Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Little of Murphy's Law and a Visit from a Friend

I like to start things off with a good vibe. So, I will start off with yesterday. My friend Laura from the States flew into Taiwan yesterday. She was telling me when I picked her up how she had slept for most of the flight and that I better have the energy to keep up with her. Ha! The words of the inexperienced :)

Here is a summary of what we did yesterday (and a BIG thank you to Michael for being kind enough to show us around all day):

(1) Taipei 101 & Went to the top: The bad thing is that it was raining yesterday so while we were at the top, we couldn't really see anything that was along the bottom. But it was still pretty cool because Taipei 101 does a good job of putting a lot of other really cool things on display at the top. Again, if you go to Taiwan (and even if it's raining), you should go to the top of 101
(2) Walked to the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall: Just imagine a REALLY BIG temple designed to house a museum/shrine to one of the founding fathers of Taiwan (although he only visited Taiwan 3 times in his life). A really cool place to go, where they have a changing of the guard every hour, some kind of weekend market every weekend, and a place to see people flying kites really high. When I get a new camera, I'll take some pics of the place.
(3) Went to the National Palace Museum: We were kind of rushed for time, but we were able to see a lot of cool things here. From the painting and calligraphy galleries to famous pieces from the Qing dynasty palaces and even some religious sculptural arts, this is a place that you must visit if you come to Taipei.
(4) Hot springs in Xinbeitou: Now, I decided to sit this one out and chill out at the local McDonalds (don't judge) the rest of them went to one of the natural hot springs bath houses in Xinbeitou. A refreshing experience no doubt, I will soon be making a visit there to partake in the experience. From the others time there, it's a relaxing, refreshing and regenerating hour-and-a-half.
(5) Taipei Main Station for dinner: If you have never had a pizza rolled into a shape similar to an ice cream cone then you haven't lived. If you haven't had a hotpot filled with tofu, meats and noodles, boiling and flaming for 20 minutes after you get it, then you should ask for the manager. Even food-courts in MRT stations (like shopping mall food-courts) serve high quality foods at non-ripoff prices. And I'm pretty sure the restraunts are profitable.

So if you ever decide to come visit me, expect to be kept busy from the time you get off the plane to the time you finally get to sleep (which will be no less than 17 hours after you land).

Now time for some not-so-good but not horrible news. Since my contract actually runs only through the end of July (which is less than 6-months aggregate), I cannot receive an Alien Resident Card (ARC). This is not a monumental problem, but it poses some difficult issues. One, it causes some contractual issues with the orgainization I'm contracted to work with. The ARC is required to get the national health-insurance (which is a requirement of the contract on their side). Now, minus my cough I've had since I got here and a period of a few days I was sick with god-knows-what, my health is usually pretty good. But kudos so far for the company I'm working with to step up to the plate and their attempts to fix this temporary-breach of contract. Now let's see if they can get a deal in place to allow me to get the health insurance.

The other issue with not having an ARC is a more problematic situation for one of my main reasons for coming here. Without the ARC, I will need to apply for a visa-extension every 60 days. Now with already obataining a work permit, that shouldn't be much of a hassel. But where a problem comes in is this: I currently have a single-entry visa. IF they can only re-issue my visa as how it was originally issued, then if I leave Taiwan to travel to other countries (which I intend to do) then I would have to reapply for another visa (even if its before the current visa expires) because as a single-entry visa, it's only able to be used to enter the country (or stay in the country) one time.

Now, worst-case scenario, I would have to apply for a visa (which is an additional expense) when I return from another country. This is feasible, but it's not something I intend to be done. Hopefully, the issue will be resolved in the coming weeks. The people who are working for the school and deal with these issues are top-notch, hard working individuals whom I have full faith and confidence will do their very best in getting this resolved.


I will forewarn my readers: I made a lie in my blog post from December 6, 2010 about how I "really couldn't give two shits about politics." Although in certain forms that is true, as a generality, it is not. As my forewarning, I've been able to do a bit of reading and thinking about certain things which I will be attempting to write about in the upcoming week or so. Although this will not be a theme in this blog, it is MY blog and I have a right to write about what is going on in my current thought, life and beliefs. So feel free to comment on them when they appear, or feel free to avoid reading them like the plague. But this is for sure, they may be a little bit...different...than those of prior years.

Until then...

1 comment:

Lyle Sweet said...

WOOOT, Politics! *crosses fingers for healthcare. Or maybe you'd like yo propose a new "no child left behind act" after teaching children in a developing country.

Good luck getting that ARC card/visa extension. Maybe you could just marry a Taiwanese girl?