Photography, travel

Holiday resumed. Tuesday in Taipei City.

Last night was one of the most solid sleeps I’ve had in 13 days since arriving in Taipei. Five and a half hours of solid, peaceful sleep. Only to be jolted awake with stabbing pains in my stomach, but hey ho! This is the life of (suspected) endo! Anyway, this is not about my pains and what-nots today. This is a positive, happy, vibe-y post about how much I love my life at the moment. Read along!

Stunning morning in TianMu

How should you spend a day in Taipei? Well, I started my day by talking to my favourite person, just as he was going to bed on the other side of the world, and headed off to uni with my sister as she returned her graduation gown and hat – exciting times ahead for the newly graduated! 

Moving out day at NTNU – great memories of my student days!
Beautiful art on the walls outside NTNU

We wanted to grab smoothies from a place called Vegg Out, on ShiDa road, but when we arrived it was completely packed and the queue was to the door. 

Instead, I took my sister to Ooh Cha Cha, one of the coolest cafes I’ve ever been to, and totally vegan! Located on NanChang Road, just a few minutes walk from Guting MRT station, this small cafe serves plant-based meals from Chickpea Smash on Sourdough, to a range of burgers to salad and hummus bowls. They are absolutely delicious and go perfectly with any of the yummy smoothies they make too, my favourite being the Acai Twist! 

Falafel burger, hummus beet bowl and orange juice

From here my sister and I walked around the corner to catch the 278 bus towards the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, in XinYi district (only a 20 minute walk to Taipei 101), and on our way there we stopped at ICE MONSTER for mini ice lollies that cost us NT$30 each. 

Mango and strawberry lollies

They were actually pretty cute and in 36°C and 87% humidity, we needed that cool-down to keep us going! We also had a quick pit-stop at the Hello Kitty shop where we snacked on typical Taiwanese pineapple cakes, and mini waffles!

Hello Kitty, we love you!

The park has some beautiful, quaint little cafes and temple-style shelters scattered around, vending machines and rubbish bins, making it a lovely place to visit as it’s peaceful and extremely clean. 



The Eslite building is fantastic and absolutely not to be missed. With four floors of souvenirs, handmade gifts, stationery, teas, candles, clothing and so much more! You must spend some time here. One of my favourite discoveries of my holiday was made here today. 


A pop-up shop of Cafe Solé serving pour over coffee from Taiwan’s A Li mountain (阿里山) – for NT$130 not only did I receive nearly two cups of coffee, but I watched this amazing barista grind the beans and filter the coffee in front of me, letting me smell the coffee throughout the stages. For a coffee obsessor like me, it was wonderful! And delicious coffee as well. 


After an hour or so of wandering through the individual stalls, we began walking to Taipei 101, stopping st various points along the way to take silly photos, or in most cases, stop at the dreaded traffic lights! 

Meimei 妹妹
Jiejie 姐姐

We ended up at Street Churros, which considering how many issues I have with my stomach, I definitely should not have eaten, they were absolutely amazing! Hot churros with dark chocolate dipping sauce… is there anything better?! 


Followed by a little wander through ATT4Fun mall and looked at all the clothes, trying them on, then putting them back as we certainly couldn’t afford them. 


As my feet blistered and head throbbed from lack of water today, we made our way home on the MRT. (Taking a few photo booth snapshots before we left) 


Oh my god. That cold shower was the best welcome home after being on my feet for 9 hours, and I spent the evening eating rice cakes and watching Shanghai Noon with my little sister. 

Feeling very grateful for having such a wonderful, positive day.

Taipei, I love you.

health, Personal

Holiday on hold, my immune system is at war.

This is not something I’ve had the courage to openly discuss with more than three people before, so please be kind whilst I explain my current situation, as it’s taking over my life. 

After yet another trip to my doctor two weeks ago, I am waiting for an appointment for a scan, to see if I have Endometriosis. What’s that? Well, Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (the endometrial stroma and glands, which should only be located inside the uterus) is found elsewhere in the body (endometriosis.org) and what it brings is hours of excruciating pain, painful bowel movements (and Irritable Bowel Syndrome type symptoms), heavy and painful periods, pains in the back and legs, fatigue, nausea, depression and a few other issues (Endometriosis-UK) which will inevitably vary between women, but can severely impact the quality of life for those suffering.

Whilst many people may laugh it off as ‘just period pains’ or someone being a ‘typical dramatic woman’, I strongly urge you to think twice before using these sorts of phrases, as this is so much more than that. I am talking about hours and hours of crippling pain, to the point where I cannot even walk to the toilet, or make myself a drink. It is lying in a bath for four hours because it is the only way to even slightly reduce the pain. It’s crying hysterically for hours because of the pain and nothing that will stop it. It is calling for an ambulance because something is clearly not right, only for them to take four hours to arrive and then give you a shot of morphine and say you’ll be fine in the morning. That is rarely the case. 

Once an episode of pain starts, it can, in my situation, last for days. Sometimes weeks. Paracetamol? Ha! What a waste of time. It has absolutely no impact on the pain whatsoever. Hot water bottles? Most of the time the pressure of one being on my stomach only makes it worse. Eating? Why eat when I’m already bloated enough to look 5 months pregnant!? I would also like to quickly mention how awful the bloating can be. It’s painful, uncomfortable and also distressing being asked if I’m pregnant. No, I’m not. Don’t be so rude! 


It’s a no-win situation some days. Nothing I do will ease the pain and it feels like I am fighting world war three inside my own body. 

I have had months in the past where I have been in bed for up to 10 days, barely able to move from bed to bathroom. Some months the pain just carries on into the next month with barely any rest. Which has caused me to call in sick for work, only to be laughed at or been given written warnings for time off. Out of the three employers I have tried to explain my condition to, not one of them has even attempted to understand. I’ve had the typical, judgemental responses of, ‘you’ll just have to toughen up’ or ‘well all women get periods, get over it’ or something else along those lines. Is that really acceptable? No. I do not think so.

Endometriosis affects over 176 million women worldwide (Endofound) and people clearly need to be more aware of this illness, and stop dismissing it as period pains, woman troubles, or any other lame excuse people come up with, instead of doing some research and stop being so ignorant. 

That’s all I have to say right now, as once again I’m dealing with a horrible amount of discomfort. I have prepared myself for the night ahead, and can only hope I can find a way of staying just slightly comfortable tonight.


Food, travel

Vegans in Taipei

The two weeks before my holiday started I decided to try out being vegan. It was tough some days. All I wanted were crisps or chocolate, but on the whole I felt pretty energised and healthy.

Since arriving in Taipei I don’t think I’ve had an entire day without eating something I shouldn’t have. My body is rebelling. I’m feeling sluggish, exhausted, grouchy and sick.

Tonight however, I decided to be healthy!


 I raided the local Night Market food stalls for some fresh fruit and veg to make up a little vegan dinner. 

Avocado, tomato, onion, sweet corn, mango and chilli – my favourite mix!

travel

ShiLin Night Market

Oh the joys of growing up in Taipei and having a night market like this as your weekend hang out. 

However, before I continue I would like to point out the biggest difference about this place… NO MORE PHOTO BOOTHS. Y’all know what I’m talking about. Those out-of-this-world, state of the art, Japanese photobooths which for NT$200 you would get about an hours worth of photo taking, picture decorating time and having sticker-photo keepsakes forever. It’s true, they no longer exist. Talk about devastating.

Fortunately, for those of you who don’t remember, or never experienced such excitement, Shilin Night Market (士林夜市) is buzzing with locals and the occasional foreigner from about 5pm through to the early hours of the morning. During the week it’ll be 11/12, on the weekends places stay open until around 1am.You’ll find quirky fashion items, millions of phone cases, socks, earrings, handbags, silly claw machines, balloon-bursting games and local, authentic street stalls! 

You can take the Red line MRT and either walk down from ShiLin station, or get off at JianTian, which leads you into the very heart of the market.
It gets busy! Go with the flow, be prepared for the occasional scooter and if you see the food sellers move promptly, the police are probably on the way and you need to be careful, in case you get barged into during the frantic dispersal!

It’s a great place to spend the evening and a must-see when in Taipei! 


Photography, travel

Taipei’s diamond in the sky.

Since the evening that I arrived in Taipei, four days ago, the 101 has been completed engulfed in clouds and rain, making it invisible from a distance. 

As the clouds finally began to break this morning, and I found myself walking alongside the beautiful Da’An park I suddenly saw, from a great distance, and down the middle of the dual carriageway, the 101 in between a collection of buildings.

There she was. Clear as day, staring at me down the middle of the roads. And what a wonderful feeling that was too, to see one of the most outstanding buildings in the world right in front of me.

travel

Taipei Travelling

When I say travelling, what I really mean is staying undercover as much as possible because this monsoon weather is absolutely horrific. So, I haven’t taken any decent photos or gone anywhere crazy yet.

So until I have a blog-worthy post, enjoy a few of the photos I have managed to take.
At the fantastic coffee shop Milkglider – I’m in awe of these baristas. They are insane!!


Feasting at our favourite restaurant, Kunming Islamic Restaurant. Address: No 26, Lane 81, Fushing North Road


All together again after 10 months apart!


Eddy’s Cantina in TienMu! Eat Mexican, Drink Craft.