Thursday, April 26, 2012

week 83_the Life of Convenience

Living in Taipei is living in the land of convenience. Not only is there a convenience store on every street corner (thank you 7-Eleven, Family Mart, Hi Life, and OK Mart!) but there is also abundant street food, drinks, and even individuals peddling tissues and such at every turn.

Being pregnant, whereby my own inner Hobbit has revealed itself.... 

Baby: But what about breakfast?
Me: You've already had it.
Baby: We've had one, yes. But what about second breakfast? [..........]
Baby: What about elevensies? Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper? You know about them, don't you?

So, it comes as great relief to me that our life in the city is so accommodating to my ever-changing (and fairly demanding) needs these days! 

We recently made a glorious investment and purchased an in home water dispenser! Although the Taipei government has officially declared Taipei's tap water "safe to drink" for years now - and I would really like to believe them - even the locals will not drink the tap water without boiling it. People inform us that it would make us sick, and a friend's vet advised them not to feed the tap water to their cats for fear of infection! So alas, for more than a year and a half now we have been purchasing bottles of water from the corner convenience stores and bringing them home on an almost daily basis. Even Brita filters or similar leave me hesitant to trust the tap... (Not so different from Dallas I guess!)
Water delivered to our door!
Thanks to a friend, we found a company in Taipei that vends water AND has English speaking customer service staff ~ hallelujah. You can check them out here: It seems silly to know now how many plastic bottles we could have avoided recycling, and my sweet husband no longer has to fetch me water in the middle of the night when my preggo belly starts aching [I finish off those smaller bottles pretty quickly these days ;) ]!

Oh yes ~ COLD water please :)
We may have been the only new customer all year to request a dispenser with a COLD water option ~~~ One major cultural difference here is the tendency to drink room temperature (warm) or even scalding hot water... It's extremely common, and considered to be healthier for your body when the temperature of the water is the temperature inside you. Nevertheless we paid the few extra bucks (and slightly larger size) to make sure we will be able to enjoy a nice cool drink on the VERY hot summer days to come!

[I'm sure this is not as exciting to you dear readers, but it is a major upgrade in my daily routine]

Aside from that, I've just been especially grateful for the street food vendors lately. Trucks with fresh fruit, steaming sweet potatoes, and peanuts abound in every neighborhood and they give me great healthy options to snack on when my pregnancy (aka Hobbit) stomach starts growling.

fresh pineapple ~ whole or diced
Pineapple must be in season because I've been seeing them everywhere, and this truck parks on my street every evening. There's nothing quite like being able to swing by the truck a block from your house and pick up fresh ~tropically delicious~ pineapple (or watermelon, or whatever fancies me and is available that particular day)...

The many joys of pregnancy have not made my life any easier thus far, but I am especially pleased to live somewhere so terribly convenient. (And healthy!)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

week 82 bunny cake & Easter eggs

Easter may have already come and gone, but not without a few American traditions on this side of the pond.

My Bunny Cake
My poor little improvised bunny cake (made in a small counter top toaster oven, using a half-sized rectangular pan...) burnt terribly on the bottom, and I ended up just cutting that part of the cake off and dousing the remainders in icing and coconut bunny fur!

My family's Bunny Cake
If you can't tell... this is what the bunny cake is supposed to look like! I think theirs turned out better than mine... :) {That's my sis and cousin picture with cake above} But at least we all seemed to have fun making our bunny cakes, as usual! I also died Easter eggs with an egg dye kit my mother-in-law recently brought to me from the US. At first I wasn't sure I needed the dye kit, but by the time Sunday came around I was in the holiday spirit, and so glad I had all the tools to make my own little kitchen festive. I'm not sure that an egg dying kit could be purchased anywhere in Taiwan... seems like it might be on the list of few things that are truly unavailable here. I've had fun toting my Easter eggs to work each morning for breakfast or snack - and I've gotten some fun questions. Do they taste different? Is it colored all the way through? Are they stuffed with something other than an egg? Is the dye safe to eat? To which I mostly replied no, no, no, and I hope so! 

Admittedly, there was no mention of this holiday in Taiwan, but I remembered, chatted with family, and made the Sunday festive in my own way ~ including brunch with a friend at the American Club.

Monday, April 9, 2012

week 81 ~Pregnant in Taiwan~

Well, yes!!!
Can you believe it. After 80 weeks of the Taiwanese adventure on my own (+ husband for much of that time too, of course) I am now on a whole new adventure with a little one!

The hubby and I will be having a baby ~ a little Taiwan-born, American-bred, baby coming this fall!

The newest addition to our world-traveling family :)

We can hardly believe it and are especially looking forward to starting our own little family. Even though I have just finished my first trimester, the education that I have already received about what it may be like to be pregnant/have a baby in a foreign country is overwhelming! And it will only continue. [If anyone has wondered why my blogging has decreased recently, be curious no more --- I have been sleeping, resting, and sleeping even more! Mystery solved.]

I find myself challenged with the task to weigh both the American and the foreign cultural standards to consider what is most right, and which factors should I be most concerned with? For example, in the US the doctors would tell me to avoid raw meats or sushi, raw fruits and veggies that have not been thoroughly washed - meanwhile, in Taiwan the doctors tell me to please avoid fried foods! Ha. Maybe they are both correct? [They do both agree on no smoking, drugs or alcohol, thank goodness!]

Truly though, that is one of the easy questions. It gets much more complicated, especially when you throw a slight language barrier into the mix... :)

I'm hoping to keep blogging about some of the fun things we find through our adventures in Taipei, but now that having a baby is part of the adventure... you are sure to hear a bit about that too!