It's truly great to have friends that are willing to help you when you're in a bind. Friends who can be on the other side of the world and will stay up all night helping you research and write a paper for class that is due soon. Friends who will give you the pizza they just got because you were leaving to purchase instant noodles because you need to study and don't have time to get real food. Friends who will let you nap in their apartment when you're too tired to walk up a trillion stairs to get home in the middle of the day. The list goes on...
Tomorrow is one of my good friends' last day in Taiwan. I'm going to miss you so much Liferan! Don't worry, I'll see you again.
Tomorrow is my last day of Chinese class...it's so strange to think it really is all coming to an end here.
When I need you most, you're never there. By definition, you're supposed to support me and encourage me to do whatever I want with my life. You're supposed to smile at me even when I make mistakes and let me learn. I want to have a relationship with you, but you're making it nearly impossible. Every time I open up, you simply add more poison to my happiness; you rub sand in my wounds when you're supposed to bandage them.
All along I thought it was me who needed to grow up and realize things, but truly, it's you. When you're ready, I'll be waiting. Until then, I'll be living my life--I don't need you to encourage me. I know what I can do...pretty words are just words in the end.
Went to 101 last night just to hang out. I can't believe Liferan is leaving in a few days...or that I only have two days left of Chinese class. Finals week is looming...I can't believe school is almost over. I guess the difference from this and a faerytale is that, when I go home, I'm at least taking some part of it with me. Although, I do dread the feeling of waking up when I land in Pittsburgh.
I spent all day working on this stupid law thesis, and already my footnotes outnumber the actual paper. It is due next Friday and I can already tell I am going to have to write much more than my share.
This is my last week of Chinese class and I have to make my final presentation this Friday, ergo I'm working on my presentation for that. Furthermore, I am an incredible procrastinator and have yet to begin writing my Law Thesis for trade regulations class...and that is due on the third of June, just a little over a week away. Yet again, it seems it is crunch time. Time to buckle down and get to work.
My Chinese class traveled to Jiu Fen today, just to peek around and try new things. The market there was beautiful! I will post photos later.
I think it goes without saying that, if I haven't really been in the sun for a year and I go to the beach for a day, that I look very similar to a lobster right now. At least I'll be tanned in a few days...very tan. owieeeee...
There's something about the ocean and seeing the stars mapped out above it that makes one feel incredibly small. With no lights, and no people, the world feels so large it could reach out and swallow you whole and no one would ever notice. Standing on the edge and letting the tide wash in around my feet, hearing no sound but the waves, it is so easy to fall into meditation. Breathing with the push and pull of the water, the rushing sound falls away. I don't know how long I stood there, but I had sank pretty deeply into the sand. Such a beautiful feeling, to have an awareness of the world going on around you, the earth doing it's own thing--so alive. I felt simultaneously a part of it and disconnected from it all.
We arrived in Kenting around five today, but it's raining. Regardless, the beach is still beautiful, and the ocean fantastic. Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow! Ian wants to run the 13 Km to a different beach in the evening...and I think I'm going to give it a go with him. Everyone else is taking scooters there, but I think I want to make the run. Wish me luck!
I experienced a few things today I never expected to experience in my life. Even now I feel strange, marked by the experience, but I definitely learned something about myself. It's a good strange...I enjoy the alien feeling of it, of the new experience.
I leave for Kenting tomorrow right after class. I don't know if I will be able to post while I am there or not, so please excuse the possible absence.
Lately, I have lost the need to spend time writing down what I did during the day, and instead I feel the need to use that time living. My remaining time here is short, but my supply of words is shorter. In one way, I want to go as quickly as I can, so that I may return sooner. In another way, I want to live in these moments for as long as I can make them last because I'm afraid something will happen and cause me to lose this forever.
It's invigorating to finally live my life the way I want, instead of making decisions based on what others will think. I'm doing this for myself because it makes me happy. I know during these last ten days or so I have caused many people to be upset with me, but for the first time in my life I don't care. Letting go of the weight I had been dragging around has given me such a vast inner peace with myself. I have faced many of my fears and dealt with them. I am new. I am whole. I am alive.
When my friend Jess told me about reverse culture shock, I shrugged it off as no big deal. Now just imaging myself at my apartment in Morgantown, or at work, makes me feel like a fish out of water. However, it must be done. I will adapt. I will survive. I will patiently and diligently bide my time until I can return to where my soul feels at home.
The sky is still weeping for a reason I do not know, weeping giant tears that spash in puddles and catch a ride on pant legs as people go on living their lives. The sky is gray and bleak, unrelenting, refusing to open up and share its secret.
Sometimes I wish the sky could speak, to tell me why it cries.
Something about the rain, and today, that brings things a full circle for me. This is the first time in quite a while that I have been unhappy about something. Something isn't right. I just can't figure out what it is.
I'm homesick again.
The world has been righted once again. My little slice of home has returned to me.
And through it all, there is a balance of good and bad. If there were not two sides of the coin, the coin could not exist in this world. Ignoring the other side is ignorance; it will be your downfall. Acknowledging it, preparing for it, and being fully grateful for the side that you have chosen will lead you to happiness.
I'd like to start this post with "don't freak out" and "everything is fine" for those of you (Mother) who have already spotted the photograph at the end of this post and are currently hyperventilating your way into a rage of worry. I repeat: Everything is fine.
Today, I was once again blessed with the evidence of how wonderful my life truly is. I have the most amazing friends in the entire universe. I am incredibly lucky to have met these people. People who will drop whatever they are doing and help you find a hospital when all the nearby clinics are closed for holiday. People who will smile at you and rub your back, let you rest your head on their shoulder and just breathe to stay calm. People who will schedule your second appointment for you, and vow to bring you back until you're better. People who will take you by surprise. People who will wait outside the hospital for you to be released and make sure everything is okay. People who care. People who make you eat your porridge, and will even taste-test it for you to show you it's okay to eat. People who remind you to take your medicine. People who teach to you play cards as they wait and watch over you to make sure the medicine isn't having strange side-effects. People who walk you home after dark to be sure you make it home safely and have the strength to climb all three hundred stairs.
I love those people more then they can ever know. Those people are my friends.
Parents were never a problem for me in the US; after my first encounter with a set of parents that didn't like me, I set about learning what makes parents happy, both for my own mother's benefit as well as a person benefit of having my friend's parents like me as well. For the past four years I haven't had a problem relating to my friend's parents; I can carry on a conversation and actually become very good friends with them. I love adults because of the amount of wisdom they possess, and love hearing their stories of how they grew up and earned their current status. In short: Parents are my thing. It seems, however, that I've finally met my match, and not in a positive way. Without ever knowing anything of me other than my nationality and my name, I have been blacklisted. She even went so far as to not answer her son's phone calls after mentioning me. The irony is that I have a great deal of respect for this woman, even after this "shenanigan" due to what she has experienced and done for her family. Even funnier is that she's probably right. So, in less time than it has taken for a scratch to heal on my hand, a friendship has blossomed and gone. How can you miss someone you don't even know? I guess the same way that watching the stranger who sat next to me on the late-night MRT disembark makes tears come to my eyes because I know I'll never see them again. My heart has connected itself straight into the soul of Taiwan and the thought of letting go scares me. I have less than fifty days left here, and I can't imagine myself anywhere else in the world. Graduate, then return you say? So easy, but not a complete solution to the problem. When I leave here on the 27th of June, it will be the last time I see all of these people together in one place. I may never see some of them again in my life. When I return--I know I will--It won't be quite the same. My friends and loved ones that make this place even more special will be gone, all returned to their homes around the world.
At last my Marketing presentation is over. I finally caught up on Chinese homework from this past weekend. I ran 2K, barefoot in the rain, in less than 7 minutes. I'm making new friends, and keeping the old.
If, at first, you don't succeed. Try. Then Try again.
I made a new friend tonight at the school football matches; I guess that's one of the perks of not being afraid to speak to strangers. It's so strange to think of who I was spending time with when I first arrived and how that group of people is so incredibly different from the one I have now...and how different that group will be when I leave...I hope the group is only larger and not lacking of any of the beautiful souls that I have met on this journey.
55 Days to home, and I want to walk backwards in time.