Good-Bye Taipei, Hello Hsinchu

09 Nov

Well, it would seem that the internet in my new apartment, though free :D, is very, very slow and I have been uploading the same picture for roughly 8 minutes now…..  So, I will not have any pictures in this post.  But rest assured that as soon as I can figure out somewhere that has a faster link, I will add pictures in.

Much has happened since last updated and it’s only been 4 days!  I interviewed for and accepted at job at a really good school in Hsinchu, pronounced szin joo, which isn’t exactly accurate either because the j is more like a combo of a soft j and d and z all rolled into one sound.  I still haven’t gotten it exactly.  I start on Monday.

Gifts of Understanding

I officially moved into my new apartment in the school’s dormitory yesterday.  I had to start from scratch in a new apartment, yikes.  Thankfully most things are not too expensive, but there were a few surprises.  Top sheets are unheard of here.  One of the cheap bedding sets, on sale, that contains one bottom/ fitted sheet and one pillowcase was the equivalent of $41.  Bedding prices went up from there.  I just keep thinking, only 33 days until I get a paycheck.

Taxes for the first 183 days you work within a year here are 18%.  From day 184 to day 365, (July 3 to Dec 31 if you work the whole year), taxes are only 5%.  If you work the whole year, at the end of the year you get a refund of the taxes over 5% (13%)  from the first 183 days.  Not a terrible deal in the long run, but it’s a steep tax right off the bat.

A truly remarkable person loaned me some funds so that I would be able to complete this journey.  I will forever be grateful for his kindness and belief in what I am doing.  I was quite worried about how all of this was going to happen once all the hidden costs started making their ways out in the open.  In talking with a friend about the finances, she reminded me of the story where a flood is happening, and a man keeps asking God to save him from the flood.  After he dies he asks God why He didn’t save him from the flood.  God replied that He had sent a warning, a truck, a boat, and a helicopter, and asked what more could He have done?  My friend told me, God might be trying to send you help, but no one knows you need it or where to send the boat to.  So I sent out my SOS.

To those of you that were able to help,  I appreciate your kindness to an extent I am unable to express here in a blog.  To those of you who have their own financial troubles and are not able to, I thank you for all your kind words of encouragement and love.  My request was not to burden any one, only to reach out.  You and your families are also in my thoughts and wishes for the ‘boat’ you need.  For those of you that were offended by my request, you can still ask for my help when you need it.  If I have it, I will give it freely.

My savings officially gone and the bulk of my loan used to pay the apartment deposit, the work permit fee, the visitor visa fee, the alien resident card fee, the insurance fee, and meagerly set up my apartment,  I am feeling VERY lucky I didn’t have to do the “visa run” to Hong Kong as it was looking like earlier this week.  And since fruit is fairly inexpensive and most raw ingredients at the outdoor markets are inexpensive, and my new neighbor is sharing her pan with me, I should be able to eat on the cheap!  Most of the supplies I need for the classroom are provided so I only need to get things like notebooks, stickers and magnets.  If I am good and frugal I will make it with what is left of the loan money.  Thank goodness, you, and every divine being out there.

Sight Seeing With Wendy

The two days before coming to Hsinchu, Wendy took me to a some really awesome sights in Taipei.  I got to spend the entire day with her and it was truly wonderful.  I can hardly wait to show you all the pictures.

We went to Freedom Square where the National Theater and Concert Hall are.  There is a wonderful park right next to it with a Koi pond and a beautiful white stone bridge.  We ate Hot Beef Noodles at this place that is across the street from the park and apparently famous for their version.  More about that next time.

We went up the Maokong Gondola   We saw the awesome Zhinan Temple, ate at a great restaurant in Tienen, where the famous Tianen tea is grown.  Our rice had crushed fresh tea leaves in it!  Delicious.  Rode by the Taipei Zoo, and Wendy rode the Crystal Gondola for the first time in her life!  The bottom of the Gondola is thick glass so you can see all the way down.

A big shout out to Prague and it’s amazing transportation system!!!  I don’t know if Taipei just cut and pasted your system, but thanks to you I can get around in a town where there are no letters, only characters.  I love you Prague.

Also, Taiwan, extra kudos for having your googlemaps type app (I forget what it’s called right now) so incredibly advanced.  From what I can tell, the app not only tells you where you are, but when you request an address, it tells you all the various public transportation types (MRT, train, tram, bus) that can get you there, the stop locations near you and the destination, AND updated arrival and departure times for the stops.  Go you!

Wendy’s sister and brother in law took us out for dinner and then on to Tamsui, the coast at the northwestern tip of Taipei.  We went to Taipei’s Fisherman’s Wharf and walked across the Lovers Bridge.  We took some crazy pictures and had a really great time.  It was the best couple days and I am so grateful to Wendy and her family for ALL they’ve done for me.

Now I am here in Hsinchu, in my own apartment.  Today was my “training day” for my new job.  I believe I will love this job and feel pretty dang lucky.  All the foreign teachers here seem to really enjoy their jobs here.   I’m the only newbie to International teaching, so I was given some really great advice today.  It was comforting to hear about all their horror stories and that they feel glad to be working here.

I’m at the Korrnell Academy if you want to check it out.  And for those of you who want it, my address here is

Mari Hawes
Apt 810
No. 146 Jiaqin South Road
Zhubei City, Hsinchu County 30258
Taiwan ROC

Yes, this means I get to walk up eight flight of stairs  🙂  I am actually excited about this!

Until next time, thank you all


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5 responses to “Good-Bye Taipei, Hello Hsinchu

  1. tsuyone

    03/06/2014 at 23:57

    Hey I’m just wondering, how was your experience at Korrnell? I just got offered a job and I’m debating whether or not to accept. It seems they have some bad reviews. Any thoughts?


    • mariflies

      04/06/2014 at 14:23

      Hey, at the Elementary or the Kindy? The administration there has NO people skills, they will take advantage of anything they can, and will promise a million things they’ll never follow through with. That said, it has the best actual teaching system in town. The students there really want to learn, the parents support the teachers, and the staff, both foreign and domestic, are great. If you can live with that duality, you’ve got it made.


      • tsuyone

        06/06/2014 at 12:10

        Thanks so much, it does sound quite similar to the school I’m at right now. I’m not sure I want a repeat experience. I’m sorry I just want to ask another question, it seems like you were so very busy during working days. Was the work really demanding a lot of time from you on weekdays or weekend? For example my current school sometimes requires me to work on weekends, did they ever do that at Korrnell?


  2. Silvia

    03/09/2015 at 00:57

    Hello Mari,
    I am taking a job in Zhubei (or Jhubei), and want to ask if you if there is some kind of website where I can find other foreign teachers living in that area.
    Also, could you recommend any website (in English) where I could find a place to rent?
    Thank you very much!


    • Ms McKahsum

      24/11/2015 at 10:09

      Hi Silva, sorry for such a late response. There are many wonderful expats in the Jhubei area. I don’t know of any websites in particular, but go out on any weekend, and you’ll find some 🙂 Look on Facebook, there are a few groups that way. Also, I never used a rental service…. Wish I could help more.



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