After spending almost three months in Taipei, Taiwan and returning back to San Francisco, CA, I have spent a lot of my time recalling friends and the experiences that I have made in Taipei. I have been back in the U.S. for one week now and I am still readjusting to life, establishing my routines, and reconnecting with friends and family. Along with adjusting to my American lifestyle, I am also readjusting to speaking English on a day to day basis as in Taipei I pledged to only speak Chinese.
Now that I am back in the U.S., I am taking notice of many cultural differences that I am now much more aware of between America and Taiwan: the accessibility of foods, bike rentals, public transit, mopeds, the number of pedestrians on the street, and the daily attire people wear. Here in San Francisco there far less people walking the streets and there are little to no moped users. Additionally, there isn’t a bike rental service in almost every block as there is back in Taipei. I must note that the weather is significantly different. As Taipei is in a Tropical region, and San Francisco is notorious for its cold and foggy days. A complete contrast. But regardless of these differences, there is a difference in people and the pace they live in.
As I notice all these differences, I also cannot help to notice the differences in lifestyle from my friends in the U.S. and those I have made in Taipei. Being part of the LGBT community and experiencing the lifestyle and recent legalization of same sex marriage in Taiwan, I was exposed to a community that was in a thriving and developing phase. There was a uniqueness of this in Taipei. As I have also been in Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, and Hong Kong, in Taipei the LGBT was visibly flourishing and it is also being nurtured by the community and the law. The friends I made in Taipei really added to my experience abroad. Without these new friends, I would not have been able to practice my Chinese in public places, visit amazing places in Taiwan, and create a network of friends in a country that I at first knew little to nothing about.
Now I am home, and I do miss Taipei. I miss the people, the experience, and I hope to return to reconnect with friends and pick up where I felt I just started. I have begun to make plans for my graduation and to continue my Chinese studies. I have looked into NTU for graduate school as it would be a great transition for myself as it felt almost like home. I am also planning career options that would allow me to work between the US and Taiwan as I feel that I could truly contribute to both nations. I am home but I am home as a new person and I anticipate what I will do next.