It’s Cold in San Diego…

… unseasonably cold.  Typically, you can count on SD being right around mid-to-upper 70′s pretty much all year-round.

However, the past few nights it has gotten down to the low 40s.  Yikes, as much as I fought it, I actually had to bring out my long pants.

Now, before all of you left wing vs. right wing folks start arguing about global warming vs. climate change, carbon footprint and carbon dating vs. the carbon cycle, I wanted to let you all know that I did my own research into the situation, and I suddenly realized why it was so cold:


Hell has frozen over.


Last night, Lani’s mom threw all of us off-guard by asking me, “Mike, can you get me an iPad”?  Keep in mind that this is a lady who would be the complete opposite to the “early adopter”.  Now, in all fairness she really has come quite a long way — especially after Lani’s dad had passed — in learning technology, figuring out how to email, and even do some basic banking and bill pay online.

However, it’s a regular, weekly occurrence when we hear her yelling out, “Look at this website… so many discounts!  I’m going to click on all of them.  Wait… they’re asking for my email address… and cell phone number… and my social security number… That’s okay to give them, right?”

Anyway, her explanation on why she wanted / needed the iPad seemed plausible enough.  Basically, she didn’t want to keep bothering us while we’re in Taiwan to check her email.  But at the same time, she thought getting herself a laptop might be too large / overkill.

Sounds good.

Interestingly (and not so surprisingly), I had an extra iPad “lying around” (something that Lani will never let me forget), so I took some time to reset everything to factory defaults, clear out my data, and get her set up with her email account.

As soon as I gave it to her, the first question she asked… “How can I play mah jong on this thing!?”

Immediately we realized why she truly wanted to have an iPad.  Apparently a few of her friends have gotten iPads recently, and they’ve been playing this MMOG version of Mah Jong.

Anyway, as soon as we downloaded it, she started playing… um… during (or rather, instead of) dinner.


Compressing Your Life into a Cube

Moving day, er, uh… moving weekend has arrived.

I can’t believe that we’ve been in San Diego 7 months already!  It allowed me a brief moment of reflection to see how much God has been able to help us with our adjustment to SoCal.  Of course our biggest concern was trying to find community, make friends, etc.  And even though we’ve definitely hit some bumps in the road, I can definitely say that I’ll miss all of the people that we’ve met and gotten to know during our short time in San Diego up until now.

Anyway, moving from Sunnyvale and packing up everything 7 months ago was already such an ordeal.  So Lani and I swore to each other that we wouldn’t buy any durable goods during our short time at our apartment in San Diego… hehe, oh well, so much for that.

We ended up accumulating a ton more junk (to add to our already existing pile of stuff), which of course meant that we added work for ourselves.  But good thing Jennica was helping us with packing!

Er, well, helping in her own way, I guess…

Obviously, since we’re leaving the country, we ended up renting a storage unit to store most of our larger stuff (furniture, etc.)  It’s actually a bit surreal to see all of your worldly possessions compressed into a 12x12x12 cube:

It’s also a bit weird now feeling like we have no actual home.  I’m still going into work this week, and I think it’s gonna be a bit weird coming “home” from work… to… well, a place that’s not really home (we’re staying with Lani’s mom for the remainder of the week until we take off).

Anyway… just 4 more days and we’re on our way!

Whirlwind in the Bay

For over the past 6 months, Lani’s been training for the US Half Marathon, and she finally got to run the (incredibly hilly) race this past Sunday with a whole bunch of friends.

It was actually her best time ever!  Something like right around 2:15 (just about 10 minute miles).  Here’s a pic with the Wu’s and Debbie

And speaking of hanging out with friends… we basically decided to take the entire weekend to spend up in the Bay Area to catch up with everyone one last time before we head out.  Wow what a whirlwind of a weekend!  It was exhausting but incredibly comforting to get to see everyone one last time.

And speaking of races, watching and cheering everyone on reminded me how much fun it was to run a race… and so I’m actually starting to contemplate running a half marathon while in Taiwan… there’s actually one at the end of February, the Kaohsiung International Marathon.  I’d actually just run the half… but the route takes us right in front of our apartment… how cool is that?

Where Are We Going?

As we’ve been telling folks about our trip to Taiwan, the first question most people ask is, “Where will you be living?”

The assumption that most people have is that we’ll just be in Taipei, which is the capital and most populous city in Taiwan.  However, we’re actually going to be living in Kaohsiung, which is on the opposite part of the island — Taipei is in the north, while Kaohsiung is near the southernmost part of the island.

We actually took two Christmas break trips to Kaohsiung in both 2008 and 2010, so we already had a pretty good sense of the layout of the city, places we liked to frequent, etc.  For us, everything seemed to center around Hanshin Mall by Kaohsiung Arena.  Besides the obvious benefits of being near a big mall =), it’s also walking distance to a subway and parks, great restaurants and the night market, and Lani’s relatives.  It’s also pretty close to to the High Speed Rail station, which makes it a lot easier for us to get to/from the airport, etc.

Hanshin Mall and Our Aptartment Buildling

With some help from Lani’s mom and her uncle and aunt in Taiwan, we were able to find a 2 BR, 2 BA “lightly furnished” apartment (and by lightly furnished, I believe it’s literally just gonna be 2 mattresses on the floor and a TV) that was willing to rent to us on a short-term lease.

While we were already very happy and grateful to find the place, the added bonus is that it’s right across the street from the mall!

And in case you’re wondering what’s so special about the mall — it’s got agreat food court. =)  Yum.

Bonus: there’s a 7-11 on the ground floor of our building.  For those that don’t know about 7-11 in Taiwan, it’s pretty different than the 7-11′s we’ve got here in the US.  I’ll definitely post pictures when we get there — but suffice it to say, they’re usually pretty well-stocked with yummy, fresh snacks, a wide variety of drinks (milk tea, etc.), and all sorts of other goodies.

Yum… again. =)

Embarking on “120 Days”

(Hello Everyone!!!)

An overly Asian-themed shot during our 2010 trip to Kaohsiung, taken by the pavilions at Lotus Lake.

I can’t believe it… just a few more weeks until we depart for our 4-month trip to Asia and Taiwan.  It’s something that Lani and I have said we wanted to do ever since we got married… and now, just a few more weeks until we head to LAX, board on a plane, and fly out!

Over the past year, as we’ve been researching and planning for our trip, I was constantly scouring the internet for ideas, figuring out what we need, etc.  Inevitably I would always end up on someone’s travel blog, reading a complete stranger’s stories, learning from their mistakes, etc.  As I encountered more and more of these on the interwebs, I had the crazy idea of trying to do a blog myself.

After chatting with Lani about it, she said “sure!”, although she warned me that I’ll probably be the one writing most of the entries. =)

Yet another overly Asian-themed shot at the same location, this time with Mike.

Regardless, I’ve gone ahead and set up a wordpress site for our new blog, 120 Days in Taiwan.  And over the next few weeks and months, I hope to try and start posting about our preparation for and then are adventures during our trip through Asia and Taiwan.