Robert Whiting In search of awesome

Taiwan day nine


packing day

The day before an international trip with six people will inevitably be filled with planning, packing, and stressing. We had already lived out of our suitcases for over a week, so it didn’t take much to get back to travel-ready. We did, however, need an outing of some kind.

the egg shortage

I remember the egg shortage well, but somehow it escaped my notes. I’m fairly certain it happened on the morning of the 15th. We needed one more pack of eggs for breakfast, so I went to the trusty 7 Eleven that had consistently provided eggs for my family and found them lacking. Not to worry, across the street was a Family Mart. None there either. The cashier didn’t seem concerned, just a normal out-of-eggs Wednesday. Not to worry, across the street was another corner-grocery store. I visited seven stores (all with a three block radius of our apartment) and not one had eggs. No one even seemed concerned. If this had happened in America, there would have been a rush on local farms or a national emergency declared and all the toilet paper would be gone. I was grateful we’d be out of the country before the rioting started.

I later learned from Reddit that a large supplier of eggs from Australia had been delayed and eggs were once again on shelves a week later without incident.

Upon my return, I chopped up all of our remaining fruit paired with toast for breakfast. I got a big hug from Noah upon request and he went to the bathroom unprompted (and washed his hands after prompting). We played with toys and then played at the park. Abbie tripped at the park and she accepted comfort from me for the first time!



the zoo part 2

We didn’t want to spend the whole day sitting at home, so we opted to return to the zoo! We did change it up and take an Uber instead of the metro (we had no intention of taking 4 kids on the metro so soon).

Once in the zoo, we got everyone a bag of chips and started walking through the exhibits. Abbie tripped and banged her knee by the panda exhibit, so I carried her for a while, first in my arms, then on my shoulders. She really enjoyed wearing my hat, and took many opportunities to be carried through the day. At the time, it felt like fantastic bonding (and it was), but now, I suspect she used her cuteness to avoid walking more than a block.



We negotiated hotdogs and french fries for lunch from a place in the zoo that had lorem ipsum text on their sign. Abbie refused to eat the fries and bun, and she slid the hotdog to overhang the plate and table before bending down to take bites. Noah, seeing his sister, emulated her (though he did not refuse the fries). Our older kids were horrified and migrated one table over.



The zoo time was shorter than our trip with two kids, and soon, we were ready to go back to the apartment. I started ordering an Uber, before approaching a large taxi. We started piling in and only then realized that this driver couldn’t understand the google maps destination I showed him. Becca left her door open while I tried to communicate our destination. It was an uncomfortable situation to be sure, and in the end, I had zero confidence we would have ended up at our apartment, so we got out.

I ordered an Uber, we waited, and uncomfortably got in the Uber in sight of the taxi driver we had abandoned. My big take-away from the whole exchange was this: Uber (or any app-based taxi service) offers not just app convenience, it offers destination and payment confidence across cultural and language barriers. My Uber driver had all of his driving instructions in Chinese. I had them in English. I could see the location pinned correctly on a map. I didn’t have to fear a mistype from the driver or a change in fee because he got lost. That’s the value of app-based transportation.

winding down

That evening, we packed and cleaned. We played a made-up version of monopoly where Abbie dolled out money and made up arbitrary rules that we couldn’t really understand. We laughed and played though, and that’s the important part.


We played with spirographs that came out of some of their provided candy and drew pictures of airplanes.


Bed time was just a little smoother than the night before.