McDonalds, You Give Me Something To Rely on…

I bet you’re wondering if things taste the same in an ‘oh-so-foreign’
Taiwanese McDonalds?! Welp, the chicken nuggets taste the same, the fries taste the same, the Coke tastes the same.
Even the menu is the same, except for the Chinese characters and the people who happen to be taking your order.
It’s the same!
When I first got here people told me, ‘Oh, you’ll be at McDonalds alllll the time.’ I shook it off and knew myself and knew that I wouldn’t, since I probably eat fast food less than 3 times a year at home.
              …Ohhh, how I was wrong!
This is actually a post about my brand new unhealthy eating habits and my growing adoration for fast food. I know what you’re thinking cause I’m thinking it too, ‘Yikes!’

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Lemon Juice for Dinner

I was in an adventurous sort of mood when I headed out to dinner last night. It was about 9pm when I left. I decided I’d find a new place and to give myself a new challenge since I’d been playing it safe for a few days. I was walking down the street, people were staring as they always do, when it started sprinkling. I needed to find a place quickly, and there popped up this cute little place all alit in the midst of darkness. I confidently walked in and sat down. Soon I realized that every single thing was written in Mandarin and not only were there no pictures but there was no English translation on anything!
“Okay. I committed to this. I can do this.” I order a drink from a waitress who speaks enough English for me to know that I’m getting ‘Lemon Juice’ as I ordered. Lemon juice here isn’t actually juice from a lemon, it’s like the Taiwanese version of lemonade, so I obviously am in love with it. The waitress brings it over and walks away so obviously I assume she’s just giving me some time to decide what I want to eat. Time passes and passes…  I start to think that maybe they don’t even serve food there. Maybe it’s just a cute café but I’d never know cause I can’t read it. I’m filtering through all the 5 phrases of Mandarin I know, trying to come up with something that might ask the question, “Food?” Somehow I don’t think “I am American” and “Where is it?” are going to help me with this one. I stop another waitress and ask “Food, or just drink?” She says, “No food.” Damn! I was super hungry at this point, but just ended up laughing at myself and my overall obliviousness that results from my not knowing Mandarin. What is more motivating to learn a language than a situation like this?

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A slow train nightmare

After my lengthy one and a half days in the Taichung area, it was off to Taipei for Shane English School’s week of training. One of the Teaching Assistants from the school, Jammy (pronounced Jaime), came to pick me up and bring me to the train station. She talked to the woman selling the tickets for me and there were only ‘No Seat’ tickets. This was supposed to be a 3 hour trip…so I wasn’t happy. I asked if I could come back later in the day and take a different train, but that didn’t seem to be an option in her eyes. So off I went! Jammy pointed to the terminal I needed and confirmed that I just get on and stay on til I hit Taipei. To my surprise when I got on the train there were plenty of seats. I didn’t understand it but I took a seat, popped my headphones in and attempted to learn some more Mandarin! Not thirty minutes later did we stop and every single person proceeded to get off the train. Wait… What?
I was forced to get off too and tried asking people where I needed to go just by saying ‘Taipei? Taipei?’ over and over to every pair of eyes that would meet mine. An older man pointed me to the right terminal and then I asked the whistle guys who are there for security. They could speak some limited English and helped me. The message I got was that I was at the right terminal and 315. At this point I was pretty frazzled and convinced I’d miss my train and end up in the south of the country by accident. Every train that came made me feel anxious and in the wrong place and the wrong time. I was looking around at the numbers and none of the signs were showing ‘315’. I was checking with people, and they kept shaking their heads. There I was, standing there with, of course, everyone staring at me. And I don’t mean that insecure feeling when you think people’s eyes are on you…this was full fledged staring, and it was really, really bugging me.

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Travel Books & Stories: Delaying the Real World

Delaying the Real World: 

A Twentysomething’s Guide 

to Seeking Adventure (2005)

I was about to graduate college and as is typical, was wondering what I’d do with myself afterwards. I found this book online when I was surfing around about traveling and had it in my hands a few days later.

If you have no idea what to do with yourself or if you have a passion that has no logical next-step, this book will help you. There are endless options and I found myself opening up to possibilities I’d never even considered, like WOOFing, working for a reputable volunteer organization or doing a RTW (round-the-world) trip! It’s laced with accounts of people who are doing all the things you’re daydreaming about- proving it’s realistic, very possible, and that you can do it too!

It’s exciting to hear someone with the same attitude towards living life giving you great ideas and also encouraging you to go after it! …whatever ‘it’ may be!


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A little inspiration

As teachers who I work with have been learning of my plans to move to Taiwan for the next year, either through me or through the grapevine, I’ve been receiving a mixed bag of reactions. It’s actually quite interesting. I’ve gotten, “You have a great personality. You’ll do fine.” and “I could never do that! Wow, good for you.” to,“Why would you ever want to do that?”, with a cold, confused expression.



Needless to say, it’s exhausting to justify myself to people who clearly believe that the U.S. is the most idyllic place whole world (without actually stepping foot out of this country ironically)! It’s a good thing I’m doing this for myself and not for anyone else, that’s for sure.


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Ready? Set? Grow.

It’s official…I’m doing it!

I’ve just submitted my contract for employment at Shane English School- Taiwan, in Taichung, Taiwan for the next year! I’ll be moving to the other side of the world in mid-May of this year to start this new chapter and I can’t wait.

This past weekend was very dramatic and I had to make a swift but sure decision. I was offered the job Friday and had to let Shane know by Monday, which was actually Sunday night Boston time! This is pretty much how it went if you organize the cluster-fuck that was my stream of thinking throughout…                    (excuse my language, family!)


Stunned. Anxious. I watched an entire season of a survivor type reality show so I wouldn’t have anxiety all night about the decision. That plan was effective, however got me no closer to making my decision. (Shocker, I know). Talked to Mom. Leaning towards a ‘no’ because of lack of excitement/extreme presence of fear as I ran through all the ‘What ifs’ in my head.
*By the way that show was called Out of the Wild: Venezuela (Discovery Channel) and it was pretty addictive and interesting enough to keep my thoughts busy for the entirety of that night! They had to live off the land, etc, etc. I recommend!


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