She's currently living abroad in Taiwan with her husband. Her blog is full of gorgeous photos, travel adventures and her goal to write a book. You want to check out her post on 10 Things to Know about Life in Taiwan and the book that convinced her to write a book.
Jamie is quickly becoming one of my favorite bloggers and I think you'll love her too. Make sure you follow her on Bloglovin, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook too.
Today, she's chatting about life as an ex-pat, home sickness, language barriers, bugs and more.
After a year and a half as an ex-pat in Taiwan, what are the biggest challenges or differences to life at home?
> For me, eating has been a huge challenge. I am allergic to shellfish, and sensitive to both dairy and gluten. I can’t read Mandarin [or speak it] so it makes grocery shopping a lot more difficult. Most imported items have labels over their ingredient lists, so I have to mainly stick with things that are naturally gluten-free. Restaurants can also be tricky, as many Asian foods here are served with tiny dried shrimp sprinkled over the top or mixed in. I’ve eaten them accidentally 3 or 4 times, even after requesting no “xia.” Thankfully I always carry Benadryl with me!
> I definitely get homesick – especially around the holidays. Finding ways to still celebrate here in Taiwan helps. Usually we get together with the other expats at our school for a big potluck gathering. Homesickness can happen day to day as well. Our common cure is to splurge at the import store for something familiar [barbecue chips and Dr Pepper is my go-to combo] or skype with family and friends. The internet makes it a lot easier to stay in touch and feel connected.
> I really love not owning a car, and having local fruit and vegetable stands within walking distance. The high-speed rail here is also amazing. It makes it easy to travel the island, quickly and relatively cheap. And of course, the food!
> The low cost of living [and not having to work], all of the amazing travel opportunities in Asia, and soup dumplings.
> I usually deal by screaming for Husband to come squish it! Thankfully we had our apartment sprayed for bugs a few months ago and we haven’t seen a roach since [knock on wood.] When there were two cobras wandering the school campus last year, I spent a lot of time either hiding in my apartment or elsewhere in the city. But the creatures we see most are stray dogs… they roam the streets everywhere here.
> With a lot of smiling, nodding, and hand gestures! Sometimes it can be frustrating, but the people in Taiwan are very friendly and always try to help. Most know a few words of English and love to practice with you.
> Do as much research as you can and talk to expats already living in that country if you can. Bring things from home – even something that seems silly like your favorite mug, poster, or a blanket will bring you HUGE comfort when you are homesick. Make friends with other expats. Support from friends and family through Skype and email is great, but you need someone you can talk to who understands what you’re going through. And remember to cut yourself some slack when you have trouble adjusting… culture shock is a real thing and it lasts longer than you think!
> visit a night market, ride a scooter, explore Taipei, go hiking at Taroko gorge, eat some dumplings and beef noodle soup.
> It has definitely changed us- how we view ourselves, America, and the world. We’ve learned to live with less, and to be happy living with less. I’m not sure what the future holds for us. If we moved back to the states our lifestyle would be dramatically different than how we lived before.