So basically, the 13 hour flight was as bad as it sounds. Even though I tried to sleep less the night before, I was barely able to doze off, but I could tune out the world without using my precious phone battery thanks to a music selection that brought back memories throughout the past year (Thank you T-Swift, Les Mis, Imagine Dragons). The food sucked as always. Air was stale. Slipping in and out of consciousness was rather miserable.
Could be worse. The best part about flying Eva (though it has gone downhill over the years) is that if I don't catch the announcement in English I still have two more chances in Mandarin and Taiwanese. It's refreshing to hear Taiwanese accents and dialect and being surrounded by familiar accents. Families traveling together, the parents hushing their children in Mandarin. The children complaining in English. It was all too familiar, and so nostalgic. Fast forward a decade and they too will be traveling alone. But I didn't feel alone. As soon as I stepped foot out the plane, I was home.
Usually the immigration thing isn't too bad. Except this time, three international flights came in at the same time, full of giant tours from China, Japan and Korea, resulting in the longest of lines for visitors. At moments like this I wish I held a dual citizenship. On a side note, my dear travelers, please remember that the immigration line is not a smart place to take a selfie. It hold's up the line.
Waiting the extra hour to get out of the airport was not fun but after getting picked up by my aunt and my cousin, I too exhausted to feel anything. As always, the humidity succeeds in surpassing my worst expectations. I tend to forget what heat feels like until I go outside. The air is thick, you feel like you walked into a sauna, your skin gets sticky, your legs stick to chairs, you feel a layer of grime covering you, your clothes are stuck onto your skin, etc. Man do I miss California's Mediterranean climate.
I had one day of freedom before orientation week, which basically means one day to see as many relatives as possible. After waking up too early and chilling all morning, we had lunch at my aunt's place and then went to my other aunt's house, where I saw her and my cousin (that makes 5 relatives including the 3 that I stayed with). Then we walked down the alley to my uncle's house where I saw him, my aunt, and two cousins (9, score). We had dinner at a place where every dish was 99NT (about $3, crazy, I know), then I got my first ORANGE GREEN TEA of the summer at 50蘭. It was the beginning of something magical.
My uncle picked me up along with one other uncle and two aunts (I have a lot of relatives, 2 more makes 11, still not even a quarter of the way there). While they argued about who was fatter or who was more annoying or when to drink the coffee, I stared out the window and was too tired to even be annoyed. One hour later we pulled up at National Central University.