By the time most of you read this, I'll be getting on a plane heading back to the good ol’ United States.
It’s been just shy of one year that I’ve been living in Taiwan - 11 months and 2 days, to be exact. When my husband and I moved here last December, it was to fulfill one of my life-long dreams. We came with a loose plan of how we thought everything would pan out - teaching English 25 hours a week and using the rest of the time to explore the island together. We came with a hope that Taiwan would breathe new life into ourselves and our marriage.
However, things didn’t go exactly the way we thought they would.
When our teaching gigs didn’t work out, we looked into other avenues - but, after a while we resolved to live off savings and enjoy our time in Taiwan for the remainder of the year. [The cost of living is so low compared to the US that we'd be ok.]
You probably think that life would be pretty grand as non-working expats in Taiwan, right? My social media posts probably made it look that way - I even had a few friends comment that it seemed like we were “living the life” or having “too much fun”.
Yes, the food in Taiwan is amazing (for the most part) - and so conveniently, cheaply, and abundantly available. Yes, Taiwan is beautiful - I have the photos to prove it. Taiwan will always have a piece of my heart - it's where I was born, and it's where most of my family live.
However, as we shared in our 6-month update, things are not always as perfect as they seem.
I wish I didn't have to point out the negatives because there are many, many things I'm thankful for as a result of this experience. It's only fair to share (but not dwell on) why we decided that living in Taiwan is not a fit for us long-term. One major factor is the air pollution - which, significantly affected us because we didn’t have a car and walked most places/to public transportation. Coupled with the hot and humid weather beginning in April and lasting through October or so, we felt stifled. These two factors, and various health issues that popped up as a result, were what eventually drove us to the decision of moving back to New York.
No one place will ever be perfect - although we read many blogs and spoke to friends who live/lived in Taiwan prior to moving that made it sound pretty close to perfect. But close-to-perfect for one person can be entirely "un-perfect" for another. We had to live and experience it first-hand to learn this lesson for ourselves. Even so, we leave with no regrets - only thankfulness. As cliche as it sounds, we truly did come out of this experience with a changed perspective.
At least I did.
One prime example being that before living in Taiwan, I was adamantly against living anywhere in upstate New York (or New Jersey). I had my own (irrational) reasons/fears. Heck, my comfort zone was Long Island - because it's where I grew up and lived most of my life. Now? I’m happy and eager to be anywhere that has fresh air, and some peace and quiet - which, just happens to be in “upstate” New York or northern New Jersey as David got a job up there.
Before Taiwan, I had grown weary. Weary in faith, in marriage, in life. God used this year away to teach me to see things in my life in a whole new light. The pieces are slowly coming back together - but certainly not from my own strength. There's still a lot to process and reflect upon, so don't be surprised if I'm still blogging about my experience in Taiwan well into the new year.
What's next for me? I'm not sure. And that's ok. God has been faithful - even though I’ve/we’ve made some crazy decisions over the past few years, He still provides. Somehow, some way, even in our doubts, He always provides.
A special thank you note must be included in this post - to the friends and family members who followed along with us on this journey. Thank you to those who made efforts to keep in touch, prayed for us, and cheered us on this past year while we were on the other side of the globe. I truly appreciate you and am grateful for your support and encouragement. Looking forward to catching up in person this holiday season!