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Thursday, June 13, 2024

What it is REALLY wish to Stay with Native Roommates in Taiwan


Written by Beatrix Damashek (Kalamazoo School), Pupil Correspondent for CET Taiwan, Fall 2023

Ideas Earlier than Arriving in Taiwan

I used to be so anxious about residing with strangers throughout the US and connecting with my native Taiwanese roommate. For context, I’ve studied Mandarin for one yr and haven’t lived in faculty dorms since my freshman yr of school. On the airplane journey from Chicago to Taiwan, I believed“What if I can’t categorical my wants in Mandarin to my roommate? How a lot English and Mandarin are we anticipated to talk? Are we sharing a room collectively? Are they going to assist me discover our new residence? What are their habits like?” 

Fortunately, just a few days earlier than arrival, we have been put into a gaggle chat with our new roommates. I shortly realized I might be the primary of my friends to reach in Taiwan (at 4 am), which meant I might be the primary of my housemates tasked with discovering the precise location of our residence. 

Arriving in Taiwan

I used to be greeted by CET employees and handed my keys, college ID, and money/directions for taking a neighborhood taxi. I used to be paired with one other pupil within the taxi since we had completely different however shut drop-off factors. Leaving the Taoyuan airport and watching the solar rise over the mountains was a very magical expertise— particularly after flying for 16 hours in the dead of night. 

With my taxi-mate, we admired the plush inexperienced panorama of Taiwan’s mountains as we drove in direction of Taipei and exchanged just a few phrases in Mandarin. There’s a stereotype in China/Taiwan of taxi drivers listening to 白人 (white individuals) communicate Mandarin— usually, they fireplace off in speedy questions, “你說中文嗎?啊!你說中文不錯! 你覺得…(Do you communicate Mandarin? Your Mandarin shouldn’t be unhealthy! Do you assume…)” which is strictly what occurred to me and my taxi-mate. We have been each intimidated to talk Mandarin after enduring a 16-hour flight— so we concurrently responded to our driver with, “— 點! (A little bit!) Fortunately, he didn’t overload us with a ton of questions.

After driving by the mountains for 40 minutes, our driver took an exit into Taipei. Looking the window, I used to be wide-eyed in any respect the Mandarin indicators and observed that each avenue nook had a 7/11 or a Household Mart. Earlier than I knew it, my driver dropped me off on the intersection of my avenue and drove off. Now, I used to be confronted with the problem of determining which of my keys three keys would open what door, because the door to get into the principle constructing of my residence was unclear.

Street scene of neighborhood buildings and a lush green landscape in Taiwan

Photograph of my neighborhood, I really like the plush inexperienced panorama.

The road was quiet, lined wall-to-wall with scooters and bikes. I anticipated to see individuals strolling round on the point of work (because it was 6 am), however I used to be the one individual on the road that morning. After sticking my keys in random doorways alongside my avenue, I lastly opened one heavy steel door which led me into the entryway of my residence. 

Discovering my Residence

My subsequent problem was determining what residence I lived in as a result of the doorways aren’t labeled with residence numbers, and there have been two residence doorways on every flooring. My keys stated my residence was on the third flooring, so I went up three flights of stairs solely to understand that my keys weren’t working. After messaging the employees, I realized that I did reside on the third flooring— because the entryway counts as the primary flooring (we depend this stage because the “floor” flooring within the US, so I technically reside on the 2nd flooring in US requirements)— I finally match my key in the proper lock. 

Opening the door to my residence, I used to be shocked. I mentally imagined residing in a home much like a dorm, however the residence was so a lot nicer than I anticipated. Our home has 4 bedrooms (two double rooms, two single rooms), and I used to be fearful about sharing a bed room with somebody, however I used to be (fortunately) positioned in a single room. Every room has a novel structure with bedding, desk, chairs, towels, home slippers, and storage—and I used to be pleasantly stunned by how spacious our front room, eating room, and bogs are! Though I wished to right away fall asleep after my 20+ hours of touring, I needed to keep awake for the following 12 hours to regulate to the time change (as I used to be 12 hours forward of my metropolis’s time). 

Assembly my Roommates

Because the day went on, I greeted my new roommates outdoors our residence and helped them carry their baggage upstairs. In my home, we’ve 5 People from numerous places within the US and one native Taiwanese roommate. Our native Taiwanese roommate texted us that he wouldn’t arrive till 8 pm that day (and many of the People had moved in by 5 pm)— so we have been interested by his language stage, his curiosity in collaborating in CET’s native residing trade, and so forth. Our native roommate texted us beforehand, warning us that his English was “not that good,” however upon having a dialog, we realized he spoke completely high quality! We ended our first evening at a home consuming Ardour fruit and speaking about the place we’re from and our language expertise. I additionally realized my first Taiwanese greeting, “你食飽未 lí chia̍h pá bōe/bē– Have you ever eaten?” 

Because the week handed, our home went out to eat collectively nearly each evening. In our district, you can’t stroll greater than two steps with out discovering a spot to eat, which makes choice paralysis so actual. Typically, our home will stroll previous eating places and sit down on the ones we discover most visually interesting. We’ve tried 臭豆腐 (Pungent tofu),牛肉面 (Beef noodle soup), 飯糰 (Rice burrito with numerous fillings),雞排 (Rooster steak). Even if you happen to really feel meals fatigue from consuming Taiwanese meals, we’ve discovered American, Israeli, Japanese, Italian, and French meals on our avenue! Each meal we’ve had, we be taught extra about one another’s humor, language expertise, and particular person experiences within the US/outdoors the US. 

The doorway to the evening market in my neighborhood (left) and a selfie with my housemates! We reside very near Taipei 101 (proper).

One evening, we spent a number of hours explaining American slang (particularly Gen-Z on-line language) to our native roommate and going backwards and forwards of explaining it in Mandarin and English. One other evening, we performed mahjong for just a few hours and solely performed in Mandarin. This weekend, we plan to make our consolation meals from the US (I plan on making Latkes or Mac and Cheese) and have a home potluck. Every week in the past, I couldn’t have imagined the dynamics of my home or the routines every of us would have— however I’m pleasantly stunned by how a lot enjoyable I’ve taking the bus to highschool with my housemates each day or having fun with one another firm as we research for our lessons. The truth of residing with native roommates from Taiwan and different American college students is that you could be end up having an excessive amount of enjoyable and by accident keep up previous midnight speaking about humorous tales or exchanging tales. 


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