Foreigner’s View of Taiwan

A foreign pastor’s wife who lives in Taiwan with her 3 children wrote this in her web blog. I thought it’s very interesting to see Taiwanese culture from foreigner’s eyes. So I decided to post it here to share with everyone:


We thought we might take this opportunity to share some of the fun things we’ve learned since we’ve been here in Taipei.

It is okay to burp out loud, and slurp your soup, but don’t lick your fingers, even if you eat at KFC!

Everything is good with corn.

Soup is eaten at the end of the meal and drinks aren’t drunk during the meal, only after.

If it looks like it should taste sweet, it probably doesn’t and if you think it shouldn’t be sweet, it probably is.

If you are bigger than a size 6, you are fat.

Even if you’re a Christian, it is best to learn the “tao” of traffic…this is the term used for how traffic “flows” in Taiwan. It means that you fill every available space with a vehicle and move without hitting each other…at least we hope to not hit each other.

If you hear a truck coming down the street playing music, don’t run out expecting ice cream…it’s the garbage truck…

New Years is in February, Christmas is not a holiday, neither is Thanksgiving, but October 10 is Independence Day and April 5 is Tomb Sweeping Day and both are holidays.

Killing mosquitoes improves your agility and eye-hand coordination.

If you live on the seventh floor or higher in a building, aftershocks from earthquakes can make you seasick.

Summer in Taiwan…even you can experience it…go into your bathroom and turn on the hot water in the shower full blast with the door closed…keep all your clothes on so that they can get damp and stick to you. Now, turn on your hair dryer and blow it in your face. Next, run in place really fast until you’ve broken a good sweat. There, now you can feel like you’ve taken a quick trip to Taipei in the summer.

Winter in Taiwan…go sit outside on the sidewalk when the temperature is just about 40 degrees or a little lower. But you must be wearing slightly damp clothes…remember, it is humid here and rains a lot. Now, sleep there. That is what it is like…we have no heaters in our houses! And we have cement walls and tile floors. Of course, if you bundle up, it is quite comfortable. We also added two space heaters to our house to make it bearable.

The rest of the year is pretty great here. But always carry an umbrella, especially when shopping in Tien Mu…don’t ask us why, but it seems every time we go shopping there and forget an umbrella, we get rained on! If you do forget your umbrella you may get to use one of the local idioms meaning “Like a chicken that fell into the soup pot” meaning you are soaked! If you continually ignore people telling you to take your umbrella you may learn another local idiom “Like playing piano for a cow” meaning you don’t appreciate what they are trying to teach you.

Stinky tofu lives up to its name!

You can be a night owl here and never be bored. Night markets and 24 hour restaurants, stores, and clubs make it exciting. Swensens is open 24 hours here too!

When the power goes out, you get a lot of good exercise….who needs a stair master!

Another favorite keep in shape exercise is learning to use a Chinese bathroom facility…knee bends….enough said?

As Rachelle remarked when we got off the plane….there sure are a lot of Chinese people here.

And as Nathan remarked…They keep speaking Chinese at me!

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