I'd never experienced so many things all at once before. It was tough, hard, but it was... amazing. I felt like a completely different person: Mentally, physically... spiritually (well, I was mentally and physically exhausted all the time, and that sucked), but I also felt physically nicer (besides the main fact of me being... ummm... ill for a month and a half :/ :( ). But I mean, I had had my hair cut very short several months prior and it grew back wavy, and when I was in Taiwan, the humidity and climate made my hair curly, and I was ecstatic! I had always wanted curly hair and that was wonderful! I felt wonderful about my hair. :)
I felt too, that I lost weight (a Taiwanese woman I was working with had commented that I looked healthy and had lost a little weight), and I was excited about that, too!! :D I was incredibly excited and happy.
Unfortunately, when I got back to the states, I checked my weight and realized I hadn't lost any weight but I had gained 10 pounds... sooooooooo, you can imagine my disappointment. :(
It's understandable though why I gained weight. We were fed really well at the camps for one, and I was sick and ill for forever so I couldn't really do any physical activity with the kids (besides being exhausted mentally and physically every moment since the minute I stepped off the plane into Kaohsiung). Another factor to my gaining weight was just the whole teaching-for-the-first-time thing! I was really freaked out and stressed and nervous... and all that contributes to weight gain...
Before I stricken with disappointment that I hadn't lost any weight and was under the delusional impression that I was LOSING weight, and I felt good! I felt great! I was happy. :)
As far as spiritually... I felt spiritually stronger... like I was closer to God then I had ever been before.
I guess I pretty much decided that if ANYone was going to get me through these new and frightening experiences, it was God and God ONLY. I had to rely on HIS strength, because I was so exhausted, there was no way I could muster it up for myself.
I had really rough times there in Taiwan, and I had two wonderful gals who kept me threw it. Susanna and Laura W. were my supporters. At the last two camps we would read the Bible together in the mornings and at night we'd sing uplifting Christian songs on the beach. We encourage each other and lift each other up. We laughed, we cried, we talked about life, boys (and the difficulties surrounding them and us, lol ), and we were just there for each other. I miss those times. I miss those gals...
It's really easy for me to look back and see all of the negative... like
how I was constantly sick and the doctors didn't seem to know what to do the help get me better,
or how exhausted I was the second I stepped off the plane into Kaohsiung and was spring-boarded directly into teaching the next day (I never recovered from my jet lag - I was exhausted every moment of every day while I was in Taiwan).
How stressful teaching was - I'd never taught kids before and I was stressed out (but I did what I had to do), or how I was worked non-stop. Like 40-80 hours a week (for two months straight)!
how I didn't have time to enjoy the sights of Taiwan until my last day in Taipei (with Teresa, Laura, and Kevin - which was amazing by the way! :D ), but just how disappointed I was about that I was just working working working all the time.
Or how I felt that all the (HUGE) native bugs of Taiwan wanted to greet me all at once (ants, cockroaches, MASSIVELY disgusting spiders to name a few). O.O
... or how when I was in the San Fransisco airport talking with my mom on the phone (waiting 7 hours overnight in the cold terminal just waiting for my flight home) and I how I realized that all experiences that I went through (the good and the bad) were over and I'd never experience them again. And how all the friends I had made - how unlikely it would be that we would see each other ever again... and I just cried.
But... despite all of the hardships I went through... I miss my experiences there. I was someplace new and exciting and different - doing something I had never done before - meeting new people and making new friends, and I miss it.
And above all, I was in ASIA. I'd wanted to travel to eastern Asia ever since I was 13, and even though I wasn't jumping for joy that I was in Asia the whole time I was there (because I was just exhausted lol :P ;) ), it was beautiful! It was a wonderful experience and I wish that I would go back... Even if it was to teach. I would prefer not to be worked like a plow-horse the whole time I'm there, definitely! But I know that teaching children is a wonderful experience and a good thing to learn, even though it's hard and it drains all your energy... It is something good.
I wish I could go back to Asia. I fell in love with Taiwan and I wish I could go back. I want to go someplace new all over again - experience new things and meet new people and make new friends and do something good by teaching children and touching their lives (even if it's just the tiniest bit).
If I had the money, and if I had the time and the mental and spiritual energy... I would like to go back.
I miss Taiwan. I miss new experiences... I miss the friends I made there...
I miss you so much, my Taiwanese friends!!
My kids - Nantou camp, week 1
(Thank you to all my friends who took such wonderful pictures!)