as I'm currently adjusting to culture shock: the sequel, I thought it would be fun to share a few of the things here in Taiwan that seem a little strange. every culture is unique [and that's a good thing!] but here's a bit of what makes my American brain think "that's... different."
Taiwan sells a billion flavors of Oreos. or, nine. which is close to a billion. to be honest I never checked the cookie aisle when I was in the states [thanks, gluten intolerance!] so maybe this is normal there too now. but it still seems strange to me. my childhood memories are of regular and double stuffed... blueberry ice cream Oreo just seems wrong.
your receipt is also a lottery ticket. not anything like mega millions or powerball, but still potentially $20 US. for the first few months we just threw them away without knowing, but now we try to tuck them in the charity donation bins we find all over. [and yes, we DO have Starbucks here. thank goodness.]
random theatre performances. I was driving home from running errands the other day and found this set up in the edge of the street. [and by found, I mean I almost drove into these people as I came around a curve.] according to a friend of a friend, these people are entertaining ghosts to keep them from being upset. they find music and theatre calming, apparently. there's a lot of construction going on around our school campus, and since it used to be a graveyard the ghosts are not happy they had to move. this definitely seems strange to me, but if it keeps the ghosts happy then I'm ok with it.
we have special flavors of Doritos. I haven't had a Dorito since college. but I'm pretty sure even now the US doesn't have flavors like American hot wings, American sausage and spicy grilled mix. [other common potato chip flavors in Taiwan are seaweed, roasted chicken, seafood platter, swiss cheese, butter, salsa, and lemon.]
things get lost in translation. many signs are in English as well as Chinese, but I don't think the translators always truly understand English. this is a billboard for a new high class apartment building. one that's really tall and has a great view, I would assume. but my American side was a little creeped when I first spotted this.
almost, but not quite. the stationary store has a HUGE selections of pens and markers [and a ton of other things] but they don't sell Sharpies. whyyyy? I had to import some back with me from the states. they sell imitation Sharpies here, of course, but if you are a Sharpie fan you know that nothing is like the real thing. [I will admit, however, that the stationary store is awesome and one of my favorite things about Taiwan. even if there are no Sharpies.]
and finally: cockroaches. they are just a fact of life here in Taiwan. you will have cockroaches in your house. it's only a matter of how often, how many, and how big.