It's Single's day (11th November or 11/11), the perfect timing to share my life here in Taipei and compare it to Taiwanese love dramas. Before I went to Taiwan, I had no idea how the culture and country will be like. Taiwan is a whole new world - that I only knew from Taiwanese drama series and movies- And I love these dramas! I get drawn into them and binge watch episodes after episodes, rooting for a couple to end up together, or hope that the bad guy/girl won't get away with their manipulative ways. These dramas are always very intense, emotionally overloaded - and in every episode, a dozen of different coincidences happen that make you wonder “this can never happen in real life”. Or does it?
Here is my slightly sarcastic and personal view on how life in Taipei is - Hope you'll enjoy it!
Overload of cuteness in dramas: true
Yes, everything here is cute and fluffy. Many girls dress really adorable, speak in a quiet sweet voice and cover their mouth when they laugh – like in the Taiwanese dramas and movies. Taiwanese people are the calmest and friendliest people I met. They are relaxed and sweet - and don't want to bother anyone.
In some dramas, the actors also have a cute and cheesy style (and I love it). We all know these scenes: the guy randomly shows up to confess his love, or apologizes because he did something wrong or just wants to dramatically comes to her place and she opens the door in the cutest pyjama with even cuter pillows under her arms and an eye mask on her head.
Compared with the cute and emotionally overloaded romantic scenes we know from Taiwanese series, I can see that happening here. I did witness one or two sweet scenes playing out at bars and restaurants. So that’s why I vote it's true.
Beautiful scenery: true
When the series/movies need a fresh scenery change, the love triangle often goes camping or to the beach and some dramatic thing happen on the way or at said camp or beach. Taiwan is such a variegated country and you can just enjoy right about everything: going for a hike and enjoy the nature, having a relaxed beach day, going to the hot springs for a day or soaking in the busy and lively city vibe. For an island, there are really many different places to discover. And I love it, so this is another true factor.
Super social people: true
In Taiwan, everyone seems to be very open to mingle with new people and they are curious to get to know you. Often when we go out for some karaoke or just get together, someone brings a new person into the group and it is fun and no one is excluded. That's how I met and started spending time with really amazing people here. I love it - it’s so open and social in Taiwan. Like in those scenes in Taiwanese dramas when there is suddenly a new girl or guy in the group and he or she brings in new drama!
Nosy neighbors: False (for me)
In some dramas, the neighbors know everything about you, your family and friends. I stay in my apartment a few months now and am not sure who my neighbors are. Some of my friends who live here (and aren’t just staying for a semester) don't really know who they live next to either. Everyone is friendly but mind about their business, at least that's my impression. Besides the security man in a housing complex. I think he/she knows everything and could tell us a lot of stories and gossip. Is there a drama where a security guy is playing a key role and giving the audience hints? That would be quite realistic.
Love triangles, overly romantic guys and couples being dramatic: naw I don’t even know
Messy love dramas happen everywhere, that’s why we have so many universal memes about it. It does not only occur in Taiwanese (or Korean, Chinese or any other Asian) dramas. Of course, in these Asian dramas, it’s a bit overly dramatic. I remember 2 years ago when I saw my first Taiwanese movie and my partner at the time yelled out loud at one point (in pain or frustration) because he couldn't handle the suspension and emotional rollercoaster. But overdramatic romance and love triangles happen everywhere. Also, there are romantic and not-so-romantic guys, unrelated to the country. So I keep this aspect open and won’t comment if I think it’s true or false.
Food is life: true
No matter if it’s a cute first date or just a scene at the night market or a chef whose life task is to cook perfect curry (I loved the drama "The Perfect Match", the male main character is husband material), food is really important here. And I agree. My friend told me today that his colleague recommended him not to travel to a city in Taiwan “because the food is not that good there”. Forget about sightseeing, food is more important. The cuisine should be interesting, delicious and making life better – otherwise, it’s not worth it.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that most of the time, when I meet my friends here is when we want to eat. We start by going out for lunch/dinner and then take it from there. If we end up singing karaoke and have a KTV night out, we usually order a lot of food. And beef noodle soup just tastes better in a KTV room.
KTV (or karaoke) is a crucial part of a Taiwanese weekend: Yep. True.
Speaking of KTV, it is one of the best things here in Taiwan and it is definitely as fun as in the drama series and movies! I love it, why don’t we have that in Europe? Often everyone gets drunk and start singing cheesy songs to each other. It’s so fun - definitely true!
Couple having a romantic scene or dramatic break-up and it starts to rain: very possible.
Believe me when I say, that it can rain a lot here. I witnessed a week where it was just pouring down, 7 days straight! I didn't even know it could rain that much and that long without a break. That being said, I can imagine both scenarios. A sweet couple in love sharing an umbrella and feeling like they could take over the world
because they have each other. Or a couple breaking up and then it starts raining and she dramatically rolls on the streets and cries while he walks away, hurt and crying as well but can't turn around because for some dramatic reason they can't be together.
These dramas are really heartbreaking. I don't even think I cry as much about sad moments in my life as much as I cry when a couple breaks up in a Taiwanese movie/drama. I need towels to dry my tears and even that didn't soak it all up, so I am wet as if it rained on me. That being said, the rainy, romantic and dramatic scenes are quite possible.
So, my conclusion if life in Taiwan is like in the dramas:
Yes in a way it is, especially when you are in your mid-20s, studying or just started working – it is as fun and social and tasty as in the series. What about the overdramatic, emotionally packed, the guy loves girl part? That’s like everywhere else in the world, only that in Taiwan, there is more food involved ;)
Greetings from Taipei and thank you for reading - Tuni. This article is altered and was first published on Metropolife.net