Taiwan – Home is Where my Couch is
Have you ever had that eye opening realisation that the foreign country you live in feels more like home than your “homeland?”
We just arrived back in Taiwan after visiting Canada for five weeks, and I’ll tell you something… coming through the Taipei international Airport felt like we were coming home. This feeling shocked me. One year ago, I was sweating in the excruciating heat, struggling with culture shock, and having anxiety due to my inability to communicate in Mandarin. I would not have called Taiwan home.
Now for the record, I am truly rooted in Canada and will always call Canada home. This is where my family is and I value family more than anything. Travelling is a close second!
But on this recent trip to Canada however, an element of “home-ness” was missing. Sure, the air smelled like home. And our families enveloped us with love and comfort.
But something was still missing. It was our couch – the ability to relax in my own space. It was our local friends who have become our best friends – the ones we go to for help and comfort. It was our routines – our daily walk to my son’s school and to the market. It was our life in this part of the world where an amazing community has taken us in.
The funny thing is that it wasn’t until the last two weeks of our trip to Canada that I was coming to terms with the fact that Taiwan was home. It was my four years old son who said it a plain as day. He was having an off day, feeling tired and said that he “wanted to go back home to Taiwan.” A week and a half later as we were preparing to return to Taiwan my son started making a case about how he was Taiwanese and Canadian. We don’t have even one ounce of Taiwanese blood, but I thought it was beautiful for him to be thinking this way.
So now that we are back home to Taiwan, we are enjoying our space and getting back in the routines of things. It’s still bloody hot, but for whatever reason, it doesn’t feel as unbearable. Last year I didn’t think I could survive another Taiwanese summer. In fact, the thought of doing so, caused me anxiety through much of the year.
This year, temperatures have been in the mid 30s with the usual high humidity. I’m not sure if it’s less hot than it was last year, or if it’s that I’m getting used the the weather. I’m hoping it’s the later!
So, as I head into these first few weeks back home in Taiwan, I do so with a renewed sort of energy. I’ve put my language communication anxieties in an imaginary folder tucked far away. Calling Taiwan “home” has given me a boost of energy.