February 5, 2011

Well, here it is Saturday. Three more days, and then life gets back to normal – so-to-speak.

Well, today I think I need a bit of push. Going on Plinky.com, the suggestion they gave was, “When did you realize you were an adult?”

Great question. Like a lot of questions about life, the answers are relative. Now, as far as Ontario is concerned, and unless things have changed over the years, depending on particular things, such as marriage, drinking age, driving, voting, there are different ages that you become an adult.

As well, different provinces, and states, and countries, have different ages at which they recognize you as an adult. Okay, so that aside, the question posed was when did I realize I was an adult.

I think there were several times where the realization happened. When I moved to Ottawa, and was away from London, I realized that I would have to grow up. Having to find a job, pay my rent, the bills, and still find a bit of cash left over to eat, made me realize that I couldn’t be a kid anymore. No one was going to look after my needs any longer.

Although the adventure of moving to another city was fun and exciting, after a while, it just seemed that I was becoming bored. Ottawa is a great city, and being the capital of the country, there is a lot to do and see. However, living there, it does become a bit stagnant after a while.

The next time I realized that I was ‘growing up’, was my decision to move to Vancouver. Packing up all my belongings, moving away from my roots, leaving Ontario… all seemed to force me to grow up again, and become an adult. Again, Vancouver has got to be one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen. With the temperate climate, seeing the Rocky Mountains every day, watching the sun rise over them, and the calm and peaceful life, is wonderful. However, things happened, and I ended up doing jobs that basically, I had been doing in Ottawa.

Not that that is a bad thing, but for me, it was boring again. I needed a change. I needed to do something worthwhile. I found myself getting into the routine of waking up, having my coffee, take the train to work, do my job, come home, watch T.V., off to bed, only to start the same thing over the next day. Life for me, became a rut again.

Now, as you know, I decided to completely change my life. I had to become an adult for real! I took a TESOL course for a week in Vancouver, applied to several countries, and got a couple of offers of employment. One would have been to Costa Rica, and the other to Taiwan.

So, now came the decision – which place? Going to Costa Rica would have been a lot easier. The language would have been easier to pick up, it was south of Canada, so visits home would be easier and cheaper, and the beauty of the country would have been a wonder. Then again, all I’ve ever seen of Costa Rica is pictures on T.V. or over the internet, so seeing things for real is a lot different.

Taiwan offered a greater challenge. During this time of decision, there was a program on T.V. (not sure what channel, but that is inconsequential) called “English Teachers”. This program followed four people from Canada who had decided to go to Taiwan to teach English. They all ended up in Taipei (the capital), and to follow their lives.

As it turned out, only one of the four actually stayed for any length of time. The other three had decided after a short time, that dealing with the culture, the people, the language, the food, etc., was too much. One of them missed their family so much, that that was her decision to move back. She couldn’t deal with being away from her family.

I decided to accept the challenge. Partially because of this program. I consciously decided that I was going to last for a full year. Secretly, I was kind of hoping that perhaps this program would follow me, but of course, that never happened. Hahah…

The challenges that I would face, and I was fully prepared for it, was things like food differences, language, distance, language… oh, I already said that.

As with any challenge in life, overcoming these challenges, I believe, turned me into an adult. It only took 40 or so years, but I believe that yes, it has turned me into an adult, but has also turned me into a better person.

I am a more self-confident, I know my strengths and weaknesses, and above all, I thoroughly enjoy what I do. My life seems to have meaning. I feel like I’m doing something that is worthwhile. Sure, there have been problems and difficulties along the way, but for the most part, it has been an incredible journey.

People are always surprised that over 10 years, I have not learned the language, and wonder how I survive. Others can’t believe that I would travel here on my own, no family, away from my family. Others wonder why I haven’t met someone to share my life with.

I came here to teach, first and foremost. I came here to challenge myself. I came here to see if I could actually survive in a foreign country, using a foreign language, foreign alphabet, nothing at all similar to what I was used to.

I feel that over these years, I have proven that I can do all this, and more. I’ve made good friends, and have proven myself.

So, when did I realize that I was an adult? Honestly, about 10 years ago!


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