I know that if we are going to live in nature, we have to share it with the other creatures who occupy it, but it’s going to take some getting used to, I can tell.
When we were selecting the area in which we wanted to live, in anticipation of our move to Taiwan, making the choice between an apartment building in town, close to everything, or a house with a yard, on the mountain, close to nothing, we weighed the pros and cons of both. In the end, the decision came down to the fact that in a house, the boys would each have their own rooms, we’d have a yard for the dog, and places for the boys to roam. We were warned, however, that we’d have to watch out for snakes. Everyone who heard we were considering a move to Yangmingshan mountain said it! I admit that this was a bit of a sticking point for me, and now that we are living here, I find myself constantly on the lookout for cobras- yes they live here! Every slightly curved stick, or shifting leaf, startles me. So far, I haven’t seen a snake, but I’ve seen plenty of other reminders that we live in a national park.
The boys and I encountered this National Geographic event on our way out to the village yesterday. Watch the video:
We found these snails on the wall of our house last week. The boys wanted to keep them as pets. I vetoed that request. There seems to be a gecko living in my bathroom, though. I’ve seen him twice now and I told the boys that if I see him again, we can name him and consider him a pet.
I experience the paranoia most of all during my daily runs and hikes. Lately, I’ve been running and hiking (some areas are just too steep for me to run up, so far) up a small road that leads higher up the mountain.
New friends told me that if I headed up the road from my house, one mile, I’d find a set of 100 steps, which I could climb to add to my workout. I’ve been searching for these steps for a week now and finally found them today. They are actually 1.36 miles from my house (thank you mapmyrun). The reason I kept missing them is that 1) they go down, not up where I’d been looking for them, and 2) they are quite narrow and off the path…
Each day, I get less and less paranoid about snakes. I enjoy the journey and find the people I encounter on the path to be friendly, some extremely so. There’s one stocky 70 something year old man who shifts the load he is carrying to free a hand to wave or salute me as we cross paths each morning. He’s adorable. Too bad I can’t have him over for dinner. My Chinese is too rusty for that. Maybe some time, tough.