Marcie Adelman, 55
Stafford Hills Club
I am writing this from my new home away from home in Taipei, Taiwan. I arrived in Taiwan on January 18th, with my husband Dave, who will be working here for the next four years. It has been an interesting experience to make an international move during a global pandemic. The last weeks of transition has included ups and downs, new swim experiences and many hopes for the next four years.
After a 14-hour flight, we landed at the airport in Taipei. Before leaving the airport, we had to move through a series of stations including health checks and registering our phones with the government for tracing purposes. When we arrived at our hotel, we were whisked up the back elevator to our room where we spent the next 14 days in quarantine, never leaving the room. Three meals a day were delivered outside of the door. We were contacted daily by the government to check our health status. If you leave the room, you are fined heavily. At first, I was able to enjoy the freedom of having nowhere to be and no meals to cook. Then restlessness set in. The restriction of not being able to open a window for fresh air or walk farther than 16 steps across the room for 14 days became confining. Lots of reading, Netflix, puzzle building and people watching from the window filled the hours. That was a unique experience that I will never forget and hope to never repeat.
On February 2nd we left quarantine. The warm breeze and walking around city streets felt so good. Because of the diligent COVID-19 prevention procedures, Taiwan is essentially Covid-free. Everything is open and life is relatively normal. There is no social distancing. Restaurants are full, the MRT subway system is crowded, and shops and markets are bustling. People are shaking hands and giving hugs. Best of all, the pools are open with no time limits or reservations required. Sharing lanes is allowed. The first day out of quarantine I was able to swim in the rooftop pool of my new hotel. It was almost 25 yards long, had 3 lanes, and music playing. I was thrilled to be swimming again!
Swimming has become a big part of my life over the last seven years. Before my move and pre-Covid times, I was swimming consistently at Stafford Hills in Tualatin with the Masters team. They are a fun group of supportive and encouraging swimmers and friends. They have helped me gain confidence as a swimmer and competitor. I grew up swimming on an AAU club team in Florida and swam through high school. Over the years I swam off and on, but it had been 30 years since swimming consistently, and my first time ever with a Masters group. While I really loved attending Masters practices, I wasn’t so sure about trying a swim meet. My team gently nudged me to give it a try. I swam in my first Masters meet in Newberg 7 years ago. It was both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. It felt like an accomplishment and reminded me of my younger days as a swimmer. Since then, I’ve made it a goal to swim in a few meets a year as motivation to work harder and swim faster. A highlight was swimming at Summer Nationals in Gresham in 2016. It was a high energy, exciting meet and fun to see teams from all over the United States come together to compete. With pools closed this summer and no meet opportunities, I began swimming consistently in Lake Oswego and developed a greater love for open water. Masters swimmers from Stafford, as well as some new friends, met regularly for swims in the lake. It was beautiful and serene in the mornings. Those swims helped me to stay positive through the days when Covid was taking so much away. A highlight was swimming half the perimeter of Lake Oswego with a Stafford Masters group, and then a month later the whole 5.5-mile perimeter. That was a fun challenge that kept me motivated to keep swimming through the summer.
After five long weeks of transitions, we moved into an apartment on February 25. I am starting to feel more settled in my new home away from home. We are learning our way around, and attempting to learn some basic Chinese. This is a slow-going process, but my experience so far has been that the people are very kind, helpful and patient in general, especially with my attempts at speaking mandarin. Because of my love for swimming, my hope was to live near a pool. There are many in the Taipei area, and thankfully that ended up working out. We live 2 blocks from a local swim center that has a 50-meter outdoor pool and a 30-meter indoor pool. It is pretty rustic and in need of some TLC, but it’s been great to be able to walk to the pool and have an indoor/outdoor, long course/short course option with no time limits or required reservations. This almost makes the two weeks I spent in quarantine worth it. Unfortunately, there is no Masters or organized team for adults at this pool to swim with. A few days before I left for Taiwan, my Stafford teammates presented me with a creative binder of laminated swim workouts. I have been taking these with me to the pool as my motivation. It includes a traditional custom birthday workout, which I swam on my March birthday. Swimming alone is not the same. I am missing my teammates.
I hope to eventually find a community of swimmers here in Taiwan, as well as try some open water swimming. While I haven’t heard of any Masters groups, I was told there is a triathlete group that swims together in the summers. There is an annual lake swim event in September called the Sun Moon Lake International Swimming Carnival. It’s a 3000-meter cross-lake swim with over 10,000 swimmers participating from all over the world. I would like to swim in that event and some meets if possible. Taiwan’s island landscape with its mountains, lakes and beaches is beautiful and will be fun to explore. I’m excited to learn more about the culture. When quarantine is lifted, we hope to travel to other countries in Asia.
Two years ago, I joined the Jesuit High School Swim Team as a varsity assistant coach. I enjoyed this new role coaching high school swimmers, sharing what I’ve learned, and encouraging them in their swimming and competing. We have 2 children, Lauren and Ryan, who attend college at Boston University and University of Alabama respectively.We have a beloved golden retriever, Tebow, who is living with friends while we are gone. I’m thankful to still have a home in Oregon to come back to, for summer and winter breaks.
Happy Swimming in 2021!
All of your Masters Swimming pals at Stafford Hills Club miss you Marcie! Keep on swimming and enjoying your time in Taipei! We’ll see you in the pool when you come home for a visit! Stay strong, have fun,wear fins, swim hard!
Francie and everyone at SHC
Loved your story. Happy swimming – perhaps start a masters swim team to swim with. Enjoy your time there.