jetlag at Lake Placid
jetlag has been getting the better of me. our first day here, I woke up at 5:30 after going to bed at midnight. the second day I went to sleep at 9:30 and woke up at 4. and then yesterday we made the mistake of taking a nap at 4pm in hopes of waking up at 6. instead, Husband woke up around midnight and I slept until 3am. we decided to give up and have breakfast [since we slept through dinner] and now it's 6am but feels like noon. time travel, indeed.
our first day, we were shown around the neighborhood by Min, the school's western teachers liaison. he is basically here to help us settle in and figure things out [where to buy groceries, opening a local bank account, how to file our residency paperwork]. after that, two mothers who have students at the school took us to Costco so we could stock up on groceries and buy things for our apartment. running errands with them made a few things very clear: 1) I never want to have to drive in Taiwan, 2) Kirkland Signature brings me more joy than I ever thought possible, and 3) we might be the only white people in Hsinchu.
we have done some exploring at the local grocery stores as well, but will definitely be investing in a Costco membership. if only for the reason that they sell tortilla chips! Husband and I had a traditional Taiwanese lunch our first but, but have tried to ease our systems into the new culinary landscape. eggs with okra and avocado make for a tasty breakfast. salami, cheese and [gluten free!] crackers were dinner one night. we did go out for lunch yesterday to a nearby Thai place that was quite delicious... fried noodles and Thai chili chicken. [leftover chicken is going to be made into nachos later today. we can't live without Mexican!]
yesterday morning we went exploring around the school campus and the park that lies on the other side. the school campus is HUGE. they have separate buildings for the regular elementary, middle and high school, and then additional buildings for the bilingual [Mandarin and English] school where Husband will teach. the buildings are all connected by walkways and courtyards full of trees, vines, and benches.
immediately next to the school grounds is a temple. it was pretty crowded yesterday so we didn't go in, but it looked very interesting. I wish I knew what everything meant, but there were a lot of carved and painted dragons and peacocks [I think] decorating the roof, and a garden to the side with what looked like a playground. and of course a pair of these golden guys guarding the entrance... this one looks like he has a piece of sushi in his mouth.
perhaps I should explain a little more about where we live. technically we live in a park, but it is not all what you would think of as an American type park. the Hsinchu Science Park is actually divided into 3 areas: businesses, residential, and the school. all of the areas are full of trees and green space, but the main road divides the business area from the rest of the park. in the residential area, there are many homes and apartments [called dormitories] where people who work in the park live. and in the center of the residential area is what actually looks like a park, complete with gardens and a lake.
Lake Placid is a decent size, with a path that runs all the way around. now that I know where it is, I plan to go run around it and figure out the distance. [hopefully on a day where it is not 86 degrees at 7am, as it was yesterday.]
a portion of the path wanders through some kind of maze-like garden. there are concrete walls with all different shaped doorways to walk through, with rooms of all shapes and sizes. in the center is a pond filled with these giant plants. I know I'm going to fit in here, since we saw no less than 4 people toting giant SLRs and capturing shots inside the maze garden. [which, I'm sure there's a real name for this kind of garden, but no way could I figure it out from the Mandarin signs.]
another interesting feature of the park is the walkway to the small island in the lake. the walkway is lined with posts that have dragons carved into them, and there is a little shelter on the island with marble seats and table. [there are also some stairs that lead down closer to the water, but a teenage couple was making out over there] for some reason there was one artificial tree... looked like a cherry blossom tree that had lights for blossoms. I think we need to venture back one evening to check it out... maybe once we shake off the jetlag and can stay awake long enough.