I have been discontented with life the last few days. I could blame the rain, it has been pouring down in droves, or the heat, which wraps itself around you and refuses to let go, but I know this wouldn't be true.
The real reason is much easier to pinpoint but more complicated to explain. It seems to be the honey moon phase of my trip has come to an end. As someone pointed out to me, the excitement of each new day has molded into a continuous string of tedious ones. I seem to have lost my rose coloured glasses and cannot find them. Unfortunately I don’t think張老師 (my teacher) would take that as an excuse for not having my undivided attention in class. Perhaps I should stand up on my chair and start singing “my eyes are dim, I cannot see, I did not bring my specs with me! I did not bring my SPEC-TA-CLES WITH ME!
The dissatisfaction I‘ve felt isn’t solely because the newness has worn off. I knew before coming that at some point, during the two months I’d be living in Taiwan, life would slow down to a quiet hum. It is inevitable (and is actually something I looked forward to the first few bewildering days of being in this country). The real question is what have I been doing with my limitless time? The answer is evasive.
I tend to eat, a lot. Not only dinner with friends, but dinner with would be friends, or sort-of friends, or I don’t really know you at all but let’s get some grub friends. I don’t even eat for the comfort factor, but more as a social obligation. It may seem trite to be complaining of having to eat, but overindulgence is as much a vice as its counterpart.
The other thing I feel like I've been doing is wasting precious time. Some think that if you move away, or live somewhere foreign, then automatically life will be exciting, adventurous, and you will come back a changed person. This type of attitude reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Sabrina, starring Julia Ormond and Harrison Ford. The basic outline of the plot is that the young frizzy haired chauffeur’s daughter is in love with the millionaire’s youngest son. Due to the heartbreak of him ignoring her, she decides to go live in Paris. Sabrina then returns home a beautiful, confident woman, and subsequently has not only the millionaire’s son, but his eldest son too, falling in love with her.
It would be nice if life was so easy, and changing your character was as simple as jetting off to France.
The truth is it’s not; life is what you make of it. It is just as easy to waste your life on the other side of the world as it is in your hometown. I know of people here who spend more time on their computers then they do outside. There are also those who never go to class, skip tests, and most likely will fail even though they are attending one of the best known schools in Taiwan. What it really boils down to is personal character. You see we have these annoying things called bad habits. It’s not my place to classify what exactly is a “bad” habit versus a “good” habit, but anything damaging to one physically or mentally I think is pretty safe to assume is a bad habit. Moreover, these bad habits will follow you around until you put in the effort to change them. Getting on a plane will not make you suddenly want to stop smoking. This same way, I am not going to return home a better person unless I put in the effort. I want to improve my mandarin but more then that I want to be improved all-around. This will require me to be more active in my daily routine instead of letting it just pass me by. Who knows, I may even schedule something for once, instead of counting on the tried and true “we will see what happens”.
Being in Taiwan for such a short time makes it hard to plan long term but there is so much I can still do. I can focus on fixing my faults and pay more attention on how I spend my time. I can study harder in class and learn more from those around me. Finally I can live in this moment, the phase of my trip where the giddiness ends and stability enters. I can be content with a place to call my own, friends who are always welcoming, and school work that is challenging. I can begin every day with the surety of a good ending, because it is up to me to decide and that is what I choose; I choose to be happy.