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.
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