as my husband to walk this road with me.

We are both missing people and places from home, and we’re already looking forward to our first school break when we’ll have a chance to rest in our apartment, perhaps visit my sisters and friends in Kaohsiung, and hopefully catch up with friends and family in the U.S. Yeah, I realize those are high hopes for one week off, but a girl can dream.

I’ll be writing more as I have the time and as we have more to share. We’ll post pictures and videos of our house once it’s finished. For now, let me go back to my initial question: are we there yet? We are certainly not “there” yet if “there” means being completely settled into this new home and life, but we are on our way. God is good, and at every moment of uncertainty He has been our Rock. I am confident that whenever we get “there” (if ever we get there), it will be with Christ holding and guiding us. I’m thankful that we are not walking this path alone.

*Click to read other posts in my {Segue} series.

2 thoughts on “{Segue} Are We There Yet?

  1. We have that exact same bed frame from IKEA (except it’s black)! Gotta love those modern conveniences. How did you get it all the way to your apartment from Kaohsiung?

    1. That’s cool! We borrowed Sara’s car for a couple of days (and left her ours). I forget what kind of car it is, but it is more like an SUV. It was big enough to put all of the pieces in, and Charles assembled the bed when we got it here. Sara traded cars with us at the August PL day. It all worked out great!

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