Leading up to my first trip to Taiwan, I didn’t pay much attention to anything I needed to prepare. When it was time for me to leave for the trip, my dad put together a binder for me. I wrote about this binder awhile ago but in case you need a refresher, my dad had a deep rooted fear that I would disappear into the abyss that was Taiwan. The night before my flight, my dad prepared a binder for me to ensure I wouldn’t miss any flights to Taiwan and I would make it there safely. This binder included airport layouts of all every airport I was going to be flying through from Boise to SFO to Narita to Taiwan. Included where directions to my grandma’s house written in Chinese (so I could hand it to a taxi driver), pinyin so I could read the directions to someone and in English should I could fully understand it. In addition, I had a map of the MRT system and then family pictures of who was supposed to pick me up from the airport. But the best part was that the family pictures were pictures of our family members from the past five years so I could see a steady progression of what they used to look like to what they look like now just in case.
Armed with my binder and my over packed suitcase full of candy and gifts for family members, I boarded an airplane in Boise, Idaho and made my way to San Francisco then onto Narita in Tokyo with the final stop in Taipei, Taiwan. Luckily, I arrived in Taiwan with no problems and my uncle had a picture of me from my dad and knew exactly who I was. We picked up my excessively heavy luggage into his car and drove to my grandma’s house. When we arrived, we hiked up the stairs to my grandma’s apartment and I settled in for the day.
To be honest, I hadn’t seen my grandma in years up until this point and I wasn’t entirely sure how to communicate with her considering my Chinese is terrible and she didn’t know a word of English. One thing my mom had told my grandma was that I loved milk so my grandma prepared herself for my arrival by purchasing an obscene amount of milk in preparation for my visit. The first night I was in town, I was treated to a homemade meal of delicious Taiwanese cooking followed by some great Taiwanese grapes and some TV before jetlag took over and I had to go to bed. This began my first experience in Taiwan.