Inhale and exhale I chant to myself as I am stepping out of Taiwan airport immigration, I cannot believe I am here in Taiwan mixed emotions filling my heart as it pounds hard and fast after 22 years I am back where I was born.
It is okay I said to myself I am going to stay here for a year after getting my ID I will be back to the country I have ever known: The Philippines.
As I marvel and appreciate the beauty of Taiwan airport I am in a time bound situation, it’s almost 3am and my parents are waiting for me which of course doesn’t have sleep yet, yes I took Cebu pacific air to get here their only flight schedule going to Taiwan back then was 12mn so hooray no K9 and strict security! There it goes, I’m officially here with my parents and relatives.
I will be staying here for only a year, that is the plan and I focus myself in that idea, but I cannot be bum here it is a lot of time to spend I have to make myself productive, I should work. My mommy (auntie) referred me to a friend which is going on vacation and she needed someone to temporarily replace her position, as I am not afraid of trying new things I agreed working there, wow that was easy! Using basic mandarin and I can live here (and so I thought). 2 weeks have passed and my part time is over. I needed another job, since my mom is going on vacation I took her position again part time, my previous part time job and this is called OFW coordinator/dormitory custodian. I thought it was easy, I should have realized that earlier. The office work no problem, keeping OFW in peace no problem, speaking to a Taiwanese local MAJOR PROBLEM!
It was a hell week for me, I have to converse with local people there more often and guess what my mandarin knowledge didn’t even reached 20% I suck and I don’t understand them although they are speaking the same language I studied for years. One day the taiwanese in charge went to airport and he asked me to extend my time in the office, I should wait for him to return, okay no problem then one lady came in and is asking for her son’s belongings which I said I don’t know where and have to wait for the person in charge (in basic mandarin) she asked where did this person went and what time is he going back? I told her I don’t know and I cannot tell her where the person went for crying out loud because I do not know what AIRPORT IS IN MANDARIN and I can only speak basic not knowing how to explain myself! And then she went berserk shouting at me which I do not understand one OFW came to my aid and he spoke to the lady in his native filipino tone but in mandarin language. Few minutes later the person in charge returned and saw me crying he told me that I shouldn’t cry instead I should practice so I may be able to converse with them.
Let us fast forward, now that I have my ID and knowing I am a Taiwanese born hell of a person I can stay here for as long as I want unfortunately I have problems with my Filipino citizenship that I have to give it up. So now I cannot stay there for as long as I could. 3 years later, I am still here in this line of work I have learned the language, practice and culture I am still not at home here. My mind knows where I am, what language to speak, how to deal everyday with people around me but I still do not understand them, I do not understand this country and I do not know how to live here happily. 3 years passed and I still don’t feel I belong here. My heart is longing for somewhere where it can finally say “Ah this is home, this is where we belong”.
(Taken from my blog rochelleliao)