Monday, October 22, 2007

You know you've been in Taiwan too long when...

1. You can order the entire McDonald's menu in Chinese.
2. You decide it makes more sense to drive a motorcycle instead of a car.
3. More than one garment has been ruined by betel-nut spit.
4. Someone doesn't stare at you and you wonder why.
5. You look both ways before crossing the sidewalk.
6. Hsiaohsing Wine tastes good.
7. You turn left from the right lane.
8. 70 degrees Fahrenheit feels cold.
9. You see three people on a motorcycle and figure there's room for two more.
10. "Squid" sounds better than "steak".
11. You don't notice the smell.
12. There are more things strapped to your motorcycle than you ever put in a car.
13. Looking at a dog makes you hungry.
14. You stop conjugating verbs.
15. You drive on the shoulder to pass traffic.
16. The main reason you stop at a 7-11 is to buy tea eggs.
17. You expect a Chinese New Year's bonus.
18. Firecrackers don't wake you up.
19. You spend two hours and US$75 to go get potato skins and buffalo wings.
20. You can distinguish Taiwanese from Hakka.
21. Your family stops asking you when you'll be coming back.
22. Taxi drivers are considered "good drivers".
23. You withdraw your money from the bank during Chinese missile tests.
24. Beer really isn't so expensive.
25. You stop and look both ways before driving through a red light.
26. "A", "an" and "the" aren't necessary parts of speech.
27. You know when the next "big bai-bai" is.
28. Smoking is one of the dinner courses.
29. You don't mind when your date picks her/his nose in public.
30. You wear out your horn before your brakes.
31. The police call you to get information about other foreigners.
32. You know which place has the best noodles & duck meat at 3:00 a.m.
33. a) You (male) wear white socks with suits and black socks with tennis shorts.
b) You (female) wear socks with pantyhose in summer.
34. People who knew you when you first arrived don't recognize you.
35. You speak Chinese to your foreign friends.
36. You own a karaoke machine.
37. None of your shoes have laces.
38. Chinese stop you on the street to ask for directions.
39. You leave the plastic on new furniture.
40. Forks feel strange.
41. You can spot the differences between the China News and the China Post.
42. The shortest distance between two points involves going through an alley.
43. You wear blue rubber flip-flops at work.
44. People don't see you for months, and when they do, they don't ask you where you've been.
45. Your deodorant stick has cobwebs on it.
46. You check that the karaoke machine is working before boarding a wild chicken bus.
47. Chinese remakes of Western songs sound better than the originals.
48. You stare at other foreigners.
49. Over half of your clothes were bought at night markets.
50. You become an expert on bug zappers: the best brands & where to get them.
51. The majority of foreigners who have been in Taiwan longer than you are buried here.
52. You find yourself saying, "Oh geez, not ANOTHER Year of the Rat."
53. You know which turn signal should be on when driving the wrong way down a one-way street.
54. You get homesick for Chinese food while away from Taiwan.
55. Praying at a temple for a winning lottery number becomes a regular thing to do.
56. It becomes a tradition that at least a part of Christmas dinner is stir-fried.
57. Other foreigners give you a funny look when you tell them how long you've been here.
58. You can't think of any good reason to leave.
59. The Statute of Limitations has expired and you still don't go home.
60. You understand that smiling and nodding is Chinese body language for "Stop speaking bad Mandarin and leave me alone."
61. Passing a construction site, you realize metal scaffolding is much more dangerous than bamboo.
62. You've spent more time on the island since 1990 than any of the Taiwanese you know.
63. The last few vacations you've had have been around Taiwan on company outings.
64. You've used up more than one phone card on local calls.
65. Locals are surprised to find out you can't vote in the upcoming election.
66. Your pets are bilingual.
67. Pizza just doesn't taste right unless there's corn on it.
68. Your preferred parking spot is on a sidewalk (and you get upset when someone else parks there).
69. Most meaningful conversations take place in doorways or on slow-moving motorcycles.
70. You can de-bone a piece of chicken in your mouth within seconds.
71. Your job title has more than three words.
72. You think the service in the restaurants isn't THAT bad.
73. You serve Shaoshing wine at home.
74. You're constantly the first on the elevator to hit the "door close" button.
75. You start cutting off the gravel trucks.
76.You prefer squat toilets.
77.You think having a scooter would be fun.
78.You eat squid on a stick.
79.You no longer find those strange and humorous articles in the paper to send home.
80.Your most commonly used Mandarin phrase is no longer "wo ting bu dong".
81.Your answer to an "either/or" question is "yes".
82.When the fashions in the stores look really hip.
83.You're into Sumo on NHK.
84.When chou tofu is no longer stinky.
85.You go to a nice restaurant and look for the rice bowl to put your food in.
86.You wish they had Lazy Susans in the middle of the tables at TGI Fridays.
87.You spend more time driving ON the lines instead of in between them.
88.You read books from back to front.
89.You start to like Kaoliang brandy more than XO.
90.You think packs of dogs are cute.
91.You are on home leave and you say "hsie hsie" instead of thank you.
92.You call it home.
93.You're ready to name the betel nut as a nutritional supplement.
94.You think that $3,000,000NT for a golf club membership is a steal.
95.You drive like this all the time.
96.You think the Taipei-Tamsui ferry is world class cruising.
97.You think that Taiwan is really trying to protect endangered species.
98.Your pinkie nail is over one inch long.
99.You stop using spell check on your word processor.
100.You buy round trip air tickets from Taipei.
101.You are worried when you DON'T see the soldiers on a bridge.
102.You think that ICRT is quality radio.
103.You tell the taxi drivers to hurry up.
104.You think your nose IS kind of big.
105.You hum along to the tunes in the taxi.
106.You've left umbrellas in more than 3 resturants.
107.You understand ICRT traffic reports.
108.You keep stuffed animals in your car.
109.You think walking up Yangmingshan looks like fun.
110.When US $4.00 is just about right for a cup of coffee.
111.You can tell the difference between Spring rain, the Plum rain, and the rainy season.
112.The last time you visited your mother you presented her with your business card.
113.The latest you can stay out is 11:30 pm, even on a weekend.
114.You can tell, just by looking, which moon cake has the egg in it.
115.You're getting allergic to fresh air.
116.You get used to being waken up by the "dump-truck tune" instead of a clock.
117.Cable TV reminds you of boring commercials and stock market advisories.
118.Everything you own is pirated.
119.You start to treat your scooter like a spouse.
120.You get used to the habit of not paying any tips while traveling.
121.Your first reaction in buying things is to ask for discounts.
122.Your first reaction in hearing the national anthem is to think of the Chinese elementary school.
123.You get addicted to MSG.
124.You get dogdoophobia -- the fear of stepping on dog doo when walking around.
125.You say "Wei?" instead of "Hello?" when you pick up the phone.
126.The red light is merely suggestive to you.
127.You talk on your cellular phone, play Tetris, smoke, and chew betel nuts, all at the same time.
128.You always ask your best friend back home when he's going to get a motorcycle.
129.You greet people by inspecting whatever they're carrying or telling them how fat they've gotten.
130.You can no longer tell the difference between a burp and the hiccups, a cracker and a cookie, or toast and bread.
131.You're on a first name basis with the staff at the local KTV.
132. The perfect date ends at an MTV.

8 comments:

  1. Vanessa4:30 AM

    I'm a Taiwanese, and I LOVE LOVE your list. Indeed, very insightful and very detailed.

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  2. Haha, yeah it's pretty great. I'm already starting to see a couple of them happening to me--yikes!

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  3. Hi Vannessa~ I'm glad you liked it - in some way I was a bit afraid to offend Taiwanese, who have very polite to me in the past, but after reading the list, I thought "this is too good not to post!" :)

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  4. Hey Rich - I bet you are experiencing a lot of them! The items on the list that stuck out to me the most when I first got there was everything about the scooters! :)

    My favorite is the suggestion to "look both ways before you cross the sidewalk"

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  5. Hi,
    I'm Taiwanese as well, and I WAS offended by a few from your list(having lived in China and seen the differences between Taiwanese and mainland Chinese, I can't stand when you use Taiwanese and Chinese interchangeably), and completely baffled by a few(98,13..? do we eat dogs??). I did also enjoy quite a few though, and a foreign view of Taiwan is quite refreshing, though I'm probably just as Westernized.

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  6. Hi Jen - sorry you were offended by the use of "Chinese" and "Taiwanese" - I am also well aware of the differences between Taiwan and China, but to be fair, almost all of my Taiwanese friends make this same mistake. Many times they say "I am Chinese" and only switch it to "Taiwanese" after I correct them. :)

    Taiwanese do eat dogs, although it must be rare. Still, I'll never forget the one day when my friends and I were walking in the park and found some small black puppies that had been abandoned, and my friends spent the whole day trying to give the dogs away to their friends so they wouldn't be taken and eaten. :)

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  7. Marko8:11 AM

    Adam this is amazing! You are truely lucky to be witness to such an exciting expiereince -good for you man!

    Peace,

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  8. I am an american who is on the verge of moving to Taipei and I found your list to be so insightful. I can't wait for this crazy taiwan adventure to begin! I'll definitely be stopping by your blog again.

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