This is the first in a series of posts from my 9-day trip to Taiwan with my husband, Steve, as we photographed our friends' wedding which I have already blogged (herehere, aaaand here) but you might have noticed some significant gaps that showcased the culture of Taiwan. Those of you that are friends with me on Facebook (hit me up!) might remember my status that bragged about shooting 9,930 frames in 3 days and I am so eager to share these with everyone. 

The whole trip was amazing from start to finish. I ate the best food (the sushi was off the charts fresh) and some of the worst things (well I didn't eat it, but the stinky tofu lived up to its name) on this trip; I barely slept, experienced culture shock for the first time, and made the most incredible pictures of my life. 

Those of you that follow me on Instagram (hit me up!) will recognize the square-shaped images that I already posted, but everything else was shot by either me or Steve on our Nikons. 

A small group of us that included our bride Sabrina, groom Aaron, and two American friends Roman and Amanda landed in the evening and we were greeted by darkness and rain, but we were so happy to be off the 12 hour flight and on the opposite side of the world that it didn't phase us much. We checked in to the chic and modern Dandy Hotel in Tianmu and immediately Steve and I wanted to go explore and eat. Emphasis on eat.

Our ultra-organized bride set us up with laminated transit cards (important addresses written in English and in Mandarin on the reverse side) for several key locations but we were on our own to find a meal that was local to our hotel. This is when the reality of what it meant to be a foreigner truly sank in. We were fortunate that about 40% of the businesses had signage written in broken English, but it was getting late and most restaurants were closed. We found a coffee shop that had a picture menu and pointed and fumbled as we struggled to order. We ate curry and iced matcha lattes and I was so hungry--I can still remember how it tasted! A special shout out to the freaked out employee at Dante's Coffee! Thank you, sir, for your patience.

The next day Sabrina arranged for the group of Americans, her sisters, and childhood friends to meet for lunch at Dragon Restaurant, famous for their whole roasted duck (yes, just like A Christmas Story). We were served century eggs (fermented egg), sesame balls, roast duck, dumplings, and other goodies that were served as they were finished being prepared and bonded with the Americans that sat at our lazy Susan table. 

After the meal, I joined Sabrina and her sister as she had a literal last minute dress fitting and picked up her rental dress for her ceremony the next day. Ladies... I repeat: rental dress. Genius.

Upon our arrival at the gown shop, we swapped our shoes for slippers and then we were served hot tea. It was comforting. I felt like I was at home, yet still very foreign. I thought, 'Yes. I could get used to this.'