I have talked about things that I have seen and done so far, but I haven’t really described my day-to-day, regular life. That’s because until recently I haven’t really had a day-to-day normality continuum.
It seems like when you first arrive here, life is chaotic and unpredictable because everything is so new. You want to do everything, see everything, taste everything. Since Taiwan is so small, and travel is so cheap it’s pretty easy to do so. In addition, for a single newcomer, it’s easy to get lost in the excitement and, if you are like me, live in a state of constant debauchery.
This is what my weeks were like in the first few months:
Monday – Recover from the weekend. Drag myself to lunch swearing off booze and partying forever. Shower. Go to work. Come home. Sleep.
Tuesday – Feeling better. Eat breakfast AND lunch. Wander around the streets. Shower. Go to work. Think about going for a beer. Remember my promise from yesterday. Dinner. Go home (because I always keep my promises). Sleep.
Wednesday – Feeling 100%. Eat breakfast. Shoot some hoops. Shower. Work. Go have a beer with dinner (only 1…or 2…not enough to anger the promise gods). Home. Sleep.
Thursday – Life is great! Eat, wander the streets. Watch some TV. Shower. Work. Foreigner night at local bar!!! Beers till 1 am (promise long forgotten). Stumble home. Pass out.
Friday – Just one more day to go. Fall out of bed. Nurse hangover. Skip meals. Shower. Work. Can’t go to sleep now…it’s the weekend (promise was only for WEEKDAYS).
Weekends – Varied. Usually included travelling to a big city for 2 days of partying with random, single serving friends, hunting for members of the fairer sex, or travelling to different scenic locales to take in the “culture” (which usually included a bar tour and a lot of beer sampling). I absolutely HAD to go somewhere on the weekend because it was too boring to stay at home.
As you can see, this lifestyle, while fun, was not really productive to my general well being, but my mind still thought I was on vacation. The fact that I was living here hadn’t actually fully sunk in. I was still in party mode.
It took about a year for the “lets go do something awesome today” syndrome to wear down to manageable levels.
These are my weeks now:
Monday – Wake up at 6:30 am. Go to the beach for a run or swim. Breakfast. Study Chinese. Lunch. Work. Dinner. Chill at coffee shop. Bed by around 9:30 pm.
Tuesday – Wake up at 8:00 am. Breakfast. Shoot hoops or play tennis. Lunch. Go to the beach and surf. Work. Dinner. Bed by around 9:30 pm.
Wednesday – Wake up at 6:30 am. Go to the beach for a run or swim. Breakfast. Study Chinese or do blog stuff. Lunch. Work. Dinner. Watch TV at friend’s house or hang out with significant other. Bed by 10:00 ish.
Thursday – Wake up at 8:00 am. Breakfast. Laze around, wander the streets. Lunch. Work. Dinner. Bed by around 9:30 pm.
Friday – Wake up at 8:00 am. Breakfast. Tennis. Lunch. Surfing. Work. Dinner. Coffee shop studying Chinese. Bed by around 11:00 pm.
Weekend – Wake up whenever. Breakfast. Beach for most of the morning and afternoon. Lunch. Hang out wth people. Movies etc. Rarely, but sometimes bar….OR….go travelling to a different city or scenic site and actually see the sights instead of mapping out the bar scene.
This schedule is, of course, subject to changes, but it gives an idea of what life is like now. I usually do more blog stuff during the week and weekends, especially when I come across something interesting or cool.
One thing I have discovered is that I needed to find pet projects to maintain my sanity and stay grounded in Taiwan. Since work barely occupies 25-30 hours a week, there is a lot of free time to fill. Also, with the salary here, there is a lot of money to burn. It’s easy to fall in the trap of being on constant vacation. While some people enjoy that lifestyle, I found it got boring quite fast.
Ya…I know…who would think that vacationing all the time would get old, but it did. I felt like I was getting in a rut and making no progress.
So, I started doing more constructive things to fill my time. I’ve found that if you have one or several projects to work on, life (even the day-to-day variety) gets pretty interesting.