Life in Taipei: April 2016

My monthly wrap-ups are for me to share personal tidbits — the little things that make up my life abroad; stories and photos which may not otherwise see the light of blogging day. See previous months here.

Late night breakfast, Taipei by Expat Edna

Late night breakfast: one of my favorite things about Taipei (and one of the only photos I took all month)

April was intentionally uneventful. I knew I’d been running on fumes, but I didn’t realize exactly how fast I was burning out until I came to a sudden stop.

Since I went into full-time travel mode 11 months ago, I’ve been in a new country almost every week or two. Staying put in one place for a whole month usually makes me deflate faster than a football in the Patriots’ locker room.

But I could feel the travel fatigue growing and the bank account dwindling, which is how I ended up spending all spring holed up in an apartment in rainy Taipei, recharging those batteries and giving my wallet a break.

I barely even took any photos (that aren’t just saved Snapchats), which is terrifying. Anyway, this means April’s recap is an uncharacteristically short one:

TAIPEI For once, I had some semblance of a daily routine. This included any combination of watching terrible movies on HBO Asia (“Taiwanese TV is where English movies go to die,” said one fellow expat), walking Tom‘s dogs, meeting Lauren for food adventures, and sitting on the couch thinking about blog posts but not actually writing them (see: HBO Asia).

I also went on an extreme health bender: no alcohol, no meat but fish, pretty much no food that did not come from a plant; plus daily exercise. A bit monotonous, but I’m in the best shape since my college swim days (six years ago! yikes I let myself go for a while) and stairs don’t hurt anymore, so it’s probably worth it.

WORKIn early April I finished all my freelance assignments, and decided not to take anymore. RIP short-lived freelance career. You just weren’t right for me.

Instead I’ve been tutoring a Taiwanese housewife — even seeing her for just six hours a week is enough for me to live off in Taipei. It’s a good gig, and the extrovert in me loves having a job with face-to-face interaction again (and who doesn’t love a six-hour workweek?).

I also began doing Snapchat takeovers for brands, which is such a fun and crazy addition to this whole digital nomad thing. I have a few more lined up for May and June; more on those travels below.

Mango shaved ice, Taipei by Expat Edna

PERSONAL | Um…I sewed up a hole in my favorite shirt and signed up for Netflix. That was the extent of my personal achievements. It was an exciting month, I’m telling you.

But then, in the last week of the month, I confirmed five(!) trips in as many days. When it rains, it POURS.

Big things are coming together.

For the past three years — ever since that summer before I moved to Italy — I’ve never felt I had all my burners on. At any given moment I was always in the middle of an internal crisis about one of five areas: work, money, relationships, health, or travel. It wasn’t possible to have it all.

But this month, for the first time, I feel like I have all the burners going. Three years ago I wrote about being at a crossroads; today I’m standing there again, except instead of being overwhelmed and scared, I’m positively ecstatic.

I know exactly where I’m headed this summer. The road ahead is full of gorgeous opportunities and everything is looking up; I feel like all the crises and dark days and past decisions I questioned have been validated if they led me to this fork in the road. I feel light. I’m in a good place.

(If you haven’t heard of it, the burner theory comes from this David Sedaris essay.)

READING | Sex With Shakespeare

I have been looking forward to reading this book for years. Jillian was my former roommate in Singapore; she’s an unbelievably talented journalist and diehard Shakespeare scholar (I still remember the one night where, a little goofy on Ambien, she emerged with the Complete Works of Shakespeare and began giving us a dramatic reading in the living room). Her passion always shines through her writing — if you’re looking for an intelligent book that challenges what you think you know about kink, love, and Shakespeare, interspersed with travel and humor, I’d recommend picking this up.

LISTENING | Hamilton

Yeah, I finally joined the bandwagon. Hamilton is SO good though — I’ve had the soundtrack on repeat for weeks on end. I’ve also spent hours reading the historical and musical annotations behind the lyrics and watching Ham4Ham videos on YouTube. I haven’t been this obsessed with a musical since Wicked ten years ago (once a #theatrenerd, always a #theatrenerd).

INSTAGRAM | #parisAtoZ

With all the couch time of late (read: no new photos to post), I decided to start a little project over on Instagram called #parisAtoZ. It’s exactly what it sounds like — every day I post a photo of Paris to correspond with letters of the alphabet. Gotta say, K was a tough one.

Next month: I go back to my old traveling ways! May will see me in Seoul, Bali, Hong Kong, and wrapping up Taipei before heading back home to Paris.

How are your summer plans shaping up? Also, does anyone have tips for Seoul? It’ll be my first time in Korea!

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  1. I’m glad you got some time to recoop in April, as it seems you’ve got some craziness ahead of you. Good for you, as it seems to be all good craziness. I love that you spent your time tutoring for your income! Did you tutor her in language? What an awesome interaction.

    Also: I, too, am addicted to Hamilton. After everybody went crazy I thought, “Ahh, I probably won’t even like it.” GAH. I was so wrong. Of course everybody loves it. So hard to get tickets, so I just perform it for myself in my kitchen. #theatrenerd right here too!

    • Thanks Amanda! And yep, I tutor her in English.

      If you haven’t already, watch the Ham4Ham shows! LMM is a genius.

  2. Sounds like a quiet month was just what you needeto recharge before a busy May!

    Kate |

  3. Ok, now I get why I didn’t see any photos from Taiwan on your Instagram!! Too bad but it’s great you had some rest and that you are now back in the game :p
    Also, congratulations on your new projects and may the light stay with you for a long time ;)


  4. Glad you’ve recharged – sounds like you’ve got a lot of exciting trips coming up!
    Congratz on the snap-takeovers – video is such an incredible strength of yours, you’re a total natural on camera, definitely need your own Youtube / travel TV series! xo

  5. Thanks for taking my student while I was traveling and busy with my parents.

  6. I’ll be in Taipei next month. Late night breakfast looks quite tempting…. :)

  7. Hey Edna!

    Thanks for being open and sharing about your “crossroads”! I enjoyed reading your post!