It’s strange being out here without a goal. I finish school this week, finally graduating, but it’s strange. I’m not looking to live in Taiwan forever, but that’s not a goal. To learn and experience? That’s more of a direction. One of the other teachers asked me if I was just going to move and start again, but even that implies that I’m building a life I plan to stay in. I had those goals once, marriage, kids, old age, and death, but that life didn’t survive.
Most people pick up the pieces and try again, but it feels like I just left it on the floor this time. A mess that no one else will clean up, but that I really don’t have the will to. Maybe I need the right person, but I have lived most of my life alone. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s not how I saw myself ending up either. Unfortunately, the path I have chosen is not one that is easy, or common. It is more likely that I will be alone on this path, if not certain.
I put in for the Peace Corps again, now that I have my degree. With my skillset, I’ll probably end up teaching English somewhere else, but the best part about the Peace Corps is that so much more is required. Community building, cultural interaction, and a depth that the jobs I have had before never offered. Most teachers I know are looking for money, a long vacation, or a life beyond their home countries. I love what I do, but I could do so much more. Now that I’m out of school, maybe I will start to really know this place.
I have been focusing more on my Mandarin now that I have no homework, but it’s funny how the brain works. Someone mentioned that they might need me to cover a Spanish class, so I started to review my Spanish in my head. Then, I headed to Wai’ao, the beach east of Taipei. By the time I got there I couldn’t speak Mandarin anymore. I could understand it, but my brain reverted to giving me answers in Spanish. It was like when I first arrived, with no real ability to communicate. It took me months to be able to order food here, and minutes to lose it.
The beach was nice, clean, and so much like home. That might just be my heart seeing the ocean again, but it reminded me of Coronado. The water was cleaner, but there were no waves to stir up the sand. There were crabs and fish everywhere, and it was amazingly calm. I stayed at a hostel next to a white building that looked like it belonged in the Middle East. Beautiful architecture, pointed spires, and high walls. I heard it belonged to a businessman who converted to Islam, and it looks the part, so out of place among the worn concrete buildings that are so common in Taiwan.
The food was boring, the waves were dead, and the heat was intense, but it was one of the best vacations I’ve had. I filled my days with swimming and naps, with an occasional walk on the beach. I practiced forms a bit, and it’s amazing how difficult it is to do them in a foot of water. I expected the water to push and pull, but the sand washed out from under my feet, making it difficult to judge where the next step should be. I laughed, and fell, more than once.
It’s good to have time to think, and it’s good to know the direction I am headed in, but I wonder how long it will be before I have a concrete goal again. For now, I am glad to have the life I lead, and for today, all the pain was worth it.