It’s my 15th day in Seattle, and my 1st official day in the University of Washington. For those who come from Hong Kong/ Taiwan — here is my view of the differences (or just fun facts)I’ve seen since I’ve landed in Seattle-Tacoma Airport.

Fun Fact #1: Mandarin is everywhere in the airport!

From when I landed to lining up in the customs, the only English words I heard were from the officers at the customs. All announcements, help prior to the customs officers were in Mandarin Chinese! This is probably because I flew in on a HKG — PKG — SEA flight…but still, cool stuff!

#2: Introduce yourself with ‘pronouns’…

Seattle is a super liberal city, and so is UW. Today, in my first Gender, Women and Sexuality Class, all of my classmates introduced themselves not only by there name, year of study, major but also which pronouns they preferred to be called by [‘he/him’ / ‘she/her’ / ‘ze/they’] — while I was the second one in turn to self introduce, I did not know that that was a suggested way of introducing myself…until the whole class after me specified. It is interesting because in Hong Kong and Taiwan, there hasn’t been enough highlight on these issues and I never thought of mentioning it.

#3: Free stuff everywhere!

UW has a lot of free events for incoming freshmen (including: transfer students, exchange students) and many come with free schwaggg. Companies, departments of schools, and different societies attract you with free water bottles, pins, frisbees, pens, food… week 1 is full of free things, and make you feel like you’re making your money’s worth. I should start counting how many new things that have become my possessions…

#4: Weed.

It’s legal y’all in the state of Washington. You can occasionally smell weed on the streets and today I smelled it on the Link [like metro] — someone near me was immersed in the smell. If you’re here on student visa, you’re governed under federal law, so it conflicts with the state law… so technically you can’t have weed. Technically. ;)

#5: Bubble teas are easily accessible.

I just had my 2nd cup of bubble tea so far… ShareTea is located just a 10 minute walk from West campus (where most dormitories are). But it’s hella expensive. But it’s delicious and homey and very Asian.

#6: Try Lyft, it’s cool.

I just tried Lyft today because I missed my bus to go back to campus by 30 seconds when I’m at downtown. The next bus comes in 15 minutes however I don’t feel that safe alone in the city (I was being too paranoid… but do be careful when you’re alone on the streets). And I tried Lyft and it’s fast, and the Lyft Line feature is very convenient — it’s simply carpooling like UberPool, just cheaper. Anyone interested do check out my Lyft Promocode: TANIA25315 — it should give you some free rides!

#7: Or you’ll need a good friend who owns a car :P

Many places are quite far away… not as nearby as things in Taipei / Hong Kong are. Public transport might work, but it’s tedious. So you might want a good friend who owns a car :P

Ok that’s it for today!

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i write code and throw parties. currently coding and writing a bilingual mental health newsletter

i write code and throw parties. currently coding and writing a bilingual mental health newsletter