Five months

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Here we are with my monthly update! I know I said I would check in and expound upon my thoughts on beauty and Taiwanese culture before the five-month mark, but I haven't had the chance to do that with my new class, new stresses and mother visiting me. But, oh, my birthday just happened! This was probably one of the first years in recent memory that my birthday came and went and I practically had no reaction to gaining a year. I think in some ways I've embraced the fact that I'm getting older ... but I know that doesn't mean my spirit has to get any older.

So today marks the end of five months here ... I have nearly reached a breaking point with my life here, though it is only peripherally related to my class and Taiwan itself, and more to do with my living situation. Unless I move to a new place, I'm not sure how I'm going to bear staying in Taipei for much longer. Luckily, I have just about a month and a half until my trip to Australia, and a little bit of time to think about this.

In terms of my Mandarin language program, I'm undecided on whether I'll return following this semester. I started the program in Level 4, which apparently is the last level before you're thrown into the world of Electives. Electives include reading scripts of "Mini Radio Plays" and "Chinese Folk Tales," etc etc. When I was looking for a class to join, I was looking for a class that could help me learn vocabulary that I would be able to use in everyday life, so that eliminated a lot of the electives for me. What ended up happening is I settled for a class where I felt I could learn something, but mostly have time to learn on my own. I've found that none of the electives are all that practical in material. Thus, I might consider putting a stop to my official studies here in Taiwan after this semester ends and continuing my studies on my own, perhaps while pursuing some English teaching jobs or somesuch. I have no idea.

Honestly, I'm feeling a tad bit hopeless right now, a little like how I was feeling before I quit my job and made plans to come and learn Chinese. I have no idea of what I should or even want to do next, really, but something tells me that I shouldn't return home just yet. I don't feel like "the lesson" is over, and I definitely don't feel ready yet to face "reality." I do definitely want to continue learning Chinese, whether on my own or in a program, and I believe that the best way to do that is to continue living in a Chinese-speaking environment. So I have some thinking to do. (As usual.)

I'm really going to try to check in sometime in the next 30 days to report back on more observations of Taiwanese society and why I like or don't like it. Oh, the weather would be a great place to start ...

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