We are now back in the Kingdom and everything is back to normal. I’ve been going to the gym, playgroups, meeting friends for lunch, taking the baby and the dog for their early evening walks around the neighborhood. I must admit that it feels good to be back because things are more predictable and the baby is following a regular routine rather than sleeping as late as 10 or 11 at night because we were out meeting friends or family and couldn’t just leave.
Being back in Taiwan, specifically Taipei, was great because it was SO convenient. If I needed a pair of shoes I just had to go walk to the next street. If I wanted to get pictures developed I could walk 5 minutes to the store. There are MRTs, buses, taxis everywhere so going places was always easy. If I got hungry in the middle of the night I just had to walk to the 7-11 downstairs. That said, this kind of set up is unique to very few countries. I imagine Japan is the same or maybe Korea but nowhere else. Taipei is really a city that never sleeps. The thing that annoyed me though was that it kept raining. In fact, the first few days we were there there was a huge typhoon and we were stuck in doors.
Living in Saudi Arabia on the other hand, is quite the opposite. It’s not convenient but I guess it’s because we live in KAUST and not the city. We need to travel for an hour and a half before reaching the malls or the big hospitals. We have trouble even figuring out where to take or print ID photos. The prayer times get confusing for us because stores open and close at different times. However, living here means endless sunshine (which I love), opening our eyes to a completely different culture, saving money, and living tranquil and quiet life (because we live within the confines of KAUST) best suited for raising small children. Yesterday there was trick or treating for kids and it brought me back to my childhood living in Manila where we also lived in compounds called “villages” and we’d go trick or treating even without aldult supervison. Living in KAUST is like that. It’s so safe and crime is virtually non-existent so parents just let their young children wander around on their own. In Taipei that’s almost impossible because parents are paranoid about something bad happening to their kids that they walk their kids to school even if it’s just next door. We get free access to the swimming pools, tennis courts, climbing wall, etc. and pay just a little for yoga, Zumba, etc. There’s even a golf course here. Jose gets to play soccer 2-3 times a week and we are close to the beach. I never thought I’d say this but I actually like living here although I still like the hustle and bustle of big cities every once in a while. And it would be nice to have a beer poolside in the future (I hope I don’t get in trouble for this comment haha) when I’m not breastfeeding anymore.
But anyway, it’s nice to be back 🙂