I’m sat with an ice pack on my foot, overdosed on antihistamine in a room that actually could be mistaken for a bomb site feeling absolutely, incredibly amazing. Apart from the weird (and somewhat frequent) allergic reactions I have to mosquitos whereby my muscular tissue gets damaged and the thing turns an ugly shade of purple and the slight residue of mass-jetlag, life is pretty sweet. I’ve been in 5 different countries in 16 days.
I flew to London two weeks ago for a university interview. The can of worms I previously mentioned has been emptied, the worms have slithered their way along different paths ranging from teaching in Italy to working at the Olympics but the one I have chosen is…university-bound. I’m going home to get my teaching degree in order to help me fulfill the big dream of living in a hot country somewhere running my own tiny little school on a beach, where everyone is chilled (slash drunk on cocktails) and where Beyonce casually strolls by to say hello. Obviously.
ANYWAY, for some reason I decided it would be a great idea to buy a flight with a 16 hour layover in Shanghai. Without really knowing whether I could leave the airport, I checked in in Taipei, asked several different Taiwanese people if I could leave the airport in China. All of them gave me different, contradicting answers which left me on a very turbulent flight to a crazy-ass country not knowing where the hell I was going (hmm where I have heard that before?!). I got off the flight, secretly thanked God for keeping me alive through a thunderstorm and asked again if I could leave the airport. Eventually I was referred to an crazy old lady with strangely frizzy hair for a Chinese who screamed “ARRIVAL CARD” in my face a few times, before I realised she needed it to give me a transit stamp, allowing me 24 hours in a brand new country! Of course, I somehow made a random new Taiwanese friend, who of course had a free hotel room from the airline and of course, because I’m just so wonderfully charming and wonderful, invited me to stay. So there I was, randomly in Shanghai, with a random, in a random hotel. Fun times.
My next stop was London. And after another ridiculously turbulent flight (can’t really say I’d recommend China Airlines anymore) I was home. Collected and whisked off to a wonderful hotel on the river by the good ol’ boyf, it didn’t take me long to remember why I loved London and all the people and things that go with it. After a few days chin wagging and eating far too much good food, I had my interview, partied a little more and left to come back East-side. BUT – not without another recruit. That’s right, I’ve shipped another Londoner to Taiwan. Ross is settling in quickly, found a job, an apartment in the same building as us and is on his way to becoming a true expat.
Next stop. Hong Kong. What was meant to be a 2 hour layover, actually ended up being 2 minutes. We were rushed off the first plane and onto the next without a second thought for our poor luggage. Arriving in Taipei and standing at baggage claim, my gut instinct told me something wasnt right. My beautiful pink suitcase lay lonely somewhere a few hundred miles away and I had no idea, nor the language capability to work out how to get it back. As it turns out, my dear friends at work spoke to the Cathay Pacific guys (also not recommended) and I was reunited with my Fuchsia lover that very same evening.
Back in Taiwan I only had about 48 hours before I was back at the airport and on a plane to Singapore. We booked cheap flights a while ago after I insisted it was something I had to do before I die. You see, I already had an emotional attachment with this country even though I’d never even stepped foot in it. I have a uncle and aunt in Singapore. They have 3 children. I am as related to them as I am to my close cousins in the UK and yet I knew nothing about them. Until of course I got there and the amazing Moon Wong chauffeured us around like royalty, giving us the best of Singapore in 2 days. This included the Singapore Flyer – the biggest wheel in the world, the night safari (elephants, hippos, rhinos, lions, hyenas and bears included) little India, and Sentosa… a whole beach island they have converted into a dedicated grown up playground complete with indoor skydiving, universal studios, beach bars, casinos and hotels. HELLO PARADISE. I met some friends of my Dad, ate some good food and basically declared the entire country absolutely perfect (although this is also because they gas all mosquitos and therefore have eradicated one of the biggest banes of my life).
Back in Taiwan I have now been accepted into uni and am on the final countdown to going home before starting the next big adventure. With the course only being a grand total of 10 months, I’m pretty sure it won’t be long before I get itchy feet again and fly away. That is of course to a different country, different city and armed with a totally different CV. I’ll have my teaching license, 3 years experience AND most importantly… those all-important new stamps in my little British passport.