The Shay Shays


I was excited and nervous to have friends visit me in Taiwan. Would I be a good guide? Would they like the places I wanted to take them? Would they enjoy their time here? Would they be alright traveling around by themselves? I knew a lot of these concerns were just me being anxious and I knew that they would be OK, even if they somehow happened to get lost for a few days somewhere in Taiwan.

It was a bit strange for me to speak in a fast paced English with slang and laughs and lack of explanations. I hadn’t realized how much the way I communicate had changed since moving here. I’d slowed down and simplified my English to general and broad terms that would be readily understood by the majority of the people whom I’ve encountered here whose primary language is Mandarin.

Yes, I do communicate with other native English speakers but not in daily interactions. Yes, there are many people here whose English is impeccable, but the ones I’ve met are far and few in between. I really enjoy hanging out with everyone I’ve met so far here in Taiwan, no matter their English level, that’s what Google Translate is for.

There were many places that I wanted to take them, but you can only fit so much food in your stomach in one day. We walked and explored a lot, and even that was just the tip of the iceberg. Independently they each found really great places that I’d never checked out and became curious about. After they left I kept finding great spots where my knee-jerk reaction had become to shoot them a message telling them to meet me there after work; if only…

It was a bittersweet visit; knowing that the days would pass too quickly for my liking, jumping closer to their departure date the longer they stayed. I loved having them here and it made me extremely happy; I wish they could have stayed longer, but I knew they would eventually have to leave, with a promise to visit me on their lips. I hope that promise is fulfilled some time soon. I miss them dearly. Who else would bust out “I’m not your puppy” and “The 7-11 song”?

Here’s to many more visits. *Chugging my now cold Americano*
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