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Apartment and school shopping

These are pictures of the very first apartment from about a dozen places that we checked out for potential homes to live while we are in Taiwan this year. I really liked the overall open feeling of this very first property we saw, which was clean and secure, with a 24-hour security staff, and had a comfortable, welcoming feeling to it, in the open and common areas intended for socializing. The first few pictures I have posted here are in and around the property, then I'll show specific ones of the actual apartment. Here's a large lounge area in the center of the complex.
The kids thought these hanging chairs looked like so much fun.
This would make a nice table to host a card camp.
This place felt really peaceful to me and I loved the surroundings.
There was a really large gym to work out in, overlooking the swimming pool.
We saw groundskeeping staff and workers cleaning to make everything look meticulous. This was the cleanest property we looked at, which was very appealing to me.
I liked the water lilies.
The apartment was on the 10th floor overlooking the city. Here's the view from the living room.
There was a handy storage space right by the front door that I liked. The kitchen table was kind of small, but I could live with it.
The best part of this kitchen was that it had an oven, something very rare here in Taiwan. The apartment was brand new, with a never-before-used refrigerator and combination washer/dryer unit out on the patio.
This television was in the living room with a handy cabinet for storage.
The bedrooms were small and bare, but at least they were very clean.
This was the study, that we were going to have an extra small bed added for Lindsey, who will spend four of the 12 months with us.
There were two bathrooms in this apartment.
Here is the sofa in the living room. We decided to not select this place, which was our second choice, because of the size. We really liked the location of it and how peaceful and light and clean the grounds were. This was my Japanese shrimp tempura that I ate for lunch. It was tasty.
This was Kelly's lunch. (Note: All of these photos were added about a week after this original post, which starts after this picture.)
Kelly's company provided a human resources staff member, Selina, to set up appointments for us to look at about ten homes or apartments and three schools. We went to Pacific American School, Hsinchu American School, and Hsinchu (Holland) International School and the decision came easily for Christopher. He chose the second school because he will be one of only six 7th grade students, and he will get to take Chinese as his foreign language, and they have recess twice a day, where the students play ping pong often. The third school required French as a language in addition to Chinese. "Why French?" he thought. He just felt a good vibe from the school he picked, and I honored those promptings. The first school did nothing for us, and Christopher told us as we were walking back to our shuttle, "I don't like this school." The third school had the best facilities and largest class size (20 7th graders), but he just didn't feel as compelled to go there, and I completely agreed for some reason. It was just a feeling we had, and Lindsey did too.

We searched through various parts of Hsinchu, taking our shoes off at the door, looking for our home away from home for the next year, and have narrowed the search down to two places. We saw about four houses that were quite spacious, all of which had a very tacky overall look, as far as decorating goes, in addition to about four or five levels of stairs that went straight up. I guess I wouldn't need a treadmill if I just went up and down the stairs. Most of the kitchens here in Taiwan don't have ovens, if you can believe that. Me without an oven? I don't think so. The first place we looked at has a little oven and is also very neat and clean and minimalisticly decorated, which suits me much better than all the cluttered tchotchkes that we found in a lot of the spaces.

It is very tropical and green here, which means that there is high humidity. I started the day with straight, long hair, and ended up with a damp, frizzy ponytail. Another random thought--Chinese characters take up a LOT of space! I don't see how they can read everything. It's interesting that the license plates on cars have numbers and letters instead of Chinese characters. The elevators are tiny here. And our family is big, compared to the locals. Except for Lindsey, of course.

Lunch was good. Kelly's company treated us to Japanese food and I ordered shrimp and forgot I was in Asia, until they came served with the heads still attached. I performed a brief amputation (I guess that would be decapitation) then ate the rest just fine. For dinner, we ate at a place that kind of reminds me of the Melting Pot, where everyone cooks their raw vegetables and meats in a pot. I had rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which is better than noodles. Can I eat Chinese food every day of my life for the next 363 days? Stay tuned and we'll discover the answer together.


The Roberts said…
Kelly, experience of a life time. Very excited to see all your post. keep them coming and yes, add pictures.
Amanda said…
Wow, what an adventure! I can't believe you are actually living in Taiwan! I'm so glad Christopher found a school he feels so comfortable and that the decision was easy for him to make. Good luck with the house hunt - post pictures when you decide!
Lisa said…
Ewwww! I would have screamed aloud to see shrimp heads attached to something I was going to then eat! Nice job keeping your head - so to speak!
Julie V. said…
Nice, I love the details of the hunt. I can't wait to see pictures. I hope you get a really sweet camera for your birthday (hint hint uncle Kelly) so we can see what you are talking about.
Have fun!
~ Tina said…
oh kelly - at least you are making me laugh - hope you find humor in it too!

so glad I remembered to check your blog for these great updates.

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