I never have a plan, but I do have loose ideas about the future now and then. Right now my loose plan is to head back to the states, spend a year with my partner moving around and preparing for graduate school, then getting my major's degree in linguistics.
I stumbled into linguistics accidentally. While studying in Mexico, we were offered classes outside of the normal grammar and conversation if we wanted, and I did, and one was a double class of Linguistics and Phonetics. I was fascinated by the stuff. I've always enjoyed languages, but learning how speech patterns follow and give clues to a culture's thought patterns as well...
For example. One thing I don't like about Spanish and Mandarin is the response to "Thank you." In English, we acknowledge gratitude. We say "You're welcome." In Spanish and Mandarin, the response is equivalent to "It's nothing."
Gratitude is one of the themes in my life. I have many, but gratitude is a big one, and when I feel it it's genuine and intense. Being told not to worry about it, no need for thanks, hurts a little. No, friend. I mean this. I need you to know that I'm grateful. Acknowledge that, please, so we can share in my joy. Shrugging it off, saying, "it's nothing," that's not good for me.
But let's talk about goodbyes. I don't like them. Dogs don't say goodbye. They say very emphatic hellos, even getting all up in each other's buttholes, but there is no goodbye. They just run off, happy, and will say an emphatic hello again later.
But we are humans, and every language I've studied so far (which is a rather lot, even if I'm not even conversational in most) has a "Goodbye." But here is where English fails me, and Mandarin wins.
French does this too. They have a "Goodbye," but they prefer to use their "See you later." Mandarin, too, says "See you later." I simply do not like goodbye. I've said so many in my life. I have this habit of moving every, at most, three years and often much more frequently.
I have genuinely fallen in love with Taiwan. I've been too busy to post as properly as I should, between classes and trying to have amazing adventures in our little free times, and if the two predicted typhoons don't stop me I will fly home in three days.
I have seen more beautiful sights than I could have imagined. I spent three out of three days last weekend neck deep in some of the clearest water on some of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen. People have been incredibly friendly and helpful everywhere I've gone. This program has been such an awesome opportunity, and I'm more thankful for the experience than I can begin to convey.
And I will say to Taiwan THANK YOU in English, because I need this gratitude acknowledged. But I will say 再見 in Mandarin, because I am simply not done with this magical place.