I know that I haven’t been keeping up as far as posts of late (who would have thought working full time would be so time consuming?), but seeing as I am coming up on the two month mark of my time here, I figured a post was in order. Where to begin? The last two months have drifted by with barely any notice at all. I think this is due mostly to the fact that work has become truly routine. I go into work on Monday, and before I know it I’m clocking out on Friday afternoon. This is bolstered by the fact that I absolutely adore my students (with notable exceptions). It is guaranteed that at least once a week, they will make me break down laughing in the middle of class. I continue to be impressed by their ability as well, both in English and beyond. My older students especially exhibit the intelligence and maturity (I use the term lightly here) of those many years their senior, and watching them try and outwit me in the classroom never gets old. As for the actual teaching, every week has me feeling more comfortable and confident, and seeing solid progress in my students really keeps my enthusiasm high.
On the social front I have also really begun to feel at home. As far as traveling goes, I have seen precious little of Taiwan so far, but what I have seen has been amazing. Taipei is breathtaking and has a night life that rivals any of the world’s big cities, and the mountains outside of Jhudong are truly a sight to behold. I have also already developed a network of great friends in the surrounding area, and I meet interesting new people every weekend. The size and scope of the expatriate community here never ceases to amaze me. The number of teachers alone is staggering, and there are still thousands who come to work at the tech companies and science parks, to say nothing of other job sectors.
It is really starting to seem like Asia has ironically taken the place of America as the new land of opportunity. Every day I see facebook posts about people struggling to find work in the US and Canada, meanwhile droves of teachers, scientists, engineers and others are flocking to Taiwan and doing very well for themselves. Even the attitudes are incomparable. Where the atmosphere in the US is one of pessimism and doubt over the economic and political future, the feeling over here is one of boundless optimism. So go East young man! Adventure and opportunity await you!