As you've seen from Reid's previous post, we made it to Taiwan!
The first two weeks with my family were a great introduction to the island. We ate and shopped our hearts out in Taipei, caught waves in the coastal region of Kenting, then harvested tea and soaked in the sunrise in the mountains around Alishan. I'm really lucky to have the family that I do.
Having them all here made the transition from the all-too-comfortable Canadian life to the almost-too-uncomfortable Taiwan possible. Without them, I think I would have been completely distraught from the sauna-like weather, the sudden stench of stinky tofu around almost every corner, the uneasy feeling of near misses from zooming scooters, and the inability to speak the language.
Then again, that's what I came here for.
I came to learn Chinese after bailing on it in my youth. I came to absorb anything and everything this place has to offer, regardless of whether or not it's easy, because I'm lucky enough to have the chance to be here.
And as much as I feel inadequate right now, Taiwan gives me a rooted sense of connection to an unknown abyss that is my own culture. There's so much to be learned, so much to be seen and experienced here, all of which scares me in the very best way. From the history, to the language, the culture and the food, I'm here for it all.
We're currently living in a 250 square foot apartment studio here, with A/C (yay!), a washer (yay!), a fridge much shorter than me (I'm 5'2") with a freezer compartment (yay!), and a shower that even has a ledge to stop water spreading all over the bathroom floor AND a curtain that separates it from the rest of the bathroom (yay!).
It's been a challenge trying to cook though, let alone keeping up with posting recipes, since we have one measly hot plate burner, a rice cooker and minimal counter space. We have one large pot and one wok/ sautée pan hybrid. The fluorescent lighting in here is also not ideal for preeetty food photos, and I have zero props to help with the overall look. No distressed planks of wood, and not a beautiful looking plate or placemat in sight.
So! We're going back to the basics. Simple food, simple photos. One pot meals. Meals that you can throw together in a pan. 1 hour or less. We are thinking of creative ways to use the rice cooker that we have. It'll be a good challenge for us, refining and streamlining simple, gluten free meals with an ill-equiped kitchen. On the plus side, Reid and I are starting Chinese cooking classes at school next week so we can adapt what we learn to the gluten free life and share it with all of you!
Stay tuned while we adjust to the pace and life here. We want to learn and share all that we can!