Hello, thanks for your question!
Currently, exploring and getting out is not too difficult. I generally work about 60 hours a week, for instance today was 8am-8pm. I don’t go out on the weekdays, except to work out or eat dinner (mostly alone, sometimes with colleagues or friends).
On the weekends, I am out and about for most of the day. I’ve already been to the southern part of the country to see family, been seeing certain parts of Taipei, and have been asking colleagues and family for recommendations on good places to explore.
Meeting people is fairly difficult, but it’s based on my own personality. I don’t drink alcohol, which limits the local partiers and expatriates that I’ll meet. I’m also having trouble finding like-minded individuals — I am guilty of judging and coming to conclusion the types of people I see on the streets. If I wasn’t as judgmental, I’d be striking conversations with random strangers very often, probably making twice as many friends.
One of the very few friends I made on the street is an MIT professor, quite famous in his field of mechanical engineering. He helped direct me to the High Speed Rail and we exchanged contact information.
After working all week, I also tend to like small groups (being with one or two other people) rather than groups. Therefore, I really have to suck it up to bring myself to certain social events.
I met up with one person on an online expatriate forum, and she turned out to be a really cool chick. I’m also meeting a Filipino doctor doing her residency in Taiwan some time soon as well, also from a different forum.
Work-life balance will most likely become tougher beginning mid February. We had an end-of-the-year meeting this morning with our work plan for 2014. Between five of us sales engineers, we’re visiting 500 clients in 80 countries in six months. Our travel plan is set to be three weeks on, one week off. The one week off means that we’ll be back in our respective home bases working.
Truth be told, I’m scared about keeping my stamina up for that period of time. I’m glad none of us are married or have children.