Culture, Taiwan, Travel

Awaiting a plane

One of my least favorite activities is packing.  Shoving all my belongings in a bag can definitely evoke anxiety, especially since I’m usually always a little worried that my bag will be overweight.  Might I add, there are some moments while packing, when the sound of the zipper pulling around the edges of the heavy fabric on the suitcase brings great joy.  The next step, over the last few years, has often meant new unknown adventures.  But, there are other times when that whirling sound of the “ziiip zip” induces a great sadness.  For example, over the past year, while I’d seen my boyfriend more often than the year before, each goodbye is just as draining as the one before.

However, any emotion of sadness would not describe the feeling pumping through my veins right now though.  The feeling is more like sheer excitement.  I cannot get on the plane soon enough!  A long journey lies ahead of me as I make my way back to the good ole U S of A.  After a 1 and 1/2 hour journey to the airport, I’ll take a plane from Taipei to Seoul, from Seoul to Los Angeles, and finally from Los Angeles to San Diego.  I leave early Saturday June 1st to arrive late Saturday evening on June 1st.

Ahhh home sweet home!!  First time landing down in my 30’s.  I know, this isn’t some great feat since I just turned 30 a few weeks ago, but still it’s been a year since I was last with my family.   This time I’ll be in the states for almost 2 months and my boyfriend will finally get to meet my family and see where I’m from.

I’ve enjoyed Taiwan.  There are elements of Asia I absolutely love.  For example, the fact that they prize all their landmarks and food as if it’s the greatest thing ever.  I love the way they value family duty, even if I think its a little ridiculous at times.  I especially love and hate their obsession with their appearance.  Of course, the city I’ve been in is mild in comparison to the way people were obsessed with themselves in Korea, but nonetheless, they prize fair skin and they have the most amazing skin care products (for cheap)!

Taiwan has been enjoyable especially after being stuck in the cold of Europe for so many months.  My body has really embraced the heat and humidity.  However, what I’ve always struggled with in Asia is the way it makes you feel a-l-o-n-e.  Separated by language and culture, its not easy to make friends you can really relax around nor is it easy to go wander around and buy things on the street when you can’t ask what it is.  Either way,  living in Korea has allowed me to embrace the unusual Asian habits we view as westerners.

For example, the mask.  I remember thinking this was a little unusual in Korea because I only really ever saw people who were painting in the states wear masks to protect from exposure to the fumes.  In Asia, people wear them so they can keep their germs to themselves.  A noble and considerate thing no doubt, but a little weird to get used to at first.  When I told my friend that we don’t wear masks over our mouths in the states when we’re sick, she gasped, “That’s so impolite!”

I laughed, “But we think burping and belching is impolite.”  Burping is totally normal in Taiwan.  People feel that it is uncontrollable and totally acceptable.  I should add that I mostly saw this with the older Taiwanese.  I suppose its better out one end than the other.

Either way, Taiwan has been good to me.  Minus being attacked everyday by mosquitoes, I’ve loved the food and beautiful scenery.   As luck would have it, my boyfriend and I will be coming back together again in a few months. It will nice to finally travel together after 2 1/2 years.

In the meantime, my plane awaits.  Onward to new adventures and my summer in the sun!


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