I moved to Taiwan in January 2008; after almost two years, I went back to the USA. Then I moved back in October 2010. And then I moved back to the USA in December 2011. And, now, I’m back in Taiwan, again, since this past August. I have always lived in the City of Taichung, always in the same general vicinity (within walking distance of Little Europe).
The first time I moved here, I was clueless. I came with a friend of mine, who had been here before, and he pretty much took the reins. We moved into a 5th floor walk-up on the top floor of an older building. It wasn’t bad, but compared to these oakland apartments and the other luxury apartments you can find in the USA, it wasn’t anything special. I just had to accept that drop in standard and get used to it. The best thing about this place was the fact that the total cost of rent/fees was TW$7500 (~US$240 at that time). However, if you can imagine how much fun is it to go grocery shopping on a scooter…imagine then having to walk up 100 stairs to get them into your place.
The second move wasn’t hugely different. I moved in with a couple of friends of mine, into a 4th floor apartment in a building with an elevator. The rent was TW$12000 (~US$400 at the time), a third of which was mine. Unfortunately, of the three rooms, one had an on-suite bath and the other was twice the size of mine. The greatest frustration wasn’t the apartment, itself, but what I perceived as unfairness regarding the rent. The guy/girl in the room with the on-suite only had to cover 1/3 of the rent, same as me, in the smallest room, farthest from the bathroom. Moving out was not a hard decision for me.
Truth be told, I just hate roommates. I can live with a lover or a girlfriend but…roommates really drive me insane. I like my stuff where I like my stuff; I may have a unique style of organization but, when it gets messed with, it really pisses me off. Sure, it looks odd when you lift an envelope off the messy coffee table and see my keys there, but if you move those keys to the clean kitchen counter, I will never find them. So, from then on, I made a vow: no more roommates!
Back in April 2012, I decided to come back to Taiwan. This meant no more looking for los angeles apartments but instead looking for available listings in Taiwan. Primarily, I based my search in Taichung City. Being the planner I am, I wanted to start looking nice and early to see if I could find anything available to rent, so I hopped on Tealit . And I hit the jackpot. Two girls were living together and both planned to move out in August; they were trying to sell off the stuff in the apartment and find someone to rent the space, to help out the landlord. I told them I would take the lot – they could just leave everything in the apartment and I would pay them a lump sum for all of it. The rent for this new apartment was TW$12000 (~US$410), just like the last place I’d lived, except this place was on the 12th floor of a building with security guards.
When I arrived in Taiwan, here’s what it looked like:
The cost of everything you see – couches, coffee table, TV, laptop, tables, mats, a fridge, a washer, a dryer, shelves, et cetera – was TW$15000 (~US$520). It was a steal, considering my original apartment in 2008 cost me almost TW$50000 (~US$1600 at that time), because I was a newbie and didn’t have a clue what I was doing.
After a couple of weeks of working on the place and getting it more my-style, it looked like this:
And that worked pretty well, for a while. Come November, I had changed it, again, to what you see here:
The new fridge was a huge score – cost me NT$2000 (~US$70), including delivery. Even at this price, I’m still going to look into home warranty so that it’s covered. I know back in America there are companies like First American who offer great coverage, but I’m not sure what’s available here in Taiwan.
And, finally, around Christmas, I got my arrangement almost-perfect:
I rearranged my furniture, floating absolutely everything I could; got a new 42″ TV, which cost me TW$13000 (~US$450), and am feeling extremely comfortable in my living arrangement.
I don’t get cable, because 97% of the channels in Taiwan are all-Chinese, and the three channels that have English are broken up by commercials (even HBO). So, I took the laptop I bought off the previous tenants and hooked in my two detachable hard drives. Currently, my 2TB drive houses 1100+ movies and my 3TB houses 11000+ television episodes. I basically run my own private pirate network.
I liked my place when I moved in, but I love it now.
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