After 9 years, I am back in Taiwan. A tiny island it may be, but it’s the home for my entire family and the land of all yummy food. 9 years, and I braced myself for the changes I was sure to see in my country. But it wasn’t my country that had changed; it was me. I am visiting and seeing everything with an oddly familiar scent; one that I can’t shake off. Everywhere I look at, I know that I have been there at some point. But I remember those places with the innocence of a child. I must have been no more than 10 years old since I was last here, but stepping back in Taiwan is the proof of how much I have changed, and how much I will keep changing.
It’s been a bit more than a week since I’ve been here, and my life ‘style’ just feels so drastically different to the one I had concocted back in Peru. I have visited the bay, an huge 5-floor bookstore, two museums, went mountain-climbing, gone shopping, and eaten delicious Taiwanese food in this amount of time. I love the memories that each of this experiences will bring to me, but I’m even more grateful for how this time has helped me realize what kind of person I am.
I consider myself a social introvert: I like being independent and doing things on my own, and many of my activities are solitary, e.g. blogging, reading, exercising, learning, etc. But I also see the value in surrounding myself with all kinds of people, which is why I try to make some of my activities more sociable, e.g. attending classes, joining communities online, etc. Back in Peru, I was mainly on my own, which gave me a lot of time to invest in my reading, blogging and personal development in general. Once I arrived in Taiwan, however, it was a hectic fast-paced life with too many things to do and too little time.
It was in these moments that I realized I needed my therapeutic morning routines. My own ‘space’ to read and write. My own form of hectic lifestyle dictated by myself. Because it is only then that I am in control of what I do, and that’s the kind of order I need in my life. This, what I’m doing now in Taiwan, is something that I will continue seeking in my future travels, but not at ‘home’. I wasn’t sure of this while I was back in Peru; I was too busy worrying about my life not being socially hectic enough. But now I know.
My ‘home‘ cannot be a physical place, ever, because I am always slightly a foreigner in my homes. In Peru, where my Asian face gives away my origins. In Taiwan, where my slight Mandarin accent suggests I was not raised there. In wherever I set my foot in, because my multiculturalism will shine through my personality. As long as I know my true identity, I can find home anywhere I am.
–Michelle (aka Misty Prose)