On June 13th of this year, I celebrated my 15th Taiwanversary (15 years living in Taiwan). And even though that day has long since passed, I thought I would share a reflection of how my life has changed over the last decade and a half since arriving on the island of Taiwan. It’s funny how some things that once seemed so strange and foreign have become completely normal and a part of every day life.
So, you know you’ve been an Expat in Taiwan for a long time when….
~1~ the main condiment in your refrigerator is soy sauce, not ketchup.
~2~ your vegetables are bargained for and bought at a morning market and all of this is done without even getting off your scooter.
~3~ hearing an English conversation is the most amazing thing and chances are, you can’t help but listen in.
~4~ you stand out like a sore thumb and people make it their mission to greet you with a friendly ‘hello.’
~5~ you neglect to follow some of the traffic rules and regulations as it is more dangerous to obey them than not.
~6~ you appreciate the simple things in life all the more – seeing your favorite brands or snacks from your native country makes your day, month, or even your year. Also, finding your own piece of paradise and having it all to yourself is a highlight moment.
~7~ Beethoven’s music has a whole new meaning which involves you running out to personally place your trash in the yellow garbage truck (and recycles in the white one).
~8~ you tend to speak Chinese phases even when you return ‘home’ to your native country for vacation.
~9~ people sometimes try to cut the line – but you are not afraid to give them a polite reminder to ‘pai dui’ (which means line-up) and you do it with a smile on your face.
~10~ 7-11 (or any convenience store for that manner) is a one-stop shop for everything. You can eat, pay bills, buy coffee, purchase phone cards, and the list goes on.
~11~ hello has an entirely different meaning and it is used to capture your attention – whatever happened to ‘Excuse me.’
~12~ you tend to be cultural influenced and gravitate towards cute things. – You are fully aware that Taiwanese love ‘hao keai dongxi’ (very cute things)!!
~13~ the smell of stinky tofu no longer makes you hold your breath. **Bonus**
~14~ you are surrounded by people who are extremely friendly and will go out of their way to help you without any expectations in return.
~15~ you are content and happy with life in Taiwan and you realize your initial impressions about this island were inaccurate!!
I could add a lot more but I will stop here!!
Are you or have you ever been an expat? What are the things that stand/stood out to you while living in a foreign country?