Saturday the 19th of April 2014
I woke up early today; I showered, got dressed, stripped my bed and opened my door. I walked into the corridor of my ground floor apartment, a corridor I share with seven other people. There is a washing machine at the end of the corridor and the main doors into the building at the other end. The washing machine is something I tried to use once, failed and decided never to use again. However, my landlady insists it will only cost me NT $20 and that I should follow her four steps, put the money in, press the red button, put the clothes in, add detergent and decide how much water you want, close the lid and press the green button. I say four steps as she told me about the NT $20, the red button, the green button and the water amount. I just presumed the detergent and clothes should go in before the water…
I opened the washing machine lid, there were clothes inside. Wet clothes, belonging to one of my neighbours… now, I don’t know how long they’ve been in there or whether or not I should’ve taken them out but I genuinely felt like I should’ve just washed all of my clothes, by hand, as I had been doing previously rather than attempting to use the communal washing machine of doom which has thus far been nothing but a disappointment to me.
It’s 11:30AM, I don’t have any exams to mark this weekend (a rarity), I don’t have any presentation cards to write and I don’t have anywhere to be which means, I have plenty of time to read and write. Reading and writing? Aren’t you an English teacher? Yes, I am but there is nothing worse (ok, there is) than feeling as though your own vocabulary is slipping as you constantly repeat the words “blue, Sue, glue, true…” etc. day in, day out, for six months.
Six months? Is that how long I’ve been here? It is.
…man first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world - and defines himself afterwards.
However, I should come clean and admit, publicly, that I handed in my letter of resignation on Sunday. There are a number of reasons for this, all of which will surface at a later date. Nothing causes you to evaluate your own existence like moving ten thousand kilometres from home. The above quote refers to man, meaning either man or woman. I feel as though I should point that out as it bothers me when people (usually women) make ridiculous comments about use of the word man. There’s something about blog trolling pseudo third-wave feminists, as it were, that really grinds my gears. Have another quote:
Think about the moments when you have been happily lost in a task - unaware of time passing and impervious distraction. That’s when you’ve experienced the absorption and concentration that psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi famously identified as “flow”. Such moments point the way to goals that are fulfilling because they’re tied to your identity. Contrary to conventional wisdom - which holds that the harder the goal, the greater the accomplishment - flow leads you to consider where you already excel and to build your goals from there.
(Streep and Bernstein, 2013)
I have been thinking a lot about my own goals recently, specifically who I am, where I live, who I want to be and where I want to live. I have come to a number of interesting conclusions. The first being that I no longer want to be here, I’ve said this plenty of times this week but it’s just not for me. I’m a great teacher, my students are wonderful (most of the time) and in terms of their language skills, they’re improving greatly but it’s just not for me.
I studied art for ten years, three years in high school, three years in college, three years at university and then a one year post graduate course in focusing on aesthetics, art theory, the philosophy of art, curating and cultural institutions. It feels as though, although over one hundred and eighty job unsuccessful applications forced me into this position (travelling to the other side of the world to ‘find myself’, just kidding, to ‘find work’) and I don’t regret it, I would’ve been better off (financially) had I been on the dole… I make about £500 a month here. My rent is about £110 a month and it’s really hard to save money and live like a normal person if you plan on eventually leaving Taiwan.
I’m currently in the process of eating everything (dried, powdered, condiments, etc.) in my apartment so that I can start to live off fresh food that can be kept in the fridge rather than the cupboard as I’m already trying to wrap up my life here. My boyfriend bought me a toaster, I feel as though I should bring it with me. I need to clean it today, I love toast but the bread here has so much sugar in it that it’s not doing my waistline any favours. Oh, I should probably mention I’ve been eating said sugary bread for about five out of the six months I’ve been here, almost constantly, every day. The bakeries in Taiwan are amazing; they’re full of the most incredible confectionery.