Monday, October 20, 2014

Ten Side Effects of Living in Taiwan

Now that I’m back in the U.S., I’ve noticed some things about me that have changed due to my time away. Here’s a short list:

1.      I often need to be reminded to tip in restaurants.
2.      I feel a little surprised when shoe stores have my size.
3.      Over half my stories start, “When I was in Taiwan …”
4.      But I can’t start these stories any other way, because the fact I was in Taiwan is somehow essential to them.
5.      When I hear the word “foreigner” in any context, I somehow feel like the word is referring to me.
6.      I feel homesick for a place where I was never considered a local.
7.      These feelings of homesickness are often triggered by seeing a 7-11.
8.      But if I go into that 7-11, I will inevitably be disappointed by the poor tea selection.
9.      When talking to strangers, I find myself restructuring sentences to avoid difficult words, only to realize that, yes, other grad students do know the term lingua franca.
10.   I get ridiculously excited about things like colorful autumn leaves and frost.

Obviously, these are not the most important take-aways from my time in Taiwan, but they are real. So if you want to travel overseas, be warned: your opinion of 7-11 will never be the same!