Many people ask me if I love Taiwan. I don’t. However, there are good and bad things about living in Asia.
First and foremost, we paid off all of our debts. Both my wife and I went back to school fulltime and continued working fulltime, something that wasn’t possible in the US/Canada. We’ve since amassed more debt since we bought a duplex in Illinois (it’s a fixer-upper).
I wouldn’t want to do anything but teach in Taiwan, because schedules can be quite hectic in the corporate sector. I’m not interested in that. Neither was I ever interested in going back into programming and web design for a Taiwanese company.
Over the years, I’ve gotten used to Taiwan. I no longer balk at wearing my pollution mask (from Respro) every day I hop on the scooter. I no longer am surprised at how bad the drivers are. I am no longer surprised when things don’t go as planned. Teaching jobs come and go, and I haven’t stayed at one place for more than 2 years. This had to do with the fact that I went home in 2008 and came back in 2009.
I’ve had extremely racist bosses, who were just looking for ways to get rid of me, and extremely nice bosses, who bought me breakfast after inquiring if I had already had some.
Foreigners in Taiwan are split between a few different types: the people who come to stay, the people who are here for short while, and the in-betweeners. My wife and I are of the latter. We knew we’d never settle permanently in Taiwan, but it was a means to an end. Within a year, my wife was back at school, doing a doctorate. Meanwhile, I went back to school in 2008. We no longer live on credit. That’s a big thing. All of our purchases are made in cold hard cash.
Living in Taiwan is both good and bad.