It seems like a long time since we left Texas. Saturday morning we left the house around 7:30 to catch the flight that made the first leg of our journey to Los Angeles. After 3.5 hours in the air, we landed in California at noon only to find out that our connecting flight had been delayed, turning a 6-hour layover into about 8 hours of restless sitting. One 13.5 hour flight, 13 time zones, and the international date line brought us to Taipei around midnight Sunday.
Thankfully, we made it through customs, exchanged currency, and picked up our luggage without any issues. Olivia and I got on a van and rode 30 minutes out of the city to NAER, the National Academy for Educational Research, where we are staying until Friday during our training. When we finally called home (around 12:30 or 1PM in Texas), the clock in our room read 3AM Monday.
Breakfast this morning (after a short 4 hours of sleep) consisted of spongy bread, toast, some sort of meat, and almond tea. We thankfully had time for a quick nap before our training and lunch began.
Today’s training mostly involved an orientation with where we are staying, tips about how to enjoy our time here and what to expect, and a group photo, which apparently is the most frequent way to end any meeting. We also had our first course in “Survival Chinese,” where we learned about 20 words and phrases.
For our first dinner, the NAER held a welcoming party complete with Coca-Cola, fried chicken, and pizza! My favorite tonight was the slice with bacon, peas, shrimp, and squid, but Olivia was not a fan of the pizza with wasabi peas. After eating, we played a short ice-breaker, learned to sing and dance (poorly) to a Taiwanese pop song, and got to know one another a little better. I headed back to our room but Olivia decided to stay a little while longer to watch (and probably sing) karaoke. It’s only about 9PM here, but with the jet-lag and a busy day, it feels like it is long past time for bed.
We have had a great, although exhausting, first day—everyone has been so kind and helpful. We definitely know this is where God wants us, but for now, I want some sleep. Tomorrow holds more Chinese lessons and other training, but I think they also have fun, culture-related adventures planned.