Posted in Taiwan, Travel

Taipei City Hall (and some details about the weirdest flight I’ve ever taken)

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In the pictures: Taipei City Hall, where people are showing their best efforts in preparing for the Universiade 2017. I really look forward to watch the games there X”D

From Taoyuan Airport, I took the City Air Bus (Bus Code: 1960) to the Taipei City Hall. The last station is right next to this building yet the weather was so lovely that I decided to get off some stations earlier – at the Taipei 101 – and take a little walk there. It normally doesn’t look like a good idea to walk around with a suitcase yet I just felt as wonderful as I was taking my puppy out for a stroll haha. The hall seems quite interesting, I think I’ll take another visit soon (without my 20-kg puppy XD).

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About my flight (which is not the worst one I’ve taken, but surely the weirdest one):

  • I was placed at the emergency exit row and therefore could NOT keep anything with me in front or under my seat. The light attendant simply took everything I had and put it in the luggage compartment. I had to make a little effort so that they give me back my phone, wallet and passport T____T Yet I couldn’t just hold everything in my hands during the flight so I had to take off my coat and wrapped it around these things to form a small pillow then hugged it or put it under my neck sometimes. The guy next to me was even in a worse situation. He was given some handicraft gifts from his friends and didn’t want them to get damaged in the luggage compartment so he stayed up all night holding them in his hands… T___T I used to think I have no problems with whichever seat they give me, but this time I was proved wrong. So, mental note: next time you’re on a cheap flight, pay some more bucks to get a good seat T_T
  • There was this weirdo who kept on standing up, opening all the luggage compartments nearby his seat (which was unfortunately very close to mine) and looking inside. The thing was that he left the compartment open and move to another one, and then another one. I couldn’t imagine what would have happened if the plan was shaking and some suitcases fell down. I wanted to alert the crew about this but they were nowhere to be seen and there was no button to call them… Okay, cheap flights have its drawbacks… The third time this guy stood up and began his crazy action again, I told him to find the flight attendants to help instead of doing it on his own. He gave me a dark look which should have been threatening if I were a kid X”D At that time a crew member finally showed up and the man was led back to his seat. But after she was gone, he stood up again (!), coming to my place, opening up the compartment right above me and slamming the lift back, casting me a dark look to give me a threat that works with kids again. Nice try, weirdo LOL
  • When we landed, all the customs counters were closed and we had to wait 1,5 hours to finally finish the flight.

Despite all of these, I was (and am) extremely happy to be in Taipei.

My arms still hurt a bit but mentally, after a sleep from 8 PM – 2AM, I now feel better than ever XD

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Posted in Taiwan, Travel

Taipei Taipei

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So I’m in Taipei now. The weather is perfect today.

I’m dead-tired due to almost no sleep last night and a very weird flight, yet my mind and my heart are filled with joy and excitement.

In the picture: Taipei 101, the most famous landmark in Taiwan. This is the second time I visit this place, yet my feeling is the same: it is for admiring from a certain distance only. Maybe I will go there again by night to see if it is attractive enough for me to want to go up hehe ^_^ It is very near my house anyway.

My house is shared by 9 people from at least 4 countries. Most of my housemates are out for a weekend away so I only met one of them until now. It feels good here and I hope it will keep on being this way haha.

I have finished unpacking, arranging and cleaning my room, doing a quick shopping for groceries and having a very very tasty dinner at a traditional Taiwanese restaurant nearby my house. I have missed those dishes so much during the last 11 months X”D

My legs, feet, arms and hands are going to suffer tonight because of all the traveling from last night (and I only pack 20kg + 7 kg with me! I can’t imagine how people with 60 or 80 kg of luggage will survive hahaha).

Just like before, today I received the extremely warm help from at least 5 Taiwanese persons… I love you and your people, Taiwan!!!

Tomorrow I’m gonna go for a historic tour around the ancient buildings of Taipei.

But for now, I need to go to bed. My body is screaming for rest XD.

 

Posted in Travel

What To Wear To The Airport

Okay, tomorrow night I’m gonna fly to Taiwan so this is just the right time to talk about what to wear to the airport.

I had made quite a lot of mistakes in choosing an airport outfit before actually finding the best one for me. Here it is:

1/ Top

I would go with a light cotton T-shirt.

First, it’s comfortable and airy.

Secondly, it survives long flights. When I get off the airplane after hours, the wrinkles on my T-shirt are barely any remarkable things.

Finally, it won’t make me feel sticky when I sweat. With all the luggage and moving before and after the flight, I don’t want to wear things that will heat me up (a polyester shirt, for example).

2/ Outer

A jacket to keep me warm on the airplane. Yet it will stay inside my bag until I have already passed the security scan. I don’t want to put it on at home, go to the airport security and take it off, place it in a tray where people place their shoes on. No!!!

A scarf is optional. It works pretty well as a light coat or a temporary pillow.

3/ Bottom

A pair of pants in dark color. A full length one.

It protects my legs from the coldness on the airplane and any possible scratches/ injuries during the whole travelling process from my home to the hotel at my destination.

I won’t go with light color because it will be a disaster in case of food/ drink spilling during the flight (which is not very unusual).

I choose a pair of pants that will not need a belt. I don’t want to go through the “taking belt off, putting belt back in” thing at the security scan.

4/ Shoes

I say no to open shoes. When something is dropped to my feet, that’ll be a pain.

No high-heels ‘coz that’s a bigger pain wearing those standing in lines or walking long distances.

I would go with slip-on shoes. They are just so damn convenient and good protectors for my feet. Running would not be a problem with them.

That’s mine favourite airport outfit.

If you also have a favourite one, tell me!

Posted in Taiwan

About The Banks In Taiwan

Hi guys!

If you’re going to stay in Taiwan for a while, you may want to open a bank account there, or at least use some banking service. But this comes with some certain questions.

With the help of my Taiwanese friends and the help of google as well haha, I got the pieces of info I need and here they are:

1/ Bank Account Opening Procedure

The general procedure for opening a bank account in Taiwan is stated clearly on the Taiwan Immigration Office’s website:

http://iff.immigration.gov.tw/ct.asp?xItem=1238562&ctNode=34356&mp=iff_en

I would like to emphasize that you must acquire an ID Number or an ARC before you can properly live in Taiwan. Without them? Okay, then no SIM Card, no bank account, no contract… And after some weeks after you enter Taiwan, living without them means living illegally. So the first thing you should do in Taiwan is go getting them ASAP.

2/ Which bank to choose?

If you want an international bank: HSBC, Citibank and everything else are in Taiwan. They are not really different than their sisters in your own country. However, their branches are limited to big cities only. And it’s hard to find their ATMs.

If you want a local one: Go for Cathay or CTBC. Cathay has their ATMs in all the MRT stations and CTBC has theirs in all the 7-11 stores all over the countries. And you can’t walk in a street of Taiwan without spotting at least one 7-11 store.

In fact you can also withdraw money from these ATMs even when your bank account is in another bank yet you will be charged a handling fee of TWD 5.00 each time. It’s just a very tiny amount of money, but I myself prefer not to pay this so I go with CTBC.

3/ Where to exchange money?

It’s the Bank of Taiwan that offers the best exchange rate with no commision fee. So go there!

http://www.bot.com.tw/English/BankServices/ForeignExchangeServices/Pages/default.aspx

 

 

 

 

Posted in Taiwan

Useful Websites For Foreign Students In Taiwan

I had a short talk several days ago with another student who is also coming to Taipei soon. I recommended him to try to look for his accommodation ASAP because around this time, the good places are more likely to be taken. And he replied with “but I don’t even know where to look”. At that very point, it’s hard for me to keep up the conversation. My feeling is like, “What??? Am I talking with someone who just traveled across the time from the 1980s?”

It’s the era of the Internet and a college student from the US tells me he doesn’t know where to look for information! Okay, this is too hard for me to take in. At least, we always have Google, don’t we?

Anyway, here are my favorite websites about Taiwan, which I find extremely helpful:

  1. Forumosa Forum

A forum for expats in Taiwan. A very abundant source of info about what a foreigner may encounter during his/ her stay in Taiwan.

The forum is in English, entirely ❤

They have just changed the design from PHPBB to Discourse some days ago. I… eh, don’t quite love it. But maybe you will, haha.

  1. Tealit

Everything is here. Language exchange/ tutor ads, apartment for rent ads, entertainment ads etc… You can have a good time browsing this website for a lot of services in any city of Taiwan.

However, the website feels a little bit too crowded for my personal reference X”D Some apartment ads are without photos and that’s it.

  1. Fichet

Information about study in Taiwan: scholarship, competitions, education fairs and so on.

Their other website: Study in Taiwan

  1. Taiwan Immigration Office

Please, just please stop looking up visa information and customs regulation in travel agencies’ websites!!! I have seen too many people making this damn mistake then getting into big trouble and that annoys me to no ends. Just last week, one of my friends was lured by a visa agency to fake paper in order to enter Taiwan and it took me a whole damn hour to talk her out of that trap…

Why, why, why? Why don’t you go to the official website of your destination country’s Immigration Office??? People, why???

  1. Taiwan Railway

Everything about the railway transportation in Taiwan.

For High Speed Railway, you come here.

  1. RentalTW

Apartments for lease. Clear info, good service.

  1. Taipei Metro

If you are coming to Taipei, you’re gonna use the metro.

  1. Contact Taiwan

Want a job in Taiwan? This is the website for you!

 

We are living in 2016. If you speak English, you have access to the Internet and you do not make an effort to equip yourself with info – I will seriously consider the possibility that you are a time traveler. And if you ever find yourself losing some money or getting into some trouble because of a lack of info, well, you can’t blame anyone or anything but yourself then.

FYI, 3 years ago I once lost around 1000 bucks just because I was too lazy to search for information. I never really forgive myself for that, even until this very moment when I’m typing this phrase.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Mental Health

How To Stop Postponing What You Should Do

All of us have gone through this situation one time or another in our lives: there is something we should do, and there is nothing to stop us from doing it but… still, we just don’t do it. We keep on postponing it again and again.

This is called the Akrasia effect. It can be interpreted simply like this: Our brain is tempted by immediate satisfaction (being lazy and not doing anything) than long-term benefits (finishing the task and achieving some result).

The thing is we keep on postponing even when the task is not difficult. Sometimes, it can even be very enjoyable. We postpone not because we don’t want to do it, but because we don’t want to start doing it. The most difficult thing for us is not to actually do the job, but to escaping from the lazy mode.

Yesterday I had a long talk with my friend on this, mostly on how to stop this effect’s influence on his life ’cause it has been causing him too much distress.

The piece of advice that I gave him is to minimize the task that he needs to do. If he has to clean his house, just thinking of it would be too much for him and he will never start. So, scale down the task to, for example, cleaning his room instead. Still, he doesn’t want to start this new task? No problem, scale it down more: cleaning his desk. Still too much? How about just cleaning one corner of the desk? Still? Okay, just put a pen on the desk back to its proper place!

The point is: Minimizing the task will cheat the lazy self inside of us. Just picking up a pen and putting it back into the pen case – doing that feels like doing nothing, doesn’t it? Your lazy inner self will not stop you from doing that. Yet once you finish this very small task, you have crossed the border of “postponing” and “starting doing things”. You will have to very tendency to clean the corner of your desk, then the whole desk, then your room and the whole house after that. As long as you cross the border, there is nothing to hold you back. And, voilà!

I recommend this tip to my friend because it worked for me. There are many times that I find myself finishing 2 hours of household work with the beginning of just lifting up something from the floor or similar small moves.

So, if you are under the heavy influence of the Akrasia effect, give it a try! Good luck!

Posted in Studying

IELTS Tips: How To Draft The IELTS Writing Task 2

I originally write this as a small tutorial for my little sister on how to draft the IELTS Writing Task 2.

1/ Opening & Conclusion 

You will not write drafts for opening and conclusion paragraphs. You will write them like a writing machine. I will have a tutorial on the formula to write them later.

2/ Body paragraphs

These paragraphs are what you need to draft. And this is how you will do it:

  • Draft your big ideas in key words. Each of these ideas will be presented in a paragraph.
  • Each big ideas should be supported by 2 – 3 sub-points. The sub-points need to go with examples (not all of them, but most of them will need). If you have 3 sub-points, 2 examples would be fine enough, 3 are even better.
  • Note ALL the vocabularies (related to the topic) that you can think of on the top of the paper. That way, when you’re writing, you won’t have to stop to find a word. And you will not have to go through this frustration:”Oh I thought of that very suitable word when I was doing the draft but now I forget what it is!”
  • Note the grammar structures that you want to use in another corner of the paper (for example: Simple Past, Past Perfect, Present Perfect Continuous etc…)

So, in the end, your draft paper will look like this:

 

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