It’s uncharacteristic not to update you guys on what’s happening. I’ve been very silent on Confused Laowai, but it’s indicative of change. It’s almost eight months now that I’ve been living in Taipei. So what’s been happening? I’ll be candid here.
A shift in focus
It’s been an interesting journey this year. Moving from being a Master’s student last year researching spaced repetition systems and Chinese characters to a working as a young adult teaching English in Taipei. It’s related yes, but it came with the infamous “work” life. I had a bursary last year, but now I have to navigate life by trying to get an income as well. This isn’t a post about the 99%, or of the trials and tribulations of the “real” life, but it marks a change in my life, that changed my priorities… for now at least.
During the day I would do web development, working on projects for my self or contract work, then late afternoon/early evening I would teach English. Learning Chinese, as a priority has taken a back seat. I’m focusing more on web development as a potential career.
I said this in my immersion post, that moving to Taipei has changed my motivation to learn Chinese. Before I came here, moving to Taipei was my goal. I wanted to improve my Chinese as much as possible so that I can function in the society. When I arrived, I realized I could function pretty well and the intense focus on the language was downgraded.
Where to now?
My immediate Chinese goals are non-existent. I try and focus as much as possible on the environment. My listening has improved the most. Being at the intermediate level of any language is a tough place to be. You have to find your motivation to push yourself to fluency. At the moment, I’m still trying to find this. Some people have romantic partners or will use Chinese in a professional environment, I don’t have any of these aspirations. The best idea I can think of to slowly delegate an activity I enjoy in English to Chinese. Maybe something liking reading? Or watching movies?
In any case, as this change happened (and still happening) this year, I’m not going to stop learning Chinese. This language has changed me and I won’t just discard it. I just have to find something else. Motivation is integral to learning a language, if not the most important element.
Habits and motivation will change. This is a challenge. How do you change with it, that’s the question here? I’ve just been slow in trying to figure this out. But I promise I will! Developing HanziCraft for example has been great in mixing web development and learning Chinese.
Life in Taiwan
Taiwan is an amazing country. It's incredibly easy to live here. Even though I work on Saturdays, we spend most weekends traveling and sightseeing. Summer is incredibly hot though. Even hotter than South Africa! It was unbearable at first, but now I've gotten used to it. Here are some photos (taken by me and my girlfriend) of my traveling and life in Taiwan:
Walking through the streets of JiufenDrinking tea with Greg from Mandarin Segments on his visit to Taipei
In the end Taiwan is beautiful and I really enjoy it. I'm just not sure where it leaves me with a potential career at the moment. One thing is for sure though, I'll have to work on changing my goals for Chinese. It's been too long and too dormant. What do you think I should I do?