Monday, January 23, 2012

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Happy new dragon year!

1/23/2012 Taiwan Explorer
My year end thoughts and more...

My actual life

Today is the first day of the new year in the Han universe, hence also in Taiwan. The dragon has succeeded the rabbit and according to Chinese mythology, this should be a great year. I don't believe in these things, but a little bit of optimism wouldn't hurt. Last year's been truly the most challenging year of my life. I left my old life behind in hope of finding true happiness in Taiwan. One year later I've realized, that there is no true happiness: It's all imaginary wishful thinking, it's all what you make of it. There are so many things in my life much better now and if I calculate what I've lost and what I've gained with my move to Taiwan, I would most definitely be on the winning side. But my life here is anything but cherry blossoms. It's very stressful, sometimes beyond anything I've ever experienced before. I try my best to separate this blog from my real life and always make sure, that my daily agony is not felt here. Most of that is related to my current job and if I was the kind of blogger, who needs to share every small things that upsets him, I could write essays every day. But I'm glad I spare my readers these things, which are highly subjective and could only cause me trouble one day. This little blog is my creative outlet, I want to create something valuable, durable and aesthetic. I'm not too interested in daily happenings, unless it's useful for making a general point. But I guess most of you long time readers know all this by now. I want to be different and I know am different, but that doesn't mean I'm better than others. I just am. I'm existing along others virtually and literally and trying to make the best of my existence - same as you. These transitions from an ending year to a starting year are always heavy on everyone's soul. It's time to review the past and look forward to the future, but what if you feel a little disoriented? At this point, I would just like to pause the reality, freeze it and take a long break. Currently in my life, I'm trapped in a vicious routine and I'm not happy about it, on the other hand, I don't see any short-term solutions to escape and to change my life for the better. I'm working hard, but I'm not respected nor valued (also because I'm a foreigner), but I'm earning money and making sure, that my wife and I can have a decent life in oh so expensive Taipei. I'm swallowing a lot of bitter pills and basically suppressing my ideals and beliefs, because there is no better alternative in my life at this point. Sadly, this is very common in Taiwan, I don't feel very special with my situation - I could say I'm pretty fine compared to what I heard from my Taiwanese friends. It's a different world, a different culture and it's not easy, when a Western mind clashes with the Oriental way of doing things. Living in Taiwan is a great way to train one's patience and tolerance. A Zen proverb says: "Be master of mind rather than mastered by mind" - I try to abide by these wise words as best as possible. I'm determined to change my life this year (and pretty soon I hope), but I need to be strong and keep going every day. Hopefully this short new year vacation will fill up my batteries a little, but I'm not too sure. A little bit of luck in the coming weeks would be appreciated.

My virtual life

In terms of blogging, I have so many "unfinished projects" from last year: My Taipei sights and guides, night market posts, travel posts, food posts, restaurant reviews and much more... I won't have a lot of time to publish too often due to constant lack of free time, but also, because I will focus on the quality. Taiwan politics will not be discussed on this blog and I don't want to be associated with the Chinese blogosphere - I want to be limited to Taiwan and be a specialist on local matters. There are a lot of excellent blogs focused on the whole region, but I don't aspire to be one of them. I will protest, if anyone drags me to the virtual playgrounds outside the islands under the authority of the government of Taiwan. I believe, that if you want to be the best in what you do, you need to stay focused on one topic. And I have the ambition to remain the best in my field. Thanks everybody, who's been reading my blog the past year and following my journey. It's been heated at times, but never boring and let's hope it stays that way. My subscribers are close to 250 and I hope I can double that number by the end of the year. Thanks also to all of you, who send me emails. I keep getting them almost daily, with lots of questions and suggestions, but mostly very positive and supportive, like for example Peiqi, a reader from Singapore, who wrote: thanks so much for sharing SOOOOO much in your blog. chanced upon it while researching for my trip to taiwan - heading there for 12 days!! :)) will definitely be going to some places u recommended (you have sooo much info there). thanks!!!! Thank you Peiqi, for reading and appreciating what I write. It's readers like her that I'm most happy about, because they find my articles useful for something related to their life. I'm always kind enough to answer a question or two, but now and then people contact me who question me out about tons of things and when I reply few times, they disappear forever, especially my fellow Europeans. I will need to be stricter in such cases and reply in a very limited way. I'm not the only European in Taiwan, but I'm the only popular blogger and that's why I'm constantly googled and contacted, usually by people who want to come here. It's flattering to be in this position, on the other hand, I'm not paid to serve as a resource - people tend to forget that. Luckily, I also get emails from companies, who are offering something. So far I've mostly been declining the offers, but this year, I might go for some of them - it just needs to be something I can relate to.

Life's unforeseeable, but there are ways to flow into a certain direction. I'll try my best to succeed in that with the hope, that the rocks I'll hit along the way won't knock me out. Dear reader, thank you once again to returning to my little blog. May the dragon bring best of luck to you!

[My TAIWAN LIFE page][Photo by MKL, 2012]