Advice for soon-to-be Newcomer?

It is March. By July 25th or so, I’ll have a) gotten married, b) quit my job, c) put much of my life into storage, and d) move to Taipei with my fiancee. Any advice? Sample question: Should I bring my down loveseat, or will it just get mildew on it? What’s the best way to call back to the States? Will a Brita filter be good enough or do I need a “real” water filter?

OK, that’s only three of the 13,000 questions I have.

advance thanks,

Uncle Wiggly

Let’s see…

You’re quitting your job so that means you’d have to pay the shipping on any goods. So, even if your loveseat wouldn’t mildew the cost of shipping it may be more than it is worth.

The best way to call back to the US is to use a telephone… Seriously, the costs for call to the US are quite reasonable. You can choose your long distance carrier by the prefix you use. 02, 05, and others. All are competitive. I’ve used my mobile on more than one occasion for conference calls back to the US and an 1 hour call at night cost about US$ 30.

The water quality in Taipei is quite good. Most people I know have a water filter installed on their kitchen taps. Its easy to get that done.

With 13,000 questions still in your mind I wonder how much research you’ve done on Taiwan and why you are choosing to move here.

I hope you can get all your questions answered by the time you get to the departure gate…



I suggest going to the Community Services Center’s website (click on “website” btw) and ordering a copy of Taipei Living.

For the first few months, you will carry it everywhere (at least I did). But between now and the time you get married and move to the other side of the world, it will give you lots of information on what to expect, what to bring with you, a bit about the culture, etc.

You’ll get plenty of information here at Oriented, so get comfortable.

As for long distance calls, I use and pay 1.99 per month for unlimited calls to the US, using my computer and a headset.

Good luck to you.


So many questions, and your answers are appreciated! Many thanks to you, Ed and Jennifer. I do have 13,000 questions, Ed, but mostly based on the excitment of the unknown. I’ve taken out lots of books on Taiwan, been in contact with Taiwanese folk here in the USA, and have been in touch with folks over there.

But I guess I’m just naturally inquisitive.

As per shipping the couch, my company is paying the cost. So does furniture, clothing, and the like mildew in the humidity?

Jennifer, I’m ordering that guide immediately! I’ve heard of it, so thanks for reminding me!

And the internet phone sounds very interesting! Thanks for the tips!


It is not the conditions in your comfortable airconditioned apartment in Taiwan that you should be worried about, but the appalling conditions on board the ship it will come to Taiwan that should worry you. People in Taiwan have clothes and furniture too you know (!) If you make sure conditions on board the cargo ship are humidity controlled (which they should be) your goods should arrive in good nick.

It is hard to get a record player in Taipei. If you’re bringing LPs they might suffer on board ship ? Also it may be worth thinking about the practicalities of moving large items of furniture up stairs in cramped stairwells. If your firm is paying I presume you will be sorted out with a nice gaff, but make sure it’s door to door AND up the stairs service ! (Most lifts are too small for a sofa).

Shirts with French cuffs are very hard to find.

As are decent leather jackets.

You might want to bring any formal suits you own (I mean tuxedos) - but frankly, Asia is full of good tailors, but if the boss is paying…

Shoes - I could never find any (apart from ridiculously priced ones) for size 10 (UK) feet, which is a normal size foot (size 11 US?)

It gets very cold in the winter.

Taiwan has almost everthing now. When I first arrived in 92 it was very hard to get wine and cheese. Now they even have IKEA !!!

My memories of late 97 were that the only things you couldn’t get were Tampax (I used to come back from the UK with bags of them) and rolling tobacco.

Good luck.


As “hexuan” said, don’t worry about the mildew. The A/C in the summer takes care of it as does the de-humidfier in the winter.

Your post says you are from Connecticut. Therefore, you will feel the winters to be mild. I’m originally from NJ but lived for a time in MN. It never gets to freezing. On the coldest winter days that I remember in my 10 years here it was 5C. I may have worn a scarf with my wind-breaker that day…but only because my wife insitsted.

You can certainly get all of life’s needs here in Taiwan…especially Taipei. The biggest mistake that any “foreigner” makes when they move to a different country is making comparisons and expecting to get exactly the same “things” in their new country. You may not be able to get all of what you consider to be “life’s little pleasures” but think of all the fun you will have searching for replacements.

I’m sure you’ll do fine. Just remember when you are shopping…even if it has no English writing on it…if it looks like Windex and it smells like Windex, it probably is Windex (or a generic cousin).

Hey, Wiggly, stay the hel… OOPS, SORRY JEFF! I mean “Stay the heck (can I say heck?)” away from the Windex.

Stick to beer & wine.

Everybody has been very helpful - We are hoping to make a crazy, wonderful, and goggly-eyed transition. As I remember moving to Rome in my early 20’s, my brain would not shut down for days - I was just processing everything I could. That only began my traveling appetite. I have been to Europe, either backpacking or hoteling, several times, backpacked through Sicily and Tunisia, rode my bicycle across the United States (and through MN!), and drove across twice, both times without driving on an interstate - just a nice, five week slow drive… ahhh.

This would be my longest stint abroad (ditto for my girlfriend), and we are both excited about it. We will be working at The Taipei American School. It sounds like a very good school. Thanks again for all your VERY helpful information!


quote[quote]We will be working at The Taipei American School.[/quote]

Don’t worry, they’ll take care of you. In fact, much of the advice offered here won’t affect you much since TAS is an insular and prestigious community which protects and shields its members from the harsh, cruel reality of living in Taipei.
Point is, you’ll never get away from Tienmu long enough to suffer the inconveniences.

Yes the greatest inconvenience you may have to face is that your poolside glass of wine at the American Club will not have been sufficiently cooled…

tee hee (I’m just jealous)


Have your neurosurgeon numb the parts of your brain responsible for adverse reactions to clutter, filth, and gridlock with Botox injections and you’ll assimilate seamlessly.

Effects will wear off in about 6 months so you may need to repeat the process.

It’s not that bad…
Taiwan worked hard to catch up with the rest of the world these few years. You will see familiar restaurants, stores, entertainment, and gyms. I think the MRT train system helped foreigners a great deal. Meeting ISO requirements forced many companies to increase English usage and improve the work environment.

which company do you work for and what do you do? i want a job in taipei, coming from the US.