When arriving in Taiwan, I never thought it would’ve taken the crazy turn that it did. I’ve been here for 10 months and feel like I’ve learnt and grown so much in many different ways. People have told me this, and I, myself, have noticed some changes as well. Before I came to Taiwan I would read travel blogs about how much travel changes you; mind, body and spiritually. It’s 100% true. Prior to my adventure to the beautiful Formosa, I thought about life and the world a lot differently. I blame the wonderful people I’ve met from all over the world and this breath-taking opportunity I’ve been blessed with.
It’s been a great adventure thus far learning about myself and others, but I’ve never really sat down to think about what I’ve learned and how I’ve grown. It’s like what people say – count your blessings, and today I’m going to do that but in the form of counting a few things I’ve learned.
- Taiwainese people are the nicest I’ve met in my life. I can’t tell you how many stories I have of the generosity that’s been given. It’s incredible to think about the people here and the many characteristics they’ve inspired me with.
- You can move to a foreign land, not know the language and still communicate – I still don’t know Chinese enough to have a good conversation. Honestly, the only things I know are how to order food, ask where transportation and the bathroom is and to say “it’s okay” when I’ve tried to start a conversation that never goes anywhere. Tip: Body language says a lot! If you need to find a bathroom and don’t know how to ask, just squat and make a peeing sound. Works like a charm.
- Not having a GPS is more fun than having one – Some of the funnest times I’ve had driving my scooter or walking around has been when my phone was dead. You pay more attention to what’s around you instead of looking for road signs and can really take in the scenery – and I love getting lost. If I ever feel like I’m getting too lost, I try to find familiar places I’ve seen and start asking people where is the _______. Bid landmarks always seem to help.
- A 2 year old can learn a second language – I thought it would be impossible for these kids to understand me. But to my surprise they can! Barely – but when you teach them using actions, pictures, rhythm and games, they totally start understanding you. One of the coolest things to see is a Chinese baby learn and understand English.
- Health care in Taiwan > Health care in America – It’s ridiculous… really, and I want to get more into it than what I’ll do now, but the health care in Taiwan is wonderful – quick and cheap. Even if you don’t have health insurance, you can still afford to go to the doctor. America – research Taiwan’s health care system and take notes, PLEASE!
- It’s easy living in Taiwan, probably easier than back in the states – Piggy-backing off of health care being incredibly easy, finding housing, food and anything that’s a struggle back in the states is so much easier here. It really makes me dread going back to the states. I’ve found in Taiwan there’s less paperwork and waiting around for things to clear. Want your license? It’s a quick and easy process just go take your written (that you can study for online) and your driving test and you’re finished in a day with a license in hand! Between you and I, you don’t even need a license to get a scooter or car in Taiwan. That’s a fact!
- Having a long distance boyfriend for 9 months sucks – It was a tough 9 months but we survived! Thankfully that’s over.
- Rules of the workplace are different in Taiwan – In Taiwan, it’s not custom to walk up to your boss with a complaint or just a conversation. They like to have a middle man, I guess so they don’t have to deal with so much stuff. It’s smart in a way, but working in a few different industries, one being employee engagement and leadership skills, I’ve learned that a personal relationship with your boss makes the workplace that much more enjoyable. And personally I believe it’s true.
- I can do anything I put my mind to – When I was 12 years old and left the USA for the first time, I never thought that 11 years later I’d be moving to Taiwan. I’ve also started practicing yoga, writing, photography, videography, climbing mountains, cliff jumping, surfing and doing all sorts of crazy fun things. It’s all really scary, but I’m always down to take on the challenge. It’s something I’ve really grown to love about myself.
- I’ve never missed my family and friends so much in my life – And I’m excited to go home and see everyone, but I have the bug and know that my family and friends will always be there. I’m young, I’m able and I may have the money – so why not keep traveling?
It’s been ten months since I’ve arrived in Taiwan and every month I remember how my time is almost up. It gets harder to comprehend that I’ll be leaving here soon. I’m not sure that I want to. Taiwan is so beautiful and like I stated above, the people, culture and easy living are too. I’m afraid to go home, but like all great adventures this one must come to an end… and I’m excited for my next big adventure that I’ll share with you next time on Every Girl, Everywhere 😉