Adventures in Taiwan

When I moved to Taiwan and started my new position as a translator of Buddhist texts at a monastery-affiliated research institute, I had decided that I would not maintain my blog. Life in the temple meant spotty access to the internet, and the hustle and bustle of the daily schedule left few moments for leisurely writing. However, as my time on this beautiful island is quickly coming to a close, I realized I need to record these thoughts—if only for my own eyes—lest I end up forgetting these valuable moments.

Spending my gap year in Taiwan was perhaps not the best plan financially, but I am here to finish a decade-long translation project (or rather, I had thought I would finish it during my stay). As it turned out, it would not be feasible to complete this decade-long project during my time in the monastery. Nevertheless, this made it possible for me to return to Asia, where I hoped to be able to travel to neighboring countries (although as I came to realize later on, there were tax-related restrictions to how many days I could spend outside of the islands directly governed by the Republic of China).

In that sense, it feels like my year in Taiwan is turning out to be a failure. I did not finish the project I hoped to finish; I did not get to leave the island as often as I had hoped; and I had not even traveled around the island itself as often as I wanted. I had toiled away for countless hours without much to show for it.

But to make such a conclusion would be an incomplete representation of my time here. Along the way, I’ve had plenty of novel, invaluable experiences and learned lessons I would have not otherwise experienced. At the same time though, there are a lot of private thoughts about my year that I think would be best left in my mind for the time being. In a vein similar to what I started in Fujian, these musings will continue to focus on tea, calligraphy, and guqin. Welcome aboard!

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