September 20: My Apartment

I’ve been in Taiwan for 1 month!! Wow, time flies when you’re insanely busy.

This is our main dining room. It’s right outside of my bedroom. This is also where our only fridge is and where some of us store our food

Recently, I’ve written a little bit about a lot of things in Taiwan, and then in my last post, I expanded on what Mandarin school is like! Today, after many many questions, I’m finally here to show off my apartment. Photos are throughout the post (pictures of my room are at the end of the post).

I live in a shared apartment. The apartment is actually two apartments put together, so there are 8 bedrooms, a dining area, living room, two bathrooms, a kitchen, and a few balconies.

This is the gate that leads out to the hallway/staircase of our building. There are screens and windows, but the people in the hallway can basically see into our apartment and definetly hear us.

Until this past weekend, we had 9 of us living here (including myself – 2 American girls, 1 British girl, 1 Lithuanian girl, 1 Italian girl, 2 Taiwanese girls, and 2 Taiwanese boys). 3 of my Taiwanese roommates just moved out (so sad), and we gained a French girl and I think someone else is coming. Everyone is so nice!

My building has a staircase that goes up through the middle of the building and each apartment has a gate or door to enter their apartment. I live on the 5th floor (no elevators). We have a gate to the hallway/staircase.

We’ve had some problems with the apartment so far….

Our living room! With access to one of the balconies.

Besides the normal issues like mold, we’ve had house geckos, ants, and mice. Because our apartment doesn’t have any form of central air (pretty standard here), we like to keep the doors and windows open (with screens of course). Because of the gaps in the windows and doors, and open air areas of the apartment, there are tons of areas for little creatures to come inside.

Fortunately, after two days and three mice, we haven’t seen any more mice. We’re also working on cleaning up some areas of the apartment to get rid of the ants. Part of the issue is obviously food and trash…

This is the kitchen. You can also go out to another balcony which holds the washing machine and an area to hang up clothes.

The trash system in Taiwan

To throw out your trash, it needs to be sorted into a few categories of trash, organic waste, and recycling. You also need to buy special trash bags (sold at convenience stores) to essentially pay for the trash system. The truck comes 5 days a week. The biggest difference is that you don’t just put your trash out, you have to go meet the truck. So, at 5:30pm when I need to take out my trash, I walk 2 blocks with my trash and recycling, and throw it in the back of the truck. If you miss it (it stops for 5-8 minutes), you have to wait until the next day. The trucks also play a song to announce that they’re coming.

Some fun cultural differences that you may see in apartments in Taiwan:

One of the balconies – the only one with furniture.
  1. Ovens are not common at all and stoves are generally not built in. You’ll have a gas or electric stove (or hot plate) sitting on top of your counter. Ours is gas
  2. Most places don’t have a clothes drier, so we hang our clothes to dry on the balcony
  3. When it rains, if you’re clothes have just been washed, they won’t dry quickly, and may have a weird smell from being wet for too long
  4. You can’t flush toilet paper due to the plumbing systems. You need to throw it in the trash
  5. Wet room bathrooms are common. So when you take a shower, the whole bathroom gets wet
  6. No heat
  7. No central air – and AC only in certain parts of the house (bedrooms). It can be really expensive to run AC too, so you only run the AC when you’re home and in your room.
  8. Windows that lead to other rooms in the house. 3 of my roommates have a window in their room that leads to the living room or a hallway in our apartment. Bedrooms also don’t need to have windows
  9. Lots of balconies in an apartment (we have 4). If you don’t have a balcony, your building may have roof access to hang clothes
  10. Taiwan uses the same outlets as the US
  11. Super high humidity in Taiwan – so little closet moisture absorber may help keep your clothes from smelling weird
  12. You can’t drink the tap water

My bedroom:

My room is pretty big! I have a couch, double bed (with a rock hard mattress), closet space, a window, shelf, and a desk.

Thanks for coming on a tour of my apartment!


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