Sunday, October 7, 2012

Reason #27 To Love Taiwan

Learning mahjongg with some local friends

Learning new things.

I know, it's been six years, I should have learned to play mahjongg already, but I hadn't. (I'm still not very good, mind you).

I guess, after six years, you start to think you've done it all, even when there are some basic things you haven't done. You can go weeks - months even - without anything "new" happening. You have your favorite restaurants, your favorite hangouts, your group of friends (or in our case, our various groups of friends who sometimes meet), your daily routine and preferred activities/hobbies. You start to think you've done all you can do, learned all you can learn, seen all you can see.

Then you find yourself in an entirely new neighborhood for some reason - one thing I like about my job is that it takes me all over not just Taipei, but northern Taiwan (and sometimes southern Taiwan). I learned more about the 後車站 neighborhood directly north of Taipei Main Station from having a class there and seeking out places for lunch, or places where I could run errands, than I would have if I'd just wandered it on foot in my free time. I wouldn't have gone down this or that lane if not for being right near it due to work, but I was, and I did, and I am better for it.

Or you learn a new turn of phrase in Chinese that adds panache, or a bit of fluency, that you hadn't had before.

Or you make a new friend and they introduce you to something you never thought you'd enjoy.

Or you do something simple, like go to a friend's house to play mahjongg - a game you'd never played before and really never understood.

You meet new people, learn a new game, practice your Chinese, see another bit of the city, and have an experience that you wouldn't have had back home.

And you realize that there are so many other new things to do, new alleyways to explore, new things to learn and new people to meet - your experience hasn't grown stale and likely never will.

That's why you're still here. At least, that's why I am.

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