Since I’ve been back in the States, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve told people what I do in Taiwan and what I’ve learned since I’ve moved out there. Every time I share it, I realize how much I love it; and every time people ask, I realize how many people don’t know what it is I love. And after giving all of this some thought, I thought it would be a good idea to get it out in writing for everybody, myself included.
So here we go, a profile of my life in Taiwan, more or less. And if you still have questions after this, I promise not to judge you.
Where I live: I live in Ximending, Taipei, Taiwan. Not Thailand or Timbuktu, TAIWAN. It’s a super small country off the east coast of China and contains around 20 million people. The island is beautiful, full of mountains and rivers and beaches and forests that reward all who discover the majestic solace Taiwan has to offer.
(Pictured above: on the top is a scene from Taroko, below is a scene from Ximen)
The city of Taipei isn’t a bad outfit, either. Between national healthcare and super convenient public transportation, the foreigner who settles into these parts find herself well-taken care of. Ximending, the neighborhood where I live, is a center for the latest pop culture. You’ll find movie theaters (independent and main stream), KTV (Asian karaoke), local art, street artists and street performers, skaters, graffiti, restaurants, tea shops and local access to the river trails. I love it!
Why I live there: I live here because this is where God wanted us to plant a church. By “us,” I mean the team of missionaries I joined after I graduated from college. A movement started in Ximen a few years ago, a movement of community, worship and God’s love. The goal and vision of this movement was to plant a church in the Ximen area that would meet the people where they were at and love them without bounds.
(Pictured above: on the top is a group picture taken on Easter Sunday after our friend Terry was baptized, below is a family picture of the Aroma team on the beach during our retreat)
I joined this movement in its second year and have been able to watch the movement abound and flourish. We’ve gone from a weekly community hang out on Friday nights to a monthly dinner and worship service and then finally to a weekly church meeting. The Aroma Coffee Shop opened up this last January, and the church started meeting on the second floor of the coffee shop at 8 every Sunday night around that same time.
(Pictured above: on the top is a close up of the Aroma logo on the front window of the coffee shop, below is a typical scene you might see in a coffee shop)
What I do: I am a missionary and English teacher. In order to support ourselves, many of us on the team teach English at local private institutions called cram schools. Because of the hourly teaching pay and Taiwan’s low cost of modern living, we’re able to work part time and spend the rest of the time building relationships, volunteering at the coffee shop, taking Chinese classes, and doing various things for The Aroma, such as leading small groups and coordinating outreaches.
(Pictured above: on the top is me and some of my small group and other community members my last night in Taiwan before flying to America for the summer, on the bottom is me and three of my precious English students)
Why you should come visit me/come out to Taiwan to teach English for at least one year/just think about coming out here: Taiwan is an awesome place. There are a lot of foreigners out here from different walks of life and areas of the globe providing the economy with a service that is in high demand: teaching English. If you have a passport from the U.S., England, South Africa, Canada or Australia (and it’s not limited to those countries, either) and a bachelor’s degree (or at least can prove you have one), you’re more than set to move to Taiwan and teach English for a year.
A year goes by fast. The cram schools in Taiwan normally sign their English teachers on for one year, no more no less unless special circumstances apply. A year is more than enough time to live in another country, travel around Asia, pick up some of the local language, make new friends and have an experience you will never forget. The people are friendly, the country is beautiful. Consider yourself warned, however. Many who come for “one year” (myself included) stay.