Sunday, June 01, 2008

Fifteen years in Taiwan

I can't believe I've spent most of my adult life in Taiwan. Fifteen years! The precise date on which I arrived on this isle silently slipped by me last week as I'd forgotten to set the alarm on the Years In Taiwan Chronometer. I used to be kind of proud about how long I'd been in Taiwan - three years, five years, seven years - now I just sort of shrug and say "a long time" when people ask the inevitable, "How long have you been in Taiwan?" I don't get why some people appear to be impressed by someone who has lived here for a long time. I suppose what people are really saying is, "Wow, you haven't left yet?", and that's a little unsettling.

At the 15-year mark I feel like I ought to know a lot more about Taiwan than I do. I can't speak Taiwanese and I've never been to Hualien. So why am I not listing everything that I have learned, seen and done, in the past fifteen years? Well, I'm mindful of something I read shortly after arriving here, which goes something along the lines of: It's said that someone who visits a country for a few months will return and write a book about it, someone who went there for more than ten years will return and write an essay, but someone who has lived there for more than 20 years won't write anything at all. So, at 15 years, a short blog post seems about right.

6 comments:

Karl said...

I was here 11 years (or so) before I finally made it to Hualian. It was as good as everybody always says it is, especially the ride up Taroko.

I figure I'll get to Penghu before 15 years, Green Island by 20. I'll never get around to visiting Taidong...

Patrick Cowsill said...

I go to Hualien at least twice a month. The ride down on the train from Taipei is magnificent. And it's just about as far as you can get away from China here in Taiwan.

thumper said...

Congratulations on the anniversary. My date is special to me to, and the "a long time" is my preferred answer now to that question as well. Enjoyed reading your blog and your photos. The title photo on your site reminded me of a video I made a few years ago. Shadows and taiqi figure prominently. http://tw.youtube.com/watch?v=IIAfC_2o5kM

Truett Black said...

I've been here for about 8 years. Last year, I finally went to Hualien. I've been back once since then. You have simply got to go. Find a weekend, preferably a long one, jump in the car or on a train, and just go. Spend lots of time in Taroko. You'll be glad you did.

My "daigee" is also weak.

We should have a long-termer's convention in Hualien every year and invite a Taiyu laoshi to teach workshops.

kdobson said...

I also recommend Hualien. It's one of my favourite places in the world, not just Taiwan

Bicyclesidewalk said...

15 years in Taiwan! Wow - I have 9 years in Japan, however I am moving to Taiwan in October. My wife is from the east coast - I too would recommend Hualien.