I get this question a lot.
Do I tell people how I truly feel? Should I spill the real tea?
When I came to Taiwan, after graduating, I planned to come to Taipei, study 9 months of Chinese and then “maybe” go home and start working. But really, in my head, I was already thinking “Stay another year, get your mess together, do something else and continue learning Chinese” was lowkey already my plan.
April came by this year, and everything was going so well. By then, I have fully assimilated into Taiwan, my Chinese learning was going well, I was a part of so many activities, and going home just seemed like an afterthought. It was in fact, the very last option. Even when things went to shit in the summer, going home just was not a thing.
When I first came back from living in China for a year, I was experiencing a major reverse culture shock. Even though I have mixed feelings about China itself, I, in fact, was very pleased with my time living there. It was my first time in my life surrounded by people from all walks of life from all over who just dropped everything and moved to Shanghai for whatever the reason may be. It was so different from what I was used to and refreshing. In a way where I could relax, unwind and not feel or think about too much of social pressures and keeping up with the status quo of things. With that, I felt like this type of community I was missing for my entire life and it’s not so easy to find so much living in the US.
Back home, many people make me feel like an outsider as if I didn’t belong or I could not simply relate to others. But in Shanghai, almost all of that is left behind. Of course, the stereotypes and subjective opinions of social concepts are still there, but not as heavily judged or looked down upon due to our vast backgrounds and many people simply not caring.
So even after I left Shanghai and continued living in the US for the next two years, I was craving, missing that type of very international and mixed community so much. I wanted it. I needed it. I feel like the people who move abroad are a different type of breed.
When I got back home, one of the many things I did was intern at Google. During my internship period, I felt very out of place due to the environment Google has especially on people from much lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Going into that kind of work is quite was nervewracking. It almost felt like I should not have been there. But despite the feeling, it turned out fine and the work I was doing was super cool and the concept Google present and carries as a company is quite laid back and more inclusive in contrast to your typical corporate job, but to be honest, I could never see myself doing that type of work, esp full-time for a long period of time. I knew it wasn’t for me.
Yeah sure I could go back home, work there (or anywhere really), save money and move on to something else (which may seem the most logical and “normal” thing to do), but why do that when I could see myself doing something even more enriching and fulfilling for myself? For me, it’s not about job security, pleasing my family, or making money. My mental health and happiness are all that matters to me. And Google nor any tech company wasn’t gonna do it for me. So I let that go.
And to be honest, I don’t really miss home that much. Of course I miss my friends and family, eating home-cooked Nigerian food, and being able to buy anything I needed without having to look all over for it, but I have lived in Taiwan long enough where I have created a community for myself in a way that feels like home, so there’s not much to miss.
So here we are, almost 1 and a half years later still in Taiwan. Doing what? I am teaching English and soon to continue learning Chinese again.
People think that I plan to stay in Taiwan forever, marry a Taiwanese guy, have some babies, and call it a day. Nah. That’s not why I came here. Do you even know me? Ideologies like that don’t even cross my mind. I came to Taiwan to learn Chinese and just r e l a x, but after 2020, your girl is out. There are bigger dreams and fish to catch.
You’ll just have to see what’s next for me for even I myself don’t even know yet 😉