On June 13, 2008 I boarded a plane for Taipei. It was probably the most nerve-wrecking 18 hour flight I've ever had. That seems like a long time ago, and it was. I came here almost on a whim for many of the same reasons that other people who teach abroad cite: I wanted some adventure, wanted a challenge, a new experience, was fed up with living where I was living and most importantly wanted to prove to myself I could handle something as crazy and ridiculous as moving to a new country on my own. And yet, its hard to put the last two years and this whole experience into words.....
Two years ago I had no idea what to expect. At all. I vividly remember getting off of of the plane and walking out into the airport, the heat the humidity, the congestion of Taipei.... all on my own and thinking "What the hell have I just done? What the fuck is wrong with me?" I came to Taiwan all on my own, no job prospects, a pathetic amount of Chinese ability, no apartment lined up,a phone number of someone whom I barely knew who lived in Taipei, no experience teaching, and worst of all chopstick abilities that were pathetic at best.
Two years later, I have no regrets about my decision. It was the best chance and risk I've ever taken. Two years later, I have so many amazing friends, have a job that I absolutely love and that really helps people improve their lives, I feel completely confident teaching all levels, my Chinese has improved from pathetic to adequate (A night market vendor was recently blown away by my impeccable ability to order some tea), and, most importantly, my chopstick skills are out of control.
Taipei is a wonderful, safe, albeit a little too rainy; but nonetheless an awesome place to live. After two years here however it's time to move on. It really pains me to leave Taiwan....this small little island that has some of the friendliest people I've ever met, and has ..."touched my heart" as its tourist slogan suggests. It's hard to summarize the last 2 years of my life here in Taiwan....all I can say it's been incredible. The people I've met, places I've been and things I've learned have all been inspiring. As cliched as it sounds it has been a life changing experience.
When I came here I figured I would stay for a few months, get tired of it and head back to NY. But after two years here I still love the place and honestly can't imagine living anywhere else.
But restlessness is my biggest drawback....and I've got the itch to get up and go again...SOoooo on June 24th I'll leave Taiwan and fly to Bangkok. I'll have a 12 hour layover and then I will fly to Nairobi, Kenya. To a new continent, new country, new city, new experience, new adventure, new culture. I will be volunteering teaching English in a junior high school there for the summer.....However, this time I have a volunteer job lined up, have a cousin living there and have a place to stay. Piece of cake.
2 years in Taiwan but want to stay for many more...