I don’t want to leave

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I have less than two weeks left in Taiwan, a final 10-page essay to write, a final Chinese Langauge exam, friends to say goodbye to, and gifts to buy. But all I want is to pause. I want to pause, analyze, pause, reflect, pause, and pray. I’m not ready to leave Taiwan. As someone who is goal-oriented and prides herself in being organized and diligent, I feel all sorts of messiness in my head, heart, and studies. Everything feels like it’s going too fast and I can’t seem to get a hold of myself. At the same time, everything is falling into place: the fear I had of missing out, not making meaningful friendships, not learning enough Chinese, and not being the smartest person in the class are all gone. Yet, I only have a week and a half left to spend with new friends and prepare for my finals. I can now say that I love the way things have been here in Taiwan, my process of adapting, making friends, reflecting on my failures and wins, and finally realizing I have to leave very soon. I can’t believe it. But that is how life works, once you have figured it out, it is time to move on. I’m okay with that, we have seasons in life, and being in Taiwan is one of them. I’m excited and super nervous to see where everything I have learned in Taiwan will lead me once I’m back in New York City. But I will miss everything about Taipei terribly.

Reflecting on my time here in Taiwan, I am once again reminded of the temporariness of things. Before I came here, I never thought I would be saying “I don’t want to leave”. My goal was to just get here, improve my Chinese language skills, learn about Taiwanese culture, go back to my home university, and start my senior year. Now, I am not even sure what I will do during my senior year. All I can think about is what I can do to come back to Taiwan. Do I apply to do grad school here or do I apply for Fulbright to come here and teach English? Should I just take a gap year to stay here for a few months? Or should I cling to my pre-study abroad dream of applying to my dream university and studying international education? It is crazy how three months can change your whole trajectory. Now I truly know that it takes three months to establish a habit or change a belief. It also takes about 60 days to get accustomed to a new Environment. I’m smiling now. My first month and a half in Taiwan weren’t great, there were times I felt lonely and other times I felt ashamed of not being as smart as my classmates (I was used to being so intelligent at my home university). Now all of that has passed, I learned to make friends and I don’t take myself so seriously. But as soon as I realized that I had acquired those skills through my life experiences, I realize I am off to something new. I think this is something beautiful, I love to be challenged. I want to see where the next few days lead me.