I have a bike now, and am mentally composing my guide to riding a bicycle in Taipei, subtitled “1000 ways to die on your bike.” : ) Between it and the five flights of steps to my apartment, I’m gonna have some dead sexy legs by the time I leave Taiwan. Oh, and add to my list of firsts, “riding a bicycle in a skirt.” I feel so Victorian!
First Bouts of Homesickness
I had my first bouts of homesickness this weekend, accompanied by traveler’s tummy. It started when I took my language placement exam Thursday. I didn’t enjoy my summer Chinese class, and I don’t enjoy tests, so when I went for my placement exam it was exhausting. I went to the gym afterward to see if I could fool myself into feeling better by getting my endorphins up, but that only worked temporarily. The weekend was really great, and I stayed busy, but I just started to feel an internal battled that I don’t know how to negotiate…
My friend Matt says I need to “go all the way” here, and I agree. I’ve made a really big emotional commitment to my year in Taipei, but I feel like it will be gone before I know it and that when I return I’ll have some serious reverse culture shock.
Going Further from Friends and Family Than I’ve Ever Been
It’s taken me further, physically, from my friends and family than I’ve ever been before, and in many ways has the potential to put experiential and emotional barriers between us, too. This is the first time in my life that I really feel like my parents, my brother, and my friends can’t understand what I’m feeling.
I feel like a baby deer, with wobbly legs, after 25 years, having to use them for the first time without someone to help. Their love and support are obviously there, but I can’t reach them as easily when I need something, and they may not even know how to help me if I could reach them.
A World My Friends and Family Have Never Lived In
This is a world they’ve never lived in. Things that are normal here are foreign to home. Things that are safe here seem dangerous there (for example, having a street address including the word “alley”).
How do I truly allow this experience to consume me without separating myself from the people and place I love so much?
When I decided to write this blog (A Year in Taipei), it was, in part, to help me stay close to my friends and family. So far, it’s serving its purpose really well. I’m ready to get my home internet service and phone line connected so that I can write and call home more easily. I miss my family right now, and I’ve been missing my friends a lot, too. I’m not overly sad, but it’s a persistent undertone of my mood for the last few days.
Like all things, it will pass. I really enjoy going to work, and I love getting email from everyone. Checking for my blog comments is another highlight of each day. So as I try to figure out how to negotiate living in this world that’s so far from — and so different from — my world back home, please keep the email and comments coming!
Originally written and published on my blog, A Year in Taipei on September 19, 2006. Modified for readability.
I wrote more than 300 blog posts during my year in Taipei, Taiwan. I don’t know yet how many of those posts I’ll recreate on MilliGFunk.com, but for now, at least, you can come back on Thursdays for a #ThrowbackThursday to my #YearInTaipei.