Boots on the Ground Part II: Libraries and Landladies

Boots on the Ground Part II: Libraries and Landladies

(also banks, but that wasn’t alliterative) I. Libraries Getting a library card in Taipei is way easier than I’d anticipated. To get one in the US you need to provide proof of residency such as rental paperwork or recent mail. In Taipei, you don’t even need to be a resident get a library card. The minimum requirements are permanent and temporary addresses, your passport, and a phone number where they can contact you. It’s not a problem if you don’t…

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Scattered Post-CELTA Thoughts

Scattered Post-CELTA Thoughts

Did you think one week of midterms was too easy? Do you like being sleep deprived for days, nay, weeks on end? How would you rather spend your weekends: researching present continuous for six hours, or doing literally anything else? If you are excited about any or all of these prospects, then an intensive CELTA course might be for you! _______ I’m not selling this very well, and I’m not being entirely fair. Here’s the deal. If you want to…

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Huayu Enrichment Scholarship: Boots on the Ground

Huayu Enrichment Scholarship: Boots on the Ground

So I live in Taipei now. I know, I know, it’s wild. It’s weird to me that I just…decided to move to Taiwan. And then did it. Anyway. I arrived last Saturday, late at night. I’d asked my school (Chinese Culture University’s Mandarin Learning Center) to arrange a driver to meet me, since I had too much luggage to manage on public transit. (I really should invest in some rolling suitcases.) The car took me to EasyMind Guest House, where I’d…

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My New Favorite Women’s Travel Pants Are Normal Men’s Pants

My New Favorite Women’s Travel Pants Are Normal Men’s Pants

For three days in Chiang Mai I wore a $30 pair of men’s athletic chinos from Target. They weren’t exorbitantly expensive, they weren’t marketed for traveling, they weren’t made for women, and yet, for some reason, they are worlds better than any women’s pants I’ve worn while traveling. Let’s start by recapping women’s pants. Standard women’s pants are some combination of the following: skin tight, at least in some areas low-cut enough to be inappropriate or at least problematic in…

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Two Weeks of Tall Ship Training: My Experience on Lady Washington

Two Weeks of Tall Ship Training: My Experience on Lady Washington

In March of 2017, I called up my mom to pitch an idea. “So, uh. You know those tall ships? Like in pirate movies or Master and Commander? Turns out you can go train on them. In California. And I really, really want to do that.” To which my mother, who tries her hardest to understand my whims, said, “why?” There were a lot of reasons for “why” — on one level, this seemed like a good way to make possible career in-roads…

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Getting the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship: Tips, Suggestions, and My Experiences (Part 1)

Getting the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship: Tips, Suggestions, and My Experiences (Part 1)

I got a scholarship! Which was kind of surprising to me since the whole application experience felt like a series of shots in the dark. Much mystery surrounds the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship (HES), which sends international students to study mandarin in Taiwan. Who’s gotten this before? How many do they give out? What sort of person do they want to give this to? WHO KNOWS!? I still don’t know the answers to some of these questions, but I have applied successfully…

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How to Get Vegetarian Eats in Spain

How to Get Vegetarian Eats in Spain

If you’re used to eating vegetarian food in America, get ready for a challenge in Spain. Vegetarianism is still a weird concept to a lot of Spaniards, so explaining your preferences can lead to confusion. Not only do Spaniards eat a lot of carne, they often don’t consider finely shredded meat or flesh-based products (like broth) to actually be meat. (If you shred up the jamón really small, it doesn’t count, right?) Finding vegetarian food can be an adventure or a chore, depending on…

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Why You Should Always Carry a Tactical Flashlight

Why You Should Always Carry a Tactical Flashlight

I’m not sure when I started carrying a tactical flashlight, but now I won’t travel without one. Why? Protection! Finding lost things! Adventuring! Oh, let me count the ways! Before I launch into a rhapsody (okay, an enthusiastic listicle) about why I love tactical flashlights, let’s make sure we’re on the same page. Tactical flashlights are meant to be used with weapons and in other tactical contexts. They tend to be very bright, water resistant, and tough. (Here’s a brief overview…

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Twenty-Two Years of Questionable Spanish Acquisition Techniques: A (sort of) Success Story

Twenty-Two Years of Questionable Spanish Acquisition Techniques: A (sort of) Success Story

Note: language aquisition and travel are inseparable for me. I travel to learn new languages and I learn new languages to enrich my travels. Spanish was the first of my non-native languages and the one I’ve been struggling with for the most years. For your comfort and edification (and so you don’t make my mistakes), here’s a brief reflection on my years with Spanish. I learned Spanish through a hodgepodge of techniques and curricula, poking at various curricula when I was younger, getting a bit…

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Odd Things About Spain

Odd Things About Spain

One of the perennially interesting perks of traveling is learning what little American quirks I’ve been taking for granted. Traveling pushes us outside of little comfort zones we didn’t even know we had and leaves us pondering doorknobs, water fountains, and all sorts of other topics we don’t usually give a second thought to. So! To kick off a series of posts about my recent travels in southern Spain, here are eight quirks I ran into over spring break. Dinner is super late at…

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