The Taiwan Good Life


Then, she began to breathe, and live, and every moment took her to a place where goodbyes were hard to come by. She was in love, but not in love with someone or something, she was in love with her life. And for the first time, in a long time, everything was inspiring.
R.M Drake, self-published writer

Life here in Taipei is coming along swimmingly.

It took about a year of planning for me to get here. From when I applied for the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship, quitting my job after my application was successful, to making the big move… I’ve made a few changes to my life to fulfil my wish to speak Chinese fluently.  So I have made studying a priority and have been actively searching for ways in which I could learn more swiftly.

But what followed with it has really taken me by surprise. Through a whirlwind of random encounters, Meetup activities and basically staying true to the ‘Make It Happen’ mentality, I have already realised my goal of living the good life. It hasn’t been without some tribulations, goodbyes and heartache, but it has all been for something very worthwhile.  I am constantly challenging myself, surrounded by kind and generous people, and taking part in the local adventures.

I’ve experienced my first real earthquake in the most inappropriate of times (fresh out of the shower and naked as the day I was born); stood by my balcony watching Typhoon Soudelor hit Taipei, only to witness my own flyscreen get ripped off its hinges; I am now excellent at avoiding crazy taxi drivers whilst zipping around the city on a U-bike, and have even learnt to love stinky tofu.

The past six months have seen me making new friendships, discovering urban backstreets, keeping my belly happy (despite the food poisoning incident), and taking on more activities than I’d initially intended to do…like learning how to ride a scooter in Yangmingshan after dark, or multiple throwbacks to ten years ago when dancing to the wee hours of the morning wouldn’t have rendered me so haggard.

But fear of a scooter accident and severe sleep deprivation aside, it has been a wonderful journey that I never want to end!

In the grand scheme of things, I haven’t been here that long, but it has been such a pleasure for me to adjust to life here that I often don’t yearn for my hometown. I’m not just getting used to a change of lifestyle anymore. I don’t feel as though I’m trying to fit into a new country. Somehow Taiwan has moulded my life into something better than I expected…as though I’ve been here all along. It’s liberating, and the contentment I feel – well, I really can’t explain it! If you are or were an expat as well, I’m sure you will understand what it’s like to be drawn to a place and build your life in that very place you love. I can’t put my finger on why exactly, but I feel right at home here in Taipei and I am seeing different sides of Taiwan that makes me fall in love with this little island more and more.

I am excited by the prospect of another fulfilling six months, and hopefully I’ll be able to speak Chinese fluently by the end of my time here.  As long as I could help it though, that day will be pushed back further and further away!

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