In my limited time so far in Taipei, one of my associates - Emmy - has proven to be invaluable! When I first looked for her name on the phone list I could never find it, because all this time I thought her English name was supposed to be "Amy". Being that you may have never met anyone named Emmy, perhaps you understand my confusion?
Anyways, on Wednesday afternoon, Emmy accompanied me to my new apartment to sign the paperwork and recieve the keys. The whole thing turned out to be quite an ordeal with 7 (yes, SEVEN!) people in my tiny little studio apartment to handle the affair: Me, Emmy (my company accountant), Carmen (real estate agent), Landlady (apparently a bit of a celebrity), landlady's personal assistant, the head of building security, and the maintenance man. By the time it was all said and done, they had shown me every gadget in the place - there are a few high tech items that might take me a while to figure out, plus a few appliances in Chinese - and created a list for the maintenance man to repair prior to my moving in, arranged for a housekeeper to come and complete a thorough cleaning of the space, and the agent left with a list of appliance buttons to email me English translations of for my use. The whole thing actually took a few hours, and seemed much more complex than the occassions in the past when I have rented apartments in the US - but it seemed so much more thorough, and very well taken care of :)
Then, on day 14... Emmy offered to assist me with moving my luggage to the new apartment. How could I say no? I felt like I really should take her up on the offer, so I did, but I also promised to buy her dinner! So, in the pouring rain, on Thursday night, Emmy & I hopped in a cab with my luggage bags and headed to the new place, immediately followed by a small meal of dumplings at a restaurant around the corner. Something that I have been particularly struggling with is the ability to order food on my own (unless the menu is in English obviously), so as we dined, Emmy translated the Chinese characters for me, and I made a list for myself to study. She also wrote my new address for me in Chinese in case I ever need it to show a taxi driver...
I could say more, but I think you get the point. Her kindness has been so appreciated!