One Year

Things I learned from living in Taiwan for one year:

  • Chinese is way too hard to learn.  Forget the regional differences, accents, culture, idioms, etc.  They write in pictures.  Pictures!  I can’t memorize all of that.  There were brief moments of dedication when I thought I could master it. No way. I’m happy to settle for ordering a hot coffee and getting to and from places in a taxi.
  • I TOTALLY belong abroad – in my perfect American bubble. Without Tex, without my American friends, I think I might really hate this.  But, with Tex, with newfound friends, inside my bubble? Now, that’s living abroad.  I don’t know how backpackers and explorer types do it.  It’s too scary.  Trying stinky tofu is one thing, but I’m no hero.
  • I/We still have the same problems we had in Pennsylvania. I’m still the same person.  I still bite my nails and eat too much popcorn.  It’s just us, in another place.
  • Apparently, I’m a dog person.
  • We have too much stuff.
  • A job doesn’t bring me happiness.  I was sure that once I got full-time work, started contributing to the retirement, vacations, bills, etc. I would feel fulfilled.  Nope.  I like having a job.  I frequently feel a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.  However, like most other adults, I have not discovered the job that allows me to leave the house every morning feeling totally fulfilled, or feel that “I might as well not even call it a job” because “it’s not really work to me.”
  • I can adapt… sometimes I just don’t want to.  Change is hard.  I will never be ok with someone picking their nose on the subway, but when someone puts peanut butter on your pork sandwich? You gotta laugh that off and move on.
  • I truly value quiet, uncrowded places.
  • We are amazingly wealthy in all senses of the word.
  • I complain WAY too much.  It ain’t so bad. (It is really hot here though.)