Fun Fact: You take a number for everything here: the bank, the post office, the hospital, any government buildings to get things processed, etc. I like it cause it’s more fair. And another thing, all the people who work in retail and the service sector are really really nice. They’re always smiling, always acting like they’re having the best day, and they’re really excited that you just came through their door.
I officially have a bank account, but the process made me want to cry. I get there, and I had to wait 30 minutes for my turn. Then when they finally called my number, and the whole process is done over the counter, so I got to stand for over an hour. Not like in the States, where you can sit in someone’s office and it’s comfy and you get a lollipop from their candy bowl. And of course because I don’t understand half of the Chinese language, I wrote the original application all wrong and had to do another one. And then, some technicality issues arose, and we had to deal with that. But all in all, I walked away with a debit card and my money in the bank. And the teller was really nice to put up with me and my dumb questions and confused looks.
This is what usually happens. I ask a dumb question in Chinese, people look at me blankly like I should know what the word says or means, or they misunderstood my question and are confused/offended as to why/what I’m asking, then I have to follow up with, “I’m sorry, I just moved here from America, and I have no idea what’s going on.” Then they immediately understand and will explain the situation to me, and sometimes I even get a, “Wow, your Chinese is pretty good for living in America for so long.”
But I’ve really been humbled here in Taiwan. I’ve always been an independent person, so constantly asking people for help is not my forte. I’m no longer the one who knows everything. I really can’t do things on my own if I don’t understand what I’m reading and having people walk me through documents and whatnot is quite an interesting experience. At least I know what it’s like to be on the other receiving end of what I’ve been doing with English my entire life with my parents and now my students.