~~ I wrote this post in June of this year and only now feel comfortable enough to post it. It is a little personal but I feel that it gives insight into why I am a little ‘private’ on my blog! However, there are going to be some big changes happening here at Foreign Sanctuary in the near future and I can’t wait to get it all started!! ~~
Growing Up In a Small Town
Growing up in a small town is quite different from living and functioning in Taiwan. Of course, a small town has a sense of community and togetherness – people are willing to lend a helping hand to a neighbor in need. There is a sense of freedom – you don’t need to worry about crime or criminal activity because people in a small town are a close-knit community. Also, you can breathe the fresh clean air and be surrounded by the untouched natural beauty. And it is easy to connect with people because most people know each other or at least, heard of each other.
However, living in a small town also presents its own set of unspoken social rules which members of the community indirectly learn from an early age. People are quick to comment, quick to judge, and quick to gossip. You constantly have to have your guard up and only supply the amount of information deemed necessary and appropriate (by the unspoken social rules). Provide too much information and people will label you a ‘bragger’ and know-it-all. Provide too little information and people will think that you are hiding something and will automatically add their own details.
So, needless to say, living in a small town has its perks but also has its ‘privacy issues’ as well.
How Taiwan Changed Me
When I arrived in Taiwan over 15 years ago, I was that guarded individual described in the previous paragraphs. I found it hard talking about myself and letting people know the real me on the inside. I am not saying that I resorted to lying or anything, but I found it hard discussing certain aspects of my life, especially the moments of ‘achievement and success.’
However, I quickly came to realize that people wanted to know me, not judge me. Taiwanese wanted a better understanding of me and where I came from. Foreigners and other fellow expats wanted to connect with me because we shared a common language and we were on a similar journey.
And after living here for more than 15 years, I can now easily talk about myself, discuss my adventures, and express my thoughts with other people without hesitation. I learned to let my guard down and let people know ‘me,’ not a version of me. I am more content with the person I have become – a more vocal person willing to share all her thoughts and ideas with the rest of the world and to even write a book about her adventures in Taiwan.
And it is my hope that one day I will become fully comfortable with sharing every aspect of my life on this blog, including personal photos. But I guess there is still a little piece of that small town girl in me reeling me in and holding me back.
~~ NOTE: I am not saying anything about small town living and I am not generalizing that every small town is the way I described it. This is purely my experience of growing up in a small town. I understand things change and time changes things, so I hope no one is offended by this post. That is not my intention. My intention is to reflect on how much I have changed and grown while embracing expat life in Taiwan.
Did you grow up in a small town or a big city? What are your experiences growing up? I would love to hear from you so be sure to share your experiences in the comment box below!