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My life in Taiwan – compared to Taiwanese dramas

It’s Single’s day soon (11th November or 11/11 – where all the 1’s represent how freaking lonely we all are), therefore I thought about writing an uplifting post about Taiwanese love dramas. Well, they aren’t really the best thing to watch when you are feeling lonely or are with the wrong person on Single’s Day though.

Aaaaanyway, half of my semester abroad is over. I had a very interesting and great time in Taipei so far and I am excited about all the new memories that I will make until the end of my stay here 🙂 Before I went to Taiwan, I didn’t really have an idea how the culture and country will be. Taiwan (and Taipei) is a whole different world – that I only knew from Taiwanese drama series and movies before I actually got here.

And I love these dramas! I get drawn into them and binge watch episodes after episodes, rooting for some couple to end up together, or hope that a lead actor won’t die of some illness or that the bad guy or girl won’t get away with their manipulative ways. These dramas/movies are always very intense, emotionally overloaded – and in every episode, a dozen of different coincidence happen that make you yell out loud “this can never happen in real life”. Or does it?

Here is my slightly sarcastic and personal view on how life in Taipei is 😊 Hope you’ll enjoy it!

Overload of cuteness in dramas: true

Yes, everything over here is cute and fluffy. Many girls dress really adorable, speak in a quiet sweet voice and cover their mouth when they laugh – like in the Taiwanese dramas and movies. Taiwanese people are the calmest and friendliest people I met so far. They are just.. relaxed and sweet – and don’t want to bother anyone (I always feel so un-feminine next to them, with my accent and I swear a lot too 😀 ). Well, compared with the cute and emotionally overloaded romantic scenes we know from Taiwanese series, yeah I can see that happening here. And I did witness one or two sweet scenes playing out in the university hallways or at bars when we went out. So that’s why I vote it’s true.

A cheesy and tacky style: true

In some dramas and movies, the actors have a cute and cheesy style (and I love it). We all know these scenes: the guy randomly shows up to confess his love, or apologizes because he did something wrong or just wants to dramatically show up at her place and she opens the door in the cutest pyjama with even cuter pillows or stuff animal under her arms and a pink, somewhat childish eye mask on her head.

There are also many accessories that are tacky and something my 4-year-old sister would love, such as a pink and glittery Hello Kitty phone case or funky hair clips or bows on everything: dresses, t-shirts, bags.. you name it. It’s super cute though!

Beautiful scenery: true

Ah yeah, when the series/movies need a fresh scenery change, the love triangle often goes camping or to the beach and some dramatic thing happen on the way or at said camp or beach. Taiwan is such a variegated country and you can just enjoy right about everything: going for a hike and enjoy the nature, having a relaxed beach day, going to the hot springs for a day or soaking in the busy and lively city vibe. For an island, there are really many different places to discover. And I love it, so this is another true factor.

Super social people: true

Maybe it’s because I’ve been living in Denmark too long but up north, you stick to the friends you have and love and you are casual with people you just met or study with. Most of the time, you don’t mix these two either. At least that’s my own experience. In Taiwan, everyone seems to be very open to mingle with new people and they are curious to get to know you. I heard a story from fellow exchange students who did a road trip through Taiwan and ended up becoming friends with the bartender of a pub and they were staying overnight at his place.

Or often when we go out for some karaoke or just get together, a person brings a new person into the group and it is not a big deal and no one feels weird. That’s how I met and started to spend time with really amazing people here. I love it, it is so open and social in Taiwan. Like those scenes in Taiwanese dramas when there is suddenly a new girl or guy in the group and he or she brings in some fresh drama 😛

Nosy neighbors: False (for me)

In some Asian dramas, the neighbors know everything about you, your family and your friends. Well, I stay at this apartment for a few months now and am not sure who my neighbors are. Some of my friends who actually live here (and aren’t just staying for a semester) don’t really know who they live next to either. Everyone is friendly but cares about their own lives, at least that’s my impression. Besides the security man in a housing complex.. I have the feeling that guy knows everything and could tell us a lot of stories and gossip. Is there a drama where a security guy is playing a key role and giving the audience hints? That would be pretty realistic.

Love triangles, overly romantic guys and couples being dramatic: naw I don’t even know

Messy love dramas happen everywhere, that’s why we have so many universal memes about it. It does not only occur in Taiwanese (or Korean, Chinese or any other Asian) dramas. Of course, in these Asian dramas, it’s a bit overly dramatic. I remember 2 years ago when I saw my first Taiwanese movie (called: Our Times) and my partner at the time yelled out loud at one point (in pain or frustration) because it was just too much and he couldn’t handle the suspension and emotional rollercoaster we got put through as an audience. But I guess overdramatic romance and love triangles happen everywhere. Also, there are romantic and not-so-romantic guys, unrelated to the country. Although, I do feel that guys over here are more gentlemen than in (Northern) Europe but that is purely based on my personal experiences. So I keep this aspect open and won’t comment if I think it’s true or false.

Food is life: true

No matter if it’s a cute first date or just a scene at the night market or a chef whose life task is to cook perfect curry (I freaking loved the drama “The Perfect Match”, the male main character is husband material): Anyway, food is really important here in Taiwan. And I agree. My friend told me today that his colleague recommended him not to travel to a city in Taiwan “because the food is not that good there”. Forget about sightseeing, museums, landscape or other things, food is more important. The cuisine should be interesting, delicious, tasty and make your life better – otherwise, it’s not worth it.

 

The more I think about it, the more I realize that most of the time, when I meet my friends here is when we want to eat. At least we start by going out for lunch/dinner and then take it from there. If we end up singing karaoke and have a KTV night out, we usually order a bunch of food. I swear, beef noodle soup just tastes better in a KTV room.

KTV (or karaoke) is a crucial part of a Taiwanese weekend: Yep. True.

Speaking of KTV, it is one of the best things here in Taiwan and it is definitely as fun as in the drama series and movies! I love it so much, why don’t we have that in Denmark? Also, it happens sometimes that everyone gets really drunk and start singing romantic songs to each other. It’s so fun! Another true factor!

Couple having a romantic scene or dramatic break-up and it starts to rain: very damn possible.

Believe me when I say, that it can rain a lot here. I witnessed a week where it was just pouring down, 7 days straight! I didn’t even know it could rain that much and that long without a break. That being said, I can imagine both scenarios. A sweet couple in love sharing an umbrella and feeling like they could take over the world because they have each other. Or a couple breaking up and then it starts raining and she dramatically rolls on the wet streets and cries out loud while he walks away, hurt and crying as well but can’t turn around because for some dramatic reason they can’t be together. Aaaanyway, these dramas are really, really heartbreaking. I don’t even think I cry as much about real life situation and sad moments in my life as much as I cry when a couple breaks up in a Taiwanese movie/drama. I need towels to dry my tears and even that didn’t soak it all up, so I am wet as if it rained on me. Random information.. but that being said, the rainy, romantic and dramatic scenes are quite possible.

So, my conclusion if life in Taiwan is like in the dramas:

Yes in a way it is, especially when you are in your mid-20s, studying or just started working – it is as fun and social and tasty as in the series. What about the overdramatic, emotionally packed, the guy loves girl part? That’s like everywhere else in the world, only that in Taiwan, there is more food involved 😀

Many Greetings from Taipei and thanks so much for reading 🙂 Tuni
This article got shared on The Huffington Post. Read my last article about The feeling of belonging somewhere (or nowhere)

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