Claire in Taiwan, travel, Uncategorized

First trip in Taiwan, Taichung

WHHHEEEEEEEEEEEEEE SPLAT.

That’s how my day started.

The rain was so horrifically torrential that I skidded on the path outside my apartment and grazed half of my leg and landed awkwardly, and painfully, on my left hand. (It still hurts now, 10 hours later 😢)

I also had to give in and buy an umbrella, which I inconveniently left in my friends car!

I made it to the bus station and attempted to buy my ticket in Chinese. I managed the first bit, until she asked me if I wanted a seated or standing ticket and I really didn’t have a clue what she was saying.

Our conversation then went like this:

Me: Ni hui shuo yingwen ma? (Can you speak English)

Her: a little

You want stand up ticket?

Me: no, seat please

Her: no! Stand up ticket

Me: okay, stand up ticket.

Straightening my hair was a complete waste of time and the effect lasted about 20 minutes… ugh.

The train into the city centre is extremely easy and only takes 12 minutes, it costs about 50p a trip. 50p!!!! And thankfully my friend came to meet me at the main station. I was worried about standing up for the journey to Taichung but she had kindly bought me a ticket yesterday, which meant we got to sit together! And, she was able to refund the ticket I’d bought this morning. It was just SO EASY.

The train journey was beautiful. There was so much nature, traditional houses, fascinating buildings… it was lovely. And surprisingly people were really quiet. No one was shouting or talking on their phones and it was a really pleasant trip. It took an hour and five minutes so it’s not far at all.

The further down we got, the better the weather became and once we arrived there were clear blue skies and not a raindrop in sight. Which also meant I was bloody boiling in my jeans!

ChiaoYun came to pick us up in the car, which was great because she obviously knew exactly where to go and it was much easier than me trying to find my way around. Taichung is completely unrecognisable from my last visit 15 years ago. I’d never have known it was the same city!

We walked around the market streets, which are brilliant in the day time! And got bubble tea (珍珠奶茶) and the girls also got chicken 🐓

before we went to this amazing restaurant called Jai 宅 – Although we had to wait 40 minutes for a seat, it was worth it. It’s a selfie paradise and everything is decorated in flowers or other little things. I didn’t look or feel my best, so I didn’t take selfies, but we took a few group photos.

We wandered around passed bookstores, contact lenses stands (you can buy them like sweets here) and tonnes of food stalls! And after checking #台中咖啡 on instagram we found FUXING COFFEE.

Check out what we ordered: ($690 in total, £17!)

Then we went to the train station, refunded my NO SEAT ticket and then bought a bus ticket instead. The bus ticket was £1 cheaper and an hour longer, but I had a seat and air con so it was worth the change!

I decided to enjoy the cool air and walk home from the station in Hsinchu, stopping at Poya (an everything store) to buy soap, face wash and more stickers…

I’m now sat in bed eating pot noodles before I read and go to bed. I’m exhausted and it’s fair to say I’ve had a brilliant day in Taichung thanks to my lovely friends!

Top tips for travelling around Taiwan

  • Always have a small umbrella or rain coat with you (the rain comes out of nowhere, fast!)
  • Always carry a packet of tissues and / or wet wipes
  • Always carry a bottle of anti-bac hand gel
  • Be prepared for no western toilets, although this is rarely an issue these days.
  • If you take a long distance bus, keep your ticket!! The drivers collect it from you before you get off the bus. My driver was furious I’d lost it! Woops!

Happy Sunday all xo

P.S YOUTUBE VID HERE

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Uncategorized

You.

I would empty my bank account, travel around the world, walk to the moon and back, crawl over hot coals just to end up with you.

Uncategorized

Trapped

I can’t seem to function once I step out of the door.

Make up becomes pointless, it only ends up streaming down my face.

The minute I walk out the front door I feel sick, uneasy, unsafe, dizzy, angry, hurt.

After a few minutes of locking the door behind me, back in my home, I no longer feel nauseous, no more dizziness.

But what I feel is emptiness, unkindness and unsafe.

There’s no escaping anxiety.

Not today.

Not this week.

Uncategorized

Anxiety issues

Yesterday I slept for about 16 hours, and during the 8 or so that I was awake I must’ve cried for about 3.

What the hell is wrong with me?

Anxiety and depression have returned with a nasty vengeance.

My anxiety is so bad I kept running out of class to nearly throw up.

I feel like I’m going to burst into tears every 5 minutes.

All I want to do is get in bed and hide under the duvet.

I’ve forgotten what it’s like to have control over my thoughts, my emotions, my life.

I feel like every single part of my life is spiralling downwards and I’m doing that fucked up thing where I push everyone away.

Thoughts come back and tell me that I’m worthless, useless, fat, ugly, unloved… and I’ll believe them. Just like I always do.

Someone remind me how to stop?

Where are my emotional breaks?

Uncategorized

U-turns

There are some days that make you feel as if nothing could ever go wrong again.

As if everything you have right then, in that moment, is all you will ever need.

But those feelings never last, for me, they disappear as quickly as they arrive.

Leaving me completely and utterly torn apart.

Claire in China, Personal, Uncategorized

Breaking up with China [p2]

As you guys have probably noticed, part one was a little long and emotional.

Since I arrived back in the UK on April 6th everything has been a complete roller-coaster.

I arrived late on Friday night, Tuesday was payday and I knew there would be a problem. Of course there was a problem. Despite being told that they would stick to the contract 100% in every matter, they 100% did, and have, not.

I’m going to keep this short and simple, so people can see why I left China as quickly as I did, and why I haven’t gone back.

My exboss asked me to take a week to think about whether or not I wanted to come back to China. On Tuesday when I asked him why I hadn’t been paid his response was ‘we haven’t been able to re-rent out your flat’. Now, as someone who hadn’t yet made their decision about going back, why was he trying to rent my flat when I’d only been gone 4 days? ALAAAAAAAAAAARM BEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLS.

In the following days, and weeks, I’ve had 3 different excuses as to why I wasn’t paid on April 10th.

I’ve had threats of being sued, taken to court, being reported to the police and foreign bureau.

I’ve had insults, nasty comments, lies and over-emotional, angry emails that were clearly written within 5 minutes of reading the email that I had sent. They were unprofessional, unkind and full of lies.

These people were making angry assumptions, putting words in my mouth and even copying their FRIENDS into these emails. People I didn’t know, people who didn’t even work for the company. It was ridiculous.

I had emails saying I had vandalized the apartment, broken the air conditioning on purpose, telling me I was a terrible teacher and that I should have no confidence in myself.

I had messages saying all I was after was ‘lots of money’ and free gifts.

Anyone who knows me will know I don’t do things for ‘freebies’ or ‘gifts’. I feel guilty when our canteen manager gives me a brownie for free, or if my students give me chocolate when they bring coffee to school.

In fact, people insisting I accept gifts such as coffee cups, dinners and whatever else only makes me feel extremely uncomfortable. Especially if said person is supposed to be a manager. I continuously felt as if I was being ‘bribed’ and ‘guilted’ into staying.

In China, I wasn’t actually having days off. Despite not working much at all, my phone was buzzing 24/7 and I was called into the school constantly for ‘paperwork’ or ‘meetings’ or other such things which could have been done on an actual work day.

On my sick day I was called 4 different times, despite being SICK and needing to sleep. Telling them I needed to sleep, my phone kept ringing. I ‘had to’ go to hospital. I ‘had to’ go and get my phone sorted out. I was dragged around the city for a total of 5 hours on my sick day, when I should have been resting. No chance.

I was mentally exhausted and rapidly slipping back into bad habits and it couldn’t continue.

I honestly didn’t expect things to turn out this way. I handed in a resignation letter and offered to work my 30 days notice, as any normal person should. I was denied this. The resignation was accepted and I was suspended immediately. I’m beyond shocked, but I don’t know why because you hear these exact stories coming from China all of the time.

I wanted to use my 30 days notice to figure out something different, a different city or just another option. They made it very obvious that wasn’t going to happen.

And as a person who went to China for the ‘freebies’ I have lost £4,000 in this process and still have not received my salary, actually not a single penny. Why is that? Because contracts in China are absolutely, completely, 100% WORTHLESS. There are some nasty people in the world and unfortunately it’s not always easy to figure out who they are until they screw you over.