The guard let me into the place, which was empty. My footsteps echoed on the tile floor. It consisted of a largish living/dining room, a small kitchen just inside the front door, a small bedroom with a window, a bathroom with a tub, and a good-sized balcony. Basically, it was just the right size for one person. It was in the area I liked, new enough, and supposedly reasonably priced. Basically it filled all of my realistic expectations, if not my fantasy expectations like a yard and garage.
My friends checked with the banks and found that the monthly payment on the place wouldn't be that much more than I was already paying in rent. Even the downpayment wasn't too much of a stretch. So I thought, why not? Sure, it's a big commitment, but then again, so is paying rent every month into a house that will never be your own. So I decided to go for it, and about a month later, the place was mine. Well, it was actually mostly the bank's, but my name was on the title. I owned a tiny piece of Taiwan, which felt good.
There are problems, of course. It's not perfect. I hear my neighbors sometimes, and the sun never directly shines in my windows, but these are minor things. The building is nice and new. No rotting, ill-fitting doors and windows. A modern, clean kitchen and bathroom. There is a pool as well as a gym to use, and good security (as far as I know). And there's a good Buddhist vegetarian restaurant and nice walks in the mountains nearby. Just going to work and crossing the suspension bridge, with it's fresh breeze, lazy sunning cats and views around the bend of the river, is a great way to set out into the city.