Many people, when asked about adventure, think about simply traveling. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word “adventure” exists in two forms i.e. a noun and verb. The verb adventure refers to engaging in daring or risky activities whereas the noun depicts the experience one has when an unusual or exciting event takes place. In that case, my move to Taiwan can be described as a noun more than a verb. But personally I would say, it isn’t really where you go, it’s what you experience while there.
Yes, I have physically taken the flight to this beautiful island, approximately 9438.61 miles away from home, seen beautiful architecture, astounding landscapes. Prior to my arrival, I had read about Taipei 101, Kenting National Park, Taroko or some new place to have a blast with friends. So even if I visited them in person yes it would be new, but isn’t the thrill I would feel, the same thrill any other foreigner who visits these sights would? In my opinion, the Taiwan adventure is the personal encounters you will have and no one can prepare you for.
My biggest disarray is, how can a nation with highly educated individuals, leading technology and “great intellectual capacity” be so ignorant of the world outside of Taiwan. They are literally living examples of the saying; I’m in my own world. My first query, why are all black people from Africa? I met this local who asked where I was from, I said the Caribbean. He insisted that because of my colour I’m from Africa, so I told him saying that is like me telling him all Asians are Chinese. He got a bit agitated. I simply laughed at the irony of the situation, here he was insinuating I was African though I told him I was not, yet he was getting upset at the mere fact I mentioned a stereotype directed at his race. I have been to a couple cities in the country and have seen billboards of globally recognized persons, athletes especially ,like Kobe Bryant and Usain Bolt. We all know Kobe Bryant is an American and Usain Bolt is Jamaican. So one has to wonder ,they know about these athletes and other media moguls, their ignorance cannot be blamed on unavailability or access to information, is it just a mere lack of interest in anything outside their comfort zone?
Those annoying times while I’m walking on the street, doing some shopping or just having something to eat, and the locals just stop and stare, along with questions like, I was once asked by a young lady, how do you wash your hair? You use lotion? I can’t help but wonder , “are we (black people) some new specie which evolved in the last decade and posses different engineering from other races?” I have travelled to other countries before but never have I been exposed to such a degree of ignorance. I must say, when you experience such at young age, it is a definite eye opener.
For many foreigners, especially westerners, the cuisine is usually a big issue. I would say my major culinary challenge is definitely rice. Sounds a bit ridiculous doesn’t it? Usually when people come here they fear frogs, snake soup or stinky tofu. I’m used to a heavy root crop diet e.g. taro, yams, as well as banana’s etc. I never felt like a meal was really a meal when rice was the main component. Rice is what I would call my appetite suppressant. The sight of it takes away all my hunger. Eating lunch or dinner is undoubtedly a battle for me.
One thing I Love about this island is how much nature is appreciated. The green forage and rolling mountains are a great reminder of home. After a stressful day, a hike to the lake or park is all the relaxation I need. The smell of the tree’s, hearing the sounds of the fauna and the fact that you’re away from the hustle and bustle of society gives euphoria like no other.
My Journey of 4 years has just begun and I know there will be more to experience. Whether the adventure lies with the people I encounter or the places I visit, even with the changes I will go through, good or bad, the adventure so far has been enriching, so what is to come is welcomed with open arms!
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