Life

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Taiwan COVID level 3 alert

Life in the Time of COVID: Taiwan Edition

For the past year and a half, I’ve been extremely grateful to live here. It has been a place largely free of the dangers of COVID-19, a safe bubble, thanks to Taiwan’s rapid response to the initial outbreak, careful contact tracing and strict border control and quarantine enforcement. Taiwan’s response was “among the best“. But over the past month we’ve watched our case numbers steadily climb as outbreaks in and around Taipei have spiralled. All because of a simple decision...

Taiwan Receipt Lottery, Uniform Invoice Lottery

The Taiwan Receipt Lottery: How to Play, Win & Get Your Money

In Taiwan, it’s well worth keeping track of your receipts. The Taiwan Receipt Lottery, formally known as the “Uniform Invoice Lottery” (In Chinese 統一發票 Tǒngyī Fāpiào), gives all residents the chance to win up to 10 million NTD (over 350,000 USD)! Say whaaaaaaat?! YES, and it doesn’t matter who you are – even tourists can redeem winnings (assuming you stick around long enough)! Entry is as simple as buying a bottle of water at 7-11 – the numerical code on...

Refrigerator Repair Illustrated

A Visit From the Refrigerator Repair Man, Illustrated

Sometimes it can be aggravating how difficult it is to do simple things in foreign countries without speaking the language. A lot of the time, though, it’s pretty funny (particularly in hindsight). A couple weeks ago we had a “fridge incident” (read: I didn’t unplug the fridge while I gave it a deep clean, and because the door was open for so long it froze over and the temp soared. I’ve cleaned many a fridge many a time in my...

Window of our old house
Quit Smoking

How I Quit Smoking, A Year Later

I was 18 when I first bought cigarettes. Like, freshly 18. It’s possible that it was even on my birthday, although the details are a bit hazy. I remember the determination. The decision. The mission. I’m going to buy a pack of cigarettes. I had no idea what I was doing, or which ones to choose. I have a very distinct memory of standing at the counter at the small 7-11 down the street from my university, gazing across at...

Taking out the trash in Taiwan
Cigarette bath & quitting smoking

Relapse

I’ve been continuously falling off the bandwagon. Some days it feels like this. Quitting, or cutting back, is no easy feat. There is ever-mounting tension, and if you aren’t able to take your mind off of it, it leads to the inevitable cave-in. Of course, now that you have smoked one and broken the seal, it is so easy to give yourself permission to over-indulge....