some days I hate Taiwan
let's get real. being an expat isn't all sunshine + rainbows. not every day is an exciting adventure, or even enjoyable. [in fact - despite all the rain we get, I have not ever once seen a rainbow here.]
the truth is: some days I hate Taiwan.
days when people stare at me open-mouthed, like I'm some kind of wild blonde animal that has escaped from the zoo. days when little kids point at me and laugh, and their parents do nothing. days when teenagers yell "mei guo ren" [American] at me as I walk by.
days when people - of all ages - stop and ask to take a picture with me. days when grown women think it's ok to pick up and inspect the items I am buying, right off the checkout belt. days when someone bumps me into a store shelf and I narrowly save the glass bottle of ketchup from shattering, and instead of apologizing... they laugh.
but then there are days like today. when a little boy smiles at me and tries to have a conversation with me, like I'm a real person. when his mother apologizes, even though there's no need to. when he excitedly chatters at me and shows me the game he is playing on his mom's phone. and even when I smile back and say "guitar" and I know he doesn't understand, he claps and giggles like he does.
there are days that it starts raining when I'm in the middle of running errands and am most definitely not wearing anything waterproof. so I arrive back to the apartment drenched and my boot slips on the kickstand and the entire scooter and box of groceries tips over. while the scooter is still running.
but then a random stranger who speaks no English stops to help pick up the groceries, right the scooter, and even offers to cary the soggy box upstairs [since it's pretty much just folding in half at this point.]
there are days that your washing machine decides to quit mid-cycle and start beeping at you, while it leaks all over your laundry room. and no matter which button you push [they're all in Chinese of course] nothing seems to happen.
but when you call to ask for help, you're told that they won't fix it... the entire machine will be replaced. this weekend.
there are days in Taiwan where I feel helpless, even hopeless. those are the days I visit six different grocery stores in hopes of finding an onion that is neither moldy nor mushy... and I fail. the days where I feel so homesick I start looking at real estate in Michigan, the days I would kill to have a real oven or a dryer or - please! - a dishwasher, the days that I want to pull my hair out because between the humidity and my helmet what's the point of having hair anyway?
and then there are the days [like today] where despite all that you find a way to make it work.
it's true that more often here than before I have days that seem incredible, grand, and wondrous. but in between the highs and the lows there's mostly just... life. and that's what I hope to share with you on this rainy tuesday.