Self Realizations from Living Abroad: Typhoons?

This guest blog is by Ava Apollo. When she’s not writing for MSW, she’s blogging about adventure travel at

For the previous post in this series, please click here.

It's time!

It was time.  Time to shut the windows.  Time to huddle inside.  Time to stock up on foodstuffs.  Most of all, it was time to stock up on wine ‘cause this was going to be a doosey.  You guys, my first taste of a typhoon was coming, and if the storm that completely soaked me the night before was any indication, rain would be a’ falling and wind would be a’ whistling.

Why was this exciting?  Well, because what is a typhoon, anyways? I had certainly never experienced one before.  Also, how is it different from a hurricane? Let’s research.


Okay. Apparently a typhoon rotates counterclockwise, but hurricanes can rotate both clockwise and counterclockwise. Oh, and typhoons originate in the Pacific and hurricanes originate in the Atlantic.

So what I’m gathering is, there’s really no freaking tangible difference that anyone other than Bill Nye, the Science Guy will ever care about (can I get a heck yeah for anyone who watched him in science class when the teacher didn’t feel like teaching? Tell me I didn’t waste the reference). Moving on…

Luckily, the Wellcome market was just a few steps away from my flat.  Apart from the misspelling I never tired of giggling at, I resolved to give them my patronage as they had the staples: dumplings, Haagen Dasz macadamia nut ice cream, dried mango, and cheap merlot.

I was prepared.  So prepared, man.

READ:  30 Authentic Taiwanese Experiences
I love me some Engrish

I was also excited to stay in and listen to the rain. For some reason I’ve always loved sitting at home and catching up on my favorite TV shows when it rains.  It makes me feel like the complete lack of productivity is justified.  Hey, I can’t go anywhere anyways!

Additionally, we never ever got snow days where I grew up.  So, this surprise day off was pretty stellar.

When the typhoon finally came I anxiously turned on the TV and went straight to the English-speaking channels.  Yes, I was studying Chinese, but the subtitles on TV were all in Mandarin Characters, so I rationalized that I was allowed to watch English-speaking TV as long as I read along as well (in ethics we call this justification. In other words, I knew this rationalization was BS. Thanks, college).

Want to know what I watched? Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and Prime.  What? Never heard of Prime? Yeah, neither had I.  Ever.  I enjoyed this with a marathon of The Amazing Race from three seasons ago woven in.  I felt like we got the Salvation Army treatment with the TV offerings; we just got the weird and/or super old stuff nobody really wants anymore.  Either it must have below a 2-star rating or be extremely old to get passed along to Taiwanese English-speaking programs.  This is my theory.

Regardless, I hung on every word. Watched every moment, and did so with gusto since this was the only thing on TV I could really understand. Sure, Uma Thurman, I buy that you want to try dating a 23 year old guy, I buy that he coincidentally is your shrink’s son, but I don’t buy that your first name would be Rafi. That’s an odd first name, even for a fake movie person.

READ:  Peggy Teaches Chinese (27): Comparatives and Superlatives
Really, I mean, Reallllly?

Now I’m rambling.

For most of the day rain came pelting down. I heard branches falling, peeked out the window from time to time and saw the alleyways littered with dongxi (translation: stuff), and finished off the wine and ice cream within the first three hours with my roommate. When the eye of the storm came through and things finally calmed down, we decided to venture out in hopes of procuring more food.

Luckily, a small restaurant down the alley way was open, much to my surprise and delight. We quickly ate, had some drinks, and headed back to the abode, inviting some friends we met at the restaurant to come weather the storm with us.

The next day we awoke to dislodged light-up storefront signs, heard tails of flooding in Bei Tou (north of Taipei), and pushed branches aside with our feet as we walked.  All in all, it wasn’t too bad considering it was one of the larger typhoons to hit Taipei in recent history.

But 101's still here!

I survived. It was fun.  Bring on the ice cream and merlot any time.

Self realization: You are young and life is long, and there is time to kill today.

Have some realizations of your 0wn? Tell me on Twitter and connect with me on Facebook!

Spread the love

Post Author: Guest Writers

From time to time, My Several Worlds plays host to some truly talented travel writers. If you'd like to contribute, we offer free guest posting to bloggers that are able to add valuable and relevant content to this site. Our publishing guidelines are as follows: 1. Your content must be completely unique and not published elsewhere on the net. 2.) You may include two links within your post as well as links to your social media networks.

9 thoughts on “Self Realizations from Living Abroad: Typhoons?


    (April 5, 2011 - 2:58 am)

    I thoroughly enjoyed this fun read, and soooo liked finding here and there some Chinese pinyin, it made me realize that, after all, seven months of hard studying are producing their result! So proud of myself 😛


      (April 5, 2011 - 4:01 pm)

      Thanks for reading and commenting! Congrats on studying for seven months! Chinese is a really cool language to learn. I always love when someone asks me to say “something”.
      “Dongxi” is what I say to them.


    (April 5, 2011 - 2:12 pm)

    I really enjoyed it too! And I’m with ya, sometimes it is sooo nice to just be lazy and listen to the rain (I particularly like thunderstorms). It’s a nice change of pace. In Japan a few years back, I had a lazy day, it was way too hot outside. I watched RoboCop, because it was the only thing in English and I just wanted to tune out. And I loved it!


    (April 5, 2011 - 4:02 pm)

    Hahaha I would probably never watch RoboCop unless I was put in that situation too. I guess you never know what you’ll end up loving. I have to admit, Prime had me engaged. It wasn’t all that bad! I’m completely addicted to the Amazing Race now too.


    (April 5, 2011 - 4:42 pm)

    Ice cream and Merlot, Ava? The Macadamia Nut ice cream would go so much better with a brown ale or stout. Beer floats, baby!


      (April 6, 2011 - 8:13 pm)

      I’m racking my brain trying to remember if they even sold stout at Wellcome. The key is, the wine and ice cream were both at the front of the store, thereby allowing me to perpetuate my laziness. I only had to walk in for a second and I could walk back out with the staples. Shameful, I know, but wine gets the job done!

    Nomadic Matt

    (April 5, 2011 - 9:33 pm)

    I would think you would be used to them by now!


      (April 6, 2011 - 8:15 pm)

      Typhoons? Well now, yes. But you see, we only got hurricanes back where I’m from. According to the interwebs there’s a difference. A counterclockwise difference…or something like that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *