Reflections


The other day I took the subway home. I went to Ikea after work to buy some #tita stuff like drawer dividers and checked on some mattresses. I totally forgot about the rush hour on my way to the MRT but I already tapped my card and entered the station when I was reminded of it. The trains were packed. I didn't want to waste time so I went right in. Few seconds before the doors shut, a young mom and her daughter, maybe three or four years of age, came rushing. The mom was so happy they made it in the nick of time.

I looked at the little girl who was squeezed between myself and a burly man. I had to adjust my bag so the girl can move. She whispered to her mom and told her there were too many people. Her mom assured her that it's going to be okay, that they will get off in just a few stops. I watched as the girl stared at other people's faces. Oh, that curiosity in her eyes. Maybe she was weirded out by how almost everyone was too busy looking at their phones.

And then she started singing. I smiled and marveled at her littleness.

The world is beautiful, if only we sing our way through it like this little girl, and if we look at it through a child's eyes, always filled with awe and wonder.

Lately I've been having a lot of quiet time, just thinking, clearing my thoughts, praying. Advent has come and it brings so much peace in my heart that it's Christmas once again. It's time to welcome the little baby Jesus and make Him the star of our festivities. A tear rolled down my face during Mass last Sunday. I went to a Chinese Mass and was surrounded with unfamiliar faces. I was able to pray more, and even let them tears flow without worrying if anyone would notice. As the year comes to a close, I feel sorry for so many things I have and have not done; but grateful too, for all that has been and has yet to come. A blessed Advent to all!

Some happy things...

Our dessert plate during our gala night last week

Starbucks' Christmas mille crepe cake

The talk of the town- 50嵐's matcha latte

Found the 2017 version of my current planner/budget tracker (right to left 2015-2017) 

Hot chocolate weather every day. Winter has come! 

Taipei Series: How to apply for an APRC


I have benefited a lot from online sources like Forumosa and Taiwanease when I started doing my research on how to apply for an Alien Permanent Resident Certificate (APRC). I thought of paying it forward by writing my own guide based on my personal experience.

So what makes an expat in Taiwan eligible to apply for an APRC?
I'm copying here the list from National Immigration Agency (NIA) that was released on March 7, 2016. They do change this list regularly so make sure you have the most recent version. 
  • The applicant must be at least 20 years old.
  • Applicants who have been living as legal residents in Taiwan for over 183 days per year for 5 consecutive years are eligible to apply for PR status (excluding the time period when the applicant stayed in Taiwan as student), but must do so within two years of the day of eligibility.
  • Applicants who are the spouse or child of an ROC national must reside in Taiwan for 5 consecutive years for over 183 days per year, or reside in Taiwan for 10 consecutive years for over 183 days in at least 5 of those years. They must apply within two years of the day of eligibility.
  • An applicant who has obtained an APRC must reside for over 183 days per year in Taiwan. To request an exemption to travel abroad extendedly, you must inform the NIA. Maximum length for each exemption is 2 years.
  • English name used in all documents must be the same as that shown in the applicant’s passport.
  • Applicant’s ARC must be valid at the time of the APRC application.

What are the requirements?
  • Completed application form (https://www.immigration.gov.tw/public/Data/0991064471.pdf
  • One 2-inch passport photo on white background (bring 2 pieces just in case)
  • Current and previous passports (original and photocopies of the basic information on A4 paper)
  • Valid ARC (Original and one photocopy on A4 paper)
  • Clean police records of the past 5 years:  Issued by the ROC- Apply online via this link: https://eli.npa.gov.tw/E7WebO/index01.jsp Click on the first option 申辦作業 and fill out the form. You will be notified through email if your clearance is ready. Pick up the document at the Taipei City Police Department- No. 96 Yanping South Road (short walk from MRT Ximen Station Exit 5). NT$100 fee.; Issued by the home country- not needed if applicant has been legal residents of Taiwan for 5 consecutive years, and has not left Taiwan for more than 3 months per trip.
  • Health certificate- not needed if applicant has been a legal resident of Taiwan for 5 consecutive years, and has not left Taiwan for more than 3 months per trip.
  • Documents showing financial independence (any of the following)- Tax statement or salary certificate for the most recent year; Bank statements; Movable and immovable property; Other documents proving that the applicant can afford to live in Taiwan
  • Other supporting documents for employment: (1) Original and one photocopy of current work permits issued by the Ministry of Labor; (2) Employment certificate with the company seal and company representative’s personal seal (valid for 1 month from the date of issue)
  • NT$10,000 cash application fee. Your employer may pay it on your behalf, depending on your agreement.
Once you have completed all the requirements, you need to double (maybe even triple) check with NIA if you qualify for APRC. Simply give them a call and they will check their records for you. I thought one would need an appointment when lodging an application, but I was told the process is similar to the regular ARC application procedure. The NIA hotline for APRC application is 02-23889393 ext. 3131, 3122 or 3123

APRC processing time takes 6 to 8 weeks. You will receive either a call from NIA or a document which will be mailed to the address you have provided, whether or not your APRC application has been approved. If approved, you will need to call the number specified on the mailed document and they will inform you when the ID is available for pick-up. 

Hope this helps! Feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line on the 'Contact Me' section if you have questions regarding my APRC application experience. Next stop: applying for an Open Work Permit! 

Keeping Calm

Thank God the most stressful week of the year is done. I wonder how I managed to get by with 4-5 hours of sleep each day for 5 days, working from 7am to 12 midnight (who in his right mind would set a meeting at 10pm and end at 12mn???).

I almost cried out of exhaustion when I arrived last Sunday, but I tried to remedy that by eating a good Katsudon for dinner, a matcha sundae, and an hour of full-body massage. I have never spent so much money for a spa treatment but my gosh, when the therapist poured drops of lavender oil and laid a big piece of hot towel on my back, ahhhh I was in heaven.

I've been sleeping at 9:00 pm each night since Sunday to fully recover. I hope I will never experience that crazy amount of stress ever again. Hope you're all having a good week! Here are some photos to keep us (or mostly me) cool and calm (cos I lost all of it in Vietnam haha!)

Prep meeting at the new CTBC headquarters 

Beautiful sunrise makes up for the early morning call time 

Vinpearl Resort, Ha Long Bay

Postcard perfect Ha Long Bay 

Had 3 hours to chill with my Kindle and iced ca phe