Notes From Taiwan

Ni hao. If you arrived here from Creative Noise, you already know who I am. If not, a brief introduction: wo-de mintze Bu-Li-An han wo shi laoshi si Madou si Tanain Hsien. Wo mei-go-ren. Or, to put it another way, my name is Brian and I am an English teacher in Madou, Tainan County. I am an American. Unfortunately I am illiterate in Chinese, hence the Pinyin (which can be annoyingly inconsistent in Taiwan, depending on which Romanization system the authorities decided to use this week -- the entrance sign to the small town I reside in is alternately written "Matou" in certain places, and a town close by has at least three spellings: "Lungdian" "Lungten" "Lungtian"). Yes, I have a Chinese name now, since a Chinese name -- written in the Chinese script -- is necessary to open a bank account. Each syllable in "Bu-Li-An" has a corresponding character, but unfortunately I don't know how to transpose the 3 characters to the computer screen, so you'll have to settle for the Pinyin version for now.

Anyway, to get to the point, I've decided to attempt a sporadic on-line quasi-diary of my life, observations, and thoughts living as a recent ex-pat in the Republic of China. I make no claims to any specialized expertise on Taiwanese culture; these are just the random jottings of a more or less average English teacher coasting through the ex-pat life. Writing down in full everything I've experienced here, what I've learned (before I came I knew not a single word of Chinese and quite little of Chinese culture), and my feelings towards living here would take much more web space than a single website could safely handle, so realize that my little essays are by necessity incomplete summations. Realize also that while I hope that the things I have to say might interest and enlighten a few people, I'm doing this as much, if not more so, for myself -- I need a place to put down my thoughts, to occasionally vent my frustrations and proclaim the pleasures of living in a strange, faraway land. Living in the Orient can be alienating for even the most culturally open Westerner, since no matter how hard you try you will always be an outsider looking in, a stranger who doesn't belong amongst the world's most ethnically/culturally homogenous societies. Thank lao-tian for the internet, giving us round-eyes a way to touch base back home with the simplest of ease.

For more info, EFL in Asia's Taiwan Links is the best place to start. You Know You've Been In Taiwan Too Long When... is good for a few laughs.

Essay 1: The 3 Stages of Culture Shock

Essay 2: Election Special

Essay 3: Ugly Americanisms

Essay 4: Notes From the Philippines (Pt. I)

Essay 5: Notes From the Philippines (Pt. II)

My Homepage Note: a lot of the personal info is obviously outdated. Maybe I'll update it someday, if I weren't so lazy.