Our first week back “home” has been quite interesting. Not the same interesting as a year ago, however. Many times over the last several days Chris and I have reminisced about our feelings when we first set foot in this strange land only 12 months ago. At that time, we stepped off the plane with mouths agape and eyes stretched open. We staggered around our neighborhood trying to make sense of all of the new sights, sounds, and smells. Everything about our new lives was strange and exciting, and more than a little bit overwhelming. This year, we find ourselves on the other side, the “veteran’s” side. I’m not suggesting that just one year here has made us authorities on the intricacies of Taiwanese language or culture, but we do feel at least slightly accustomed to life in Taipei.
This year, we stepped off the plane, came to our apartment, and got ready for church. After church, we had lunch and met some friends for dinner at a restaurant we had been craving all summer. You know what? We did the exact same thing in Birmingham when we arrived seven weeks ago, and the exact same thing in Denver when we arrived four weeks ago. It is a really strange, but comforting feeling to consider three different cities around the world “home.”
We have spent our time this past week at orientation at school. It has been great to catch up with friends and get to know the new teachers. It really is incredible what a difference a year makes. Chris and I smile as the new teachers remind us of our own curiosity and nervousness about Taiwan and making a life here.
As most of you probably did not know, we had a typhoon come through this weekend. You may remember from my blog last year that people really don’t make a big deal out of these storms here in Taipei. City planning is such that we don’t really worry about flooding or major wind damage. The 7-11 by our apartment never closes so Oreos and ramen noodles are always close at hand. I really enjoyed being able to play the reassuring role to the new teachers whose stomachs dropped at the word “typhoon.” A category 4? No big deal, that just means a day off of school to hunker down and play cards with your friends.
Don’t you worry, though. I’m sure that we will still have plenty of entertaining and frustrating stories to blog about as we burrow further into the culture that will make itself our home again for the next 12 months. But, for now, I’m going to enjoy feeling right at home here on the other side.