Ants

I was going to begin this post by showing you a few pictures of ants. Ants in the United States; the big ones and the small ones. But wait! You just think they’re small. You haven’t seen the ants here in Taiwan. The ones that crawl everywhere and get into every place you can’t reach with your smallest finger. Those and the fire ants. I’ve been fortunate not to have had a run in with one of these suckers yet, although there was one in the shower the other day. I left it alone and shampooed my hair looking at it to make sure it didn’t jump on me.

It seems to be a trend for me to write about ant infestations on my blog. Once upon a time during my sophomore year of college, it rained and all the ants came marching in to my room to get out of the rain, boom boom boom. Soon, they were in my bed, and crawling everywhere. Obviously discusted, I did whatever anyone who wanted to go to bed but couldn’t would do, slept in the hall. Significantly disgruntled, I tried everything. I plastered my windowsill with duct tape and sprinkled cinnamon on it and the bed by the spoonful.

Which leads me to today’s ants. I pretended they didn’t exist. I took the food out of my room (read: ate it) still nothing helped. Underfoot crawled little ants the size of pencil lead. At first I had no idea what they were, mites? flies? They are in the other rooms here too, and the kitchen, of course. Upon squishing one, I found that it had the three ant body parts. Welcome to Taiwan’s mini ants, I guess.

I got fed up today, however. My stone floor had become a mass grave of tiny ant bodies, littered around like flecks of dirt that stuck to my sticky feet and came to bed with me. Obviously not what I wanted, so after breakfast I painstakingly scrubbed my floor with wet paper towels to kill and clean up the ants. I bet countries wishes battle fields were that easy to clean. After this, I put all my clothes on my clothing rack and used up my 5 hangers. I’ll be needing to buy more.

Empty

Everything fits though, I know I didn’t bring too much. Thank goodness. I could even have even brought less. Mom and Dad, when you come, get ready to bring home basically all of my shorts. They aren’t really suitable for school and school is what I’ll be doing the rest of the time here.

After.

Feeling accomplished, I also organised everything else in my room. Now that the floor was clean, the rest of the room might as well be. I always say that the state of someone’s room reflects the insides of their mind. If you’re feeling scattered, your room will also be scattered. I can hopefully keep my brain in line by keeping a tidy space.

My desk organised with books and decour and tea. Essentials.

Everything has a place. There is something satisfying about having minimal things. I didn’t bring too many of anything this time, and I don’t have a drawer of random stuff that somehow snuck its way into my suitcase.

(L-R) leftover gift bags, my shelf with electronics, food/tea, toiletries, empty suitcase with just coats in it, my rack.

Being that my room is basically unfurnished, save the desk, chair, bed, and shelf, I had to set up the rack as my closet and am using a cardboard box as a laundry bin. It does the trick nicely.

Hey, how’d my phone get in there?

Because school is starting, I bought myself a cute new planner. I’ll have more to keep track of soon enough. It’s nice because it actually starts on the first, when I need it to.

New planner.

There were so many to choose from at this cute stationary store, but I chose this one because the design was good and it had organising capabilities.

also not too overwhelming

Lastly, we’ve been invited to the Fulbright Welcome Dinner in Taipei next weekend. I think my going there weekends is going to become a habit. I do realise I have yet to write about my weekend there last weekend, but I promise I will do so!

Of course we’re invited. We ARE the party.

Here’s a preview 😉

View from their neighborhood!

Gearing Up for Another Adventure

I’ve been absent abroad, but all so present in the United States.

I just haven’t left in ages. So many things got in the way; finishing up my senior semester, working and applying to graduate school. Waiting.

The waiting was in terms of my Fulbright grant to Taiwan. I’d submitted the application in October. Waited around until January to find I was a finalist. Waited until April to find I was a winner!

Blah de blah. What does this mean for me? What does this mean for A Case of Wanderlust? We’re going live again!! 

I’ve got so much to tell you about the process of getting everything settled. As it is the end of April now, I won’t be leaving for another 3 months yet, but there is lots to be done.

I’ll be updating about how I”m feeling, research I’m doing, crazy emails I get, even crazier medical tests I have to undertake.  I’m going to be packing, sewing some light tropical weather-proof clothes, packing away my winter gear (imagine, an entire year without winter!), learning how to use my camera/figuring out all my electronics, and lots more.

This will be the place where I’ll post recipes (maybe), vlogs (definitely), pictures (most definitely), and musings (of course) so share my year with you.

Questions? Shoot me an email at: owlgirl624@gmail.com
Comments? Leave them below!

Love, Hannah

Oh, and PS, this is where I’m going–>

YILAN!

 

Home is Wherever I’m With You

I’m about three weeks into my London adventures and I can say with confidence that I’ve become acclimated to everything and the way it works. I’ve even been morphing into softer language, as per the request of my flatmate who claims he “can’t understand me with out a British accent”

Ask and ye shall recieve. I prefer it anyhow. (although for the sake of not sounding pretentious, I won’t make a full change over)

One thing I haven’t really been keen on is being away from my family. Call me needy, dependent, immature, or whatever you will, but I know we all feel like this from time to time.

Even when you're eating Whole Foods Salad Bar

That’s why I’m going to do a little post on Homesickness.

Lets back up. What am I doing over on the other side of the pond in the first place? I’m studying abroad, gaining my independence and becoming an adult, blah de blah. In all seriousness, I truly believe this year is for me to grow as an individual and realize how capable at life I am. I’m not dependent on my parents, but it’s nice to have them there.

I love this picture. They visited on their way out of town.

This year, I’m on my own.

In the middle of a big city

At first, it’s been hard. You could say I had a classic case of homesickness:
crying, isolation, all or nothing thinking, you get the picture.

Trying to smile at myself

But the key is, what did I do about it? Alone in the bustling city of London, what sane person couldn’t find something to distract?

Distracting enough?

For the first couple of days…erm….lots of days….I simply couldn’t. I felt like I was the only person sitting until 12pm in my room weeping because  I missed my family. Some adult I am, I thought to myself.

So I went outside. I got involved. I made something outside myself to invest in.

A bit of hand art never hurt anyone....

And it’s been working. I feel like my life is useful here, like I’m not just wasting my time feeling nostalgic for what I left behind in the states. That’s what I’m here for, to make a new life for myself and live it up!

So what advice do I have?

1. Don’t isolate. I know it feels like you’re alone and being alone perpetuates feelings of wanting to be alone. Don’t do it. Get out of your room even to fill your water bottle and say hi to whoever you see. The more personal interaction you have, the more you’ll feel included and whole.

2. Get out of your room. Go explore your surroundings. It will get your mind off of whatever you are missing and chances are you’ll find something really exciting!

explore!

3. Don’t dwell on it and know it will pass. My life dream is to travel and move abroad but even I’m feeling homesick for home? It can happen to anyone, even adults. And Smile at yourself. Seriously, my Dad taught me this one and even if you’re crying, it can help you see clear to sunnier skies 🙂

4. Do something you love. Do you usually really love writing? Don’t forget about it. Running? Don’t stop! Oftentimes hobbies involve other people as well, so join a club and see what friends you can make. My flatmate and I made soup, since I love to cook. It was just what I needed!

Piping hot!

5. If you need to, contact those you are homesick for. Call them, send a letter or an email. It’s okay to talk to them and don’t think that just because you’re “on your own” that you can’t tell them about your day and keep them in your life. Being an adult doesn’t mean being alone.

6. Engage in the culture. What will you find when you look for it? Local bookstores? Events? I found a farmer’s market! 

Whatever you do, don’t do nothing. Homesickness is so common that there’s no reason to feel alone. If you’re stuck in the middle of it, pour yourself a hot mug of tea and stew about it for awhile, but then seriously and try some of the things I listed above. They worked for me, and I’m pretty sentimental.

Best of luck in your travels!
Love, Hannah

Feeling a bit British

The buildings are big!and old!

I’ve been here five days and I’m already feeling a bit British.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve always had sort of an old fashioned way of speaking. I say “raather” instead of “rahther” and use colloquialisms like “I suppose” and “as well” and “indeed.” Judging by the way my flat-mates talk, I’m well on my way to developing a British accent. Brilliant.

One thing I didn’t have straight was the fact that what the Brits consider the first floor is what Americans call the second floor. Needless to say, I walked into the wrong flat first day in my residence.

But before I even moved in, I couldn’t move in. We traveled across the ocean to find that my home school hadn’t payed my housing fees. This naturally resulted in lots of sitting, anxiety and flustered dispositions, as we were all tired. Lucky my Mom and Dad had a flat around the corner they were renting for a couple days, isn’t it? I stayed there.

That's what you get for staying in the flat of a cook

We came back one night and the whole flat smelled of Fish. Normally I dislike this smell and will go to great lengths to avoid it (read: SARS mask) but this was actually quite nice smelling.

Things are different here.

hump? bump? tomato tomahto?

Anyone care to enlighten me as to why Londoners run with backpacks on? I don’t think I’ve ever seen this before. It’s like they’re late for something, only they’re wearing athletic wear. hm….

Smiling and jetlagged

I’ve found myself a place in this big city. I only hope I can take up my space!

Here's my place!

Expect more soon. I’m a bit busy figuring out my courses and such. Pictures as well!

Love, Hannah

 

Two Weeks!!

In two weeks I will be sleeping in a new bed

In two weeks I’ll be making new friends

In two weeks I will be shopping for a whole new life

In two weeks I won’t be at home anymore

In two weeks I’ll be in a whole different time zone

In two weeks I’ll be beginning one more step into my life as a global citizen

In two weeks I’ll be in LONDON

From my last trip. I love the contrast of building + sky

Wish me luck. As a country girl (more or less) I’m looking forward to seeing what city life will bring me. I’ve never lived in a city before, and the thought of having everything at my fingertips and never being bored is tantalizing.
I simply could not be more excited.

Look for updates during these last couple weeks on packing, shopping and readying myself for departure and soon after, arrival!

Love, Hannah