“A man can plan his course, but it is God who directs his path” goes the old saying. Born in Malaysia, I was working in a bank in Hong Kong when I traveled to Taiwan for a holiday for the first time. I enjoyed myself very much with a few friends, and was extremely impressed by the Taipei International Flora Exposition being held at that time. The food was delicious, people were friendly, transportation was convenient, so I thought to myself that life in Taiwan was so good! Little did I know that my job would present me a chance to work in Taiwan later when I was transferred here in 2013. I have now spent 3 wonderful years working here and have many good things to share with everyone.
I discovered that my colleagues are exceptionally friendly, and enjoy sharing here stories about their families’ activities on the weekends to brighten a gloomy Monday. I would often find breakfast on my work desk, as they had many kinds of yummy breakfast options they wanted to introduce to me. Lunch would also be a merry affair, and I learnt how enjoyable it was to go out and buy a bento box with them and enjoy it in the pantry together. Family is important to Taiwanese people, so they tried very hard to be home on time to spend the evening with their children. Overall, I found them to be professional, hardworking, and smart, and often willing to go over and above their responsibilities to help others.
During the weekends, I would join friends on short trips, enjoying the many natural wonders in Taiwan. I have swam near waterfalls, hiked many mountains and cycled along many convenient bike paths. I have enjoyed hot springs, got wet during a typhoon, and visited night markets from Yilan to Kending. I have witnessed the sunrise on Alishan and the sunset at Hualien’s Qixingtan. Every time that I thought I had seen it all; my friends would surprise me with a new experience.
Sometimes it would be enjoying the blooming of flowers in spring, or enjoying fresh roast duck. Or it would be driving along the magical highways on the coast of Taitung, or cycling from Tamsui to Xiaobitan. Most of the time, we would stay in quaint little minsus where the proprietors welcomed us to their home. Every minsu would have its own happy story, and I absolutely enjoyed the warmth of each stay. Sometimes there would even be fruit trees in the garden or pets to be played with!
One of the most unforgettable aspects of being in Taiwan has to be the food! I have never once told my friends where I would be going for the weekend without being asked to try the local specialties there. Noodles, buns, sweets, beef jerky, fish balls, seafood – every little town seemed to have its own version and there was definitely a little competition to claim to be the ‘Best in Taiwan’. During festivals like Mid-Autumn or the Dragon Boat festival there would also be a whole host of seasonal treats to try.
These 3 years certainly have passed by very fast. During this time, I met my girlfriend (now my wife) and we now have a lovely baby daughter as well. We look forward to bringing her up in this country that values family so much. The restaurants and malls are kid-friendly and the work/life balance enables us to spend more time with the growing baby during its most important years. I would encourage everyone to come to Taiwan and see for themselves all the great stories that I have told you. Once you have experienced Taiwan, you may never want to leave again!