Ron and I moved to our new (filthy) apartment a few days ago and we are still waiting for Internet access. I am typing this post from a cafe that is home to no less than ten cats. I kid you not. Every time I look down, I see a new cat slinking past me. I am completely enthralled. Despite being overrun by cats, the place is clean and smells absolutely not of litter box at all. Did I mention it has free wireless Internet and serves amazing coffee and tea treats? The drinks are a bit pricey by Taipei standards ($4 to $5 for a iced coffee or tea), but it doesn’t matter because there are TEN CATS. Or eleven. I cannot tell.

Anyway, here’s a rundown of what has happened in the last few days.

–I registered for classes on National Taiwan Normal University’s (Shida) Mandarin Training Center. Orientation is on Aug. 31, and classes start on Sept. 3. I have decided to take the intensive courses and, since I am on scholarship, I will need to participate in a language exchange program with Shida students or staff members.

–I ordered a name chop with my Chinese name. The name chop will serve as my signature for all official documents in Taipei, including the forms I have to sign when I apply to extend my stay in Taipei beyond my original visa. I am very excited about the chop I chose. It is clear acrylic with translucent ribbons of purple and white floating through it, and it comes in a case with a little compartment for ink. Classy!

–Ron and I went to Taipei Ikea and bought a bunch of stuff to decorate/furnish our apartment.

What will happen in the next few days:

–I need to extend my visa and open a bank account at the post office.

–Ron and I need to wait around for the guy from Chunghwa Telecom to come and rescue us from the Internetless purgatory we are currently trapped in.

–My uncle is coming to visit in a few days.

–I am going to convince Ron to let me buy a durian fruit from Wellcome supermarket. He says it will stink up our apartment. Considering the state our apartment was in when we moved in, I hardly think that will make a difference, but I do have to respect his wishes since I am living with him and all. Shucks.