The beginnings began in discussions about where we would go if we were to move abroad. I've lived abroad before and enjoyed it. It's fun and interesting to live in new places, other cultures and environments and I wanted to do so again. So where to go? As we'd be taking our youngest child with us, we realised it would be a great opportunity for him to learn a new language, and what would be the most useful language for him to have as an adult? The answer to that was fairly easy: Mandarin.
We'd been to Hong Kong before and really liked it, but in Hong Kong they speak Cantonese, so that was out. China is still a little too rough around the edges for us, but then I discovered Taiwan. Its old name is Formosa, which is Portuguese for 'beautiful island'.
And contrary to its global image, Taiwan is very beautiful. I'm hoping to get the chance to visit some of its most beautiful areas and share those experiences with you. The main language (in the north at least) is Mandarin, and the country is more developed than China. The people will also tell you that they are far more pleasant and by all accounts this is true.
However, our big move is still some distance away and at the moment our lives are filled with preparations. So much to do and so many decisions to make. My husband Andy has been out in Taiwan arranging to open a branch of his business out there. While he was there he found that the school we'd been hoping to send Conrad to was now full and didn't have a place for him. This is a big disappointment.
The kind people at Forumosa (and if you're thinking of going to Taiwan you'd be a raging idiot if you didn't visit this site) have suggested a couple more schools to try. There is this one: The Yifang Elementary School; and The Guan Gong Elementary School.
We'll visit both once we're in the country and have our residency certificates because we can't enrol Conrad in a school without them. We just really want a small school (the schools in Taiwan are massive) in an unpolluted area. Fingers crossed.