Thursday, July 29, 2010

Last Message from Taiwan

This will probably be my last blog post from Taiwan. It has been quite an adventure over here - many stories and memories I will keep with me for the rest of my life. I have learned a lot about a part of the world that I never thought I would be in - culture, customs, traditions and people. I have also learned a lot about people and organizations - both good and bad (which I will probably be posting more about a little bit down the road).

There is one thing I have tried to do in my "recent life" - which I define as somewhere between my sophomore and junior year in college - and that is this: To never leave somewhere, someone or something wishing I had done more. It is a simple motto that I have tried to live by.

Coming to Taiwan, I had 3 goals: 1. To do as good as a job possible when I was working. 2. To travel the region. 3. To learn some Chinese.

I can say without a doubt I have accomplished all of my goals - and more. Although a full disclosure on work (specifically the headhunting organization that got me here) will be withheld for a little while longer, I know by the reaction of the kids when they leave the school towards me, the fun that they are having in my class and the comfort and ease they acquire with foreigners their culture and their language (or me) that I have done my best here teaching english and western culture to these kids.

While here, I have been fortunate to visit 2 other countries: Hong Kong and Singapore. Before I arrived to Taiwan in February (hell, before I decided to go to these places) I probably couldn't have found either of these places on a map (or even Taiwan). Now, I can probably rattle off not only a list of countries in southeast Asia and point them out on a map, but I can say I know people, from many of these countries and even can give travel advice to 3 of them. Although I would have loved to visit Thailand, Korea and Japan while over here, the fact that I was able to see Hong Kong, Singapore and have for the past 2 months been covering a lot of Taiwan has made me more than content in achieving my second objective.

The final objective, until the past 6 weeks or so, I thought I was going to fail at. I had learned a couple of words and knew a handful of characters, but I had not really learned anything useful. Well, as of now, I can cuss like a Chinese sailor and have a Chinese name: "Shou Dee Dee Da Gee Gee", which would translate literally into "My little brother, the big chicken chicken". I'll let you figure out what that could mean...

I would say that I now have a vocabulary (of either words I can speak or characters that I know what they repesent individually) of close to 90 words. Not bad for 6 weeks of learning on the fly.

All in all, I have to say that my experience in Taiwan has been amazing and that anyone who has a chance should visit this tiny island country for as long as they can.

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Now, for the "Best Names List" for this last week of school:

Afra - and she's Chinese!
Billion - but he knows a dozen words!
Bunny - she doesn't like carrots!
Enzo - he is a Taiwanese students who is at an English school being taught by Americans and chose his name because he thought it sounded Italian. Try to keep up...
Moon - she left because she was homesick - twice!
Jimmy - who is Jet's identical twin brother (who we had 2 weeks ago)!

Until next time...

3 comments:

Steph said...

Can't wait to drink some beers with you and hear all about it!

Rika said...

Aw, we miss you already RJ. Oh, and Jerry was Jet's twin brother-not Jimmy. Questions for you: did you notice the exchange rate in the taipei airport? And did you make it home okay?

Rika said...

Aw, we miss you already RJ. Oh, and Jerry was Jet's twin brother-not Jimmy. Questions for you: did you notice the exchange rate in the taipei airport? And did you make it home okay?