Missing Táibĕi

Last night, after work, I caught a bus back into Táibĕi and met up with a bunch of my old Mòdàwèi buddies for dinner. Martin, his girlfriend Rika, Ariel, and Mike W. were all there. Originally, we were going to eat at Alley Cats, but it was full. That kinda bummed me out since there’s nowhere in Guīshān I can get decent pizzas, calzones, or that sort of food. It turned out alright, though. We ate next door at an awesome Sìchuān restaurant. Sadly, I can’t get that kind of food in Guīshān, either.

After that, we went to a movie theater (another amenity Guīshān lacks), and met up with James, Jesse and Emily. We saw Inside Man, with Denzel Washington. It was pretty good! After that, James and I managed to get into Deluxe with out cover, and met up with Caskey, Sharon and her Polish buddy who’s a grad student in Taiwan. All in all, good times were had by all. I’ve got to say, I’ve never had a cooler group of co-workers anywhere. MDW guys rock.

How Much is a Good Location Worth?

I’ve written a bit about how much I’ve been enjoying my new job. My ideas are respected, I’m happy with the progress of my students, and I can see that I’m clearly improving the lives of many young people. But what about the downsides? Well, the biggest downside by far, is that I live in 龜山. It’s actually got a bigger population than the town where I grew up, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. Since it’s a suburb and it’s only about 40 minutes away from 台北, all of the interesting people, activities and businesses go there. Here are the problems:

  1. There aren’t any Chinese schools for foreigners.
  2. There aren’t any movie theaters.
  3. There aren’t any gyms.
  4. There aren’t any 大賣場s.
  5. The public transportaion here is worse than where I used to live in the states. And that’s pretty bad.
  6. Tortillas, cheese (excluding processed and pre-wrapped), and hearty wheat breads are not for sale here.
  7. A friend from out of town was actually able to find out where I live by asking people on the street if they knew of a white guy with a goatee.

Now, I’m not saying I’d love to live in a HUGE city like 上海, or 北京. But, they would definitely be preferable to this. Ideally, I think I’d prefer a medium-sized city. Some place like 台中, 哈爾濱, 杭州.

All in all things, are better for me here in Guīshān than they were in Táibĕi, due to my job. But if I could have exactly the same job in one of those cities above, I’d do it for 15% less money.

What makes the perfect city to live in, and how much is it worth to you?