My sick leave passed very quickly due to several events. While getting a proper visa was high on the list, one unexpected and sudden event, however, became moving out of the residence that I was in at the moment. Although I was still recovering from bronchitis, the rest of March was spent packing and by April, I had found a new place and signed a lease. Basically, my welcome kind of wore out and my friend's girlfriend turned on me.
When I visited Taipei for the first time in 2005, I had a great time. I stayed with my friend for a couple of weeks, and he was happy to have a visitor of his own. Prior to my arrival his girlfriend invited some guy she met on the internet to stay with them and he basically took over the place. He became the golden boy and my friend became the pariah. After getting rid of him, it was hard not to be appreciated with my friend following me around saying 'see? He would never say/do/ask about that', etc.
Also, for some reason, my friend's girlfriend went out of her way to introduce me to her coworkers. I spent several nights attending these kind of cutesy, cheesy match-up situations which I used as a great opportunity to practice my Chinese. Also, it was not hard to feel the gallant bachelor being the only guy around and a visitor to boot.
Nothing really came of it, but I did hit it off with one of her colleagues and had a quick date before I left in 2005. That was when I saw the other side of my friends girlfriend. I had a nice time with 'the colleague' I had been introduced to and just before I left, this girl took me to a tea house on the side of the mountains in Miaokong. It was a beautiful and very romantic time drinking tea, but to be honest, nothing happened except for a few cute glances across the table over the steaming water. Besides, she was dating a judge in the south of Taiwan anyway.
To make a long story short, when I left Taipei, I wrote the colleague a nice letter and left some souvenirs for my friend's girlfriend and her. I stopped by Hawai'i on the way home and also sent the colleague a cheap necklace I found at Hilo Hattie's.
That's when I came home to MSN messages with long lists of how bad this colleague had suddenly become and why I shouldn't talk to her anymore. Apparently, the colleague had said something to the effect of me having unnaturally good taste in Taiwan women. My friend's girlfriend took this as an insult as the implication was that most foreigners--including the friend I was staying with--end up with homely women in Taiwan. From then on it was war with gossip and her private life being streamed to me daily from my friend's girlfriend.
Also added to the list was the fact that I sent the colleague something and never sent my friend's girlfriend anything. I was slightly astonished about this, because of course, I never knew I was dating my friend's girlfriend. It didn't matter I was told, and I should have been sending equal gifts to everyone. Was this Taiwanese culture, I wondered.
Anyhow, looking back now, I saw how manipulative, jealous and insane my friend's girlfriend could be. This played directly into why I had to move out the second time I visited, because although I had forgotten her little eruption after a year, my friend's girlfriend quickly turned on me after I arrived again in 2006, leading to the first item of business on my agenda when I got better being that I had to move out. Forget the resident visa for now--I had to get my sanity first.