Sitting in a small little café in downtown Taipei, reminiscent of something you would see in a city like Seattle or Portland, I reflect about the times of my exit from America and my entrance into Asia. How did I get here you might ask? Well that would require me to go back almost a decade to where it all started.
South Korea was the first place I decided to move to. I was to be teaching English. Was I afraid of being so far away from home and all my friends? Of course! But my sense of adventure slightly outweighed this fear, so I dove in head first. I knew two people before arriving, one being my co-worker’s son, who was also teaching, and the other being a Korean man my mom had more than happily introduced me to during one of her work events. I had contacted them both when I arrived but I was only able to meet my mom’s Korean business friend just once. He was very kind to me though and he made me feel a bit at ease in the overwhelming metropolis of Seoul.
During my time in Korea, I taught English to various age and level students, and although it was a bit frustrating sometimes, it still felt rewarding. I also had a bit of difficulty adjusting to the new culture and language, but there was also a lot that I was excited for- the different kinds of food (blowfish soup!), the new environment, making new Korean friends, meeting all kinds of people from different countries, and experiencing so many new things. I even had the opportunity to join a trip to the winter Olympic city of Pyeong Chang, and although I spent most of my time falling on my glutes, I still had a blast trying to snowboard and ski.
A couple hundred bites of kimchi later, I decided I wanted to pursue a small, side dream of attending music production school. I found an international school called SAE Institute which then brought me to Bangkok, Thailand. I completed the music production course, while teaching part time, in six months. I met some more great people, then decided to move to Chiang Mai, where a good Canadian friend of mine, who I had met in Korea, lived. I figured I would try to teach some more and just play things by ear this time. I really enjoyed the comfortable laid-back lifestyle there and of course the daily $1.00 Pad Thai, but I ultimately felt like I wasn’t making enough financial improvements so I decided once again to make a move, this time to Taiwan.
I applied for a few jobs before setting off to Taiwan, and one school got back to me right away. After a successful Skype interview, I was on my way to Taipei, where I currently reside. Taiwan has been great to say the least. There’s lots to enjoy here- the friendly locals, the mountains, the beaches, and the night markets. Even the different kinds of Taiwanese food and international cuisine are really quite good. Lots of places for foodies to explore, whether you’re a meat lover or a vegetarian/vegan. Lots of people play basketball too, if you’re into that (I am!). It’s definitely been my favorite place to live, all things considered.
This journey has been long, with plenty of ups and downs, but I do have to say, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Although, I had culture shock initially coming into Asia, it gradually faded, and I eventually learned to embrace the different cultures and languages.
Not only that, I’ve made lifelong friends from various places in the world, who I still keep in contact with. The kind of friends who share similar interests and mindsets, even though they are from Toronto, Johannesburg, Adelaide, Ho Chi Minh City, etc. I think you get the picture.
The world is a smaller place now, and that’s a good thing. And thanks to all my travels, I have an amazing global social network that I can always rely on, AND I have learned so many things about the world. I can definitely say I’m content with my life and at this point, I can’t imagine it any other way.